University of Wisconsin–Madison

Paths to Retention & Turnover in the IT Workforce

  • Overview: This project focuses on the IT workplace and attempts to identify what job, organizational, and quality-of-working life (QWL) factors influence turnover intention within the current IT workforce. It also examines how gender and race/ethnicity play a role in the relationships between job and organizational factors, QWL, and intention to turnover. The study addresses the IT Workplace theme of the National Science Foundation (NSF) Information Technology Workforce Initiative. All participating companies and their corresponding employees in this research project remain anonymous.

    There is very little research examining a range of job and organizational factors that can affect women and underrepresented minorities in IT work. This three-year multidisciplinary study provides a systematic test of job and organizational factors in relation to retention and turnover for gender and minority status simultaneously. The primary study objective is to better understand how the IT workplace can enhance retention, especially among women and underrepresented minorities. A secondary objective is to develop an improved, systematic set of measures that can be used by companies to assess and enhance their retention efforts appropriately and effectively.

    Methods: Based on existing empirical literature, theories, and models, two possible mechanisms for the role of gender and minority status have been identified. The first postulates that gender and minority status have direct effects on job and organizational factors as well as both direct and indirect effects on QWL and intention to turnover. The second research model postulates that gender and race play a moderating role in the relationship between job and organizational factors and QWL and intention to turnover.

    Funding: National Science Foundation

  • Pascale Carayon, PhD
    Procter & Gamble Bascom Professor in Total Quality
    Department of Industrial and Systems Engineering
    Director, Center for Quality and Productivity Improvement
    University of Wisconsin-Madison

    Ray Aldag
    Professor, Management and Human Resources
    University of Wisconsin-Madison

    Mary Vernon, PhD
    Professor, Computer Sciences and Industrial and Systems Engineering
    University of Wisconsin-Madison

    Peter Hoonakker, PhD
    Research Scientist, Associate Director of Research
    Center for Quality and Productivity Improvement
    University of Wisconsin-Madison

    Former graduate students:

    Ernesto Barrios, PhD
    Center for Quality and Productivity Improvement
    University of Wisconsin-Madison

    Jen Schwarz Schoepke, PhD
    Center for Quality and Productivity Improvement
    University of Wisconsin-Madison

    Contractor:

    Marla Haims
    Research Scientist, RAND

  • Brunette, M.J., Evia, C., Hoonakker, P., Kleiner, B., & Smith-Jackson, T. (2009). Strengthening research on construction safety: The role of macro-ergonomics. Proceedings of the Human Factors and Ergonomics Society (HFES) 53rd Annual Meeting, (pp. 994-997). San Antonio, TX.

    Korunka, C., Braunger, P., & Hoonakker, P. (2009). Safety culture and quality of working life as predictors of accidents in wood and metal processing enterprises. Paper presented at the APA/NIOSH Conference, San Juan, Puerto Rico.

    Korunka, C., Hoonakker, P., & Carayon, P. (2008). Quality of Working Life and turnover intention in information technology work. Human Factors in Ergonomics in Manufacturing, 18 (4), 409-423.

    Korunka, C., Hoonakker, P. & Carayon, P. (2007). Job and organizational factors as predictors of quality of working life and turnover intention in IT work places. In Rau., Mühlpfordt & Richter (Hrsg.). Arbeit und Gesundheit. (pp. 289-304). München: Papst Publishers.

    Hoonakker, P., Korunka, C., & Carayon, P. (2005). Employee commitment and turnover in information technology work.Proceedings of the European Association of Work and Organizational Psychologists (EAWOP) Conference, Istanbul, Turkey.

    Korunka, C., Hoonakker, P., & Carayon, P. (2005). A universal turnover model for the IT work force – A replication study. In Carayon, Kleiner, Robertson, & Hoonakker (Eds.). Human Factors in Organizational Design and Management – VIII, (pp. 467-472). IEA Press: Santa Monica, CA.

    Hoonakker, P., Carayon, P., & Schoepke, J. (2005). Development of a questionnaire to evaluate turnover and retention in the IT work force: Art or science? In Carayon, Kleiner, Robertson, & Hoonakker (Eds.). Human Factors in Organizational Design and Management – VIII, (pp. 555-560). IEA Press: Santa Monica, CA.

    Hoonakker, P., Carayon, P. & Schoepke, J. (2005). Work family conflict in the IT work force. In Carayon, Kleiner, Robertson, & Hoonakker (Eds.). Human Factors in Organizational Design and Management – VIII, (pp. 81-86). IEA Press: Santa Monica, CA.

    Carayon, P., Haims, M.C., Brunette, M.J., & Hoonakker, P. (2002). Quality of working life among women and minorities in the IT workforce: a pilot study. Proceedings of the Annual Conference of the Human Factors and Ergonomics Society, Baltimore, MD.

    Carayon, P., Brunette, M.J., Haims, M.C., & Hoonakker, P. (2002). Underrepresentation of women and minorities in the IT workforce: Job and organizational issues. Proceedings of the 6th International Conference on Work With Display Units (WWDU) – World Wide Work. Berlin, Germany: Ergonomic Institut fur Arbeits – und Sozialforschung Forschungsgesellschaft mbH. pp. 53-55.

    Carayon, P., et al. (2002). Paths to retention and turnover in the IT workforce: Understanding the relationships between gender, minority status, job and organizational factors. Presentation, University of Wisconsin- Madison.

    Carayon, P., et al. (2002). Pilot Study Report Executive Summary. University of Wisconsin- Madison.

  • Full Length Version of Questionnaire
    Shortened Version of Questionnaire
    Comparison of Initial & Revised Questionnaire