ISSN 1671-3710
CN 11-4766/R

Advances in Psychological Science ›› 2021, Vol. 29 ›› Issue (5): 906-920.doi: 10.3724/SP.J.1042.2021.00906

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Job embeddedness: Consequences and theoretical explanation

WU Lunwen1, YANG Fu1(), TIAN Yixin2, PEI Yurong3   

  1. 1School of Business Administration, Southwestern University of Finance and Economics, Chengdu 611130, China
    2School of Labor and Human Resources, Renmin University of China, Beijing 100872, China
    3Chengdu Normal University, Chengdu 611130, China
  • Received:2019-03-16 Online:2021-05-15 Published:2021-03-30
  • Contact: YANG Fu


In recent years, as a novel perspective to explain employee voluntary turnover and retention, job embeddedness has provided insights into the forces of why people stay on the job and has received considerable attention from scholars and practitioners. According to the PRISMA statement and content analysis, 176 papers from databases of domestic and foreign were reviewed. The PRISMA statement consists of four steps, identification, screening, eligibility and Inclusion in turn. Then a comprehensive review about the consequences of job embeddedness was conducted based on theoretical perspectives, content analysis, and future directions. Accordingly, six theoretical explanations were summarized, including conservation of resources theory, social capital theory, planned behavior theory, work - role attachment theory, future time perspective, and contagion process model. Using content analysis, the research tendency of job embeddedness and its consequences with multi-perspective were displayed. Totally speaking, first, compared with other theoretical perspectives, the conservation of resources theory may clarify the mechanism of individual job embeddedness more comprehensively in that it not only explains individuals’ resources utilization and allocation in dealing with job demands, but also predicts their behaviors of resource investment. Second, contagion process focuses on the interaction process between individuals and social context. Based on the turnover contagion perspective, under low job embeddedness situation, like the contagion of illness, employees' willingness to leave may induce coworkers’ intention to quit. On the contrary, guided by social information processing theory, perceived supervisor job embeddedness as pivotal signals and contagion cues would promote subordinates’ job embeddedness and their devotion of working time and energy, which in turn could form the positive “contagion of embeddedness”. Third, according to planned behavior theory, individuals’ turnover behavior depends on their intention to leave. Individuals with higher levels of job embeddedness means an good alignment with the organization. Such an individual - oraganization fit along with high turnover costs would hinder their intention to leave. Fourth, future time perspective and work - role attachment theory highlight employees’ expectation or attachment to the organization, which would attract them to stay and engage in greater amounts of behaviors beneficial to organizations. Fifth, draw upon social capital perspective, once high job embeddedness employees are to start a new venture, the social capital accumulate from prior working experience would contribute to entrepreneurial performance. However, those social capital to some extent may delay their entrepreneurial decision and progress. Future research should first make further efforts to propose a theoretic model on team job embeddedness, identify the parallel transmission path of “member - member” and the vertical transmission path of “leader - subordinate” of job embeddedness, so as to investigate the effectiveness of team job embeddedness more comprehensively. Second, focus on the spillover effect under cross - culture comparison. Strengthen the research on the spillover effects of job embeddedness to the family domain, and further explore the similarities and differences of job embeddedness spillover effects in different cultural backgrounds under cross-culture comparison. Third, highlight the double - edged sword effect of job embeddedness. Focusing on the perspective of “too much of a good thing” effect can provide a more profound and dialectical understanding of the job embeddedness theory, and also reveal the potential cost of its negative effects. Finally, it is advisable to emphasize the differentiation effects of the sub - dimensions of job embeddedness. Distinguish the advantage of each sub - dimension and find out the strongest predicting effects corresponding to different sub-dimensions. At the same time, clarify the boundary conditions of the cross effects of sub-dimensions, and analyze the underlying mechanisms of the strengthening or weakening effects of different dimensions.

Key words: job embeddedness, consequences, theoretical perspectives, content analysis

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