hologyThe International Journal of Human Resource Management, Vol. 21, No. 1, January 2010, 144–162
The use of the psychological contract to explain turnover intentions in the hospitality industry: a research study on the impact of gender on the turnover intentions of highly educated employees
R.J. Blommea*, A. van Rheedeb and D.M. Trompb
Center of Leadership and Personal Development, Business University Nyenrode, Breukelen, The Netherlands; bKenniskring Human Resource Management, Hotelschool The Hague, The Hague, The Netherlands
The subject of this study is the psychological contract approach to the employment relationship within the hospitality industry with special reference to highly educated employees. The purpose was to research the differences in the psychological contract and its relation to the intention to leave between highly-educated male and female employees. The research study conducted among this speciﬁc group worldwide provided a corpus of 247 respondents. The results show that psychological contract measures, and in particular job content, can explain why there is a substantial amount of variance among highly-educated employees regarding their intention to leave an organization, especially if the mediating role of affective commitment is taken into account. Moreover, it would appear that for women in particular, promotion opportunities and work-family balance were related to turnover intentions while for men the clarity of the job description was an important predictor for leaving. We suggest that the results of this study should be considered when developing genderspeciﬁc HRM policies to retain highly-educated staff. Considering the limitations of this study, we suggest that it be followed by research studies which concentrate on the job aspects which may be related to employee turnover. A longitudinal study concentrating on the relation between the psychological contract, turnover intentions and actual turnover behaviour should also be carried out.
Keywords: affective commitment; gender; job content; psychological contract; turnover intentions
One of the major challenges of the hospitality industry is the retention of highly educated employees. In this research study the hospitality industry refers to a broad variety of service industries including hotels, food service, casinos and tourism. We deﬁne highly educated staff as employees who have followed a higher education programme at a bachelor’s or master’s level successfully (e.g., Hoque 1999a, 1999b; Reijnders 2003; Blomme 2006). After graduation people in this category of employees often start as assistant-supervisors and spend approximately 3 years working in this capacity. Most of them have the opportunity to progress to middle-management and the most successful ones to higher management positions such as those which give them ultimate responsibility for a hotel or cluster of hotels.
Research studies suggest that the turnover of highly-educated employees is growing rapidly (Reijnders 2003; Blomme 2006). One research study among alumni of the
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ISSN 0958-5192 print/ISSN 1466-4399 online
q 2010 Taylor & Francis
The International Journal of Human Resource Management
Hotelschool The Hague (Blomme 2006) who are working worldwide has shown that within 6 years after graduation about 70% of all graduates from the Hotelschool The Hague leave the organization in which they are working. The Hotelschool The Hague offers a 4-year programme that confers a Bachelor of Business Administration degree or a Master of Business Administration degree in Hospitality Management. Most students start the programme of study between the ages of 18 and 20. To be eligible for this study programme students must have the necessary qualiﬁcations for admission to higher professional education. A more widely set-up research...
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