Date Presented

Winter 2-26-2010

Document Type


Degree Name

Bachelor of Science


Communication Studies

First Advisor

Dr. Maria Nathan

Second Advisor

Dr. Lee Schimmoeller

Third Advisor

Dr. Sally Selden


Why do new hires have a tendency to voluntarily quit their jobs more than tenured employees? This question has important implications for organizations and human resource managers who have to develop and implement human resource management (HRM) strategies that are designed to recruit and retain the best employees. An underlying theme of turnover research is that voluntary turnover is a negative outcome for an organization. While it has been suggested and established that job tenure affects turnover (Lewis, 1991; Cohen, 1993), very little research has been undertaken regarding the specific factors that drive retention of new hires (Shipp, Payne, & Culbertson, 2009; Slattery, Selvarajan, & Anderson, 2009). Voluntary employee turnover has been one of the most researched subjects in the field of human resource management. This overwhelming interest is derived from recognizing that voluntary turnover can be very costly, and that understanding and managing it better can provide considerable individual and organizational benefits (Maertz, Griffeth, Campbell, & Allen, 2007). In fact, retaining talent is now becoming more critical in a world where the organization’s human capabilities are increasingly the key source of competitive advantage (Pfeffer, 2005). Also, historical changes like the massive retirement of baby boomers (leading to a dearth of qualified workers for some key jobs) and the erosion of societal norms favoring organizational loyalty promise difficult challenges for turnover management (Cappelli, 2005; Ito & Brotheridge, 2005). Thus, better understanding turnover causes and how to control them will likely remain a primary concern into the future. There has been a great amount of research into turnover in the private sector of the workforce. However, much less research has been undertaken by scholars on turnover in the public sector. Most studies concerning turnover in the public sector have focused on the federal

level of government (e.g., Lewis, 1991; Kellough & Osuna, 1995; Bertelli, 2007), while a limited number of studies focused on state governments (Selden & Moynihan, 2000; Kim, 2005). The first goal of this paper is to examine the concept of turnover in order to develop a better understanding of the factors that drive the retention of new employees. Second, taking inspiration from previous studies on turnover, we propose a model of voluntary turnover focusing on newly hired employees in state governments. Third, the model will be tested using data collected from the Government Performance Project (GPP) and other sources. At the end, we discuss the results and implications of this research.