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Having No Other Option Leads to Leaving Organization

Update Date: Apr 05, 2012 02:30 PM EDT
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When employees stay with their organization, feeling they have no other options, they are likely to leave the organization.

A new study, published in the journal Human Relations, found that people who stay in their organizations because they feel an obligation towards their employer are more likely to experience burnout. 

"Our study examined whether some forms of commitment to an organization could have detrimental effects, such as emotional exhaustion and, eventually, turnover," says co-author Alexandra Panaccio, an assistant professor in the Department of Management at Concordia's John Molson School of Business.

Panaccio and her colleagues surveyed 260 workers from various industries, including information technology, health services, engineering and architecture. Participants were, on average, 34 years old; 33 percent held managerial positions, while 50 percent worked in the public sector. 

The research team measured various types of organizational commitments, such as whether employees identified with a company's goals and values and whether they felt an obligation to stay. 

The result of this study implicates that employers should try to minimize this 'lack of alternatives' type of commitment among employees by developing their competencies, thus increasing their feeling of mobility and, paradoxically, contributing to them wanting to stay with the organization.

"It may be that, in the absence of an emotional bond with the organization, commitment based on obligation is experienced as a kind of indebtedness - a loss of autonomy that is emotionally draining over time," says Panaccio. 

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