Precipitating Events Leading to Voluntary Employee Turnover Dissertation

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¶ … PRECIPITATING EVENTS LEADING TO VOLUNTARY EMPLOYEE TURNOVER AMONG INFORMATION TECHNOLOGY PROFESSIONALS: A QUALITATIVE PHENOMENOLOGICAL STUDY BY WILLIAM J. VON HAGEL, JR.

The costs of replacing information technology professionals is enormous, and recent trends indicate that voluntary turnover in this industry in on the rise for reasons that remain better described than understood in the relevant literature. In his study, "Evaluation of Precipitating Events," Von Hagel emphasizes the need to better understand undesired employee turnover in the information technology industry in general and within the defense contracting industry in particular. To this end, this qualitative study used a series of 20 interviews with information technology professionals working in the defense contracting industry to develop his findings, conclusions and recommendations. This paper evaluates Von Hagel's qualitative study using the framework provided by Miles and Huberman (1994) and Creswell (2007). An evaluation of the study's methodology is followed by a discussion concerning the author's limitations, implications and recommendations. Finally, an assessment of the author's application of his selected methodology is followed by a summary of the research and important findings in the conclusion.

REVIEW AND EVALUATION

1.

Evaluation of methodology

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TOPIC: Dissertation on Precipitating Events Leading to Voluntary Employee Turnover Assignment

Consistency in purpose statement, problem statement and research questions. The study's stated purpose was to examine the lived experiences of IT professionals working in the defense contracting industry to help understand the types of precipitating events that can result in voluntary turnover. This purpose is largely congruent with the author's general problem statement which relates to inordinately high and unacceptable levels of voluntary employee turnover among IT professionals which have far outpaced those of other professions with the specific problem being comparable levels of voluntary turnover in the defense contracting industry. The six research questions propounded by Von Hagel also naturally flow from the above-described problem statement and specifically focus on the respective why, what, when and why factors that compel IT professionals to remain with a firm or seek better opportunities elsewhere.

b.

Selection of participants. The author states that a "purposeful" [sic, purposive?] sampling procedure was used to intentionally select those participants who possessed the lived knowledge that was of interest for the study's purposes. Potential participants were initially contacted by telephone or email to determine if they satisfied the study's several selection criteria. The selection criteria were straightforward and appropriate for these purposes: (a) participants must be actively employed as an IT professional; (b) must have held more than one position in the defense contracting industry and held their most recent position since January 1, 2006 (to minimize recall errors) and (c) those who work in the defense contracting industry in Fort Meade, Maryland.

c.

Appropriateness of research method and research design. In support of his rationale for research method and design selection, Von Hagel describes the various attributes and capabilities of qualitative and quantitative research and explains why the selected approach was most suitable for the goals of his study. Taken together, the qualitative research method and design used by Von Hagel were appropriate for the goals of the study. According to Iorio (2004), "Dealing primarily with words, qualitative research is holistic and blatantly interpretative. Qualitative researchers go 'into the field' to gather data by observation and interaction with people from whom they hope to learn" (p. 6). Moreover, Von Hagel rightly justifies his selection of a qualitative in-depth interview method and design because of the need to understand precipitating events as part of the natural flow of the human condition.

d.

Data analysis. In sharp contrast to quantitative data analysis, qualitative researchers are faced with some daunting challenges in analyzing their data. For instance, Darlington and Scott (2002) point out that qualitative research is usually labor intensive and time consuming when interviews are used and recommend limiting the number of participants. Here, Von Hagel was probably mildly ambitious with 20 interviewees.

e.

Credibility, transferability, dependability, and conformability. With respect to the conformability and credibility of his data, Von Hagel reports that triangulation helped improve the accuracy and validity of his result, as well as the validation of the interview results by the interviewees using NVivo as a data… [END OF PREVIEW] . . . READ MORE

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