Turnover in the high-tech industry: shocks and sensemaking in the unfolding model of turnover
This research explored the shock construct in Lee and Mitchell's (1994) unfolding model of turnover. The first study consisted of qualitative interviews conducted with professionals in the high-technology industry. Based on the results of this study, a model of shocks was created using sensemaking (Weick, 1995) theory. The model proposes that a shock occurs when an (1) event leads to a (2) cognitive adjustment of the employee's employment situation and results in (3) subsequent thoughts of quitting. The model hypothesizes that cognitive adjustment mediates the relationship between event dimensions (desirability, expectedness, and controllability) and thoughts of quitting. Attitudes (job satisfaction and organization commitment) and organization turnover are hypothesized to interact with cognitive adjustment to predict thoughts of quitting. The second study was an experimental vignette design developed to test the sensemaking model of shocks. The results of the study revealed partial support for the model: Cognitive adjustment mediated the relationship between desirability and the interaction between desirability and expectations on thoughts of quitting. The interaction between organization turnover and cognitive adjustment significantly predicted thoughts of quitting. The results are discussed in terms of their implications for the unfolding model of turnover and directions for future research.