Employee networks and positions differentially predict employee turnover directly and through job satisfaction and job performance

Caitlin M Porter, Purdue University


While employees’ network positions have been shown to be associated with reduced turnover, the underlying psychological process through which network positions relate to turnover has rarely been examined. The current study draws from turnover theory and research as a basis for investigating proximal turnover antecedents as mediating mechanisms of the relationships between employees’ network positions and turnover. Specifically, using meta-analytic path analysis, I examined whether traditional turnover antecedents (i.e., job satisfaction, job performance, and turnover intentions) partially mediated the relationships between network positions and turnover. Furthermore, I distinguished between different types of networks (i.e., instrumental versus expressive) and network positions (i.e., in-degree versus out-degree centrality) in order to clarify whether all network positions are equally effective in preventing turnover and through which mediating mechanisms they operate (i.e., attitudinal versus performance pathways). Study findings suggested that, while both instrumental and expressive network positions contribute to retention, they work through different mediating pathways, performance and attitudinal pathways, respectively. In addition, expressive network positions tended to be more effective in encouraging employee retention, as evidenced by consistent direct negative relationships with turnover after accounting for turnover antecedents. Finally, employees’ in-degree centrality appeared to be a double-edged sword depending upon the type of network. When considering all network positions simultaneously, instrumental in-degree centrality was positively associated with job satisfaction, whereas expressive in-degree centrality was negatively associated with job satisfaction (although it still had a negative relationship with turnover). The theoretical and practical implications of these findings are discussed.




Woo, Purdue University.

Subject Area

Occupational psychology|Organizational behavior

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