Antecedents to the intention to quit amongst Generation Y Information Technology professionals in software development organisations in South Africa
Thesis (PhD)--Stellenbosch University, 2019.
ENGLISH SUMMARY : This study is positioned within the emerging field of positive organisational behaviour and explored the relationships between job embeddedness, leadership, human resources (HR) practices, and intention to quit amongst the Generation Y (Gen Y) within the information technology (IT) sector in South Africa. Numerous studies have globally been conducted to gain an understanding of voluntary turnover among Generation Y employees and, although this subject has enjoyed much attention, researchers have not been able to reach consensus about reasons for the intention of Generation Y individuals to quit their jobs, especially in the IT sector. Job embeddedness is a relatively new concept and limited empirical work exists to test its relevance for various workforce populations or cultures, hence the current study explores the role played by embeddedness in the nomological network of antecedents of intention to quit. This theory has not been previously investigated within this specific sample group – the IT sector – or within the South African context. The study utilised a mixed methods approach, using both qualitative and quantitative methods, employing an interpretivistic and positivistic paradigm for the respective phases. The salient variables identified as antecedents during the qualitative phase (Phase 1) of the research were transformational leadership, job resources, satisfaction with pay, supportive organisational climate and job embeddedness. The data was collected through a purposive sampling method and semi-structured interviews and focus groups. In the subsequent quantitative phase, standardised measuring instruments were used to measure the variables that were identified during the qualitative phase. The initial set of propositions and the proposed conceptual model were revised based on the outcomes of the qualitative phase. The quantitative phase included a pilot study (Phase 2) during which the online questionnaire was tested by making use of the purposive sample of Generation Y employees who were approached during the qualitative phase and who were willing to re-engage voluntarily. Phase 3, as part of the quantitative phase of the study, represents the main study of this research project, in that it aimed at empirically evaluating the measurement model, as well as testing the propositions relating to the proposed structural model. Data was collected through the snowball technique, where Generation Ys who participated in previous phases were asked to refer their colleagues in the software industry. A total of 270 usable questionnaires were collected and statistically analysed. During Phase 3, three models were consecutively subjected to a series of statistical analyses. Each model was evaluated by means of goodness-of-fit statistics (confirmatory factor analysis), exploratory factor analysis appropriate to the nature of the statistical question posed, and path least square (PLS)-based evaluations of the measurement and structural models. A factorially derived model was produced after the series of statistical analyses, which excluded the organisational links sub-construct of job embeddedness and highlighted the need for further development in terms of the measurement model. The constructs identified as antecedents to intention to quit were satisfaction with benefits, job embeddedness, supportive organisational climate and transformational leadership. With the unique combination of variables and the evolving construct of job embeddedness, this study can be deemed as contributing to the existing theory of and literature on job embeddedness and intention to quit. This study concludes with recommendations for future research, as well as practical interventions offered regarding the retention strategies for Generation Y employees in the software development industry in South Africa.
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