George Saridakis and Cary L. Cooper, the editors of Research Handbook on Employee Turnover, argue that employee turnover can be considered an ‘indicator of stability.’ Indeed, employee turnover research has become more important in the present era of instability shaped by increasing inequality, global warming, outbreaks, demographic shifts and economic crises. The goal of this handbook is to bring together studies that explore the impact of employee turnover on employees, organizations and the economy as a whole.
Turnover is a very interdisciplinary research area that has drawn attention from industrial relations, human resources, management, economics, psychology and other social science disciplines over the years. Thus, turnover is a multi-level and complex concept with several definitions. Addressing this complexity, one of the principal themes of the book is the conceptualization and measurement of turnover.
This handbook includes 16 chapters. While the majority of the contributors are from the U.K, the book also includes chapters prepared by researchers from other countries such as Germany, Taiwan, Norway, Malaysia and the USA. Thus, the book has an international orientation. The background of the contributors of this handbook reflects the interdisciplinary nature of turnover. The authors are scholars from management, human resources, labour economics, psychology, and other social science disciplines.
Besides the introduction chapter, there are eight review and seven empirical research chapters. Chapter 2 has a macro approach and discusses the relationship between employee turnover and economic growth. Chapter 3 is a review chapter introducing the definition, measurement and schools of thoughts of turnover literature. Chapter 4 investigates the employee retention and turnover trends in the UK between 1993 and 2014. Chapter 5 is practitioner-oriented and provides suggestions for measuring, monitoring and costing employee turnover. The next chapter, Chapter 6, provides a brief interdisciplinary literature review of the antecedents and effects of turnover. I believe Chapters 3 and 6 can be beneficial for researchers who are seeking a gentle introduction to employee turnover literature. Chapter 7 focuses on a concept closely related to employee turnover: inter- and intra-organizational mobility of workers. This chapter contributes to the intellectual depth of the handbook.
Chapter 8 introduces a conceptual model that links training perceptions to turnover intentions of employees. Practitioners will find Chapter 9 interesting as it focuses on compensation policy and turnover relationship. Chapter 10 takes a generational perspective and examines the turnover behaviours of millennials who have a higher turnover rate than other workforce generations. Chapter 11 is an empirical study that explores how work engagement, organizational citizenship behaviour and work-family conflict are related to turnover intention. Chapter 12 provides a brief introduction to theoretical development of turnover from a historical perspective and presents two organizational examples using an event-based model of turnover. Chapter 13 reviews recent job search and matching discussion in the labour economy literature to suggest possible market failure mechanisms. Chapter 14 is an empirical study examining the impact of 2008 economic crisis on promotions and turnover patterns in Portugal. Chapter 15 investigates the relationship between turnover and organizational expansion and contraction using German data. The final chapter, Chapter 16, examines the mediating role of employee human capital, autonomy and motivation in the relationship between high-performance human resource practices and turnover using data from Spain.
This handbook provides a balanced overview of employee turnover. The volume includes review and empirical research chapters examining turnover and related topics from micro and macro perspectives with research, managerial and policy implications. While this wide scope of the handbook prevents the readers from developing an in-depth understanding of specific turnover issues, this is likely not the goal of this volume. I believe providing an overview of the issue at the expense of covering specific turnover topics rather superficially can be appropriate given the interdisciplinary and multilevel nature of turnover research. Nevertheless, I think the handbook is missing two key elements. First, all empirical studies of the book employ quantitative methodologies. I believe a qualitative chapter could add value to this handbook by providing an interesting perspective to employee turnover. Second, turnover intention is a strong indicator of turnover behaviour. While there are a few chapters that discuss turnover intention, a theoretical chapter devoted to the relationship between turnover intention and turnover behaviour would enhance the handbook’s contribution to the literature.
I would recommend this handbook to researchers, policymakers and practitioners who are interested in employee turnover issues. I believe the book is a valuable read to those who would like a well-rounded introduction to employee turnover from an interdisciplinary and international perspective. Canadian readers should be aware that the handbook does not include any studies in the Canadian context. The readers of RI/IR who are interested in a thorough investigation of specific turnover issues can benefit more from other resources.