Differential Effects of Task Performance, Organizational Citizenship Behavior, and Job Complexity On Voluntary Turnover

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Purpose: The purpose of this study was to investigate the performance–turnover relationship by considering the effects of task performance and OCBs simultaneously while also examining the moderating effect job complexity has on the relationship between voluntary turnover and each type of performance.

Design/Methodology/Approach: Data were obtained as part of a larger study to validate an employment test, in which actual turnover data and supervisory ratings of job performance were collected for employees in two hospitals (n = 782).

Findings: Task performance exhibited a curvilinear relationship with turnover, while OCB exhibited a negative linear relationship with turnover. Job complexity moderated both of these relationships. For task performance, turnover in high-complexity jobs was greater for low performers but lower for high performers relative to that of employees in low-complexity jobs. For OCB, the negative relationship with turnover was more pronounced in high-complexity jobs.

Implications: Both low- and high-task performers are more likely to turnover, while employees exhibiting high OCBs are less likely to turnover. These results imply that retention strategies are critical for top performers, but especially in high-complexity jobs. Organizations may be able to discourage voluntary turnover by creating conditions that stimulate OCB, particularly in highly complex jobs.

Originality/Value: Most prior performance–turnover relationship research used unidimensional measures of performance, whereas this study included two dimensions of performance and examined this relationship while controlling for one-performance dimension when predicting the other. Furthermore, this study is one of the first studies to suggest that job complexity moderates the performance–turnover relationship.

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Journal of Business and Psychology



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