Research has shown that employees who occupy more central positions in their organization’s network have lower turnover. As a result, scholars commonly interpret turnover as the consequence of social networks. Based on Conservation of Resources theory, we propose an alternative coevolution perspective that recognizes the influence of changes in individuals’ social network position on their thoughts of quitting (the consideration of turnover), but also posits that thoughts of quitting shape individuals’ agency in maintaining and changing their social network. Extending previous research, we predict that creation (dissolution) of both friendship ties and advice ties are negatively (positively) related to subsequent thoughts of quitting. We then develop and test the novel hypotheses that for friendship ties, thoughts of quitting are positively related to tie retention and negatively related to tie creation (leading to network stasis), whereas for advice ties thoughts of quitting are negatively related to tie retention and positively related to tie creation (leading to network churn). In a longitudinal network analysis that assessed 121 employees across three time points, we find support for our hypotheses that thoughts of quitting affect network changes, but do not find that network changes affect thoughts of quitting.

Additional Metadata
Persistent URL dx.doi.org/10.5465/amj.2016.0914, hdl.handle.net/1765/113056
Journal Academy of Management Journal
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Citation
Tröster, C, Parker, A, van Knippenberg, D.L, & Sahlmuller, B. (2018). The coevolution of social networks and thoughts of quitting. Academy of Management Journal, Accepted. doi:10.5465/amj.2016.0914