Testing a Model of Co-Op Students' Conversion Intentions
Keywords:work-integrated learning, work term quality, work engagment, organizational commitment, conversion, Canadian
Due to increased competition for talent, employers often look to convert co-op employees to full-time hires. The purpose of this paper was to conceptualize and test a model of co-operative education (“co-op”) students’ conversion intentions (i.e., plans to become a full-time member of the organization). Perceived work term quality (learning, impact, and relatedness) is proposed to influence conversion intentions serially through work engagement (feeling
of vigor, dedication, and absorption at work) and organizational commitment (strong bond with the employer). The model is tested with data collected from co-op students (n =1,364) at a Canadian university. As predicted, results suggest that perceived work term quality affects conversion intentions both directly and indirectly through work engagement and organizational commitment. This study is the first to examine potential contributions of the perceived quality
of co-op students’ work term experiences to students’ plans for becoming a member of the organization. As such, it has important implications for how host organization members such as supervisors can design and deliver co-op work term experiences to leverage the benefits of participating in co-op
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