A Longitudinal Examination of Individual Adaptability as an Antecedent of Training and Transfer Outcomes
Vaughn, Edwin, III
Type of Degreedissertation
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The current workforce faces increasingly complex work demands requiring high levels of individual adaptability. Utilizing Ployhart and Bliese’s (2006) conceptual framework, the current investigation empirically examined individual adaptability (I-ADAPT) as a predictor of performance within a transfer of training context. I assessed 424 US Army infantry noncommissioned officers (NCOs) completing a leadership course emphasizing core competencies of an NCO squad leader. Within a proximal model, four dimensions of the I-ADAPT (i.e., creativity, interpersonal, learning, uncertainty) were hypothesized to positively relate to the mediating process of posttraining specific self-efficacy (SSE) after controlling for pretraining SSE and other experience variables. Furthermore, I-ADAPT was predicted to indirectly relate to reactions to the training and motivation to transfer through meditational processes. Reactions to training was posited to partially mediate the relationship between SSE improvement and motivation to transfer. The overall fit of the revised proximal model provided a reasonable approximation to the data, χ2 (1,764, N = 411) = 3,577.49, p < .001; χ2/df = 2.03. However, the majority of the substantive hypotheses were not supported. None of the I-ADAPT dimensions predicted SSE improvement. Furthermore, I-ADAPT dimensions did not demonstrate an indirect effect on reactions to training. Indirect effects were found between the learning and uncertainty dimensions of I-ADAPT and motivation to transfer providing partial support for Hypothesis 3. However, the directionality of the effect for the uncertainty dimension was in the reverse direction from that hypothesized. Reactions to training was found to mediate the relationship between SSE improvement and motivation to transfer. Lastly, ratings were gathered from a subset of NCOs, their peers, and leaders following a return to their units after a period of three to five months to assess transfer of training. Results from three path analyses demonstrated no significant direct or indirect (via posttraining SSE) relationship between I-ADAPT and transfer performance across the three rating sources. Taken together, these results provide evidence of boundary conditions by which I-ADAPT may not be predictive in certain environments and situations. Several unexpected relationships also provide potential insight within the current study. Further implications for research and practice are discussed.
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