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The Impact of Organizational Climate and Culture on Employee Turnover

Mark G. Ehrhart and Maribeth Kuenzi


This chapter addresses the impact that organizational culture and climate have on employee turnover. Organizational culture and climate capture the meaning employees derive from cues in their work environment as well as the salience of these cues. The interaction between individuals and their work environment has important implications for employees’ attitudes and behaviours (Johns, 2006), which in turn have direct effects on employee turnover (Griffeth, Hom & Haertner, 2000; Heavey, Holwerda & Hausknecht, 2013). In light of the substantial tangible and intangible costs of turnover (Hancock, Allen, Bosco, McDaniel & Pierce, 2013; Hausknecht & Trevor, 2011; Park & Shaw, 2013), it is critical that we understand the role that contextual factors such as organizational culture and climate have in employee turnover.

We begin by providing an overview of the topics of organizational culture and climate, including the key similarities and differences between the constructs. We then review the literature on the relationship between each of these concepts and employee turnover. For organizational culture, we examine three perspectives: that some cultures may be more desirable to employees and thus have lower turnover; that the fit between employee values and the organization’s values are a primary predictor of turnover; and that some organizations may have a culture of turnover. For organizational climate, we examine the general effects of the molar climate (the overall organizational environment) on turnover, as well as the relationships found between a variety of specific, focused climates and turnover. We end the chapter with a number of future directions for research on organizational culture, climate and turnover.

The Wiley Blackwell Handbook of the Psychology of Recruitment, Selection and Employee Retention,

First Edition. Edited by Harold W. Goldstein, Elaine D. Pulakos, Jonathan Passmore and Carla Semedo. © 2017 John Wiley & Sons Ltd. Published 2017 by John Wiley & Sons Ltd.

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