The current issue and full text archive of this journal is available at www. emeraldinsight. com/0140-9174. htm Human resource practices, job embeddedness and intention to quit Erich B. Bergiel Management Department, Richards College of Business, University of West Georgia, Carrollton, Georgia, USA Human resource practices 205 Vinh Q. Nguyen Department of Business Administration and Economics, Coe College, Cedar Rapids, Iowa, USA Beth F. Clenney Management Department, Richards College of Business, University of West Georgia, Carrollton, Georgia, USA, and G. Stephen Taylor
Department of Management and Information Systems, Mississippi State University, Starkville, Mississippi, USA Abstract Purpose – The purpose of this paper is to test the whether job embeddedness is a mediator of the relationship between human resource practices and employees’ intention to quit.
The study presented here used job embeddedness, a new construct, to investigate its mediation effect on the relationship between employees’ intentions to leave and four areas of human resource practices: compensation, supervisor support, growth opportunity and training.
Design/methodology/approach – A questionnaire was given to employees at a state department of corrections asking their attitudes about their job, their place of employment, and the agency as a whole.
The results of this questionnaire were analyzed utilizing the four-step method for mediation analysis. Findings – Job embeddedness fully mediated compensation and growth opportunity, partially mediated supervisor support, and did not mediate training in relation to employees’ intention to quit. Research limitations/implications –A self-reported, cross-sectional questionnaire was used to collect all measures.
Additionally, this study used a single sample. Future research needs to obtain more diversified samples and continue to expand current research by examining additional areas of human resource practices. Practical implications – Managers can utilize several strategies and tactics from a variety of human resource practices in order to build deeper links, make a better fit, and create greater potential sacrifices for employees should they decide to look for or pursue other employment opportunities.
Originality/value – This paper presents one of the first studies to examine how job embeddedness develops, and what factors cause employees embedded in their jobs to keep them from leaving the organization. Keywords Human resource strategies, Employee turnover, Employee behaviour, Employee development, United States of America Paper type Research paper Introduction The effective management of employee turnover has long been a crucial issue for organizations.
Not only are the economic costs of turnover very high, but unmanaged departure of employees disrupts social and communication structures and decreases cohesion and commitment among those who stay (Mobley, 1982; Staw, 1980). Thus, it is Management Research News Vol. 32 No. 3, 2009 pp. 205-219 # Emerald Group Publishing Limited 0140-9174 DOI 10. 1108/01409170910943084 MRN 32,3 206 hardly surprising that employee retention continues to be of great interest both to practicing managers and organizational researchers. The questions that challenge researchers and practitioners, therefore, are ‘‘Why do people leave? ’’ and ‘‘Why do they stay? ’ Leaving aside the issue of whether these are conceptually distinct questions, over the years researchers at best have developed only partial answers to them (Mitchell et al. , 2001). The current thinking is that people stay if they are satisfied with their jobs and committed to their organizations, but leave if they are not. However, work and job-related attitudes play only a relatively small role in employee retention and leaving (Hom and Griffeth, 1995; Griffeth et al. , 2000). Consequently, factors other than job satisfaction and organizational commitment are important for understanding turnover (Maertz and Campion, 1998).
A relatively new approach to this issue has been offered by Mitchell et al. (2001). These researchers argue that job embeddedness is a direct antecedent both of intent to quit and voluntary turnover. A number of studies have followed this research direction and found that job embeddedness explained significant incremental variance in turnover beyond that explained by job satisfaction and organizational commitment (e. g. , Lee et al. , 2004; Holtom and O’Neill, 2004; Besich, 2005; Holtom and Inderrieden, 2006).
However how job embeddedness is developed or what factors cause employees embedded in their jobs to keep them from leaving the organization still requires investigation. This study attempts to partly answer that question by testing whether job embeddedness is a mediator of the relationship between human resource practices and employees’ intention to quit. Research background and hypotheses Efforts to elucidate the causes of the intention to quit of employees have focused on individual-level factors, such as personal preferences, and organizational-level factors, such as human resource practices (Deutsch et al. 2000). Individual-level explanations stress the differences among people, often by examining the process by which jobholders consider other employment possibilities (Lee and Mitchell, 1994; Deutsch et al. , 2000). Individual-level studies traditionally link employees’ interest in changing jobs to their level of job satisfaction (Brayfield and Crockett, 1955; Vroom, 1964; Price, 1977; Mobley et al. , 1979). However, empirical studies show that attitudinal constructs such as job satisfaction account for less than 5 per cent of the total variance in turnover (Hom and Griffeth, 1995; Griffeth et al. 2000). Other frequently studied individual-level factors include organizational commitment (Angle and Perry, 1983; Pierce and Dunham, 1987), job involvement (Boal and Cidambi, 1984; Blau, 1986), and job performance (Steel and Ovalle, 1984; Williams and Parrack Livingstone, 1990). This study, while concentrating on individual-level factors, adds to our knowledge of turnover by examining the relative impact of job embeddedness on employees’ desire to work elsewhere. Job embeddedness, a new construct developed by Mitchell et al. 2001), represents a combination of factors that influence an employee’s decision to remain in or leave the organization. It is described as a net or web in which an individual becomes stuck. The theoretical foundation of job embeddedness stems from Kurt Lewin’s (1951) field theory and from embedded figures theories (Witkin et al. , 1977). Embedded figures are immersed in their field and they are connected through many links within their backgrounds and environment (Mitchell et al. , 2001). They are hard to separate from the field and become an intrinsic part of the surroundings.
Job embeddedness consists of three dimensions: (1) links to other people, teams and groups; (2) self-perceptions of fit with the job, organization and community; and (3) perceived sacrifices associated with changing jobs. To date, job embeddedness has been shown to predict both intent to leave and voluntary turnover. Furthermore, it explains statistically significant incremental variance over and above job satisfaction, organizational commitment, job alternatives, and job search (Mitchell et al. , 2001).
However, the impact of this construct in the presence of individual-level variables known to impact turnover – perceptions of organizational human resource practices – has not been assessed. Researchers have recently argued that human resource practices that signal consideration for employees and their development should reduce employee turnover (Allen et al. , 2003). Thus, the question of whether employee perceptions of human resource practices influence their job embeddedness, then turnover, needs to be answered. There are a number of factors that have been posited to affect employee turnover.
Winterton (2004) includes a number of these factors in his conceptual model of labor turnover and retention. The intent of this study is not to provide a comprehensive analysis of all these factors, but to advance current research by examining those relationships often theorized but yet to be empirically tested with job embeddedness. Therefore this study focuses on four areas, namely compensation, perceived supervisor support, internal growth opportunities and training. These four areas have been used quite frequently in turnover literature and have demonstrated an influence on employees’ intention to quit (e. . Shaw et al. , 1998; Stinglhamber and Vandenberghe, 2003; Allen et al. , 2003). Compensation One purpose both of direct and indirect compensation is to enhance employees’ motivation and attachment to the organization (Appelbaum et al. , 2000; Arthur, 1994). Both meta-analyzes (Cotton and Tutlle, 1986; Hom and Griffeth, 1995) and empirical studies (Leonard, 1987; Powell et al. , 1994; Shaw et al. , 1998) show an inverse relationship between high relative pay and/or pay satisfaction, and employee turnover. Strong salary growth significantly reduces turnover for high performing employees (Trevor et al. 1997). In organizations using performance-contingent reward systems, high-performing individuals who were well compensated were less likely to quit than those with lower levels of rewards and performance (Williams and Livingstone, 1994; Park et al. , 1994). Researchers also have demonstrated a relationship between indirect compensation (‘‘fringe benefits’’) and employee turnover (Bennett et al. , 1993). Supervisor support Supportive supervisors are those who employees perceive as valuing their contributions and caring about their well-being (Kottke and Sharafinski, 1988).
For example, a supervisor who switches schedules to accommodate employees’ needs, listens to their problems, organizes tasks or duties to accommodate their family responsibilities, and shares ideas or advice can be seen as supportive. Generally, support from supervisors has been assessed in terms of leader-member exchange (Hofmann and Morgeson, 1999; Wayne et al. , 1997) and supervisor consideration (Allen, 1995; Hutchison, 1997; Hutchison et al. , 1998). Human resource practices 207 MRN 32,3 208 There is some question about the nature of the relationship between supervisor support and employee turnover.
Hatton and Emerson (1998) found that employee intention to leave and actual turnover were related to level of practical support from supervisors. Although a number of organizational factors can make employees begin to think of leaving their jobs, according to these researchers the supervisor plays an important role in whether they actually do so. While Stinglhamber and Vandenberghe (2003) also found a relationship between these two variables, they argue that affective commitment to the supervisor mediates the effect of perceived supervisor support on turnover.
There is agreement, however, that supervisor support is negatively associated with turnover intention. Growth opportunities Negative relationships between growth opportunities and intent to quit have been found (Miller and Wheeler, 1992; Allen et al. , 2003). Since growth opportunities signal that the organization recognizes and values the employees’ contributions as well as imply future support will be forthcoming, employees tend to stay longer with the organization (Wayne et al. , 1997; Allen et al. , 2003). Therefore, organizations may improve their employees’ retention rates by enhancing their advancement opportunities.
Training Providing employees with sufficient training opportunities is an investment strategy for job stability (Shaw et al. , 1998). Such actions by the organization constitute a crucial part of its fulfillment of the informal contract between itself and employees. This practice deepens employees’ sense of attachment to the organization, and therefore enhance retention. With the job embeddness construct, training opportunities should improve the fit between the individual and job, as well as represent a sacrifice that must be experienced if the employee chooses to take employment elsewhere (Mitchell et al. 2001). Therefore, perceived training opportunities will be negatively related to intention to quit. Job embeddedness as a mediator While each of the abovementioned variables has been shown to have a significant impact on employee turnover, the empirical evidence reveals that the magnitude of the direct effects of each on turnover is pretty small (Griffeth et al. , 2000). This result suggests that perceptions directly related to the job might be somewhat distal determinants of turnover. If so, then it is likely that the relationship is mediated by an intervening factor.
It is hypothesized here that job embeddedness is a likely mediator of this relationship. Job embeddedness is defined by three sub-dimensions: links, fit, and sacrifice (Mitchell et al. , 2001). These three sub-dimensions are considered in two over-arching dimensions: an employee’s organization (on-the-job) and community (off-the-job), generating the six dimensions of the job embeddedness construct: links-organization, links-community, fit-organization, fit-community, sacrifice-organization and sacrificecommunity. Only on-the-job dimensions of embeddedness are the focus in this study.
Because only organizational aspects (i. e. human resource practices) are investigated, off-the-job embeddedness (community embeddedness) are irrelevant in this study. Although human resource practices from organizations may impact on employees’ embeddedness in their community, most organizations likely focus their policies and practices on helping and keeping employees on the job and within the organization only. In addition, previous research has also provided evidence of differences or discriminant validity of the two dimensions of job embeddedness (Allen, 2006; Giosan, 2003; Lee et al. 2004). Thus, it is appropriate in this study to investigate only on-the-job dimensions of job embeddedness. Links-organization Links are formal or informal connections between a person and institutions or other people (Mitchell et al. , 2001). Links can be thought of as strands that connect an employee with his or her work team members, supervisors and other colleagues with whom he or she is working. The greater the number of links, the stronger the web and therefore the more tightly the individual is bound to the job and organization (Mitchell et al. 2001). A variety of research streams suggests team members and other colleagues exert considerable normative pressure to stay on a job (Maertz et al. , 1996; Prestholdt et al. , 1987). This linking process, or social integration to use O’Reilly et al. (1989) term, typically increases with employee tenure and thereby reduces an individual’s desire to work elsewhere. (e. g. Abelson, 1987). Fit-organization Fit denotes an employee’s perceived compatibility or comfort with the organization and with his or her environment (Mitchell et al. 2001). An employee’s personal values, career goals, and plans for the future must fit both with the larger corporate culture and the demands of his or her immediate job. Accordingly, the better the fit, the higher the likelihood an employee will feel professionally and personally tied to an organization. It has been found that ‘‘misfits’’ quit slightly faster than ‘‘fits’’ (O’Reilly et al. , 1991). Employees are also likely to leave an organization when organizational entry produced poor person-organization fit (Chatman, 1991).
Personal attributes fit with a job may decrease turnover (Chan, 1996). Villanova et al. (1994) also found that lack of job compatibility predicted turnover. Thus, a person’s fit with job and organization influences his or her attachment to the organization. Sacrifice-organization Sacrifice captures the perceived costs of material or psychological benefits that may be forfeited by leaving a job (Mitchell et al. , 2001). For example, leaving an organization may imply personal losses such as giving up colleagues, interesting projects, or cash bonuses.
The more an employee would give up when leaving, the more difficult it will be for him or her to break employment with the organization (Shaw et al. , 1998). Though comparable salary and benefits may be the obvious concern of employees, the switching costs, such as new health care or pension plans, are also real and relevant. Less visible, but still important, potential sacrifices incurred by leaving an organization include opportunities for job stability and advancement (Shaw et al. , 1998).
In addition, various advantages can accrue to an individual who stays (e. g. promotion or pension benefit). Taking a new job means giving up these accrued advantages. It is for these reasons that job embeddedness, or the sum total of the three dimensions is hypothesized to mediate the impact of perceptions of human resource practices on intent to quit. When an organization’s human resource practices really Human resource practices 209 MRN 32,3 210 care about, appreciate and invest in employees, employees should be more embedded in the organization.
For example, the higher the compensation and the more the growth opportunities, the greater losses employees would feel if leaving the organization. In addition, providing opportunities for personal growth and training probably helps employees fit in their jobs and in the organization. Supervisor support may also help develop better relationships between managers and employees in the organization. Those sacrifice, fit, and links should then contribute to enhancing employee job embeddedness.
Therefore, it is expected that perceptions of human resource practices would have positive effects on an employee’s job embeddedness. From the discussion above, the following hypotheses (see also Figure 1) are proposed: H1. H2. H3. H4. Perceived compensation is negatively related to employee’s intention to leave, which is mediated by job embeddedness. Perceived supervisor support is negatively related to employee’s intention to leave, which is mediated by job embeddedness. Perceived growth opportunities are negatively related to employee’s intention to leave, which is mediated by job embeddedness.
Perceived training is negatively related to employee’s intention to leave, which is mediated by job embeddedness. Methods Sample All 645 support/staff employees working for a state department of corrections in the Southeastern USA received a questionnaire asking their attitudes about the job, the place of employment, and the agency as a whole. Of this number, 495 (76. 5 per cent) chose to participate. The questionnaire contained no identifiers and was accompanied by a postage-paid pre-addressed envelope to be used to return the completed instrument directly to the researchers.
Measures Unless noted differently, the following constructs were measured by Likert scales with responses ranging from 1 (‘‘Strongly Disagree’’) to 5 (‘‘Strong Agree’’). Figure 1. Theoretical model Intention to quit. Employee’s intention to quit was measured with a three-item scale developed by Cammann et al. (1979). A sample item is ‘‘I don’t plan to work here much longer’’. Compensation. A five-item scale developed by Price and Mueller (1986) were adapted to measure employee perception of compensation. A sample item is ‘‘I’m paid adequately for the job I have’’.
Supervisor support. Perceived supervisor support is measured using Eisenberger et al. (2001) adapted five-item scale. A sample item is ‘‘My supervisor praises people who do good work’’. Growth opportunity. Growth opportunity is measured by a three-item scale developed by Price and Mueller (1986). A sample item is ‘‘There are plenty of opportunities to advance here’’. Training. Training was measured with seven-item scale which was adapted from Bartlett’s (2001). A sample of the items is ‘‘the organization provides me the training I need to do my job’’. Job embeddedness.
Based on Mitchell et al. ’s (2001) research, job embeddedness is an aggregate measure created by summing and averaging the means of the fit, links, and sacrifice sub-scales. Fit, an employee’s perceived compatibility or comfort with his or her career and organization, was measured with seven items. A sample item is ‘‘You can have a good career in Corrections. ’’ The 7 items were then averaged to create the composite scale of fit. Links, the interpersonal connections between an employee and his or her co-workers or team members, was measured with two items.
One was an ordinal measurement of tenure (less than one year, at least one but less than three years, at least three but less than five years, more than five years) and a dichotomous measure asking if the respondent has a friend who also works at the same location). Sacrifice, the perceived cost of both intangible and tangible benefits that may be forfeited by leaving a job, was measured with four-item scale. A sample item is ‘‘Employees here are treated with respect’’. These three scales (fit, links and sacrifice) then were summed and averaged to create the aggregate scale (13 items) of job embeddedness.
Analysis The study uses the four-step method developed by Kenny et al. (1998) and Baron and Kenny (1986) for mediation analysis. The first step uses intention to quit as the criterion variable in the regression equation and human resource practices (compensation, supervisor support, growth opportunity and training) as the predictors. The second step uses job embeddedness as the criterion variable in the regression equation and human resource practices as the predictor. The third step uses intention to quit as the criterion variable in a regression equation and both human resource practices and job embeddedness as predictors.
The fourth step is to compare the first and the third regression models to identify effects of the mediator. Results The means, SD, correlations, and measures of internal consistency (Cronbach’s a) among study variables can be found in Table I. Almost all variables are significantly correlated with one another, except the links variable. Human resource practices and job embeddedness are significantly and positively correlated. Although human resource practices and job embeddedness are both negatively related to intention to Human resource practices 211 MRN 32,3
Variables 1. 2. 3. 4. 5. 6. 7. 8. 9. Compensation Supervisor support Growth opportunity Training Job embeddedness Links Fit Sacrifice Intention to quit Mean SD 2. 25 3. 31 2. 27 3. 44 3. 45 4. 19 3. 73 2. 44 2. 22 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 212 Table I. Means, SDs and correlations 0. 80 (0. 73) 1. 07 0. 38* (0. 90) 0. 79 0. 60* 0. 48* (0. 73) 0. 69 0. 21* 0. 33* 0. 23* (0. 71) 0. 56 0. 51* 0. 43* 0. 48* 0. 21* (0. 79) 0. 94 A0. 05 A0. 04 A0. 13* A0. 03 0. 59* – 0. 67 0. 42* 0. 50* 0. 44* 0. 26* 0. 74* 0. 12* (0. 79) 0. 87 0. 68* 0. 47* 0. 70* 0. 22* 0. 69* A0. 07 0. 50* (0. 3) 0. 74 A0. 35* A0. 43* A0. 36* A0. 25* A0. 59* A0. 10** A0. 78* A0. 41* (0. 78) Notes: *p < 0. 01; **p < 0. 05. Diagonal values are measures of scale internal consistency quit, job embeddedness is more strongly related to intention to quit than the antecedent human resource practices. Among antecedent variables of turnover, fit shows the highest negative relationship (A0. 78) with intention to quit. Step 1 in Table II shows the results of a regression analysis using intention to quit as the criterion variable and human resource practices as a predictor.
This step revealed that these human resource practices were significantly related to employees’ intention to quit (R2 ? 0. 24, F ? 38. 76, p < 0. 001). This result establishes that there is an effect that may be mediated. Looking at individual independent variables in the Step 1 (Table II), compensation, supervisor support and training were significantly related to intention to quit, whereas growth opportunity was only marginally related with intention to quit. In Step 2, job embeddedness served as the criterion variable and human resource practices as the predictors.
Overall, human resource practices were significantly and strongly related to job embeddedness (R2 ? 0. 34, F ? 63. 53, p < 0. 001). This step showed that the antecedent variables are correlated with the mediator. Looking at each Step 1. Variable First regression (intention to quit) Compensation Supervisor support Growth opportunity Training Second regression (job embeddedness) Compensation Supervisor support Growth opportunity Training Third regression (intention to quit) Compensation Supervisor support Growth opportunity Training Job embeddedness R2 0. 24* -0. 15* -0. 19* -0. 09** -0. 11*** 0. 34* 0. 1* 0. 11* 0. 13* 0. 02 0. 39* A0. 02 A0. 12* A0. 01 A0. 10*** A0. 64* A0. 13* A0. 07* A0. 08* A0. 01 change (step 1 to 3) 2. 3. Table II. Regression results on three steps Notes: Dependent variables are in parentheses. * p < 0. 01; ** p < 0. 10; *** p < 0. 05 independent variable (Step 2, Table II), compensation, supervisor support, and growth opportunity were significantly related with job embeddedness, whereas training was not. In the third step, we conducted another regression using intention to quit as the criterion variable and both human resource practices and job embeddedness as predictors.
It was found that job embeddedness was significantly related to intention to quit when controlling for human resource practices (R2 from Step 1 to Step 3 ? 0. 15, AF ? 121. 60, p < 0. 001). As for the individual predictors, compensation and growth opportunity now become non-significantly related to intention to quit, whereas supervisor support and training are still significantly related to intention to quit (Step 3, Table II). For testing the hypotheses, all three steps were assessed at the same time.
Compensation was significantly related to intention to quit in the first step and significantly related to job embeddedness in the second step, but became non-significantly related to turnover intention in the third step. This suggests that job embeddedness fully mediates the relationship between compensation and employee’s intention to quit. H1 is therefore supported. To confirm once more the mediation effect of job embeddedness, we use Sobel’s (1986) and MacKinnon and Dwyer’s (1993) test. The statistical significance of this mediated effect (Mediated effect ? A0. 13; Z-score ? A5. 9; p < 0. 001) was found. Thus, the inverse relationship between compensation and intent to quit is fully mediated by job embeddedness. The results also show that supervisor support was significantly related to intention to quit and job embeddedness in Steps 1 and 2, respectively. In Step 3, the relationship between supervisor support and intention to quit was still significant, but the magnitude of significance was reduced (the reduction in s from step 1 to step 3). This suggests that job embeddeness partly mediates the relationship between supervisor support and intention to quit.
Sobel’s (1986) procedure again was employed to test the significance of this mediated effect. Although small, the mediated effect is statistically significant (Mediated effect ? A0. 07; Z-score ? A4. 42; p < 0. 001). Thus, job embeddedness is found to partially mediate the relationship between supervisor support and employees’ intention to quit. H2 is therefore partially supported. Growth opportunity, in the Step1, had a marginally significant relationship with intention to quit. In Step 2, this predictor was significantly related to job embeddedness, while in the third step, this relationship became non-significant.
There is, therefore, evidence that job embeddedness also mediated this relationship in a statistically significant manner (Mediated effect ? A0. 08; Z-score ? A3. 56; p < 0. 001). This confirms the mediation effect of job embeddedness on the relationship between growth opportunity and intention to quit. Thus, H3 is also supported. Finally, training was not significantly related to job embeddedness in Step 2. This violates the condition for establishing a mediation effect (Kenny et al. , 1998; Baron and Kenny, 1986). Therefore, the relationship between training and employee’s intention to quit was not mediated by job embeddedness.
To confirm this conclusion, we once again calculated the mediated effect by using Sobel’s (1986) and MacKinnon and Dwyer’s (1993) formulas. The result showed that the mediated effect is not statistically significant (mediated effect ? A0. 01; Z-score ? A0. 77; p ? 0. 44). Thus, job embeddedness does not mediate the relationship between training and intention to quit. H4 is not supported. Discussion and implications This current study explored, at the individual level of analysis, the issue of employees’ voluntary turnover.
It is unique in that the study used job embeddedness to explain the Human resource practices 213 MRN 32,3 214 relationship between human resource practices and employees’ intention to quit. As Allen et al. (2003) pointed out, little explanation has been offered for how human resource practices influence individual turnover decisions. This study offers some insight into this process. Specifically, this study found that overall human resource practices are negatively related to employees’ intention to quit, which is mediated by job embeddedness.
Among human resource practices, compensation is found to be fully mediated by job embeddedness in the relation to employee’s intention to quit. It is quite clear that when thinking about quitting a job, an employee often considers tangible benefits (i. e. compensation) from the current organization that he or she has to sacrifice. As compensation has the highest correlation with the sacrifice dimension of job embeddedness, this finding is exactly what we expected and is consistent with previous research (e. g. Allen et al. , 2003; Hom and Griffeth, 1995; Bennett et al. 1993). Concerning supervisor support, this study found that job embeddedness partially mediates the relationship between it and employees’ intent to quit. The explanation for this result is that by providing guidelines, suggestions, assistance, trust in and praise for their subordinates, supervisors can help employees better fit with their jobs and the organization, as well as build better links to colleagues. Moreover, under these conditions the intangible losses (e. g. respect, interpersonal relationship) incurred by leaving the organization may be prohibitively high.
This suggests that employees would be more embedded in their jobs when they received more support from supervisors. This result is also consistent with previous studies (e. g. , Hatton and Emerson, 1998; Stinglhamber and Vandenberghe, 2003), in which supervisor support was found to be both directly and indirectly related to voluntary turnover. Similar to supervisor support, growth opportunity is also negatively related to turnover, although this relationship is mediated by job embeddedness. Growth opportunity implies that employees would have better positions, better salaries, or better work environments.
It would be a sacrifice for employees to leave an organization which offers such good growth opportunities. Moreover, growth opportunity means that employees can have chances to develop and demonstrate their potential, which should lead them to better fit their jobs and the organization. Thus, employees would be more embedded in their job and less likely to leave when there is an abundance of growth opportunities. Therefore, this provides further explanation as to why job embeddedness mediates the growth opportunity-intention to quit relationship.
Contrary to our expectation, the relationship between training and intention to quit is not mediated by job embeddedness. Instead, training is directly related to employee’s intention to quit. Previous research showed that training may help organizations to retain their employees (Hequet, 1993), but also that training may provide opportunities for employees to quit their current jobs (Lynch, 1991). The finding of this study does support the positive effect of training on retaining employees, but does not support the notion that training helps embed employees in their jobs.
This seems a little contradictory, but is consistent with previous research that provides conflicting results on training and employee’s intention to quit. The relationships among training, voluntary turnover intentions, and job embeddedness, therefore, clearly requires further elucidation. Consistent with the findings of Mitchell and his colleagues (2001), job embeddedness in this study also has a strong relationship with employees’ voluntary turnover intentions as it explained roughly 34 per cent of the variance in intention to quit. Given the nature of social science research, this is an appreciable amount of xplained variance. Consequently, it may indicate that job embeddedness warrants further research in attempts to better understand such organizational phenomena as absenteeism, work performance and organizational citizenship behaviors. The findings in this study also have several implications for practical managers in organizations. Managers need to be aware that human resource practices may not directly affect turnover. Rather, human resource practices create the links, fit and sacrifice that embed employees in their current position and keep them from leaving the organization.
Therefore, based on the three dimensions of job embeddedness, managers can look for several strategies and tactics from a variety of human resource practices in order to build deeper links, make better fits, and create greater potential sacrifices for employees should they decide to look for or pursue other employment opportunities. Limitations and conclusion One limitation of the study is the use of self-report, cross-sectional questionnaires to collect on all measures. This design prohibits us from drawing conclusions about the causal nature of the relationships and ncreases the potential for common method variance. Thus, future research needs to use a longitudinal design for examining the impact of human resources practices on employees’ turnover intention through the mediation of job embeddedness, and attempt to assesses this through multiple measurement techniques. Second, this study used a convenient sample of employees working for a state department of corrections. This might not be appropriate to generalize the findings to other organizations. Thus, future research needs to obtain more diversified samples to achieve better generalizability.
Third, because this study includes only four areas of human resource practices, future research may include more areas, such as performance appraisal, employee recognition or employee selection to assess how job embeddedness affect the relationship between these practices and employees’ voluntary turnover intentions. Fourth, while all of the scales used in this study reached commonly accepted levels of internal consistency, further scale refinement may also be needed. In summary, despite these limitations, this study provides a new explanation for the relationship between human resource practices and employees’ voluntary turnover intentions.
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Beth F. Clenney received her MBA from Georgia State University and is an Instructor in the Richards College of Business at the University of West Georgia in Carrollton, GA 30118. G. Stephen Taylor received his PhD from Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University and is a Professor in the Department of Management and Information Systems at Mississippi State University, Starkville. MS, 39762. Human resource practices 219 To purchase reprints of this article please e-mail: [email protected] com Or visit our web site for further details: www. emeraldinsight. com/reprints
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