To Agree or Not to Agree, and Its Implications for Public Employee Turnover

[We’re pleased to welcome authors Michael S. Hayes of Rutgers University–Camden and Edmund C. Stazyk of the University at Albany–State University of New York. They recently published an article in the Public Personnel Management entitled “Mission Congruence: To Agree or Not to Agree, and Its Implications for Public Employee Turnover,” which is currently free to read for a limited time. Below, they briefly describes their research and its significance.]

What motivated you to pursue this research?

We were both interested in what factors motivate public employees to remain in their organizations. Specifically, in our current study, we examine whether or not mission congruence predicts employee retention. To examine our research question, our study focuses in the education sector because the National Center for Education Statistics (NCES) collects data on a random sample of public teachers in the United States across two academic years. This longitudinal feature of the NCES data allows us to contribute to previous public administration scholarship by examining how mission congruence influences actual turnover, which has not been examined in previous studies. Previous studies have only examined turnover intention. In addition to testing our research question, we were also motivated to conduct this research to provide lessons learned for policymakers and public administrators.

What advice would you give to new scholars and incoming researchers in this particular field of study?

Earlier in my career, I sometimes avoided conducting a research project if there were a lot of published articles that addressed my particular research question. It was only recently that I realized that a published study usually can only offer a “finding”. The “finding” is based on a study that usually contains some limitations. For example, a common limitation to an individual study is external validity. It often takes a lot of rigorous research before a body of research can convert a set of “findings” into “knowledge/facts” that have practical use for policymakers and practitioners. Therefore, I recommend new scholars to not underestimate the value of their research, especially when another published paper has addressed a similar research question. If your research solves a limitation found in a previous published study, then your research is important and will move the field forward.

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