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J Appl Psychol. 2016 Apr;101(4):535-48. doi: 10.1037/apl0000061. Epub 2015 Nov 23.

The right friends in the right places: Understanding network structure as a predictor of voluntary turnover.

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McIntire School of Commerce, University of Virginia.
McDonough School of Business, Georgetown University.


Research examining the relationship between social networks and employee retention has focused almost exclusively on the number of direct links and generally found that having more ties decreases the likelihood of turnover. The present research moves beyond simple measures of network centrality to investigate the relationship between 2 additional, and theoretically distinct, facets of social capital and voluntary turnover. In 2 organizations, we found consistent evidence of a negative relationship between reputation, as measured by relationships with highly sought-out others (incoming eigenvector centrality) and voluntary turnover. Further, we found that the negative relationship between brokerage (structural holes) and turnover is significant, but only for higher-level employees. The theoretical and practical implications of expanding the suite of social capital measures to understand voluntary turnover are discussed.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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