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Journal of Applied Psychology

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Tested whether work attitudes, widely praised as predictors of turnover frequency (i.e., the number of separations), are also useful predictors of turnover functionality (i.e., the nature of separations). Measures on job satisfaction, organizational commitment, job involvement, motivation to turnover, and turnover frequency and functionality were obtained from 112 retail salespersons. Results indicate that (a) the traditional measure of turnover frequency overstates the detrimental effects of turnover on organizational effectiveness, in that 53% of the turnover was functional and (b) turnover functionality, which emphasizes the performance levels of stayers and leavers, is unrelated to work attitudes. Findings suggest that organizations should not devote resources to programs designed to improve employee attitudes, based solely on the expectation that decreasing turnover frequency will result in beneficial consequences.


Copyright © 1986 American Psychological Association.

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