Eyes towards the future: The effects of teacher rotation and power level on future time perspective and their outcomes

Wanlu LI

Research output: ThesisDoctoral Theses


Teaching and schooling are future-oriented. This is where the phenomenon of future time perspective (FTP) has particular relevance. FTP refers to a concern for and consideration of one’s future (Kooij, Kanfer, Betts, & Rudolph, 2018). It is a powerful factor in predicting academic and work performance, individual wellbeing, and planning behavior (e.g. De Volder & Lens, 1982; Kooij, et al., 2018; Morselli, 2013). However, research has offered relatively little evidence about the role of FTP at work, its antecedents and consequences. This study regards FTP as an important motivational source and path to transfer an individual’s cognitive and mental resources into action. Drawing on social cognitive theory and proactive behavior model, the study hypothesized that two work-role related factors, rotation experience and power level, facilitated the formation of longer FTP. It further identified the pathway from work-role related factors to future-oriented behaviors through FTP.
Two studies were conducted from 2017 to 2019. Study 1 was a cross-sectional survey with dyadic data involving 284 valid paired in-service teachers. SEM results by Mplus 7 showed their power level and rotation experience were significant predictors of their FTP, which in turn improved their proactive behavior, including personal initiative and creativity behaviors. The mediating effects of FTP were further tested by bootstrapping. The results of the survey study revealed that teachers who experienced rotation and had a higher level of power demonstrated a longer time perspective. They undertook more proactive behavior, including creativity and personal initiative behaviors. In contrast, teachers who had not experienced rotation in school or possessed a lower level of power tended to have a shorter FTP, which constrained proactive behaviors.
Study 2 adopted a scenario experiment design through manipulating power and rotation experience to test the causal relationship between rotation experience/power and teachers’ proactive behaviors. There were 149 participants involved in Study 2. However, the scenario experiment study generated two contradictory results from the research hypotheses. Specifically, rotation experience was negatively related to FTP and power reduced the willingness in proactivity.
The theoretical and practical implications were discussed. Firstly, this study extends the FTP literature by showing that work-role related factors such as rotation experience and a higher power level encourage teachers to have longer FTP. Secondly, it adds to the understanding of the intangible benefits of rotation experience, including future-oriented perception and behaviors, as important but neglected advantages of teachers’ professional development. Thirdly, the current research affirms the connection between FTP and future-orientated behaviors, including personal initiative and creative behaviors. FTP as an explaining mechanism might could account for why power holders and rotators are more willing to act to make changes. This study also points out the practical implications for school leaders. It is important to help frontline teachers to experience more job roles and accumulate more cognitive resources, which could motivate them to be proactive in changing their work environment. All rights reserved.
Original languageEnglish
QualificationDoctor of Philosophy
Awarding Institution
  • The Education University of Hong Kong
  • LU, Jiafang 陸佳芳, Supervisor
  • WANG, Zhenlin, Supervisor
Publication statusPublished - 2019


  • Rotation experience
  • Power
  • Future time perspective
  • Creativity
  • Proactive behaviors
  • Theses and Dissertations
  • Thesis (Ph.D.)--The Education University of Hong Kong, 2019.


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