College of Liberal Arts & Social Sciences Theses and Dissertations

Graduation Date

6-2010

Document Type

Thesis

College/Department Conferring Degree

Psychology

Keywords

teachers, turnover, organizational commitment, working conditions, mediated relationships

Abstract

This study explored a growing organizational literature which has suggested that the record levels of teacher defection that are currently costing American schools dearly in terms of dollars and talent can be explained by working conditions and teacher organizational commitment. By incorporating educational research into Hackman and Oldham’s (1980) job characteristics model, which was created to explain organizational phenomena in non-educational settings, a new model was proposed wherein organizational commitment mediated the relationship between turnover and seven categories of school working conditions: skill variety, autonomy, participation in decision-making, feedback, collaboration, learning opportunities, and resources. One hundred and twenty one teachers were recruited through e-mail to take part in an online survey measuring the perceived quality of these seven working conditions in their respective schools, along with measures assessing their level of organizational commitment, turnover intentions, and the extent of turnover problems in their schools. As hypothesized, it was found that each of the seven organizational variables was negatively related to teacher turnover and, further, that these relationships were all either fully or partially mediated by organizational commitment. A full discussion of the study’s results is provided, alongside suggestions for next steps in this research area.

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