Title

Is the Past Prologue For Some More Than Others? The Hobo Syndrome and Job Complexity

Document Type

Article

Publication Date

10-1-2011

Department

Management and International Business

Abstract

The current study examines the relationship between an individual's history of changing jobs and future turnover (the so-called "hobo syndrome"). Relying on self-consistency theory, it was hypothesized that the relationship between job mobility history and turnover is moderated by job complexity. Using a sample of 393 employees from two healthcare organizations, multiple methods were used to assess the variables of interest. Job mobility history was assessed with a biodata questionnaire collected before employees were hired. Job complexity was measured objectively by a job complexity index calculated from O*NET data. Turnover was assessed with actual turnover data collected over an 18-month post-hire period. Consistent with our hypothesis, results using event history analyses revealed that previous job changes were positively related to turnover likelihood. Additionally, job complexity moderated the relationship between previous job changes and turnover likelihood, such that previous job changes were more positively related to turnover in complex jobs. Implications for future research and practice are discussed. (C) 2011 Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

Publication Title

Journal of Vocational Behavior

Volume

79

Issue

2

First Page

448

Last Page

460