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Aiming to leave and aiming to harm: The role of turnover intentions and job opportunities for minor and serious deviance

Type of publication Peer-reviewed
Publikationsform Original article (peer-reviewed)
Author Sender Anna, Morf Manuela, Feierabend Anja,
Project Schweizer Human-Relations-Barometer
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Original article (peer-reviewed)

Journal Journal of Business and Psychology
Page(s) na
Title of proceedings Journal of Business and Psychology
DOI 10.1007/s10869-020-09685-5

Open Access

Type of Open Access Green OA Embargo (Freely available via Repository after an embargo)


The purpose of this study was to explore if employees with turnover intentions report more minor and serious deviant behaviors depending on whether they can easily find alternative employment. We combined survey data from a representative sample of employees in Switzerland (N = 1179) with industry unemployment rates from the Swiss Federal Statistical Office. Employees with higher turnover intentions engaged in more minor and serious deviance. We found the highest levels of serious deviance among employees with high turnover intentions and many job opportunities (i.e., high education in industries with lower unemployment). Surprisingly, the relationship between turnover intentions and serious deviance was also positive for individuals with the fewest job opportunities (i.e., low education in industries with higher unemployment). For individuals with moderate job opportunities (low education and low industry unemployment as well as high education and high industry unemployment), this relationship was insignificant. This study extends the research on the antecedents of different types of deviant behaviors. We theorize and examine how individual (i.e., education) and contextual (i.e., the unemployment rate) factors shape different types of deviance (i.e., minor and serious deviance). Moreover, we add to the turnover literature by investigating harmful behaviors that employees engage in before leaving an organization.