Leader-member exchange and intent to turnover: Testing a mediated-effects model in a high turnover work environment
Hossam M. Abu Elanain
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Purpose Previous studies on leadership quality – staff turnover relationship – have been performed mainly in Western contexts. More empirical evidence is needed to understand the nature of the relationship between the quality of leadership and staff turnover in a non-Western context in general and in the Middle East in particular. Thus, this study has two objectives: to examine the impact of leader-member exchange (LMX) on staff turnover intentions in the United Arab Emirates (UAE) and to test the mediating impact of role conflict, job satisfaction, and organizational commitment on the LMX-turnover intentions relationship. The paper aims to discuss these issues. Design/methodology/approach – Data were collected from 241 employees working in 15 different service and industrial product organizations operating in Dubai. A structured questionnaire containing standard scales of LMX, role conflict, job satisfaction, organizational commitment, turnover intentions, and some demographic variables was used. After testing scales reliability and validity, the proposed hypotheses were tested using a series of separate hierarchical regression analyses. Findings – Consistent with Western studies, the study revealed that LMX played a functional impact on staff turnover intentions. Moreover, role conflict was found to play a partial role in mediating the influence of LMX on turnover intentions. Similarly, job satisfaction and organizational commitment were found to partially mediate the relationship between LMX and turnover intentions. Research limitations/implications – The limitations of common method variance and same source bias are discussed in light of implications for future research. Nevertheless, the results show that leaders need to monitor the quality of exchange between themselves and their followers to ensure high-quality relationships are maintained. Practical implications – The study has implications for reducing staff turnover. In general, enhancing LMX can result in lower level of employee turnover intentions. Also, managers should improve staff job satisfaction and organizational commitment in order to enhance the impact of LMX on reducing turnover intention. In addition, UAE managers should reduce role conflict in order to improve the impact of LMX on turnover intention. Originality/value – Previous studies on leadership quality – staff turnover relationship – have been performed mainly in Western contexts. This study is considered to be the first study to examine the mediating role of role conflict, job satisfaction, and organizational commitment on the relationship between LMX and turnover intentions in the Middle East.