The purpose of this study is to examine perceptions of the leadership practice of encouragement among United States Air Force (USAF) Medical Squadron Commanders (MSC) and medical Company Grade Officers (CGOs) and its correlation with CGO career commitment and career withdrawal cognitions within the Air Force Medical Service. The Leadership Practice Inventory Subscale of Encouraging the Heart (Kouzes & Posner, 1997) was emailed to a random sample of USAF MSCs. In addition, Kouzes and Posners' Leadership Practice Inventory-Other and Blau's (1985a) Career Commitment Questionnaire and Career Withdrawal Cognitions Scale (1988, 1989) was emailed to medical CGOs who were led by the randomly selected MSCs. The Number Cruncher Statistical Software (NCSS) and Statistical Software Package for the Social Sciences (SPSS) were used to analyze the data. Standard descriptive statistics were calculated and analyzed to compare differences in encouragement perceptions between MSCs and CGOs. Pearson's product-moment correlation coefficients were calculated and analyzed to determine the significance of correlation between encouragement and career commitment and encouragement with career withdrawal cognitions. The findings of this research provide MSCs a leadership reference regarding encouragement. In addition, the findings may be used to predict those CGOs who are likely to stay or leave the military healthcare system to pursue alternative careers.
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