A Social Network Perspective on Turnover Intentions: The Role of Distributive Justice and Social Support

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Abstract

Organizations are increasingly concerned about retaining human talent, particularly within knowledge-based industries where turnover is expensive. Our study employs a social network perspective to explore the influence of employees' formal and informal workplace relationships on their turnover intentions. We do this in a life sciences organization experiencing employee turnover at over twice the rate of the industry average. Drawing on extant work on the effects of distributive justice at work, we argue that employees who are heavily sought out for advice see themselves as being under-rewarded for the time and effort that goes into providing advice, thus increasing turnover intentions. Additionally, we argue that employees see the ability to seek out advice as a form of social support that embeds them into the organization and decreases intention to quit. By exploring the network positions of individuals in the workflow and advice networks, we demonstrate that when employees are either providing advice to someone they are obligated to work with or are able to seek out advice from others who are not required to work with them, the relationship with turnover intentions is most intense. We conclude by discussing contributions to the theory and practice of human resource management.

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