What Is Too Much or Too Little? The Curvilinear Effects of Job Tension on Turnover Intent, Value Attainment, and Job Satisfaction


Correspondence concerning this article should be addressed to Wayne A. Hochwarter, Department of Management, Florida State University, Tallahassee, FL 32306-1110. E-mail: whochwar@cob.fsu.ed.


This study addressed 2 relatively unexplored issues in the current job stress literature. First, a significant body of research has substantiated a curvilinear relationship between job tension and performance without examining the potential impact of work stress on other important outcomes. Second, past research has failed to control for the influence of role stressors and other important variables that might alter the job-tension/work-outcomes relationship. We hypothesized that experienced job tension would predict turnover intent, value attainment, and job satisfaction, and that this relationship would be nonlinear. Data gathered from 270 hotel managers confirmed our hypotheses. Notably, tension predicted turnover intent (U shape), value attainment (inverted-U shape), and job satisfaction (inverted-U shape) in the expected manner, while explaining additional variance beyond that contributed by demographic factors, role stressors, and linear tension terms. Implications of these findings for theory and practice, as well as avenues for future research are provided.