The relationship between cognitive capacities and retention or turnover has received scant attention in the extant literature. The few findings that have been reported show mixed to no linear effects of general mental ability on organizational continuance. In this study, we examined the association of more specific higher order cognitive capacities including complex problem solving skills and divergent thinking with officer continuance in the U.S. Army. We also tested the role of developmental experiences as a partial mediator of this relationship. Our sample included 640 officers who completed measures of these skills and of their career experiences in 1992–1993. To this sample, we added years of service from date of commissioning to 2008, as well as data on whether officers experienced particular assignments considered to be challenging and developmental. Our findings support the association of complex problem solving and divergent thinking skills with leader continuance. We also found that this effect is partially mediated by challenging developmental experiences. Thus, we provide stronger evidence than in prior studies for a linear relationship between cognitive abilities and continuance in an organization.
The IOC is a global community of coaches.