How does employee development affect turnover intention? Exploring alternative relationships

Martini, Mattia and Gerosa, Tiziano and Cavenago, Dario (2022) How does employee development affect turnover intention? Exploring alternative relationships. International Journal of Training and Development. ISSN 1360-3736

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This study explores alternative relationships between perceived investment in employee development (PIED) and turnover intention by including affective commitment, perceived internal employability, and perceived external employability as potential mediators. Data were collected through a structured survey from 337 employees working in two large companies in Italy. The factorial validity and dimensionality of the latent constructs studied were evaluated in a confirmatory factor analysis framework, and the mediation hypotheses were tested in a full structural equation model. Results show that the overall effect of PIED on turnover intention is negative and almost fully mediated by external employability and affective commitment, whereas the path through internal employability is not supported. More specifically, PIED increases commitment, which in turn limits the likelihood of turnover. In addition, although perceived external employability is positively associated with turnover intention, PIED seems to reduce this effect by negatively affecting employee perceptions of their marketability in the labour market. The study supports the assumptions of social exchange theory in explaining turnover behaviour as a consequence of employee development support. Contextually, it questions the existence of the employability paradox because it does not reveal either a retention path via perceived internal employability or a turnover risk via perceived external employability.

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