Job Satisfaction and Turnover Intentions

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Applied H.R.M. Research, 2010, Volume 12, Number 1, pages 17-39

An Investigation of Country Differences in the Relationship Between Job Satisfaction and Turnover Intentions Lap Luu California State University, Long Beach Keith Hattrup San Diego State University The relationship between job satisfaction and turnover is important due to the extensive costs of turnover in most organizations. Unfortunately, little is known about how cultural differences at the national level, such as differences in uncertainty avoidance (UA) and individualism/collectivism (I/C), moderate the relationship between job attitudes and job withdrawal. In the present research, data from a large multinational opinion survey were used to compare the relationship between job satisfaction and turnover intentions across four countries that differ in UA and I/C, namely France, Japan, the Philippines, and the United States of America. The relationship between satisfaction and turnover intentions was significantly stronger in the U.S. and France than in Japan and the Philippines, supporting the hypothesis that turnover intentions are more strongly related to job satisfaction in countries that are higher in individualism.

Job satisfaction is one the most central and studied topics in industrial/organizational psychology (Judge, Parker, Colbert, Heller & Ilies, 2001; Spector, 1997). It has been found to correlate with a variety of important outcomes, such as life satisfaction, job performance, turnover, and absenteeism (Hulin & Judge, 2003; Judge et al., 2001). The relationship between job satisfaction and turnover is one of importance due to the extensive costs of turnover in most organizations (Johns, 2001). Turnover is part of a larger psychological and behavioral construct of withdrawal which includes lower effort, higher absenteeism, thoughts of quitting, and turnover (Hanisch & Hulin, 1991; Hulin, 1991). Job satisfaction is the most important predictor of these outcomes (Hanisch & Hulin, 1991; Hulin, 1991); however there have only been a few studies on how moderators influence the relationship between job satisfaction and organizational withdrawal behaviors. A few variables, such as unemployment rates (Carsten & Spector, 1987) and positive affectivity (Judge, 1993), have been

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found to moderate the relationship between job satisfaction and withdrawal, but much less is known about the degree to which cultural differences among countries moderate relationships between job satisfaction and individual withdrawal behaviors. As business transactions, commerce, and communication increasingly transcend national boundaries, an understanding of the role of cultural factors in influencing behaviors at work represents an important practical and theoretical need. This study examines how national differences in uncertainty avoidance (UA) and individualism/collectivism (I/C) moderate the relationship between job satisfaction and turnover intentions. In particular, this study compares the relationship between job satisfaction and turnover intentions across four countries that are thought to differ in these two cultural dimensions, namely France, Japan, the Philippines, and the United States of America. Thus, the present study extends our knowledge of cross-cultural organizational behavior by examining the degree to which job attitudes relate equivalently to behavioral intentions across national boundaries. Job Satisfaction Job satisfaction is an attitude, reflecting an individual’s evaluation of his or her job, and has both cognitive and affective determinants (Hulin & Judge, 2003; Weiss, 2002). Individuals can be satisfied with their overall jobs (Ironson, Smith, Brannick, Gibson, & Paul, 1989) and with specific job facets, such as the work done on the job, level of pay, promotion opportunities, coworkers, and supervision (Locke, 1976; Smith, Kendall & Hulin, 1969). A variety of measures of job satisfaction exist, with most of the well-constructed...
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