Thursday, March 15, 2007

The ties that bind

Ran across a Newswise press release from the University of Washington Business School about an interesting concept called job embeddedness. A little searching revealed that the idea first emerged in 2001 in a paper titled "Why People Stay: Using Job Embeddedness to Predict Voluntary Turnover," written by an academic team headed by UW management and organization professor Terrence Mitchell.

The paper offered a new model, based on research and two samples, suggesting that the traditional wisdom that job satisfaction and money entice people stay at jobs was a less-than-complete picture. In fact, Mitchell and team found that job satisfaction plays a relatively small role in employee decisions to stay.

Instead, they discovered that people become enmeshed in their jobs thru a web of forces the team named "job embeddedness." They also found that the degree of job embeddedness that an employee perceives is determined by three dimensions: link, the extent to which the employee feels linked to other people and activities on the job; fit, the extent to which their job is a good fit with other aspects of their lives; and sacrifice, the amount of change leaving a job would entail.

Since 2001, there appears to be a growing number of academics conducting research in this area and surely, given the talent shortages everyone is predicting for the near future, HR pros and other organizational execs will want to know how they can utilize job embeddedness to keep good people...and I'm wondering why there haven't been any books on the topic.

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