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Factor 2: Triggering events - Fast and slow pathways to turnover

One of the more compelling findings that has emerged is that the decision to quit may develop over months or even years, or it may materialize in a matter of moments. First, for some employees, the decision to quit is a slow process that emerges over time in response to various changes in the work and non-work environment that create a sense of misfit. As March and Simon (1958) originally noted, a decline in employee attitudes, such as job satisfaction, can indeed lead to withdrawal cognitions and behaviours and eventually turnover. For other employees, the turnover process is more abrupt. According to the unfolding model of turnover, specific work or non-work events (i.e., shocks) can affect the employee-employer relationship and trigger a sudden shift in employee attitudes and perceptions, leading to withdrawal cognitions and behaviours and subsequently actual turnover (Lee et al., 1996, 1999). A trigger can be a significant work event (e.g., a negative performance evaluation) or personal life-event (e.g., childbirth). Moreover, the triggering event can be expected or unexpected as well as positive or negative, depending on how the individual perceives it (Lee & Mitchell, 1994; Maertz & Campion, 2004). Although both types of change process lead to turnover, they are independent paths, as critical events have predicted turnover in a manner distinct from the operation of attitudes and perceptions (Iverson & Pullman, 2000; Kammeyer-Mueller et al., 2005). Figure 21.3 depicts shocks and triggers as the second factor in the dynamic turnover process following fit, with slow and fast pathways to turnover depending on whether there is a triggering event.

 
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