Academic journal article SA Journal of Human Resource Management

The Validation of the Turnover Intention Scale

Academic journal article SA Journal of Human Resource Management

The Validation of the Turnover Intention Scale

Article excerpt


The retention of staffis considered to be a pressing people issue and consequently much has been published about it (cf. Bothma & Roodt, 2012; Du Plooy & Roodt, 2010; Greyling & Stanz, 2010; Griffeth, Horn, & Gaertner, 2000; Kotzé & Roodt, 2005; Mendes & Stander, 2011). Turnover intentions (intentions to stay or leave the organisation) is an important criterion variable in similar types of studies, but such studies seldom publish any additional validation information on these criterion measures. The challenge and importance of this study therefore is to develop a scale that can serve as a valid and reliable criterion variable in future turnover or retention studies.

Although turnover intention is covered well in the literature, the need remains to validate turnover cognition scales (Sager, Griffeth & Horn, 1998). The motivation for validating the shortened version of the turnover intention scale (TIS-6) is that most other scales use only a limited number of scale items. Martin (2007) observed that various researchers have only used single item scales (Guimaraes, 1997; Lambert, Hogan, & Barton, 2001), with obvious metric limitations. According to Martin (2007), only a limited number of other studies have used more than three items in their instruments (Becker, 1992; Fox & Fallon, 2003; Lum, Kervin, Clark, Reid & Sirola, 1998). It seems that information on the metric properties of such instruments is lacking and that no validation research is reported specifically on the TIS-6 (the studies by Jacobs [2005] and Martin [2007] report on the longer TIS versions).

The main research question of this study is therefore as follows: is the shortened TIS-6 a reliable and valid scale for measuring turnover intention and for predicting actual turnover? The objectives of the study are to investigate, (1) the reliability, (2) the construct (factorial) validity, (3) the criterion-predictive validity and (4) the differential validity of the TIS-6 within the context of a large South African information, communication and technology (ICT) sector company. The contribution of this study would be that a valid and reliable turnover intention scale is developed for future use as a criterion or predictor variable. It is also important to use valid and reliable scales as a proxy for predicting actual turnover.

Literature review

Defining turnover intention

Bester (2012) noted that turnover intention is seldom precisely defined in reported studies. He concluded that this practice is probably attributable to the assumption that people perceive the term to be self-explanatory. Bester (2012) further argued that many researchers (Horn, Griffeth & Salaro, 1984; Mobley, 1982; Mowday, Steers, & Porter, 1979; Steers, 1977) viewed turnover intention as the final step in the decision-making process before a person actually leaves a workplace. Turnover intention can therefore be described as an individual's behavioural intention or conation, in Fishbein and Ajzen's (1975) framework of planned behaviour, to leave the employ of the organisation. Lacity, Lyer and Rudramuniyaiah (2008, p. 228) defined turnover intention as '... the extent to which an employee plans to leave the organisation'. For the purpose of this study, the definition of Tett and Meyer (1993, p. 262) is used, who aptly defined turnover intention as: '... the conscious and deliberate wilfulness to leave the organisation'. The TIS- 6 was developed as a conation (intention) to distinguish it from the affective (emotion) and the cognitive (knowledge) components of psychological activities as conceptualised by Fishbein and Ajzen (1975).

Against the background of Fishbein and Ajzen's (1975) theoretical framework, behavioural intention is a reliable determinant of actual behaviour (Jaros, Jermier, Koehler & Sincich, 1993; Muliawan, Green & Robb, 2009). It has also been empirically established that turnover intention (conation) has a positive relationship with actual turnover (actual behaviour) (Byrne, 2005; Hendrix, Robbins, Miller & Summers, 1998; Steensma, Van Breukelen & Sturm, 2004). …

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