Journal of Business and Psychology

, Volume 29, Issue 4, pp 683–703 | Cite as

Toward an Inductive Theory of Stayers and Seekers in the Organization

  • Sang Eun Woo
  • David G. Allen


This study takes a person-centered approach to enhance our understanding of job search and intentions to leave among currently employed individuals. Four categories of seekers and stayers in the organization were identified based on their unique patterns of turnover intentions, behaviors, and reasons: Embedded Stayers, Detached Stayers, Dissatisfied Seekers, and Script-Driven Seekers. We theorize that these prototypes are conceptually differentiated by two dimensions—the direction of action and the concreteness of plans. We also found meaningful associations between the probability of cluster membership and a variety of individual difference variables such as job satisfaction, motivational forces, and personality dispositions. Findings from the present study provide some useful insights for theory building and future empirical studies on individual differences in whether and why people intend to leave or stay in their jobs.


Turnover intention Job search Work attitudes Personality Latent class analysis Person-centered Inductive theory building 



We wish to thank Chuck Hulin, Tom Lee, Howard Weiss, Carl Maertz, and Deborah Rupp for reading earlier drafts of this manuscript and providing insightful comments and recommendations for improving the paper.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media New York 2013

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Psychological SciencesPurdue UniversityWest LafayetteUSA
  2. 2.Department of ManagementUniversity of MemphisMemphisUSA

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