Volume 51 - Number 1 - 2010 | DOI: 10.5032/jae.2010.01011



This qualitative study sought to explore the influences that shaped Florida agricultural agents' employment decisions at different career stages. A purposive sample was used to select 12 agents who were classified into one of the three stages of the career stages model (Kutilek, Gunderson, & Conklin, 2002). In–depth interviews were utilized to investigate positive and negative influences on the decision–making process regarding an Extension career. Grounded theory was the primary data analysis method (Strauss & Corbin, 1998). Positive influences on entry level agents' career decisions were personal traits, motivators, and support systems. Negative influences were lack of direction, personal work management issues, job pressures, and mandated work requirements. Positive influences on colleague level agents' career decisions were motivators, career growth opportunities, career management strategies, and collaboration with key people. Negative influences were job performance measures, salary disparity, and personal work management issues. Positive influences on counselor/advisor level agents' career decisions were motivators, career growth opportunities, and career management strategies. Negative influences were career overload and job dissatisfiers. A grounded theory was developed to explain the most significant factors and influences. Findings should be addressed by the organization to improve the overall career satisfaction of agents and maintain its high–quality employees.

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