Title

Intervening Mechanisms Between Personality and Turnover: Mediator and Suppressor Effects

Author First name, Last name, Institution

Emily M. David
Courtney L. Holladay

Document Type

Article

Source of Publication

Journal of Business and Psychology

Publication Date

11-26-2013

Abstract

PurposeThe goal of this study was to examine the nature of the relationship between personality (conscientiousness and emotional stability) and voluntary turnover. We posited that two intervening factors (absenteeism as a mediator and job complexity as a suppressor) would provide a better understanding of this tenuous relationship.Design/methodology/approachThe hypothesized relationships were tested using a sample of 5,621 employees at a large hospital in the southern United States. The study variables were derived from their original job application assessment as well as personnel records.FindingsPartially consistent with expectations, the results revealed that both absenteeism and job complexity acted as suppressors. Including these factors in the equation strengthened the relationship between personality and turnover because they removed aspects of conscientiousness and emotional stability that were unrelated to the outcome.ImplicationsBased on these results, we recommend that organizations should hire employees higher in emotional stability and conscientiousness to avoid the high costs associated with voluntary turnover. Further, the significant suppression effects suggest that certain facets of these traits may be more effective when used for employee selection than others.Originality/valueAlthough many researchers have posited why certain personality traits predispose individuals to quit their jobs, few have empirically tested these mechanisms. This study provides evidence that taking intervening factors into consideration can help to strengthen the relationship between individual differences and turnover.

ISSN

0889-3268

Publisher

Springer New York LLC

Volume

30

First Page

137

Last Page

147

Disciplines

Social and Behavioral Sciences

Keywords

Conscientiousness; Emotional stability; Suppression; Turnover

Scopus ID

84928475834

Indexed in Scopus

yes

Open Access

no

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