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Workplace Support and Turnover Intention: A Preliminary Conceptual Framework to Inform Practice and Research


Background: More than 40 million baby boomers are expected to leave the workplace by 2020 (Carnevale, 2005). Based on data from nearly 30,000 organizations in the US, the voluntary turnover rate has increased from 9.2% in 2010 to 11% in 2014. The situation is worse for healthcare professionals, including nurses, as the turnover rate has dramatically increased from 13.5% in 2011 to 17.2% in 2015. Resignation is not a sudden decision; it is preceded by an intention to leave the workplace. Turnover Intention (TI) occurs during the period preceding the actual turnover and was defined as an individual’s thoughts about quitting their current positions. During this critical period, some factors were found to have promising potentials in reducing TI such as workplace support. Aim: The purpose of this project was to develop a framework that highlight the impact of workplace support on TI. Further, this framework was developed to identify the relationships among TI, influential factors or antecedents of TI and possible consequences of TI. Methods: The proposed framework was developed in two stages. A systematic literature review and concept analysis were completed during stage one. In the second stage, relevant theories were reviewed to further guide the development of the proposed conceptual framework. Results: Using concept analysis, systematic literature review, and a review of relevant theories, the Workplace Support and Turnover Intention (WSTI) conceptual framework was developed. The framework illustrates antecedents to TI and the anticipated consequences of TI. Workplace support was identified as a potential moderating factor between antecedents and TI in the framework. Discussion: This conceptual framework can be useful in understanding the influence of workplace support on TI. Although all the variables identified in the WSTI framework were grounded in prior research and theories, this framework needs further empirically testing. The application of this framework could potentially help improve the quality of the workplace by creating a more supportive environment for employees, including nurses and potentially reducing TI. Implications for nursing: The WSTI framework could provide a resource for healthcare organizations and nursing administration to visualize the relationships between TI and antecedent factors, as well as the influence of workplace support. Further studies involving registered nurses in hospitals and other healthcare organizations are encouraged. Further research could provide insight about relationships among identified concepts and identification of unique variables that are related to the nursing professions and hospitals work environment. Conclusion: In order to ensure the continuity of high quality patient care, healthcare organizations, nursing leaders, and policy makers need to make every effort to sustain an adequate nursing workforce. Many factors discussed in this paper have been identified as antecedents to TI. Many scholars have identified that enhancing workplace support could be a key resource for maintaining a positive environment and reducing TI.

Dr. Sitah Alshutwi

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