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Study finds two factors determine how likely people are to quit their jobs

Work overload and job ambiguity named as the two main stressors on employees

This paper was made available in partnership with the Swiss School of Business Research.
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A study published in the Journal of Managerial Psychology by Lucy Firth, David Mellor, Kathleen A. Moore, Claude Loquet sheds light on the main reasons employees quit their jobs.

The authors examined 173 retail salespeople by giving them regular questionnaires that measured various stresses related to their job and the effect these have on their intention to quit.

They found that emotional support from supervisors and self‐esteem mediated the impact of stressors on stress reactions, job satisfaction, commitment to the organization and intention to quit.

While actual quitting behaviour is the primary focus of interest to employers and researchers, intention to quit is argued to be a strong surrogate indicator for such behaviour. Job stressors and lack of job satisfaction are among the factors that contribute to people’s intention to quit their jobs.

Social support has been shown to play an important role in mitigating intention to quit. A previous study found that social support from supervisors reduced the level of nurses’ burnout and indirectly reduced nurses’ intention to quit.

Other researchers (e.g. Coghlan, 1984; Kelly and Cross, 1985) have found that rather than supervisors’ support, it is the support gained from talking with peers, family and friends that is frequently cited as a source of stress reduction.

Intention to quit is largely influenced by job dissatisfaction, lack of commitment to the organization, and feelings of stress.

Work overload and job ambiguity are the job stressors which are the factors that trigger the chain of psychological states that lead to intention to quit.

Supervisor support is a mediator that can reduce the impact of stressors on psychological states and intentions to quit. Monitoring workloads and supervisor‐subordinate relationships by management may not only reduce stress, but increase job satisfaction and commitment to the organization.

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