Exploring Linkages Between Generativity, Mentoring, and Job Satisfaction Among Federal Government Employees




Curry, Jeffrey W.

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This study examines the association between job satisfaction among United States Federal agency employees and agency mentoring programs, such as those provided by the National Security Agency (NSA), the Senior Executive Service Candidate Development Program (SESCDP), and the Presidential Management Fellow Program (PMF). Faced with the looming departure of significant numbers of baby boomers, the Federal government is tasked with developing the next generation of workers comprising the civilian workforce who currently perform a range of mission-critical duties. While mentoring programs have been extensively studied in the private sector, scant attention has been paid to the unique challenges faced by Federal agencies and their need to foster generativity, that is, concern for developing the next generation of workers. Personnel reductions, furloughs, pay freezes, and budget cuts, along with record numbers of retirement-eligible workers, have contributed to a potentially crippling knowledge gap within the remaining civilian workforce. This study, underpinned by a theoretical framework based on Maslow's hierarchy of needs and Erikson's concept of generativity, identifies factors that affect job satisfaction and intention to quit. The study analyzes these factors in correlation with the perceived effectiveness of government agency mentoring programs. Findings can be used to inform best practices for developing generativity-conscious leaders to fill the void that will be left in the coming years by departing Federal workers. As a result, the Department of Defense (DOD) and Federal agencies will be in a better position to grow and develop the civilian workforce, resulting in improved organizational outcomes.


This work was embargoed by the author and will not be publicly available until August 2016.


Civilian, Federal government, Job satisfaction, Turnover