The Effect of Job Embeddedness on Turnover Intentions, Work Engag
Journal of Tourism & Hospitality

Journal of Tourism & Hospitality
Open Access

ISSN: 2167-0269

+44 1300 500008

Research Article - (2018) Volume 7, Issue 3

The Effect of Job Embeddedness on Turnover Intentions, Work Engagement, and Job Performance

Masood Khan*, Sidra Aziz, Bilal Afsar and Ayesha Latif
Department of Management Sciences, Hazara University, Mansehra, Pakistan
*Corresponding Author: Masood Khan, Department of Management Sciences, Hazara University, Mansehra, Pakistan, Tel: +92 997 530732 Email:


Job embeddedness is a construct that describes the manner in which employees can be enmeshed in their jobs. This study examined the mediating effect of trust in supervisor on the influence of job embeddedness on turnover intentions, work engagement, and job performance of hotel employees. A cross-sectional, descriptive study design was conducted with 427 hotel employees who had worked for more than 6 months in nine three-star hotels in Pakistan. A self-report questionnaire was used for data collection. Results showed that trust in supervisor mediated the effect of job embeddedness on turnover intentions, work engagement, and job performance. Theoretical and practical implications of these findings are discussed at the end.

Keywords: Trust in supervisor; Job embeddedness; Turnover intentions; Work engagement; Job performance; Hotel employees


Intellectual capital has become a source of competitive advantage for organizations in today’s knowledge driven economy [1]. Organizations have realized that in order to compete successfully, development of intellectual capital and retention of employees are critical [2]. Employees’ decision to stay or leave an organization where they work is a key variable for work-related research in all sectors of professional activity. The literature has revealed that hotel is one of the sectors that present higher levels of turnover [3]. A study conducted with a sample of employees working in hotels [4] showed that this sector was characterized by a young workforce (more than 50 per cent of employees were aged less than 40 years), low academic qualifications (66 per cent of employees with high school or lower) and low wages (36 per cent of employees earned less than €1,000 per month). All of this evidence shows that turnover highly affects hospitality industry.

Griffeth et al. [5] suggest that instead of looking for reasons as to why employees leave, organizations have shifted their focus on why employees would stay rather than leave. Job embeddedness refers to an anti-withdrawal work state whereby employees become forcibly entangled in an occupational web that makes it undesirable for them to leave the organization [6]. Although the effects of job embeddedness on turnover intentions, work engagement, and job performance have been well researched, this study adds to the existing literature by proposing a mediating variable i.e., trust in supervisor. This study suggests that an individual’s entanglement in an occupational web might affect these outcomes (turnover intentions, work engagement, and job performance) if he/she is willing to trust and show confidence on his/her supervisor. Trust in supervisor is a determining factor in interactions between subordinates and their supervisors [7] and is a necessary foundation for collaboration and to decrease turnover intentions [8], and increase organizational performance [9], and work engagement [10]. Trust in supervisor has an indicative effect upon perception, attitude, behaviour, and performance outputs in organizations [11], and it ensures that employees act in accordance with organizational goals [12].

The purpose of the current study is to develop and test a conceptual model that investigates trust in supervisor as a mediator of the impacts of job embeddedness on turnover intentions, work engagement, and job performance. Considering that there have been only few studies on how job embeddedness affects turnover intentions, work engagement, and job performance within the tourism and hospitality management literature through mediating mechanisms, this study aims to contribute to the knowledge in this area and aspires to examine the following research objectives:

• To examine the relationship between job embeddedness and turnover intentions of hotel employees.

• To analyze the relationship between job embeddedness and work engagement of hotel employees.

• To test the effect of job embeddedness on hotel employee’s job performance.

• To examine the mediating effect of trust in supervisor on the relationship between job embeddedness and turnover intentions.

• To determine the mediating effect of trust in supervisor on the link between job embeddedness and work engagement.

• To evaluate the mediating effect of trust in supervisor on the relationship between job embeddedness and job performance.

Literature Review and Hypotheses Development

Job embeddedness

Job embeddedness is defined as ‘… the combined forces that keep a person from leaving his or her job’ [13]. Job embeddedness links the employee with the firm and their job in a closer manner, and stronger influence of job embeddedness leads to tendencies to stay within the organization instead of escaping the organization. Interestingly, research demonstrates that job embeddedness is a stronger predictor of behavioral outcomes than organizational commitment [14]. Whereas commitment stems from a sense of obligation to the organization, job embeddedness describes a situational circumstance where the benefits of leaving are exceeded by the switching costs. These switching costs include: 1) professional/social bonds made within the organization or community 2) perceived congruence with work/non-work environments, and 3) perceived sacrifices that will be made upon leaving the organization.

Many researchers explain the concept of job embeddedness as being akin to web. In other words, the official and unofficial network of others, groups and situations are woven like a web, limiting turnovers and departures [6,15,16]. Mitchell et al. [6] classified the sub-concepts of job embeddedness into the three constituents of fit, links and sacrifice, based on the concept of ‘why stay?’ instead of ‘why leave?’. First, fit refers to the level of fit with the organization and environment as perceived by the employee. Fit occurs when the individual values, goals and future plans of the employee match the corporate culture and their jobs, leading to higher potential for the employee to remain within the organization [16]. Moreover, employees become satisfied and engaged with their work, and ultimately have a positive influence on the development of the organization. From a comprehensive point of view, fit has a strong potential to develop into affinity towards the organization [6]. Second, links refer to the level of connectedness of the employee, both official and unofficial, with the organization [6].

Links become more important as the employee is more relevant to the organization, to others and to the job [14], and larger number and higher magnitude of links lower the probability of choosing to leave the organization that may lead to severance or reorganization of such links [16]. Third, sacrifice is defined as the opportunity cost of materialistic/ psychological benefits incurred as the employee leaves the organization [6]. The opportunity costs referred to in the sacrifice constituent have clear substance, such as the forfeited salary, promotion opportunities, relationships with co-workers and the reputation of the current firm. Thus job embeddedness predicts turnovers and intentions of turnover activities, and explains a range of important changes that go beyond job satisfaction. Therefore, it is critically important for organizations to develop the concept of job embeddedness beyond the passive concept of getting the employees to remain, into an active concept of raising corporate performance.

Turnover intentions

Turnover intentions is defined as the manifestation of “the (subjective) probability that an individual will change his or her job within a certain time period” [17], whereas turnover is a voluntary occurrence or event which is defined as the “individual movement across the membership boundary of an organization” [18]. The turnover of a single employee from a firm resulted in a total turnover expense borne by the firm that is roughly equivalent to the annual salary of the leaving employee (i.e., investments in education, searching for candidates and opportunity costs). With the increase of turnovers that resulted in significant expenditures, studies regarding turnover have been consistently ongoing.

Staff turnover is detrimental to the hospitality industry, as it involves both direct costs (e.g., recruitment, selection and training of a new workforce) and indirect costs (e.g., low morale and overtime shifts involving the remaining workers), which eventually lead to exhaustion and/or reduced performance levels [19].

Although the indirect costs of turnover are much harder to measure, it is crucial to account for them and try to seek their detrimental impact on organizational performance. Prior research has demonstrated that turnover intentions actually predict real turnover to a great extent [20]. But even when turnover intentions do not lead to actual turnover, they have a negative impact on organizational effectiveness, as employees with unrealized turnover intentions are likely to engage in other kinds of withdrawal behavior [19]. Thus, by identifying turnover antecedents, organizations can develop appropriate measures and prevent its direct and indirect costs. As mentioned above, turnover and seasonality remain predominantly high in the tourism sector [3], and because it is an industry marked by unskilled labor, trust in supervisor is important to remain in the organization [21].

Service industries such as hotels are labor-intensive industries with heavy reliance on human capital. Thus, a comprehensive management of human capital, facilities and services is mandatory for effective corporate performance. According to Ramli et al. [22], turnover can result in negative influences such as direct/indirect costs and time needed in hiring and training new employees, reduced productivity throughout the training period, reduced proactivity and initiative through psychological influence on the remaining employees. Turnovers lead to financial and non-financial damages to the firm and may expand into a social issue. Therefore, with the present high turnover rates in the service industries such as hotels, it is mandatory to recognize the gravity of the turnover situation and minimize the turnover intentions that is harmful to the firm to adequately maintain human capital and service levels.

Trust in supervisor

Trust refers to an individual’s willingness to depend on another person [23]. There are two kinds of trust (interpersonal trust and organizational trust). This study has focused on interpersonal trust which is subordinate’s willingness to depend on their supervisors. It involves positive expectations in situations of risk as well as making important decisions [24]. Hence, trust in supervisor can be considered as a relational phenomenon. In organizations, employees have to rely heavily on their supervisors to make decisions [25]. Employees have to seek guidance of their supervisors about daily routine activities, new ideas, operational processes, short term planning, long term strategies, and so many other activities. Therefore, relational trust between a subordinate and supervisor has important consequences as to how a subordinate would behave in an organization [26].

Work engagement

Work engagement refers to “a positive, fulfilling, work-related state of mind that is characterized by vigour, dedication, and absorption” [27]. Vigor refers to a high level of work-related energy, psychological flexibility, and the will and ability to achieve in the assigned work; dedication is characterized by the importance, enthusiasm, pride, purpose and challenge of achieving an organization’s goals [27]. Higher work engagement in employees leads to an accurate recognition of their work by the employees, as well as proactive and passionate participation in their work. Moreover, they set ambitious goals aside from their current work and have forward-looking attitudes that propel them forward. Work engagement plays a very important role in emphasizing the needs of the employees and providing a quality work environment; affinity and passion towards one’s work can lead to contributions towards corporate performance. Moreover, work engagement has been increasingly used as an indicator of return on investment on human capital by organization [28].

Job performance

Job performance refers to “the extent to which an employee contributes to organizational effectiveness given the expectations associated with his/her work role” [29]. Specific evaluation criteria for job performance include work capacity, work effectiveness, task processing abilities and speed, accuracy and level of attainment. However, job performance may differ between evaluations conducted by the employees themselves and by the organization. As performance is a comprehensive concept comprised of multiple meanings, it is difficult to define performance in service enterprises such as hotels.

In service enterprises such as hotels, a certain type of specificity exists in the face-to-face interactions between employees and customers. As such, standard enterprises and service-oriented enterprises can differ slightly in the method of evaluating job performance. In other words, standard enterprises utilize financial indicators such as productivity and profits to measure the objective performance of the organization; on the other hand, service-oriented enterprises tend to evaluate employees based on non-financial indicators such as thank-you letters from customers, positive feedback, worthwhile work and pride.

The relationship between job embeddedness, trust in supervisor and turnover intentions

Prior research has found job embeddedness to be a predictor of turnover intentions and actual turnover [30]. A meta-analytic investigation involving 65 independent samples found that job embeddedness were negatively related to turnover intentions and actual turnover, after controlling for job satisfaction, affective commitment and job alternatives [31]. It is possible to explain the influence of the trust in supervisor on the job embeddedness and turnover intentions of the employees with Social Exchange Theory (SET) and Reciprocity Norm Theory (RNT). SET and RNT are established on the basis that both the supervisors and the employees may be devoted to each other in an emotional manner. SET is based on the notion that people help each other even if they do not have to; and in return, help is expected from other people in the future. In this context, employees who have high level of trust on their supervisors will have positive behaviors regarding their organizations [32,33].

Employees’ job embeddedness represents the collective, generally non-affective reasons why they would not leave a job or organization. Job embeddedness presumes person environment correspondence and relates to how well an employee perceives himself or herself to be a good job fit in his or her current job or with the organization, the ties (links) they have with people at work and what benefits they would have to sacrifice should they decide to leave the organisation. Seen through the theoretical lens of person–environment correspondence, job embeddedness represents employees’ psychological attachment to personally valued job characteristics and working conditions that influence their satisfaction levels. The more connections the employee has, for example, with individuals at the workplace, the more the employee is bound to the job and the organization [6]. According to RNT, people feel responsibility towards the people who help them and respond accordingly. Therefore, trust in supervisor is related to the socio-emotional needs of the employees; and this means that there is an expectation that the employees’ performances will be rewarded by the organization [34]. Besides extrinsic motivation, employees do need intrinsic motivation such as recognition and support to feel of value to the organization. If supervisors support them in their everyday operational matters as well as long term development goals, they would find it hard to leave the organization, because not only they have quality social connections and fit with organization’s culture, but they also get development, intrinsic motivation, and support from their respective supervisors.

The relationship between job embeddedness, trust in supervisor and job performance

It is possible to explain the influence of the trust in supervisor on the job embeddedness and job performance of the employees with the help of conservation of resources (COR) theory. Hobfoll [35] explains that job performance of employees is likely to decrease when organizations do not provide them with ample key resources. On the contrary, if the organizations do provide resources, employees manage their social connections, behaviors, and overall fit into the organization accordingly. Wheeler et al. [36] have extended the COR theory by viewing job embeddedness as a resource employed at work to respond effectively to job demands. The basic tenet of the COR theory is that individuals strive to obtain, retain, protect, and foster those things that they value [35]. Central to its tenet are two principles. Principle 1 is “the primacy of resource loss,” where resource loss is disproportionally more salient (thus eliciting stronger affective reactions) than resource gain. Principle 2, “resource investment,” states that people must invest resources in order to protect against resource loss, recover from losses, and gain resources. Based on these principles, people stay with an organization to guard against loss of intrinsic or instrumental resources thereby minimizing stress and anxiety, and they perform well due to the instrumental resources that enable them to fulfill job responsibilities and acquire more resources.

When employees feel that their socio-emotional needs are taken care of by their respective supervisors, they willingly involve their supervisors in tackling problems and improving efficiency and effectiveness of their tasks. Job embeddedness may only translate into enhanced job performance if employees are willing to trust their supervisors about opportunities and challenges that employees might face in accomplishing their tasks. Research shows that when employees trust their supervisors, it improves decision quality [24], contextual performance and organizational commitment [25], and organizational citizenship behaviors [37]. In parallel, drawing upon COR theory, and following the work of Wheeler and colleagues [15,38] it is reasonable to argue that job embeddedness represents an abundance of resources that predicts stronger trust in supervisor which would likely enhance job performance of individuals.

The relationship between job embeddedness, trust in supervisor and work engagement

Organizational settings create conditions that foster and support engagement and resilience and protect individual resources [35]. Trust on supervisor (relational trust) develops gradually over time as the trustor and the trustee exchange information among each other resulting in personal resource gain [25]. Hobfoll [35] posit that relational trust can be initiated, consolidated, built, lowered, or destroyed as a result of the social exchanges and interpersonal transactions that take place under the umbrella of organization, culture, structure, policies, procedures, and processes that together represent a resource caravan. Job embededdness helps individuals to attain a better match between their values, aspirations, skills, knowledge, and personalities and organization’s culture, values, and demands [16]. Employees high on job embededdness feel that their values, skills, and career aspirations are compatible with organization’s culture and job demands, and hence these employees are more likely to trust their supervisors to perform job tasks and decision making [30].

Job embeddedness accumulates resources (connections, fit, sense of belonging) that ties employees to their supervisors and organization. Benefits as resources emanating from high-quality relational trust, between employees and the supervisors, and the sacrifice the employees will make if they lose these benefits together create an integrative mechanism of a resource caravan. Employees utilizing and sustaining such resource ecologies are more likely to develop a trusting relationship with their supervisors and also more likely to be willing to put in the extra effort and work above and beyond what is required by the job perceiving the supervisor as trustworthy. Hence, part of the effect of job embeddedness on work engagement is likely due to its effect on trust in supervisor.

Based on the above mentioned arguments, following hypotheses are proposed:

Hypothesis 1: Job embeddedness is negatively related with turnover intentions.

Hypothesis 2: Job embeddedness is positively related with work engagement.

Hypothesis 3: Job embeddedness is positively related with job performance.

Hypothesis 4: Trust in supervisor will mediate the relationship between job embeddedness and turnover intentions.

Hypothesis 5: Trust in supervisor will mediate the relationship between job embeddedness and work engagement.

Hypothesis 6: Trust in supervisor will mediate the relationship between organizational job embeddedness and job performance (Figure 1).


Figure 1: Conceptual framework.


Measurement and questionnaire development

The survey questions of this study were largely divided into 3 parts (details of the study, questions regarding variables, and demographic information). Part 1 explained the purpose of the study to the respondents. The respondents were informed that participation was voluntary and that they could at any time choose to discontinue their participation. Part 2 of the survey consisted of 55 questions to measure job embeddedness (23 items), employee engagement (17 items), turnover intentions (3 items), trust in supervisor (7 items), and job performance (5 items). The respondents were asked to give their opinions about level of agreement or disagreement with each of the 55 statements. All measurement items had proven validity in previous literature. The 5-point Likert-type scale and multi-item questions, ranked from 1 (extremely disagree) to 5 (extremely agree) were used in measuring variables. The 23 items job embeddedness scale was adopted from Mitchell et al. [6] study that includes three dimensions, namely links (6 items), fit (7 items), and sacrifice (10 items). This study used Schaufeli and Bakker 17 items scale to measure employee engagement that included three dimensions, namely vigour (6 items), dedication (5 items), and absorption (6 items). Turnover intention was measured with three items taken from Holtom et al. [20] study. Trust in supervisor was measured by the 7-item measure. Five items adapted from Babin and Boles were used to operationalize job performance. Part 3 of the survey requested demographic information from respondents such as gender, age, marital status, organization, job tenure, experience, time spent with current leader, job type, and salary.

In this study, all measures were collected from the same source in a single questionnaire. According to Podsakoff et al. a dominant single factor would appear from the factor analysis if common method bias was present. In this regard, Harman’s one-factor analysis was carried out to diagnose whether common method biases exist. The results revealed five factors with eigen values above 1.0, explaining 72.59% of the variance in total, and the largest single factor explained 28.47% of the variance. Thus, there is no serious common method bias problem.

Data collection and sample profile

The survey utilized in this study was in the form of selfadministered questionnaires. For the survey, eight three-star hotels located in the capital city of Pakistan, Islamabad, and one three star hotel located in the metropolitan area were selected. These hotels were randomly selected from a list of top 20 three-star hotels in Islamabad. A top three-star hotel from another metropolitan area (Lahore) was also selected to seek greater understanding of the relationships among the studied variables. Top management of these hotels was contacted and purpose of the study was explained to them in detail. Three research assistants were employed to deliver and collect questionnaires in selfsealed envelopes to ensure confidentiality.


Respondents’ demographic analysis

The surveys were distributed using convenience sampling. A total of 630 surveys were distributed to non managerial full-time employees in the Housekeeping, Food and Beverages, Sales and Marketing, Finance and Human Resources Departments. After distribution of surveys, respondents were given two weeks to return filled surveys to the research assistants. 321 questionnaires were collected after completion of two weeks and those who did not respond were requested again to fill out the questionnaires. 106 filled questionnaires were further collected by research assistants after giving additional two weeks to the respondents who could not respond initially after two weeks. In total, 427 completed surveys (response rate=67%) were received.

Among the 427 respondents whose data was used in the empirical analysis, 64.7% were male and 35.3% were female. The majority of the respondents were either 20s or 30s at 81.2%, and 18.9% of the respondents were in their 40s or 50s. In terms of tenure, 69% of the employees had tenure of 7 years or less, and 31% had a tenure of 7 years or more. 31.6% of the respondents were in Housekeeping, 35.4% in Food and Beverages, 20.8% in Sales and Marketing, 12.2% in Finance, 0.9% in Human Resources and 0.9% in other departments. The job titles of the respondents were as follows: Staff 54.8%, Supervisor 24.1%, Assistant Manager 12.3%, Manager 6.5%, and Senior Manager 2.3%.

Confirmatory factor analysis

This study conducted an empirical analysis on the collected data using SPSS 22 and AMOSS 22.0. To verify the unidimensionality of the scales and the validity of the measurement model, the empirical analysis involved the maximum likelihood estimation method in conducting confirmatory factor analysis (CFA), an analytical method that is often utilized to verify the reliability and validity of scales. The fit of the measurement model was on a statistically acceptable level (λ²=1025.44, df=379, p<.01, RMSEA=.73, CFI=.96, IFI=.97). If the AVE value, testing for convergent validity, is higher than .5 and the CR value testing for internal consistency is higher than .7, the presence of convergent validity is confirmed. The empirical analysis results in this study indicated a range of AVE values from .534 to .784, and the CR values had a range of .739 to .925. Thus, this study concluded that the convergent validity and internal consistency of the measurement variables utilized in the empirical analysis have been verified. Moreover, all correlation coefficient values in Table 1 are below .8, with AVE values larger than the squared values of correlation coefficients between latent variables, indicating no issues with discriminant validity.

  Variables M (SD) α 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9
1 Age 31.33 (4.74)   1                
2 Gender 1.21 (.52)   -.05 1              
3 Tenure 6.17(3.03)   .63* -.13** 1            
4 Education 2.11(.38)   .03 -.11 .01 1          
5 JE 4.12(.52) .84 .11* .12* .03 .01 1        
6 Trust 3.79(.36) .87 .04 .11* .05 .03 .25*** 1      
7 TI 3.96(.61) .92 .05 .14* .02 .13* -.38** -.27** 1    
8 WE 4.02(.47) .88 .02 .01 .04 .07 .37*** .22*** -.18 1  
9 JP     .11* .02 .14** .08 .31** .27** -.26 .18 1

Note. *p < .05, **p < .01, ***p < .001 (2-tailed test).

Table 1: Descriptive statistics.

Descriptive statistics

Table 1 presents variable means, standard deviations, and intercorrelations among all study variables, and Cronbach’s alpha for each scale. Inter-correlations indicate that as expected job embeddedness is negatively associated with turnover intentions (r=- 0.38, p<.01), and positively related with work engagement (r=0.37, p<.001), trust in supervisor (r=0.25, p<.001), and job performance (r=0.31, p<.01).

Structural model results

Prior to hypothesis testing this study has utilized the maximum likelihood method on the entire structural model to test for the model measurement fit. The results indicated an acceptable level of fit with (λ²=946.31, df=384, p<.01, λ²/df=2.46, RMSEA=.060, CFI=.96, IFI=.97, TLI=.92). It was found that the present study model provides appropriate explanations on the variables of turnover intentions (R²=.412), job performance (R²=.363), and work engagement (R²=.396) within the theoretical framework. Thus, it can be concluded that the model utilized in the present study is strongly capable of predicting turnover intentions. The detailed results are presented in Tables 2a-2c.

Variables Turnover intentions
  β t β t β t
Step 1
Age -.18* 3.04 -.16* 2.84 -.17 2.92
Education .03 1.68 .06 1.29 .06 1.29
Tenure .08 1.21 .07 1.07 .05 .91
Step 2
JE     -.48* 8.55 -.46* 8.24
Step 3
Trust         -.25** 3.98
F   6.44*   25.26*   23.15*
R² at each step   .08   .26   .31
∆R²       .18   .05
(a) JE-Trust-TI
Variables Work Engagement
  β t β t β t
Step 1            
Age .08 1.04 .06 .84 .07 .92
Education .03 .37 .02 .31 .03 .37
Tenure .13** 2.68 .06 1.29 .06 1.29
Step 2            
JE     .34** 4.13 .32* 4.07
Step 3            
Trust         .11*** 2.84
F   5.39*   13.18*   9.15*
R² at each step   .05   .19   .23
∆R²       .14   .04
b) JE-Trust-WE
Variables Job Performance
  β t β t β t
Step 1            
Age .18* 3.04 .16 2.84 .17 2.92
Education .13** 2.68 .06 1.29 .06 1.29
Tenure .11** 2.04 .09 1.11 .08 1.06
Step 2            
JE     .37** 6.37 .31* 5.74
Step 3            
Trust         .18*** 4.95
F   8.79*   25.73*   22.25*
R² at each step   .09   .28   .35
∆R²       .19   .07
c) JE-Trust-JP

Note:* p<.05, **p<.01, ***p<.001 (2-tailed test).

Table 2: Regression Results: direct and indirect effects.

Hypothesis testing

To test the hypotheses, a structural equation modeling technique was employed. Such an estimator is deemed fitting when the mediating relationships of multiple outcome variables are tested in a single model (Baron and Kenny, 1986). Before carrying out the analysis, the study addressed two common issues encountered with regression analysis; multicollinearity and normality. The first was measured by calculating the Variance Inflation Factor (VIF). The VIF for job embeddedness as independent variable with turnover-intention, job performance, and work engagement as dependent variables is 1.82, 1.71, and 1.98, respectively, while the VIF for trust in supervisor as independent variable with turnover-intention, job performance, and work engagement as dependent variables is 1.76, 1.68, and 1.85. Since both VIF values are below 2.5, it is safe to conclude that multicollinearity is not an issue. To test for normality, skewness and kurtosis tests were applied. The values for skewness ranged between 0.174 and -0.186, while the values for kurtosis ranged between -0.648 and -1.372 confirming that data was normally distributed.

Hypothesis 1 states that job embeddedness is negatively related with turnover intentions. The results in Table 2a indicated that job embeddedness (H1: β=-.412, p<.01) had a significant negative influence on turnover intentions, supporting hypothesis 1. This shows that job embeddedness decreases turnover intentions among hotel employees. It means that as the level of job embeddedness among hotel employees in Pakistan increase, they display lower intent to quit their current organizations. This finding is consistent with previous studies’ findings that job embeddedness reduces the likelihood of voluntary turnover [39] and has been shown to explain unique variance in turnover beyond traditional determinants such as job attitudes and job alternatives [16,40]. Hypothesis 2 proposed a positive relationship between job embeddedness and work engagement. The structural model result showed that job embededdness had a significant positive relationship with work engagement (H1: β=.316, p<.01), supporting hypothesis 2. This implies that the participants who had high levels of job embeddedness were more engaged, dedicated, and vigorous about their work. Hypothesis 3 suggested a positive relationship between job embeddedness and job performance. As shown in Table 2c, a significant positive direct effect of job embeddedness on job performance was found (H1: β=.379, p<.001), supporting hypothesis 3. That is, employees who are highly embedded in their organizations are likely to perform better in their jobs.

Mediating effects

To test the mediating effects of trust in supervisor, Baron and Kenny’s approach was employed. Their four-step approach is widely adopted among researchers testing mediation effects [41] by: First confirming that the independent variable significantly predicts the dependent variable; second, the independent variable significantly predicts the mediating variable; third, the mediating variable significantly predicts the dependent variable; fourth, conducting a multiple regression analysis with both the independent variable and the mediator to see whether they significantly predict the dependent variable. Full mediation is obtained if the significant effect acquired from the first step becomes insignificant in the fourth step. However, if the significant effect acquired from the first step lessens, yet still significant then partial mediation is obtained. This study has tested the indirect influences of the constituents of job embeddedness on trust in supervisor, turnover intentions, work engagement, and job performance [42].

Hypothesis 4 suggested that trust in supervisor mediated the effect of job embeddedness on turnover intentions of hotel employees. Step 1 found that job embeddedness was a significant predictor of intent to turnover (β=-.412, p<.01). Step 2 showed that job embeddedness was also a significant predictor of trust in supervisor (β=.253, p<.001). In step 3, trust in supervisor was found to be a significant predictor of intent to turnover (β=-.258, p<.01), controlling for job embeddedness. Step 4 revealed that, controlling for trust in supervisor, job embeddedness was no longer a significant predictor of intent to turnover, supporting full mediation. The Sobel test confirmed the significance of this mediational effect (z=3.04; p<.001). Post hoc probing determined that 59% of the path between job embeddedness and intent to turnover was explained by trust in supervisor. The results indicated that trust in supervisor mediated the effect of job embeddedness on hotel employee’s turnover intentions.

To test the mediating effect of trust in supervisor on the relationship between job embeddedness and work engagement (Hypothesis 5), the study again used the same procedure. The study found that job embeddedness had significant indirect influences on work engagement (JE – T – WE β=.106, p<.01), supporting hypothesis 5. The Sobel test confirmed the significance of this mediational effect (z=3.47; p<.01). Post hoc probing determined that 67% of the path between job embeddedness and work engagement was explained by trust in supervisor. Hypothesis 6 proposed the mediating effect of trust in supervisor on the relationship between job embeddedness and job performance. The study found that job embeddedness had significant indirect influences on job performance (JE – T – JP=.183, p<.01), supporting hypothesis 6. The Sobel test confirmed the significance of this mediational effect (z= 3.31; p<.01). Post hoc probing determined that 62% of the path between job embeddedness and job performance was explained by trust in supervisor. These results indicate that trust in supervisor mediates the effects of job embeddedness on turnover intentions, work engagement, and job performance.


The present study proposed and tested a research model that investigated trust in supervisor as a mediator of the impact of job embeddedness on turnover intentions, work engagement, and job performance based on data obtained from frontline hotel employees in Pakistan. In this study, the effect of job embeddedness on turnover intentions, work engagement, and job performance of hotel employees has been investigated. Moreover, mediation of trust in supervisor on the effect of job embeddedness on turnover intentions, work engagement, and job performance has also been examined. There is a dearth of empirical research regarding the consequences of job embeddedness [14]. The results showed that employees with lower levels of job embededness tend to have a higher turnover intention. Consistent with the findings of Halbesleben and Wheeler [15] and Mitchell et al. [6], the present results suggest that strong formal or informal connections between an employee and organization or other people, the person’s fit with the job and organization and the perceived personal losses (like giving up colleagues or interesting research projects) may result in keeping the employee in the organization. This finding contributes to turnover literature by providing further empirical evidence from Pakistan of the effect of job embeddedness on turnover intentions across nations and cultures.

Another finding of this study is related to the effect of job embeddedness on work engagement. High levels of job embeddedness result in an increase in work engagement of hotel employees. Takawira et al. found a positive relationship between job embeddedness and work engagement of teachers working in higher education institutions and suggested to replicate their study across other industries. By taking a sample of hotel employees, this study found an even stronger influence of job embeddedness on work engagement of hotel employees (β=.316 as compared to .215 for teachers in Takawira et al. [39] study). The result of this study supports the positive effect of job embeddedness on hotel employees’ job performance. Because high job embeddedness reflects (1) many links, (2) a good fit, and/or (3) consequential things that an employee gives up by quitting, the motivation to perform should be high. That is, employees with high job embeddedness will (1) be involved in and tied to projects and people, (2) feel they fit well in their jobs and can apply their skills, and (3) sacrifice valued things if they quit.

The most important finding of this study is the discovery of the mediating effect of trust in supervisor on the relationship of job embeddedness with turnover intentions, work engagement, and job performance. Wheeler et al. [38] reported that supervisor support mediated the effect of job embeddedness on organizational citizenship behavior, turnover intentions, and organizational commitment. They suggested that future research should explore how trust in supervisor could mediate the effect of job embeddedness on employee’s job behaviors. This study extends their findings by testing the mediating role of trust in supervisor. Job embeddedness improves the proactive attitude of the employment, and denotes an important method of improving the financial and nonfinancial performance of the organization. This information will aid in the understanding of the positive influence of job embeddedness on hotel organizations, and will provide great assistance in minimizing the employee turnover phenomenon, which brings enormous losses to the organization. It was found that hotel employee’s job embeddedness is likely to increase job performance under conditions of greater propensity to trust their respective supervisors.

Theoretical Implications

This study has two major potential contributions to literature. First, the present study seeks to complement the existing literature on the outcomes of job embeddedness in touristic contexts, more specifically in hotels. Second, it is argued that trust in supervisor mediates the relationship of job embeddedness with turnover intentions, work engagement, and job performance. Even though previous scholars [15,16,39,40] supported that job embeddedness predicts turnover, work engagement, and job performance, even beyond the effects of job satisfaction and organizational commitment, there is a scarcity of research looking at the intervening mechanism between job embeddedness and job attitudes and behaviors. There is no research to the best of authors’ knowledge that has specifically examined trust in supervisor as an antecedent of work engagement and job performance and as an extension of job embeddedness.

Practical implications

This study has important practical implications. In view of the argument that embedded employees demonstrate increased work engagement and performance and lower intentions of leaving the organization, it is suggested that the hotel management should improve job embeddedness of its staff in order to reduce turnover intentions and increase work engagement and performance. Organizations can be proactive about job embeddedness: links can be increased through teams and long-term projects; sacrifice can be increased by connecting job and organizational rewards to longevity; and fit can be increased by matching employees’ knowledge, skills, abilities, and attitudes with a job’s requirements. Equally important, managers can increase job embeddedness by providing people with information about the community surrounding their workplace and by providing social support for local activities and events. Work designs involving mutual interdependence and group-oriented reward processes may also increase job embeddedness. As the hospitality business is seasonal in nature, managers should seek to adapt to the seasonality levels of their hotel units by promoting HR internal mobility and developing innovative projects that could help boost job embeddedness levels.

Hotel employees have interactions with customers and cope with a number of customer requests and complaints. For this reason, employee candidates whose skills and attitudes are consistent with the future plans, purposes, and values of the organization should be included in the supply process of the organization and placed in the departments where employees work face-to-face with the customers. Since the job embeddedness of the employees who feel closer with the organizational purposes and values will be higher, their voluntary turnover intention will be lower. In addition, hotel managers can increase the job embeddedness of their employees by creating opportunities through which employees can improve themselves, by making employees use their skills in an efficient manner, by helping their career planning, and by applying team work in the organization. Socialization tactics, network groups, mentoring to address early career needs for guidance, support, affirmation and developing a sense of belonging could actively embed newcomers in the organization in an effort to reduce turnover intention. Employees are then likely to become more embedded in their jobs and less likely to leave their organizations. Managers should increase the perceived costs of leaving the hotel by introducing programs of training and plans for career development.

The unique working conditions of hotel industry, including seasonality, irregular working hours, reproductive and often unskilled work need to be considered in building job embeddedness. Specific tactics hoteliers can employ in this regard might include input into measurement indicators of housekeeping work team performance, menu design for food and beverage staff and empowering front office staff in exceeding guest needs. These strategies are likely to deflect employee attention from the industry’s immutable structural characteristics that their organizations are subject to, and cannot fully control. Through meaningful work activities, flexible working arrangements, opportunities for growth and development and incentive compensation, management can help employees to increase their levels of work engagement.

Findings indicate that trust in supervisor is very important for the hotel managers if they want to reduce turnover and increase work engagement and performance of their employees. Since in collectivistic cultures supervisors are expected to act like a father, who takes care of the employee both on and off the job, practices that involve employee’ family (e.g., family gatherings) may also increase the employee’s trust in supervisor . Supervisors should be reminded the importance of demonstrating attributes that will make them trustworthy in the eyes of employees (e.g. keeping their word or demonstrating goodwill). Supervisors could also be asked to encourage feedback seeking behaviors from employees by communicating positively about these behaviors. The hotel management should organize trainings programs for supervisors to learn skills of benevolence, deepening social connections, compassion, care, and attachment. Establishing informal connections with each other (guanxi) might also help in this regard. Work and private life must be strictly divided, guaranteeing sufficient time off at work. This suggests a direct or indirect connection to work outside of working hours. Therefore, work-related contacts must be minimized outside of working hours and individual privacies must be protected. Organizations must strive to form cultures that encourage employees to develop affinity towards the organization.

Limitations and future research

While this study has provided important evidence that shed light on proactive attitude towards work and turnover intentions of hotel employees, there are some limitations to this study that can be covered in future studies. First, the data utilized in this study was sourced from employees who were Pakistani nationals who were working at luxury hotels located in Pakistan. Thus, the study results cannot be generalized for employees in other nations or continents (Europe, America). Future studies should expand the scope of the sampling and strengthen the study’s generalizability. Second, all respondents were employees of high-end hotels that were located in the metropolitan area of Pakistan. This presents the need for classifying hotel types (e.g., high-end, upscale, mid-scale, economy) in research. The rationale behind this classification is due to potential differences in satisfaction levels depending on the hotel type, and employees in hotels with lower ratings may have more pronounced needs and attempts to move to hotels with higher ratings.


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Citation: Khan M, Aziz S, Afsar B, Latif A (2018) The Effect of Job Embeddedness on Turnover Intentions, Work Engagement, and Job Performance. J Tourism Hospit 7: 354.

Copyright: © 2018 Khan M, et al. This is an open-access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original author and source are credited.