Look after They Leap: Illustrating the Value of Retrospective Reports in Employee Turnover

International Journal of Human Resource Management, 18(9): 1683-99, 2007

Posted: 19 Jun 2012

See all articles by Kevin Morrell

Kevin Morrell

University of Warwick - Warwick Business School

J. Arnold

affiliation not provided to SSRN

Date Written: June 19, 2012

Abstract

The prevailing methodology for studying employee turnover is limited because it emphasizes prediction rather than understanding. This paper critiques this methodology and draws out the implications of an alternative: retrospective self-reporting, by actual leavers. Retrospective self-reporting has three main advantages. First, it allows direct assessment of actual incidents of turnover, so interventions can be informed by accounts of real events, instead of being based on inference. Second, it offers insight into the dynamic character of decisions to quit, which are often unpredictable or precipitated by sudden events. Third, it allows for assessment of the role of non-work factors. This makes a methodological contribution, allowing greater insight into the decision to quit, which is ontologically, socially and dynamically complex. It has implications for how we construe and manage turnover. The argument is illustrated by a recent study of 352 UK National Health Service nurse leavers but has wider implications for turnover in the public sector.

Keywords: employee turnover, unfolding model, exit interview, NHS, nurses, leavers

Suggested Citation

Morrell, Kevin and Arnold, J., Look after They Leap: Illustrating the Value of Retrospective Reports in Employee Turnover (June 19, 2012). International Journal of Human Resource Management, 18(9): 1683-99, 2007, Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2087564

Kevin Morrell (Contact Author)

University of Warwick - Warwick Business School ( email )

Coventry CV4 7AL
United Kingdom

J. Arnold

affiliation not provided to SSRN

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