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Determinants of job mobility: A theoretical integration and extension


Correspondence should be addressed to Thomas W. H. Ng, Faculty of Business and Economics, 7th Floor, Meng Wah Complex, The University of Hong Kong, Pokfulam, Hong Kong (e-mail:


The goals of this paper are to conceptually integrate and extend the diverse literature on job mobility. We introduce a multi-level theoretical framework that describes how individuals' job mobility unfolds. Three theoretical perspectives inform this framework. The structural perspective suggests that macro-level factors (e.g. economic conditions and industry differences) determine the opportunity structure of job mobility in the labour market. The individual difference perspective suggests that dispositional attributes affect a person's preferences for and subsequent behaviours associated with job mobility. The decisional perspective, grounded in the theory of planned behaviour (Ajzen, 1991), suggests that decisions to engage in job mobility are based on the evaluation of three factors: subjective norms, the desirability of the mobility option and individuals' readiness for change. The article concludes with a discussion of the multi-level nature of determinants of job mobility and directions for future research.