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3.1 General Overview

already described that training effectiveness and organizational prestige has
significant impact on employee turnover intention; so, following are the
notable theories of employee turnover intention which fall in our area of

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The first model, and
by far the one attaining most attention from researchers, was put forward in
1958 by March & Simon. After this model there have been several efforts to
extend the concept.

3.1.1 March and Simon (1958)
Process Model of Turnover

and Simon (1958) introduced a general theory of organizational equilibrium,
which highlighted the importance of balancing employee and organization
contributions and encouragements. The two factors that determine an employee’s
balance are perceived attraction and perceived ease of leaving the
organization; today these concepts are typically labeled as job satisfaction
and perceived alternatives .Both factors were proposed to independently operate
to influence an employee’s motivation to leave the organization. March and
Simon emphasized individual differences in ability and biodata such as tenure,
gender, and age as key elements of perceived ease of movement while
organizational size and job satisfaction drive perceived desirability of
movement. Note that organization size is a macro-level variable.

are the key features of Process Model of Turnover

(i) Perceived desirability of employee balancing.

(ii) Perceived ease of leaving the organization.

(iii) Job Satisfaction

(iv) Employees motivation to leave the organization.


Porter & Steers (1973) Met Expectations

and Steers (1973) introduced a model in which employees’ met expectations were
the driving factor in influencing turnover decisions. While their model and
other previous models focused on single antecedents to turnover.

are the key features of that model

(i)  Job satisfaction

(ii)  Meet expectations

(iii) Organization commitment

(iv)  Job involvement

Mobley (1977) Intermediate Linkages Model

(1977) identified a more complete withdrawal process and shed light on the
sequence of steps employees go through before turning over. His intermediate
linkages model proposed a set of withdrawal perceptions (e.g., thoughts of
resigning, expected utility of withdrawal) and job-search behaviors (e.g., job
search, evaluate alternatives) that link job dissatisfaction to actual turnover
behavior. In the broad model, employee ideals, job opinions, and labor market
observations combined to influence withdrawal intentions via the linkages (Mobley
et al., 1977). Interestingly, Mobley et al. (1977) were among the first to
identify potential moderating effects on the turnover decision. For example, it
was hypothesized that the significance of non-work values and the need for
immediate gratification moderate the effects of job satisfaction and expected
utilities on turnover and that impulsivitymoderates the relationship between employee
turnover intentions and actual turnover. They also stretched our understanding by
recognizing the impact of changes over time. Finally, they suggested that employees
may engage in alternative withdrawal behaviors such as increased absenteeism.
Following are the key features of that model

                      (i) Withdrawal

                     (ii) Turnover Behavior

                     (iii) Job Satisfaction and
Expected Utilities

Price (1977) Causal Model of Turnover

on Price’s (1977) earlier work, Price and Miller (1981, 1986) developeda
complete structural model, which acknowledged the experiences of job
satisfaction and intent to leave and added organizational commitment as a
mediator between these two variables. Distal backgrounds of turnover were,
among others, the nature of the job (e.g., routinization), contribution,
distributive justice, and family bonds (e.g., kinship responsibility). Price’s
work represented a major move in focus horizontally and vertically, by moving
our analysis to the roots of job satisfaction.

 Following are the key features of that model

(i) Job satisfaction

(ii) Organization commitment

(iii)  Job involvement

(iv)  Cost of turnover

Steers and Mowday (1981) Turnover Model

and Mowday (1981)attempted to integrate all prior “piecemeal” turnover models
into a broad process model of voluntary employee turnover. Finally, Miller
et al. (1986) drew from Mobley’s process model to propose an alternative model
that suggests two decision paths. Once employeesthink about quitting, intend to
quit, and evaluate the expected utility of leaving they either undertake a job
search and compare their available alternatives to their current job or
directly resign.

are the key features of that model

(i) Expected utility of withdrawal

(ii) Employee turnover intention & its cost

(iii) Job Search



Sheridan and Abelson’s (1983) cusp catastrophe

modelincorporates two withdrawal factors, organizational commitment and job
tension which define a two-dimensional control surface with withdrawal behavior
as a third. The model made some distinctive predictions and suggested, for
example, that employees with dissimilar commitment and tension levels may
exhibit the same level of withdrawal behavior. It was seen as “a provocative
divergence from traditional linear thinking and was the first to model turnover
as a dynamic process” (Hom, 1995).

is the key features of that Model

(i) Stress and strain

3.1.7 Turnover Research
from 1985 to 1995


the early turnover models have mostly focused on the old-fashioned attitudes of
satisfaction and commitment and distal turnover experiences such as individual
differences and the nature of the job, the period from 1985 to 1995 was
characterized by a significant increase in consideration of background
variables and other, mainly undesirable, personal conditions such as
overtiredness and stress. The contextual variables may further be broken down
into two groups:

(1) organization/macro-level variables (e.g., organizational
culture), (2) person–context interface variables with an emphasis on employees’
relations with their environment (e.g., perceived supervisor support) this
focus on variables at other levels, or outside the individual, was a major
contribution. Figure 5.4 provides a graphical summary of the main variables
introduced during this period. While initial turnover models have reflected
different level variables suchas company and work-unit size (March & Simon,
1958; Price & Miller,1986), from 1985 to 1995 we saw a shift towards more
difficult organizationaland group level concepts such as organizational
culture, group interrelation, organizationalreward systems, gender composition,
and demography.

For example, organizational culture was proposed to effect turnover
through the development of exceptional turnover culture in which employees
engage in sense-making and social information processes that cause withdrawal
cognitions (Bassett, 1993). In another
exemplary study, pay distribution, defined as the amount of pay inequality
within an organization’s pay system, predicted turnover among university
administrators such that turnover was lower at institutions with more compacted
pay structures (Pfeffer& Davis-Blake, 1992). At the cluster level,
heterogeneity in tenure wasfound to lead to lower levels of group social combination,
which consequently influenced individual turnover (O’Reilly, Caldwell, &
Barnett, 1989). This increased macro-level viewpoint was in line with Abelson
and Baysinger’s(1984) call for more organization-level variables in turnover
research and Katz and Kahn’s (1978) recommendation to consider the context in
organizational studies. Besides the increased attention to macro-level
contextual variables such as organizational culture and pay systems, turnover
research also started to incorporate an increased number of variables that
consider employees’relationships with their environment (e.g., with the
organization, supervisor,co-workers, etc.). These variables included, among others,
person– organization fit, mentoring, and network centrality. In 1991, O’Reilly,
Chatman, and Caldwell found that employees whose individual values did not
match with the organization’s values (low person–organization fit) were more
likely to turn over after 20 months of tenure.

3.1.8 Turnover Research
from 1995 until the Present


the past 10 years, turnover research has experienced significant theoretical
expansion. Specifically, the last decade was marked by seven major trends: (1) new
individual difference forecasts of turnover; (2) a continued focus onstress-
and change-related attitudes (e.g., change acceptance); (3) experimental research
on the unfolding model; (4) an increased focus on related variables with an
emphasis on interpersonal relationships (e.g., interpersonal citizenship behaviors);
(5) an enhanced focus on factors looking specifically at staying (e.g.,
organizational commitment and job embeddedness); (6) a dynamic modeling of
turnover processes with the consideration of time (e.g., changes in job
satisfaction); and (7) expansion of our understanding of previously identified relationships.
Fascinatingly, though there are more theoretical constructs to help explain
turnover, there is less theoretical consensus and still a relatively small
amount of overall variance in turnover described. The result we believe is that
the field of study is richer, but perhaps farther from a unified view of the turnover
process than ever before.

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