Exploration of British Army careers. Understanding army careers in context: the kaleidoscope career model

Carrahar, James William (2024) Exploration of British Army careers. Understanding army careers in context: the kaleidoscope career model. Doctoral thesis, Northumbria University.

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This study explores the concept of careers within the context of the British Army, using the theoretical framework of the Kaleidoscope Career Model (KCM) and evaluates the use of the model for soldiers’ careers within the Corps of Royal Electrical and Mechanical Engineers (REME).

Semi-structured interviews with 27 REME soldiers provided the data, which was analysed using thematic analysis. Interview findings demonstrated that soldiers recognise the opportunity for careers in the Army, a traditional organisational career and to be successful soldiers must understand the “rules of the game”.

Contributions to knowledge include the exploration of KCM for REME soldier careers, the importance of timing the sequence of moves to align with future aspirations, whilst reflecting the authenticity of service, the need for balance at different career stages and the overarching need to challenge yourself. Army careers are typically within the challenge stage of life, most soldiers leaving do so to achieve balance and stability between work and life. Those who stay recognise the importance of sequencing moves and focusing effort in the “right” places to progress to the next rank.

A Doctor of Business Administration (as opposed to a Doctor of Philosophy) aims to have a practical impact, with contributions to practice including raising awareness of the hysteresis of habitus, the challenge of changing the career model, and the associated lag in the widely understood view of career progression and career management. Addressing the lag has the potential to calibrate performance and expectations that allow “exceptional” personnel to promote ahead of traditional timelines. KCM helps Career Management Officers to have informed discussions with personnel, to think through their sequence of moves during routine assignments and on promotion to have a more fulfilling career that aligns with emerging career policy, ensuring people perform rather than hold back from demonstrating their full potential.

This research concludes by recognising that careers are context-specific; Army careers and opportunities exist as traditional and hierarchical careers as the Army prepares for the future operating environment. Decisions on the size and shape of the Army continue to be based on the assessment of threats to British interests and the need to prepare for future conflict – a modern and agile Army, focusing on people who are the Army – to deliver capability in different environments. The Army career model is changing in response to the environment and require research to help understand it.

Item Type: Thesis (Doctoral)
Uncontrolled Keywords: Royal Electrical and Mechanical Engineers, soldiers’ careers, concept and construct of army careers, army engineer careers, authenticity, balance and challenge in army careers
Subjects: N600 Human Resource Management
Department: Faculties > Business and Law > Newcastle Business School
University Services > Graduate School > Doctor of Business Administration
Depositing User: John Coen
Date Deposited: 12 Apr 2024 08:53
Last Modified: 12 Apr 2024 09:00
URI: https://nrl.northumbria.ac.uk/id/eprint/51708

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