Leaving the organization and leaving the profession : generational differences amongst accounting employees

Hayne, Christie (2009) Leaving the organization and leaving the profession : generational differences amongst accounting employees. Masters thesis, Memorial University of Newfoundland.

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Abstract

Employee turnover is a serious problem facing organizations today; it has a direct impact on the bottom line. Professional groups should also be concerned with turnover since their profession's success depends on membership numbers. Research provides strong evidence demonstrating that organizational commitment has an effect on an employee's intentions and eventual decision to stay employed with an organization. Professional commitment has also been linked to reducing professional turnover. -- Although unproven in the academic literature, popular media sources are quick to suggest that Generation Y employees (born between 1980 and 1995) have varying levels of commitment towards their respective organizations and, thus, are more inclined to leave. The academic literature surrounding a potential link between commitment and age, as well as turnover and age, is conflicted and requires further research. -- Throughout the next decade, there will be a major shift in the composition of the Canadian workforce. More than seven million Generation Y cohort members will replace the nearly ten million Baby Boomer cohort (born between 1947 and 1966) members in the workforce. This could have serious implications on the management of organizations and administration of professional associations. This thesis examines the differences in commitment, both to the organization and to the profession, across all three generation cohorts within the accounting field. This thesis also explores the different predictors of turnover, from both the organization and the profession, to see if variation exists among the same generational groups. -- The research questions were examined using an empirical study of accountants using survey methodology. Generation Y had significantly higher intentions to leave the organization than did Baby Boomers and Generation X. Generation Y had significantly higher intentions to leave the profession than Baby Boomers but not Generation X. Members of Generation Y do not differ in terms of their commitment to the organization or the profession, with the exception of normative professional commitment. They do, though, differ in terms of what predicts their intentions to leave both the organization and the profession. All three generations can be retained in the organization by focusing on job satisfaction and building affective organizational commitment as well as encouraging their accounting employees to join professional accounting associations and building affective professional commitment. Professional associations also have a variety of differences in terms of what predicts membership turnover; however, all three generations can be retained by building affective and continuance professional commitment, and by supporting its membership's pursuit of a satisfying job.

Item Type: Thesis (Masters)
URI: http://research.library.mun.ca/id/eprint/8850
Item ID: 8850
Additional Information: Includes bibliographical references (leaves 194-208).
Department(s): Business Administration, Faculty of
Date: 2009
Date Type: Submission
Library of Congress Subject Heading: Accountants--Professional ethics; Accounting firms--Personnel management; Generations--Social aspects; Labor turnover

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