Academic journal article Academy of Accounting and Financial Studies Journal

The Mediating Role of Work Engagement in the Relationship between Organizational Justice and Junior Accountants' Turnover Intentions

Academic journal article Academy of Accounting and Financial Studies Journal

The Mediating Role of Work Engagement in the Relationship between Organizational Justice and Junior Accountants' Turnover Intentions

Article excerpt


Retaining junior accountants from abandoning the accounting profession has been a subject of considerable interest amongst scholars for many years. Numerous causes of this issue have been reported and never-ending debates among both scholars and researchers have followed. In an early study, Bao et al. (1986) reported that among public accounting firms, their turnover rates were as high as 45% for junior accountants and the issue still remained a major concern even after three decades, as evidenced in extensive reports (e.g., Houghton et al., 2013; Chong & Monroe, 2015; George & Wallio, 2017). In relation to this, Houghton et al. (2013) mentioned that as stated by senior members of public accounting firms, job turnover among junior staff members remains a considerable concern for auditing profession.

Owing to the significantly high turnover rate among junior public accountants, which

also makes it costly, it is crucial to understand the factors that cause them to walk away from their respective firms or change to a non-accounting profession, as this will determine the accounting profession's direction in the future (Chong & Monroe, 2015). As evidenced in the relevant literature, a number of factors are linked to turnover intentions: Stress, burnout, gender, tenure, job satisfaction, organizational commitment and organizational justice (Chong & Monroe, 2015; George & Wallio, 2017).

Many studies also mentioned the factor of perceptions of work engagement in turnover intentions. For instance, Schaufeli and Bakker (2004) reported that employees who are engaged are more inclined to be more attached to their organization which leads to less inclination to walk away from their organization. As mentioned by Saks (2006), job engagement could foretell intention to quit. Engagement appears to be linked to intention to quit for a number of reasons. As an example, the feeling of engagement has been elaborated as a fulfilling, positive workrelated experience and state of mind (Schaufeli & Bakker, 2004; Sonnentag, 2003).

As evidenced by Harju, Hakanen and Schaufeli (2016), work engagement encapsulates the aspects of both employee well-being and motivation. There has also been substantial amount of interest towards the subject of work engagement since the past decades (Albrecht et al., 2015). As remarked by Macey et al. (2011), it is not common for any term to strongly resonate with business executives like employee engagement; not lately. Accordingly, there has been a great progress in the clarification and definition of the construct which makes it unique from other comparable constructs (Hallberg & Schaufeli, 2006). Many studies have also attempted to comprehend this construct's antecedents and outcomes, as can be seen in a number of metaanalyses and reviews (e.g., Mauno, Kinnunen, & Ruokolainen, 2007; Crawford, LePine & Rich, 2010; Demerouti & Cropanzano, 2010; Halbesleben, 2010; Christian, Garza & Slaughter, 2011; Bakker, Demerouti, & Sanz-Vergel, 2014), which demonstrates progress in addressing this matter. However, organizations around the world still report fairly low levels of employee engagement. For instance, four out of every ten employees surveyed by Aon Hewitt (2013) were not engaged whereas two out of ten were actively disengaged. Thus, in order to improve employee retention, employee well-being and organizational performance it is important to have better practical and theoretical comprehension on why and how individuals become engaged with their work (Akhtar et al., 2015; Kundu & Lata, 2017; Robertson & Cooper, 2010). Employee retention has traditionally been regarded as an outcome of appropriate working conditions established by the organization (Hakanen, Seppala, & Peeters, 2017).

Although highly linked with employee withdrawal behaviors of absenteeism and turnover, work engagement was not clearly included in the models of past works on auditing and accounting, specifically on turnover intentions. …

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