Employees’ intention to leave their organization
: a signal detection theory approach

  • Margarida Daniela Delgado Guedes (Student)

Student thesis: Master's Thesis


Employee turnover represents a big problem for organizations. It generates huge costs for organizations and employees. Therefore, it is imperative to decrease turnover rates. The first sign of turnover is turnover intention. To prevent the actual turnover, it is necessary to know which aspects tend to raise turnover intention. There can be stated two main goals in this study, with signal detection theory as baseline: 1) determine which variables act as signals that determine the presence of employees´ turnover intention, 2) understand how much is the incremental risk of employees not disagreeing of turnover intention when some variables are present with a certain value. Knowing which variables allow a prediction of employees´ turnover intention is useful for managers. To do this analysis, a review of literature highlighted some of the most important variables related to turnover. After the variables were identified, a questionnaire was conducted, measuring those variables and turnover intention. With the results from the questionnaire, an analysis was performed, taking into account signal detection theory. This analysis highlighted the variables that, in that sample, showed a higher discretionary power, which variables make a more accurate division between employees who disagree of having turnover intention and employees who do not disagree of that intention. To identify the incremental risk of employees not disagreeing of turnover intentions in the presence of these variables, an odds ratio analysis was also performed. It was concluded that the study of turnover intention antecedents in healthcare industry in Portugal has not been much explored and that, in these studies, is even rarer to use signal detection theory as a baseline. The variables that showed higher discretionary power were affective commitment, identified motivation, work climate, moral distress and the monthly income that employees receive. Affective commitment is the variable with the higher incremental risk for the development of x the not disagreement of turnover intention when the rank goes lower than a certain value. Therefore, these are the variables that human resource managers might take into account to prevent that employees leave their organizations.
Date of Award7 Jul 2021
Original languageEnglish
Awarding Institution
  • Universidade Católica Portuguesa
SupervisorEva Dias de Oliveira (Supervisor)


  • Turnover intention
  • Organizational commitment
  • Motivation
  • Moral distress
  • Work climate


  • Mestrado em Gestão

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