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Why Do Managers Leave Their Organization? Investigating the Role of Ethical Organizational Culture in Managerial Turnover

Abstract

The aim of the present longitudinal study was to quantitatively examine whether an ethical organizational culture predicts turnover among managers. To complement the quantitative results, a further important aim was to examine the self-reported reasons behind manager turnover, and the associations of ethical organizational culture with these reasons. The participants were Finnish managers working in technical and commercial fields. Logistic regression analyses indicated that, of the eight virtues investigated, congruency of supervisors, congruency of senior management, discussability, and sanctionability were negatively related to manager turnover. The results also revealed that the turnover group is not homogeneous, and that there are several different reasons for leaving. The reasons given for turnover were grouped into five different categories: (1) lay-off, (2) career challenges, (3) dissatisfaction with the job or organization, (4) organizational change, and (5) decreased well-being/motivation. ANCOVA analyses showed that those managers who stayed in their organization perceived their ethical culture to be stronger than those in turnover groups, and especially compared to groups 3 and 5. The results acquired through different methods complemented and confirmed each other, showing that by nurturing ethical virtues an organization can decrease job changes and encourage managers and supervisors to want to remain in their organization.

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Acknowledgments

This paper is based on a research project supported by the Finnish Work Environment Fund (Grant No. 110104).

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Correspondence to Maiju Kangas.

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Kangas, M., Kaptein, M., Huhtala, M. et al. Why Do Managers Leave Their Organization? Investigating the Role of Ethical Organizational Culture in Managerial Turnover. J Bus Ethics 153, 707–723 (2018). https://doi.org/10.1007/s10551-016-3363-8

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Keywords

  • Managers
  • Job change
  • Turnover
  • Ethical culture
  • Corporate ethical virtues