Synthesizing content models of employee turnover

January 2019 | ,

To identify a set of broad factors that reflect the constructs measured in three content models of employee turnover, we hypothesized 19 scales would reduce to five factors related to employee job‐search behavior and actual turnover decisions: one’s affect toward the organization, work environment, instrumental attachment, extraorganizational ties, and sense of obligation. Using a sample of 888 staff members from a large university, the factor structure was confirmed. Multivariate regression results also indicated one’s work environment, instrumental attachment, and sense of obligation were significantly and negatively related to both job search and turnover, with work environment and instrumental attachment exhibiting the strongest effects. Extraorganizational ties were only significantly and negatively related to job search. Interestingly, affect toward the organization was not significantly related to either job search or turnover. Path analyses indicated the effects of four of the factors on turnover were fully mediated by job search, with instrumental attachment the sole factor that was only partially mediated. Our model provides a foundation for future researchers to test the uniqueness of new predictors of turnover, as well as guidance to practitioners regarding where resources might be best utilized in curbing turnover.



  • R. Zimmerman
  • B. Swider


Human Resource Management

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