Professional Development in the Canadian Armed Forces at the General Officer Level: A Phenomenological Study

Professional Development in the Canadian Armed Forces at the General Officer Level: A Phenomenological Study

Author: 
Jurgen Duewel
Program of study: 
Ed.D.
Abstract: 
The purpose of this qualitative study was to explore why there was a limited utilization of professional development opportunities by senior officers in the Canadian Forces. The purpose was also to learn how senior officers in Canada’s Armed Forces stationed at National Defence Headquarters in Ottawa, Ontario, and in Kingston, Ontario, felt about the professional development opportunities that they had experienced. In addition, the perceptions of senior officers on whether their professional development experiences had provided them with the necessary metacompetencies to act as a strategic leader were also explored. Moustakas’ (1994) and Groenwald's (2004) phenomenological methods were used to analyze the data in the study. Interviews were conducted with 24 senior Canadian military leaders to gather data. Senior officers believed that there were a number of factors which hindered professional development and which consequently colored their perceptions of professional development. Barriers to professional development included a lack of time in an officer’s career to utilize fully all professional opportunities; an undisciplined approach to professional development; a lack of career guidance for senior officers; opportunities for professional development were too constrained; and finally professional military education as it is presently delivered is more training vice education.
Dedication: 
I dedicate this to my wife Barbara and to the memory of my Grandfather Dr. Otto Düwel.
Acknowledgements: 
I would like to acknowledge those who helped me in this project, especially my committee members. Dr. Craig, my mentor, who urged me to keep faith; Dr. Amason who told me to keep charging; and to Dr. Wangemann, I will always be in your debt. I would also like to acknowledge the tremendous support I received from the Canadian Forces in achieving my life-long goal. I want to especially acknowledge the senior officers without whose candor and time this work would not have been possible. Finally, I wish to acknowledge Dr. Lorne Bentley at the Canadian Defence Academy for his insights and words of wisdom.