Job Satisfaction and Turnover…Now That’s Change We Can Believe In

Topic: Job Attitudes, Turnover
Publication: Academy of Management Journal
Article: The Power of Momentum: A New Model of Dynamic Relationships Between Job
Satisfaction Change and Turnover Intentions
Authors: Chen, G., Ployhart, R.E., Cooper Thomas, H., Anderson, N., & Bliese, P.D
Reviewer: Neil Morelli

Let’s say you’re interested in using a job satisfaction (JS) survey to help predict turnover. Which would you say is more important, the absolute value of JS or the change in JS from time 1 to time 2? After proposing that JS is especially salient to an employee when it has deviated from an earlier reference point, Chen et al. (2011) argued the latter.

Chen et al. introduced the idea of “job satisfaction momentum”, or the systematic change in job satisfaction over time, and tested if it would influence the nature of the JS to turnover intention relationship. Their results indicated that JS change is negatively related to turnover intention change; as JS increased (declined), turnover intention declined (increased). In other words, it was the systematic change in JS that helped determine the change in turnover intentions.

Chen et al. suggested some useful implications for managers in light of these findings. First, a single yearly organizational attitude survey for employees may not be the most accurate due to the changing nature of attitudes and the influence these changes have on turnover intentions. Second, employees can be encouraged to stay when beneficial future changes are announced, thereby giving employees a more positive view of “tomorrow”. Regardless of the application, researchers and practitioners should be aware that the relationship between job attitudes and behavior is a dynamic one.

Chen, G., Ployhart, R.E., Cooper Thomas, H., Anderson, N., & Bliese, P.D. (2011). The
power of momentum: A new model of dynamic relationships between job satisfaction
change and turnover intentions. Academy of Management Journal, 54(1), 159-181.

human resource management,organizational industrial psychology, organizational management