Topic: Turnover and Organizational Identification

Author(s), Title and Publication

Scott, C. R., Connaughton, S. L., Diaz-Saenz, H. R., Maguire, K., Ramirez, R., Richardson, B., Shaw, S. P., & Morgan, D. (1999). The Impacts of Communication and Multiple Identifications on Intent to Leave: A Multimethodological Exploration. Management Communication Quarterly, 12(3), 400-435.


This study examined two contributors to employees’ turnover intention: organizational identification, and communication variables (organization-wide communication, supervisory communication relationship, and coworker communication relationship). Organizational identification refers to the perceived attachment or connection to an organization. Employees who identify with their organizations are more likely to act in the organization’s best interests and make decisions that are aligned with company beliefs. This study investigated participants’ organizational identification by focusing on their identification targets, or those in whom they were interested.

A survey (97 people) and interviews (31 of the 97 people) were conducted at a midsize state government agency. Data were collected regarding intent to leave, measures of communication (various information received, total information sent, coworker relations, and supervisor relations), and four identification targets (division, agency, state government, and occupation).

Results showed that both communication and identification contributed to turnover intention. Employees were less likely to leave when they had favorable relationships with supervisors and coworkers, and when they were well informed or listened to. Three types of identification (division, agency, and state government) were found to significantly reduce employees’ intent to leave. In particular, state government identification was the strongest predictor. However, employees’ identifications with various targets might reduce their turnover intention only up to a point because respondents who felt attachment to one or more targets indicated that they might be still leaving if other opportunities arose. Findings also revealed that longer-service employees, especially those in a state government, were less willing to leave. According to the interviews, employees might also leave their organizations due to a lack of fairness, low salaries, bureaucracy, and ease of movement between agencies.

Implications for Practice

Turnover rates might be reduced if organizations 1) build a healthy communication climate by offering their employees adequate information and improving coworker relationships and supervisor-employee relationships; 2) increase employees’ loyalty to the organization, especially to their department or work group; and 3) address other possible reasons for turnover, such as fairness, low pay, and bureaucracy.

Location of Article

The article is available online at: (full article)

Heidy Modarelli handles Growth & Marketing for IPR. She has previously written for Entrepreneur, TechCrunch, The Next Web, and VentureBeat.
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