Date of Award




Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)


Department of Psychology


Industrial/Organizational Psychology

Content Description

1 online resource (ii, v, 85 pages) : illustrations.

Dissertation/Thesis Chair

Kevin J Williams

Committee Members

Sylvia Roch, Michael Ford


Congruence, Holland, Personality, RIASEC, Turnover, Labor turnover, Personnel management, Vocational interests

Subject Categories



The goal of the current study is to improve our understanding of the relationship between personality and employee turnover. Research is reviewed to demonstrate that after decades of research we still know very little about the role of personality in turnover. As a result, many researchers have called for new approaches to improve our understanding of the relationship between personality and turnover (Griffeth, Hom, & Gaertner, 2000; Hom & Griffeth, 1995; Russell, 2013). One approach that has received little attention is examining whether job context matters –that is, do the traits that predict employee turnover depend on the particular job. This can be done by applying Holland’s (1985) RIASEC model to investigate personality-turnover relationships in different job contexts or environments. According to Holland’s congruence theory of vocational personalities and work environments, people’s job preferences are expressions of their underlying personality, and both work environments and personality can be classified according to six vocational types. These six types are identified as realistic, investigative, artistic, social, enterprising, and conventional (RIASEC), and are defined in the RIASEC model. A basic premise of the RIASEC model is that if an individual’s work personality is not aligned to the work environment, that individual will be more likely to leave. Therefore, I will use theory and research on the RIASEC model to form hypotheses about the personality traits that should be related to turnover for four vocational types examined in the current study: realistic, conventional, social, and enterprising type jobs. Using Cox regression, the results failed to support the hypotheses. However, different traits were found to be related to turnover for different jobs. Furthermore, personality trait levels differed significantly between jobs. This suggests that there may be job or organizational factors that moderate the relationship between personality and turnover. It also brings into question the validity of the RIASEC personality types. Additional implications and limitations are discussed.

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