International Handbook of Entrepreneurship and HRM
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International Handbook of Entrepreneurship and HRM

Edited by Rowena Barrett and Susan Mayson

This invaluable reference tool has been designed in response to the growing recognition that too little is known about the intersection between entrepreneurship and human resource management. Paying particular attention to the ‘people’ side of venture emergence and development, it offers unique insights into the role that human resource management (HRM) plays in small and entrepreneurial firms.
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Chapter 24: Intention to Quit: Evidence from Managers and Professionals in Small and Medium-Sized Enterprises

Terry H. Wagar and James D. Grant


Terry H. Wagar and James D. Grant Introduction Although there is a considerable amount of literature examining both intention to quit one’s job and actual quit behaviour, most of the research has been carried out at the individual level of analysis. Researchers are now placing considerable attention on the association between human resource management (HRM) practices and the performance of the firm (Bae and Lawler, 2000; Wood, 1999; Wright et al., 2005), aspects of employee voice (Colvin, 2003), and organizational downsizing and restructuring (Cameron, 1994; Chadwick et al., 2004; Freeman, 1999; Littler and Innes, 2003). In this chapter we examine these issues and investigate their impact on the intention of small business managers and professionals to quit their job. This has important implications for continued and sustained growth in SMEs. Literature review Employee turnover There is substantial literature (in excess of 1500 studies) on turnover in the organizational sciences, with the primary focus on individual-level predictors of turnover. While researchers looking at individual-level predictors generally acknowledge the distinction between voluntary and involuntary turnover, many organization-level turnover studies collapse ‘voluntary’ and ‘involuntary’ turnover into a single category (Shaw et al., 1998). Quitting or voluntary turnover refers to an individual employee’s decision to leave an organization, whereas involuntary turnover, variously termed termination, discharge or dismissal represents an employer’s decision to end the employment relationship. High quit rates have been of particular interest in the literature because of a number of associated direct and indirect costs. Direct costs can raise labour costs (Batt...

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