Original Research

Exploring factors influencing voluntary turnover intent of Generation X public servants: A South African case

Hester Nienaber, Vhusthilo Masibigiri
Acta Commercii | Vol 12, No 1 | a133 | DOI: https://doi.org/10.4102/ac.v12i1.133 | © 2012 Hester Nienaber, Vhusthilo Masibigiri | This work is licensed under CC Attribution 4.0
Submitted: 06 December 2012 | Published: 06 December 2012

About the author(s)

Hester Nienaber, University of South Africa, South Africa
Vhusthilo Masibigiri, University of South Africa, South Africa

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Purpose: The purpose of this article is to report on the factors perceived to influence the turnover intent of Generation X public servants.

The problem: The researcher investigated the factors that Generation X public servants in South Africa perceive as influencing their turnover intent.

Design: The problem was studied by way of a case study. The data were collected by means of semi-structured interviews. A total of eight purposively selected Generation X public servants participated in this study.

Findings: The findings of the study show that the factors influencing the turnover intent of the Generation X public servants correspond to some of those proposed in the literature, including the nature of the job, traditional attitudes, and organisational context, both on the macro- and the micro-levels. Furthermore, these factors are also congruent with the drivers of engagement as set out in the literature, specifically content, coping, compensation, community and career. One of the implications of the findings of this study is that although the value of employees to organisations were established as long ago as the Renaissance, organisations still do not capitalise on their most important asset. It is in particular the direct (line) manager that plays a crucial role in optimising the value-add of employees.

Value: This study is original as it was the first to investigate the turnover intentions of Generation X public servants. Generation X employees are important as they are deemed to be the knowledge repositories of organisations and they are next in line to support the organisation when the Baby Boomers retire. The perceived turnover intentions correspond to some of the components of the generic turnover model proposed by Holtom et al. (2008). The question that arises is whether the turnover intentions of Generation X are any different from other generations.

Conclusions: Given their unique characteristics, Generation X is a turnover risk, which is facilitated by employee mobility. The line manager has control over all the components influencing turnover intent, while engagement is omnipresent in these components. It is the role and responsibility of the line manager to facilitate engaged employees, which would equate to affectively committed employees, by attending to these components. In so doing the line manager can prevent the costly implications of employee turnover while capitalising on their value to the organisation.


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Crossref Citations

1. Technology‐related factors and their influence on turnover intentions: A case of government employees in South Africa
Samkelisiwe Mahlasela, Willie T. Chinyamurindi
doi: 10.1002/isd2.12126