Academic journal article Journal of International Business Research

Explaining Employee Intentions to Stay in Organizations: The Case of MBA Students

Academic journal article Journal of International Business Research

Explaining Employee Intentions to Stay in Organizations: The Case of MBA Students

Article excerpt


Employers are concerned that MBAs tend to hop from one job to another (Dougherty, Dre}'er, & Whitely, 1993). The basic argument is that competencies gained from the MBA equip individuals with necessary qualifications that increase alternative employment opportunities, making them highly mobile (Mayer & Sehoorman, 1998). Such concern may be compelling given that taking an MBA indicates taking a proactive role in one's career, and such mind-set may even be more salient when the organization is not expected to take care of an employee's career (Hall, 1976; Feldman, 1996). To some individuals, external mobility even forms part of a set of strategies to enhance career success, and it can be facilitated by possession of higher knowledge and skills from the MBA (Dreher & Ryan, 2002; Hay & Hodgkinson, 2006; Simpson, Sturges, Woods, & Altman, 2005).

However, some contrary findings are emerging, indicating that benefits of an MBA are not clearly established (Pfeffer & Fong, 2002). Indeed, results of numerous studies on the impact of MBA on different work outcomes are mixed. Some studies have shown that MBA enhances competencies (Baruch & Peiperl, 2000; Baruch & Leeming, 2001; Hay and Hodgkinson, 2006; Simpson et al., 2005; Hunton, Stone, & Wier, 2005), salaries (Pfeffer, 1977; Zhao, Truell, Alexander, & Hill, 2006), and promotion (Wright, 1998; Zhao et al., 2006). However, it was also found that the positive impact of MBA on salary is observed only in those coming from elite schools (Baruch & Peiperl, 2000; Dugan, Grady, Payn, & Johnson, 1999). Its impact on hierarchical success is also mixed (Baruch & Peiperl, 2000; Dugan et al. 1999; Zhao et al. 2006). Having an MBA is found to be an insufficient condition for obtaining positive outcomes. Those who experienced early career success such as finding jobs after graduation, receiving higher pay, and enjoying salary increases and promotions were those who were brighter and more diligent (O'Reily & Chatman, 1994).

Several studies have also shown that those with MBAs do not necessarily hop from one job to another (Dougherty et al., 1993; Hay & Hodgkinson, 2006; Reitman & Schneer, 2003). In general, protean career attitude and boundary less mind-sets did not have any relationship with affective, normative, and continuance commitment, but mobility preference was negatively related to the three forms of commitment (Briscoe & Finkelstein, 2009). Taking care of one's career does not necessarily equate to being mobile.

This study determines factors affecting MBA students' intention to stay in their current organizations, in a context other than the west. These MBA students mostly work during the day and attend classes in the evening in the University in the Philippines. This study builds on past researches on employee turnover by incorporating elements of the two most widely used models of employee turnover: March and Simon's (1958) and Mobley's (1977). In addition, the hypotheses of this study are informed by three theoretical perspectives: social exchange theory (Gouldner, 1960; Blau, 1964), human capital theory (Becker, 1975), and the side-bet hypothesis (Becker, 1960).

An employee's intention to stay is of interest to organizations to the extent that its converse, intention to leave, is shown to be a strong predictor of actual turnover (Mitchel, 1981, Lance, 1988; Tett & Meyer, 1993; Van Breukelen, Van der Vlist, & Steensma, 2004). Concerns about turnover stem from the common effects of turnover on the organization and the individual, which are generally perceived as negative. The negative impacts of turnover on the organization include higher recruitment and training costs, and loss of productivity and social capital; those on the individual include unemployment, loss of non-portable benefits and seniority, and disruption of career path (.Anderson, Meyer, Pencavel, & Roberts, 1994; Royalty, 1996; Dess & Shaw, 2001; Adnett, Bougheas, & Georgellis, 2004; Ton & Huckman, 2008). …

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