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Title: Predicting intention to leave among professional workers in Malaysia
Author: Ahmad, Azlinzuraini
Awarding Body: University of Leeds
Current Institution: University of Leeds
Date of Award: 2012
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Research into employee turnover has been published in previous decades, although more empirical evidence and dissemination of practical information is needed to further illuminate the relationship between work-life balance and intention to leave. There is considerably less research on this topic as it has only been discussed in theoretical terms (i.e. Grzywacz & Carlson, 2007; Morris & Madsen, 2007; Peterson, 2004), particularly in the context of a developing country such as Malaysia. The present study provides empirical evidence and an exploration of these issues within the Malaysian context in order to develop an understanding of work-life balance and flexible working in an Asian country. Although flexible working is not currently prevalent in Asian cultures, concerns about work-life balance have caused major employers, including the Malaysian government and multinational companies (MNCs), to introduce work-family programmes and family-friendly policies in recent times. Initially, this research focuses on two main research issues: (1) comparing demographic characteristics such as public and private sectors, marital status and age in order to understand work-life balance; and (2) determining factors by modelling the influence of work-home interface, flexible working and financial factors in predicting intention to leave. The study combines quantitative and qualitative research methods to increase the understanding of factors, reliability and validity of this research. Firstly, four focus groups were designed to clarify the context of work-life balance in the Malaysian culture. This aims to justify the relevant factors relating to work and life commitment in a different cultural setting as most studies have been conducted in the West (content validity). After an intensive review of the extant literature and qualitative data from focus groups' findings, a comprehensive questionnaire was developed as the main research tool for this study. The second stage of data collection involved an online survey where the questionnaire was distributed to large organisations in Klang Valley, Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia. Factor analysis identified 16 factors, which were employed as variables in further statistical analysis. This is consistent with the research aims to identify important predictors in determining 'intention to leave' and the relevance for the Malaysian context. Based on correlation analysis, 12 variables were found to be either significantly related to intention to leave or consistently significantly related to work-home interface components. Results from the focus groups are congruent with the hierarchical regression analysis: financial factors such as supervisor behaviour, training & development and fairness in respect of rewards and promotion are important in predicting intention to leave. Non-financial factors such as eo-workers' support, flexible working and employee involvement show little impact in the research model. Findings from this research provide insight into the academic discipline of Human Resource Development, specifically in Malaysia where financial factors, work-home interaction and organisational attachment contributed the most to the employee turnover model. This research contributes to our understanding of the importance of strengthening financial factors rather than flexible working policies in the workplace in order to minimise intention to leave in the' Malaysian context. This seems to contradict Western literature which suggests that flexible working contributes substantially to a reduction in intention to leave. But by examining work-home interface with four directions to improve the model, this research revealed that flexible working significantly reduces negative work-home interface and negative home-work interface. Thus, this research also provides insights into understanding work-life balance within more complex relationships between work and home domains in a different culture. The cultural values and context should be considered in work-life balance policy development in practice. This research could be seen as a benchmark for Government policies to improve pay and working conditions as the findings of this research recommend a transparent and fair system towards managing rewards, promotion and performance. The results of this research contribute to the body of knowledge in understanding relationships between work-life balance and intention to leave in different cultures and in a global context.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available