Graduation Semester and Year




Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy in Business Administration


Business Administration

First Advisor

Kenneth Wheeler


The value of master's level business education has been previously studied primarily through cost/benefit analysis, generally confirming that MBAs make more money. This study addresses the large question of the value of business master's education by carving out a small area of interest. It looks at the relationship of individual differences to perceptions of organizational mobility, which is a precursor to voluntary turnover. Three research questions are investigated. The first question is the relationship of cognitive ability to perceived organizational mobility. Cognitive ability was not seen by itself to be significantly related to perceived organizational mobility. In conjunction with high self-efficacy, high cognitive ability was shown to be related to perceived organizational mobility. This indicates that the highest functioning workers may be the greatest risk of voluntary turnover. The second research question addressed differences between generalist MBA students and specialized master's students in their perceptions of organizational mobility. Human capital theory would predict that generalists have more potential organizations to work for and would therefore be attractive to a greater number of other firms. This hypothesis was not supported. It was also hypothesized that the presence of an expected outcome of a pay raise or promotion would be influential in perceptions of organizational mobility and this hypothesis was supported. The third research question involves goals and intentions of workers who return to school for an advanced business degree. It was found that a desire for professional advancement was more influential toward perceived organizational mobility than a desire to seek knowledge. A careerist orientation, which is characterized by opportunism, was also significantly related to perceived organizational mobility. This indicates that ambition is influential to perceived organizational mobility. A field study was conducted through the use of a web-based survey of working master's students. Usable data was captured from 165 survey respondents. Archival data was furnished through records available. Eight hypotheses were tested through hierarchical moderated regression analyses. Support was found for four of the eight hypotheses.


Business | Business Administration, Management, and Operations