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Worker well-being and quit intentions: is measuring job satisfaction enough?

Diane Pelly
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Diane Pelly: UCD School of Economics & UCD Geary Institute for Public Policy, University College Dublin

No 202204, Working Papers from Geary Institute, University College Dublin

Abstract: While the links between worker well-being and quit intentions have been well researched, most studies to date rely on a very narrow conceptualisation of well-being, namely job satisfaction, thus ignoring the documented multidimensionality of subjective well-being. This paper explores whether this approach is justified. Using novel survey data, I compare the extent to which hedonic (job satisfaction and affect) and eudemonic (disengagement and basic psychological needs) well-being indicators individually and jointly explain variation in the quit intentions of 994 full-time UK workers. Well-being indicators perform well, explaining four to nine times more variation in quit intentions than wages and hours combined, with the disengagement measure performing best. I find systematic differences in the hedonic and eudemonic well-being profiles of workers who report positive quit intentions and those who do not. A composite model containing all seven well-being indicators offers the best fit, explaining 29.4% of variation in quit intentions versus 24.0% for job satisfaction on its own. My findings suggest that the standard single-item job satisfaction indicator is probably good enough for organisations who are looking for a quick and easy way to identify workers who may be most at risk of forming positive quit intentions. For organisations seeking to develop effective preventative quit strategies however, supplementing single-item job satisfaction with multifaceted well-being indicators is likely to yield valuable additional insights.

Keywords: voluntary turnover; quit intentions; employee retention; worker well-being; experienced utility; decision utility; job satisfaction; engagement; affect (search for similar items in EconPapers)
JEL-codes: I31 J22 J26 J28 M5 (search for similar items in EconPapers)
Pages: 50 pages
Date: 2022-05-17
New Economics Papers: this item is included in nep-eur, nep-hap, nep-lma and nep-upt
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