The Structure of Employment Terminations among Clerical Employees in a Large Bureaucracy

Petersen, Trond; Spilerman, Seymour; Dahl, Svenn-Age

In this paper we study departure rates among clerical employees in a large hierarchical organization, a US insurance company. Two aspects of the turnover process are considered. First, we study how the departure rate is determined by promotion opportunities in the organization. We ask: In structural positions where the promotion rates are low, are the departure rates high, and vice-versa? Second, we distinguish between different types of departures hose that occur or career reasons such as better job options and higher earnings outside the organization hose that occur for personal reasons, such as having to tend to the needs of one's family; and involuntary departures, that is, dismissals and abolished positions. We attempt to assess which type of departure is most influenced by the presence of promotion opportunities and particular organizational structures. The main findings are: (1) Departure rates are lower in company positions with high promotion rates than in positions with low promotion rates, keeping the level of current achievement constant. This finding suggests that the study of organizational careers and the study of organizational departures need to be integrated. (2) Promotion opportunities in the company have a stronger influence on departures for career-related reasons than on departures for personal reasons. This suggests that organizational opportunity’s structures re more effective in controlling career-related turnover than in influencing other types of terminations.


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Acta Sociologica

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SAGE Publications
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December 6, 2013