Date of Award

10-2007

Document Type

Dissertation

Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PHD)

Degree Program

Global Leadership - with a specialization in Corporate and Organizational Management

Department

College of Business and Management

First Advisor

Eldon Bernstein

Second Advisor

Joan Scialli

Third Advisor

Robert Green

Abstract

The U.S. Department of Labor, Bureau of Labor Statistics (2006) reported that the annual turnover rate for employees of U.S. firms rose to 41% in 2005. Employee intentions to leave among young adults are a concern in many industries where the demand for skilled employees begins to exceed the supply. This is especially true in the engineering industry, because talented and knowledgeable employees are difficult to replace.

Employee turnover represents a practical dilemma for many businesses due to the loss of qualified personnel and additional recruitment and training costs. Although little is known about employee turnover intention within the engineering industry, studies have supported that perceptions of inequity are among the chief causes associated with turnover intention. Extensive examination of empirical studies has supported that young adult employee's perceptions of age discrimination, organizational justice, job satisfaction, and organizational commitment may be contributing factors to their intention to leave a job.

The purposes of this correlational and comparative study were to explain the relationship among demographic and work characteristics, perceived age discrimination against young adults, organizational justice, job satisfaction, organizational commitment, and turnover intention among members of the Florida Engineering Society.

A sample of 251 engineers associated with the Florida Engineering Society completed an online survey. Two research questions and four hypotheses were developed. Descriptive statistics, independent t-tests, Mann Whitney U test, ANOVAs with post hoc comparisons (Bonferroni test), curvilinear simple regression analyses, and hierarchical multiple regression analyses answered research questions and tested hypothesized relationships among socio-demographic and work profile characteristics, perceived age discrimination, organizational justice, employee attitudes, and intention to turnover using the Perceived Age Discrimination Scale, Organizational Justice Scale, Overall Job Satisfaction Questionnaire, Organizational Commitment Questionnaire, and the Employee Intentions to Leave Scale.

Results of the psychometric characteristics of the survey instruments indicated good estimates of reliability and validity were established. All four hypotheses in this study were partially supported. Findings indicated that age was a significant predictor of age discrimination and that both variables revealed a non-linear relationship. Younger engineers (below the age of 40) perceived significantly more age discrimination than their older counterparts. Gender, race, ethnicity, social status, existence of a talent development program or succession planning program in the workplace, occupation level, organizational size, geographic location, tenure, and annual personal income were found to be explanatory variables of the dependent measures. Perceived age discrimination, organizational justice, job satisfaction, organizational commitment, organization size, annual personal income, location of North Florida, and presence of a succession planning program were all found to be explanatory variables of intentions to leave. Limitations, practical implications, conclusions, and recommendations for future research are also discussed.

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