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Feb. 2007, Volume 6, No.2 (Serial No.

35) China-USA Business Review, ISSN 1537-1514, USA

Job Opportunity, Organizational Commitment and Turnover Intention

QI Yong-tao
(Xi’an Haier Industry Trade Co.,Ltd., Xi’an 710002, China)

Abstract: This paper explores the turnover intention and its determinants in terms of job opportunity and
organizational commitments etc.. Using a sample of 196 respondents from self-report questionnaires which were
randomly selected among workers in one firm, the hypotheses were tested. Job opportunity has significant
positive influence on turnover intention. Affective commitment has significant negative influence on turnover
intention, but continuous commitment does not.
Key words: turnover intention; organizational commitment; job opportunity

Employee turnover has been a growing concern among employers and management scholars. Researches
have linked turnover intention to individual characteristics as job satisfaction, performance, pay and pay
satisfaction (e.g., Porter & Steers, 1973; Griffeth & Hom, 1995). The organizational demography, culture, network,
and social capital literatures examine how personal traits and social structure affect behavior, attitudes, and
opportunities. Social structure affects different individuals and different aspects of the same social structure may
have different effects. External job opportunity is one aspect of this social structure. In this paper, we explore the
effects of external job opportunity and organizational commitment on turnover intention. Building on
organizational demography arguments and related evidence, we aim to find the factors of influencing employees’
turnover intention, especially for organizational commitments and external job opportunity. Then we try to give
suggestions for managers who consider employees turnover-related issues.

1. Theory and Predictions

1.1 Organizational commitment and turnover intention


Organizational commitment has also become an important topic for organizational research because of its
association with extra-role behaviors (e.g. Moorman, Niehoff & Organ, 1993), absenteeism and turnover (Somers,
1993; Gellatly, 1995). Drawing on the early works in the field, Meyer and Allen proposed a three-component
model of organizational commitment (Meyer & Allen, 1990 and 1997). The affective component (AC) of
organizational commitment refers to employees’ emotional attachment to, identification with, and involvement in
the organization. The continuance component (CC) refers to commitment based on the costs that employees
associate with leaving the organization. Finally, the normative component (NC) refers to employees’ feelings of
obligation to remain with the organization (S. Arzu Wasti, 2003).
Despite these differences in conceptualization, the increasing consensus is that organizational commitment is
a multidimensional construction. Much of the empirical research has focused on the affective and continuance
perspective (S. Arzu Wasti, 2003). Meyer and Allen (1997) have proposed that normative commitment may be a

QI Yong-tao, Television manager of Xi’an Haier Industry Trade Co., Ltd.; research fields: human resource management,
organizational behavior.

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Job Opportunity, Organizational Commitment and Turnover Intention

better predictor of job outcomes in collectivist contexts that emphasize strong social ties and obligations. The
emphasis on affective commitment has been mostly due to the evidence that affective commitment has the
strongest and most consistent relationship with desirable outcomes. The emphasis on continuance commitment
has been mostly due to the evidence that continuance commitment has the strongest and most consistent
relationship with job-finding and switching cost. So we propose one hypothesis as follows.
H1: Organizational commitments (including both affective commitment and continuous commitment) have
significant negative influence on turnover intention.
1.2 Job opportunity and turnover intention
Some recent studies suggest that job opportunity (easy or not in finding an alternative job), organizational
commitment and employee beliefs, sex composition of employees, and performance are also important antecedent
of turnover intention (ZHANG Mian, ZHANG De & LI Shuzuo, 2003; Carroll, 2001; Elvira, 2001; Hochwarter,
2001). The more easily to find an alternative job, the more intensive employees’ turnover intention is. Other
studies suggested the relationship between training and organizational commitment, the relationship between job
satisfaction and turnover intention (CHEN, Z.X., 2000; Nagy, 2002). Price (1977) developed a model of turnover
intention (Price, 1977 and 2001), which suggested that the main factors of influencing employee’s turnover
intention should be as follows: personal characteristics, job opportunity, unmet career expectations, job-related
factors such as job pressure, job conflict etc.. Based on this perception, we hypothesize that:
H2: Job opportunities have significant positive influence on turnover intention.

2. Method

2.1 Interviews: participants and procedure


We use 196 self-report questionnaires of employees in one firm to measure the study variables. 500
employees were randomly selected from all people working at the company including miners, engineers,
managers, and clerks etc.. Among 500 employees, 196 (39.2%) usable questionnaires were returned, and there are
126 male (64.3%) and 70 female employees (35.7%). 58.2% of the sample are aged between 31 to 40 years old.
The proportion of top managers, middle managers, and first-line managers are 1%, 7.7% and 49.4% respectively.
The others (40.1%) are common employees. 44.4% of the sample earns less than 18,000 Yuan per year, 50% earn
between 18,000 Yuan to 30,000 Yuan per year. The proportion of yearly income level between 30,000 Yuan to
50,000 Yuan is 3.1%, only 1% can earn more than 50,000 Yuan.
2.2 Measures
All variables are measured by Likert five-point scale (range 1-5). Each variable is measured by different
numbers of items scale. In line with many research findings, we combined these items into a single, unweighted,
additive index that reflects the given variable.
2.2.1 Turnover intention
Turnover intentions were measured by means of a 4-item scale derived from a Chinese questionnaire on the
relationship of leadership and turnover intention (Jovan Hsu, Jui-che Hsu, Shaio Yan Huang Leslie Leong & Alan
M Li, 2003).
2.2.2 Organization commitments
Our questions about organizational commitments come from Organizational Commitment Questionnaire
(Meyer and Allen, 1997). But a little bit updates have been done. Organizational commitments are measured by

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Job Opportunity, Organizational Commitment and Turnover Intention

two components of affective commitment (AC) and continuous commitment (CC). Each component consists of
three items. Because we want to explore that employees’ CC is resulted from turnover losses including money and
mental losses, or employees’ special knowledge and skills, we ask respondents to answer these questions by
dividing into two kind of situations: special skills and knowledge they have aren’t useful in other companies, or
the losses of turnover such as payment decreasing etc.. For these two kinds of situations, we introduce another two
indexes CC1 and CC2 respectively.
2.2.3 Job opportunity
Job opportunity is measured by means of a 3-item scale that refers to finding a good alternative job easy or
not. The three items are “I can easily find an alternative job as good as, better, and much better than the current
job” respectively.
Table 1 Means, standard deviations, and Cronbach’s alphas (N=196)
No. Variables Items Means SD α
1 Age 1 3.34 1.11
2 Education 1 2.25 .704
3 Job Level 1 2.24 1.821
4 Income 1 1.72 .549
5 Job Opportunity 3 2.52 .912 0.8899
6 AC 3 3.06 .817 0.7610
7 CC1 3 2.80 .947 0.8138
8 CC2 3 3.38 .784 0.6703
9 Turnover Intention 4 3.05 .741

2.2.4 Control Variables


A review of the turnover literature suggested four important variables to control in the analysis. We control
age and education, two variables that affect turnover (Pfeffer, 1983; Tsui et al., 1992). We also include income
level and job level to control the turnover effects of salary growth and promotions (Trevor, Gerhart, & Boudreau,
1997).
2.3 Results
Firstly, we performed several preliminary analyses (i.e. means, standard deviations, Cronbach’s alphas,
correlations). The results of these analyses are depicted in Table 1, and Table 2.
Table 1 shows that the internal consistencies are general acceptable (Cronbach’s alphas>0.6). Table 2 shows
that in male sample all explanatory variables are significantly correlated with turnover intention (P>0.01). An
exception is the relationship between the CC1, CC2 and turnover intention. Affective commitment is significantly
correlated with turnover intention. As is common in related literatures, the four control variables, age, education,
job level and income level, are significantly correlated. For all respondents, turnover intention is positively
correlated with job opportunities, continuous commitment because of the losses of turnover, and also education
level.
H1 and H2 are tested by using of OLS multiple regression analysis. The results are reported in Table 3. It
appears that the influences of job opportunity, and AC on turnover intention are significant (for job opportunity,
P<0.05; for AC, P<0.001). Thus, H1 and H2 seem to be supported.

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Job Opportunity, Organizational Commitment and Turnover Intention

3. Conclusions and Discussions

The main purpose of this study is to find evidence for turnover intention and its influencing factors. By
means of an empirical investigation, our purpose is to test the above two hypotheses. Our first hypothesis, which
is that organizational commitments (including both affective commitment and continuous commitment) have
significant negative influence on turnover intention, is supported. Our second hypothesis, which is that job
opportunities have significant positive influence on turnover intention, is confirmed as well.

Table 2 Correlations of the study variables of all respondents


No. Variables 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10
1 Gender
2 Age .257***
3 Education .148* .023
**
4 Job Level -.177 -.179** -.325***
*** ***
5 Income .260 .325 .396*** -.236***
6 .Job Opportunity .129* -.021 .255*** -.196** .208**
7 AC -.011 -.023 -.061 .017 .040 -.037
* *
8 CC1 .020 .153 -.145 .042 -.070 -.013 .002
9 CC2 .083 .024 .211** -.128* .015 -.015 .003 -.014
* ** ***
10 Turnover Intention .100 -.042 .161 -.107 -.026 .190 -.326 -.014 .170**
Note: a N=196, * P<=0.05, ** p<=0.01, ***p<=0.001, two tailed.

Table 3 OLS multiple regressions on turnover intention by all respondents


Variables Βeta for all R2/Adj R2 F value P value D-W value1
***
Gender .094 .297/.254 6.848 0.000 .797
Age -.007
Education .107
Job Level -.005
Income -.102
Job Opportunity .159*
AC -.305***
CC1 .007
CC2 .155*
Note: a N=196 for all respondents; * P<=0.05, two tailed; ** p<=0.01, two tailed; ***p<=0.001, two tailed

Are there any differences between men and women for the relationship between job opportunity and turnover
intention? We need to explore this question further. Furthermore, according to these results, should we take
different measures to prevent turnover behaviors for women and men?
Several limitations with regard to the study should be mentioned. Firstly, the sample is only from one
company. The results of the study are needed to testify by other sample group. Secondly, the sample size seems to
be a little bit small. Thirdly, Table 3 appeals that R2 of OLS model is not high (R2 =0.297). This means that there
must be other important factors influencing turnover intention that we did not include in the models. The factors
need to be identified in further studies.

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Job Opportunity, Organizational Commitment and Turnover Intention

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(Edited by Jimmy, Gavin and Shirley)

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