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Unfolding the way valued knowledge workers decide to quit

International Journal of Employment Studies
Volume 19 Issue 1 (2011)

Abstract: A shock, or jarring event, which challenges habitual ways of thinking about one's work situation, inducing new thoughts about the prospect of quitting, is the crucial component of the unfolding model of turnover (Lee and Mitchell, 1994). However, there is a dearth of information about the nature of such shocks, even though Lee, Mitchell and their colleagues regard it as critical to investigate the types of shock that people report (Holtom, Mitchell, Lee and Interrieden, 2005). This paper reports a qualitative investigation of the experience of shock. Drawing on principles from the psychology of memory we interviewed 62 Australian knowledge workers who had voluntarily quit their jobs in a global high technology engineering company during the past two years. Company human resource records classified their departure as regrettable with a criterion that they would be re-hired at any time should they wish. Interviewers attempted to gain an understanding of conditions leading up to their decision to quit including the moderating variables of job embeddedness and organisational identification, which should influence quitting decisions. The majority, of both antecedent factors and shocks, were related to management behaviour and I speculate about the role of leader-member exchange as an antecedent condition. Embeddedness and identification were both found but in, and with, industry, customers and co-workers, rather than the company.

To cite this article: McWilliams, John. Unfolding the way valued knowledge workers decide to quit [online]. International Journal of Employment Studies, Vol. 19, No. 1, 2011: 70-98. Availability: <http://search.informit.com.au/documentSummary;dn=004126128853072;res=IELBUS> ISSN: 1039-6993. [cited 25 Jun 16].

Personal Author: McWilliams, John; Source: International Journal of Employment Studies, Vol. 19, No. 1, 2011: 70-98 Document Type: Journal Article ISSN: 1039-6993 Subject: Industrial relations; Employment (Economic theory); Economic history; Knowledge workers; Job satisfaction; Organizational behavior--Management; Peer Reviewed: Yes Affiliation: (1) Deakin University

Database: Business Collection