Polychronicity fit and turnover intentions in projects: the mediating roles of exhaustion and work overload

Syed Waqas Shah*, Denise Mary Jepsen, Sarah Bankins

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

Purpose: Despite the deployment of state-of-the-art methodologies for project management, employee turnover in projects remains high. Such turnover has significant costs in terms of replacing personnel, potential deadline overruns and financial expenditure. Employee turnover in project contexts may stem from time-related issues associated with multiple parallel projects and short deadlines. Using person–environment fit and time congruence theories, this research examines the relationship between employee turnover intentions and individual–organizational (I–O) polychronicity fit, which captures the degree of match between individuals’ and organizational preferences for focusing on multiple tasks simultaneously. 

Design/methodology/approach: Survey data were collected from 309 software project employees in Pakistan. Hypotheses were tested using polynomial regressions and response surface modeling.

Findings: I–O polychronicity fit is related to turnover intentions. Turnover intentions are lower when I–O polychronicity fit occurs on the lower end of the polychronicity continuum, whereas turnover intentions are higher when fit is observed on the higher end of the polychronicity continuum. The relationship between I–O polychronicity fit and turnover intentions is significantly explained by exhaustion and perceptions of work overload.

Practical implications: The study’s insights provide recommendations for organizations to optimally manage multitasking to help retain project employees.

Originality/value: These findings extend our understanding of the underlying mechanisms between I–O polychronicity fit and turnover intentions. Furthermore, this research expounds on how employee exhaustion and perceptions of work overload explain the relationship between I–O polychronicity fit and turnover intentions.

Original languageEnglish
JournalInternational Journal of Manpower
DOIs
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 6 May 2024

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2024, Emerald Publishing Limited.

Keywords

  • Exhaustion
  • Misfit
  • Person–environment fit
  • Polychronicity
  • Polynomial regression
  • Project management
  • Turnover intentions
  • Work overload

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