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The Relationship between Occupational Stress and Intentions to Quit among Employees at Nkonkobe Municipality, South Africa | OMICS International
ISSN: 2151-6219
Business and Economics Journal
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The Relationship between Occupational Stress and Intentions to Quit among Employees at Nkonkobe Municipality, South Africa

Dywili M*

Lecturer, University of Fort Hare, Eastern Cape, South Africa

*Corresponding Author:
Dywili M
Lecturer, University of Fort Har
Eastern Cape, South Africa
E-mail: [email protected]

Received date: September 06, 2014; Accepted date: March 31, 2015; Published date: April 07, 2015

Citation: Dywili M (2015) The Relationship between Occupational Stress and Intentions to Quit among Employees at Nkonkobe Municipality, South Africa. Bus Eco J 6:146. doi:10.4172/2151-6219.1000146

Copyright: © 2015 Dywili M. This is an open-access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original author and source are credited.

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The study examines the relationship between occupational stress and intentions to quit among employees at Nkonkobe Municipality in South Afrca. The independent variable for the study is the occupational stress, while an intention to quit is the dependent variable. The measuring instruments for the study were a self-designed questionnaire to measure the demographic variables, a questionnaire developed by Halpem to measure stress at workplace (Chrnbach’s Alpha = 0.80). A questionnaire developed by Roodt to measure intentions to quit (Chronbach’s Alpha = 0.80) was used. A sample of 100 workers is used from Nkonkobe Municipality. A significant negative relationship between job satisfaction and intentions to quit was found (r=0.89; p ≤ 0.0001).


Occupational stress; Intentions to quit; Nkonkobe municipal workers


The work environment is one of the areas that is very complicated when it comes to human development and behaviour. Most people that are employed tend to follow Maslow Hierarchy of Needs which states that human needs form a five-level hierarchy ranging from physiological needs, safety, belongingness and love, esteem to self-actualization. Based on Maslow’s theory, job satisfaction has been approached by some researchers from the perspective of need fulfilment. However, this approach has become less popular with increasing emphasis on cognitive processes rather than on underlying needs so that the attitudinal perspective has become predominant in the study of job satisfaction by individuals in their work places [1].

According to Igbaria and Greenhaus, the most immediate determinants of occupational stress and intention to quit behaviour are associated with working conditions and the environment in which people are employed [2]. They are also of practical merit from a research perspective, as once people have actually implemented the behaviour to quit; there is little likelihood of gaining access to them to understand their prior situation. The validity of studying intentions to quit or occupational stress in the workplace can also be drawn from Sager's longitudinal study of salespeople, in which intention to quit was found to discriminate effectively between leavers and stayers [3]. However, while it is reasonable to argue that intentions are an accurate indicator of subsequent behaviour, we still do not know what determines such intentions.

Research according to Kalliath and Beck attempted to answer the question of what determines people's intention to quit by investigating possible antecedents of employees’ intentions to quit [4]. To date, there has been little consistency in findings, which is partly due to the diversity of constructs included by the researchers and the lack of consistency in their measurements but also relates to the heterogeneity of populations surveyed in different spheres of life.

The other question that researchers often ask themselves is “what is job satisfaction?” Job satisfaction is a most frequently studied variable in organizational behaviour research, and also a central variable in both research and theory of organizational phenomena ranging from job design to supervision [1]. The traditional model of job satisfaction focuses on all the feelings that an individual has about his/her job. However, what makes a job satisfying or dissatisfying does not depend only on the nature of the job, but also on the expectations that individuals have of what their job should provide.

This study tries to understand or fill the gap of knowledge on the relationship between occupational stress and intention to quit among employees at Nkonkobe Municipality. The study will focus on people employed in Nkonkobe municipality offices to understand how their jobs affect them and what could lead them to quit their jobs.

Background of the study

The retention of employees must be the goal of every manager in any organisation or institution. Employees are engaged in these organisations to perform certain activities so that the goals and objectives are achieved. It has been brought to attention that regardless of the nature of these goals and objectives is, organisations must have competent workforce to perform the tasks and to accomplish them [5].

Most African countries are facing a severe shortage of skilled labour force, many of whom decide to relocate to other countries in search for better opportunities. The human resources in South Africa hold the key to many of the country’s economic and social problems. The challenge is to equip the workforce with skills that are relevant and marketable and to provide people with solid educational foundation [6].

Unskilled positions often have high turnover, and employees can generally be replaced without the organization or business incurring any loss of performance. The ease of replacing these employees provides little incentive to employers to offer generous employment contracts; conversely, contracts may strongly favour the employer and lead to increased turnover as employees seek, and eventually find, more favourable employment.

Business receives benefits from employee training and development such as reduced turnover, increased productivity, increased efficiency resulting in financial gain decreased need for supervision.

Occupational stress is a major problem in the developed countries. Half of absenteeism which occurs at the work place is due to work stress. Health and Safety Executive defines work-related stress as the adverse reaction people have to excessive pressure or other types of demand placed on them. Occupational stress represents a real threat to quality of life for employees [7].

Dissatisfaction with the job as well as low staff motivation has been seen as the contributing factor to turnover. Many surveys have been conducted on how stress affects the workplace. Some of the findings paint a pretty dismal picture about how much influence stress has on many aspects of work.Individual and situational factors that can help to reduce the effects of stressful working conditions include the following:

Balance between work and family or personal life

A support network of friends and co workers

A relaxed and positive outlook

It is now acknowledged that stress is the product of an imbalance between appraisals of environment demands and individual resources [8,9].

Statement of the problem

This study examines the role of occupational stress as a possible cause of the intentions to quit among the employees of Nkonkobe municipality in Alice and Fort Beaufort, Eastern Cape.

Research objectives

The objectives of this study are:

To understand the relationship between occupational stress and intention to quit.

To investigate the effect of occupational stressors on job engagement and relate all of these variables to intention to quit.

To provide recommendations on how managers could use job satisfaction to improve employee retention and reduce labour turnover in organisations.


There is no significant negative correlation between occupational stress and intention to quit.

There is a significant negative correlation between occupational stress and intention to quit.

Significance of the study

The significance of this study is that if it finds a significant relationship between job satisfaction and intention to quit, it willthus attempt to provide enduring remedy to the problem of retention and turnover in organisations. Lack of proper retention strategies is damaging South African organisations dearly in replacing key employees is disruptive, expensive, time consuming and even threaten the sustainability of an organisation [10]. The study will provide to managers the necessary impetus and modern techniques in employee management to reduce turnover.

The study will also highlight the costs that are associated with employee turnover and retention strategies that command loyalty and commitment. It is hoped that the findings will assist the human resource practitioners in the formulation of retention policies and strategies that will motivate and encourage employees to remain committed and contribute maximally to service delivery and goal attainment in Nkonkobe Municipality. It is also believed that this study will motivate other researchers to further investigate areas that are not covered in this work.

This research was conducted within a discipline of Industrial and Organisational Psychology with specific reference to the subdiscipline of occupational health. According to Kruger the main areas of industrial psychology are organisational, personnel, occupational psychology and psychometrics. A wide variety of tasks are performed by industrial psychologists in the world of business and industry. These tasks are the running of human resources departments, working to improve staff morale and attitudes,

This research focuses on the theme of intentions to quit by employees and the theories explaining this phenomenon are used as a basis. Mouton and Marias state that a specific paradigm perspective statements and the market of intellectual resources, directs the research [11]. The philosophical paradigm in which this study research is conducted I dispositional paradigm.

The dispositional paradigm of satisfaction contends that work attitudes are formed from stable, unobservable mental states. These stable internal states significantly influence effective and behavioural reactions to events in the work environment [12].

Relevant theoretical definitions

Autonomy: Autonomy refers to the extent to which the job enables an individual to experience freedom, independence, and discretion in both scheduling and determining the procedures used in completing the job.

Feedback: Feedback refers to the extent to which an individual receives direct and clear information about how effectively he or she is performing the job.

Job design: Job design refers to any set of activities that involves the alteration of specific jobs or interdependent systems of jobs with the intent of improving the quality of employee job experience and their on-the-job productivity.

Research design

A non- experimental exploratory quantitative tradition is followed in this research. All employees at Nkonkobe municipality in Alice and Fort Beaufort serve as the target population in the study. A crosssectional field survey method is implemented and the total sample of 100 participants was drawn from the municipality.Questionnaires are used to collect data and the Statistical Package for Social Science (SPSS) was used in the study to analyse data. Chapter 3 gives full discussion of the research method, measuring instruments, research procedure and the statistical analyses executed and ethical considerations.

Literature Review


The previous chapter provided the background of the study, problem statement, objectives of the study as well the hypothesis and significance of the study. This chapter is concerned with the literature relevant to this study. The literature from previous researchers is reviewed in this chapter. Before the literature is reviewed the author first provides the theories that support the study.

Theoretical framework

Herzberg’s two factor theory: By means of factor analysis, Herzberg [13] distinguished 10 to 16 factors or job attributes that play a part in the attractiveness of a position by satisfying employees. Herzberg was able to cluster these into two broad factors that describe the motivational aspects of a job in intrinsic and extrinsic terms. Intrinsic job satisfaction factors include challenging and meaningful work, advancement opportunities, empowerment and responsibility, and new opportunities or challenges. These factors are also referred to as motivating factors. They are also extrinsic job satisfaction factors which are needed to ensure employees are not dissatisfied. Extrinsic factors include status, job security, salary and fringe benefits. Extrinsic factors are also known as hygiene factors. Intrinsic job satisfaction factors are needed in order to satisfy and motivate an employee to higher performance [14].

Basett-Jones and Lloyd delivered a study that aimed to validate Herzberg’s motivation theory [15]. They confirmed Herzberg’s predictions that money, like other extrinsic factors does not hold as much satisfaction and motivational power as the intrinsic job satisfaction factors. In line with Herzberg’s [13] theory, a study by Birt, Wallis, and Winternitz pointed out that focusing on the provision of intrinsic job satisfaction factors influence’s the employee’s decision to leave or stay in an organization [16]. While organisations may not be able to completely control the employee’s decision to leave by manipulating these variables, it seems as if focusing on these may still have considerable influence. These variables have been found to impact positively on an employee’s level of affective commitment, which has been postulated to increase attraction and retention, particularly amongst high performing employees like knowledge workers [17].

Herzberg argued that, for an employee to be truly satisfied and motivated, the employee’s job has to be fully enriched where the employee has an opportunity for achievement and recognition, stimulation, responsibility, and advancement [13]. This study tests the assumption that the unavailability of job satisfaction factors in municipal staff work results in them deciding to leave their work. Relating this theory to the proposed study, providing job satisfaction factors to municipal staff employees lead to them being committed and engaged with their work hence resulting in them staying longer in institutions. These municipal employees will become motivated with their work and will thrive to be loyal to the organisation that values their contributions by staying in the organisation. Decreased satisfaction results in decreased motivation thus impacting on employees decisions to leave their work.

The job characteristics model: The Job Characteristics Model is among the most popular current perspectives on job design and was developed by Oldman and Hackman [18]. The model proposed that employee satisfaction and motivation is driven by three fundamental psychological states. The first psychological state is that an employee must experience personal responsibility for the outcomes of his or her job [18]. The second psychological state is that the job must be experienced as meaningful in that the employee must feel that his or her contribution has an impact on the overall effectiveness of the organisation. Thirdly, the employee must be made aware of the degree of impact that he or she is contributing towards the job.

Regarding the first psychological state of experiencing of responsibility for the outcomes of one’s job, providing an employee with autonomy including freedom, independence and discretion to make his or her own decisions in completion of the job will fulfill this need. This is consistent with McClelland’s need for achievement among employees that contributes to motivation [19]. Oldman and Hackman saw the sources of meaningfulness as the second psychological state, as skill variety, task identity and significance. Skill variety refers to the demand from a job for multiple talents which makes the job more intrinsically motivating. Task identity is the degree to which a job requires completion of a whole and identifiable piece of work that is doing a job from beginning to end with a visible outcome [18]. One of Herzberg’s intrinsic factors, interesting work, would be consistent with task identity [13]. Task significance addresses the satisfaction of the esteem needs of an employee to perceive his or her work as significant in its contribution. According to Alera, the third psychological state of knowledge of results requires regular feedback to the employee to allow the employee to identify crucial relationships between job characteristics and behavioural outcomes [20,21]. The model is illustrated by the Figure 1.


Figure 1: The Job Characteristic Model.
Moderators: 1. Knowledge and skill
2. Growth and strength

Applying this model to the study, Job Characteristics Model found that people in general can be satisfied and motivated by the intrinsic job satisfaction factors they find in doing job tasks [18]. When employees find their work to be meaningful, they will like their job and will be motivated to perform them well. The attributes of autonomy, variety, and dealing with others all increased as responsibility increased. Job characteristics are one of the factors impacting on employee attitudesabout the job and the organisation that influences employee’s behavioural intentions and employee retention [22]. Providing these three fundamental psychological states in an employees work influences his or her intentions to stay or leave an organisation. Organisation’s that thrive in keeping their employees in an organisation provide such factors to employees.

Literature related to job satisfaction

Job satisfaction: According to Hirschfeld, job satisfaction is the extent to which people like their jobs. It is the affective or emotional reaction that an employee has over the job that results from the comparison of the actual outcomes with the required outcomes [23,24]. On the other hand Dawis [12] define job satisfaction as a personal evaluation of conditions present in the job, or outcomes that arise as a result of having a job. Sharma and Jyoti describe job satisfaction as a function of the degree to which an employee’s needs are satisfied [25].

Locke [26] defined job satisfaction as “the positive emotional state resulting from the appraisal of one’s job or job experiences”. Spector [1] defined job satisfaction as “the attitudinal variable assessing how people feel about their job or aspects of their job”. Robins and Judge also defined job satisfaction as a “positive feeling about one’s job resulting from an evaluation of its characteristics” [27]. In the present study, job satisfaction is considered as an attitudinal concept defined as “how employees feel about their job or aspects of their job”. From Herzberg theoretical framework job satisfaction is made up of intrinsic job satisfaction factors and extrinsic job satisfaction factors [13].

Intrinsic job satisfaction: Intrinsic job satisfaction is defined as individual’s attitude toward work based on internal factors such as type of work, achievement, and ability utilisation [15]. Herzberg et al., termed these as motivating factors that centered on achievement, recognition, responsibility, advancement, growth, and the work itself [13]. These are motivational factors that need to be present in ones work in order to be satisfied with work. According to Hennessey and Amabile, intrinsic satisfaction is defined as performing an activity for its intrinsic motivations rather than for some distinguishable consequence [28]. When an individual is intrinsically satisfied he or she will move for the challenge or the enjoyment instead of the promise of rewards associated with the work.

Extrinsic job satisfaction: An individual’s attitude toward his/ her job based on external or environmental factors such as working conditions, supervision, co-workers, pay, policies and procedures, job security and status is known as extrinsic job satisfaction [29]. Herzberg et al., [13] termed these as hygiene factors as they are not necessarily satisfying but their absence could cause dissatisfaction. On the other hand extrinsic job satisfaction refers to satisfaction with aspects that have little to do with the job tasks or content of the work itself [23]. Hennessey and Amabile depict that extrinsic satisfaction is the satisfaction in doing something in order to satisfy external goals or to make sure other external constraints are met [28]. Extrinsically satisfied behaviours are actions that cause the attainment of rewards that are externally imposed, including material possessions, salary, additional bonuses, positive feedback and evaluations from others, fringe benefits, and prestige [30].

Literature related to turnover or intentions to quit

Smart defines intent to leave as the intention to leave a present position occupied in an organisation for another position in either a related field or other field within the organisation or outside the organization [31]. The intent to stay or leave a position has been found to be a good proxy for actual turnover [32]. For this study municipal staff member’s intention to leave or intention to quit is used as a proxy for actual turnover, which is the opposite of retention. This is because of the difficulty of measuring actual turnover or retention.

According to researches such as Igbaria and Greenhaus intentions are the most immediate determinants of actual behavior [33]. Intentions to quit are of practical value from a research perspective since it is an intention and not yet implemented managers can gather information and try influence employees before the actual quitting occurs [33]. The validity of studying intentions in the workplace can also be drawn from Sagar’s longitudinal study of salesperson, in which intention to quit was found to differentiate effectively between leavers and nonleavers [34]. However, while it is reasonable to argue that intentions are an accurate indicator of subsequent behaviour, little is known what determines such intentions [35].

Employee intentions to quit have a major impact on the organisation. It affects turnover and has an impact on the organisations ability to retain key staff members. Retention is a voluntary move by an organisation to create an environment which engages employees for a long term [36]. According to Samuel and Chipunza the main purpose of retention is to prevent the loss of competent employees from leaving the organisation as this could have adverse effects on productivity and profitability [37]. The public and private sector managers admit that one of the most difficult aspects of their jobs is the retention of key employees in their organizations [38]. Failure to retain high-quality employees can radically affect the ability of organisations to prosper in today’s competitive economy, leaving even the most ambitious organisations unable to succeed due to their inability to retain the right employees [39].

Organisations of whatever size are faced with turnover and retention problems. The problem of public employee’s retention is a global one which affects most developing countries as employees are quitting jobs to seek better opportunities somewhere [40]. The retention of competent employees has been a problem to many health organisations. Hwang pointed out that the efficiency and effectiveness of organisations is a function of the employee’s it is able to enlist and retain in the organisation as human resources makes the backbone of any organization [29]. Unless something is done to enhance the ability of organisations to attract and to retain the requisite levels of competent employees the situation can get worse [27]. Previous researchers have shown that many public service organisations are facing turnover and retention problems.

Managers must take steps to understand and systematically analyse factors that affect employee’s retention. Studies have indicated that retention is driven by several key factors. Such factors include organisational culture, strategy, pay and benefits philosophy, and career development systems [41]. Johnston, Barksdale and Boles noted that job satisfaction and employee motivation also influences an employee’s decision to retain in an organisation [42].

Literature on the relationship between job satisfaction and intentions to quit

Various researches that tried to examine the relationship between job satisfaction and intentions to quit had been conducted in the past [43]. Warsi et al. in their study on organisational commitment indicated that among private employees job satisfaction was seen as significantly contributing to organisational commitment and reduced turnover intentions. This is also supported by Tella, Ayeni and Popoola and Darolia, Kumari and Darolia who found significant positive relationship between job satisfaction and turnover intentions [44,45].

These authors found out that the more employees are satisfied with their work the more they are going to commit to the organisation and decrease their intentions of quitting the job. Providing employees with challenging work and variety of tasks were they have responsibility and authority over performing such work will increase employee’s intrinsic job satisfaction and commitment to their jobs and organisations. According to Eisenberger, Fasolo and Davis-LaMastro human resources intrinsic job satisfaction practices that are well managed significantly increases employee’s commitment to an organisation and reduce employee’s intentions of leaving their organisations [46]. Therefore this shows that the more satisfied employees are in an organisation the more they are going to commit to the organisation hence decide to remain in an organisation than leave.

According to the study by Birt et al. [16], frequency counts were conducted on variables ranked by employees as important in a job and impacting on their decisions to remain in an organisation. The findings of the study revealed that intrinsic job satisfaction factors such as challenging and meaningful work, advancement opportunities, empowerment and responsibility and new opportunities or challenges have an impact on individuals’ decisions to stay or leave an organisation. While the organisation may not be able to completely control the employee’s decision to leave by means of manipulating these variables, it seems that focusing on these may have a considerable influence [17]. These variables have been found to impact positively on an employee’s level of effective commitment which has been postulated to increase retention, particularly amongst high-performing employees. This shows that intrinsic job satisfaction is positively related to employee’s intentions to quit. The more intrinsically satisfied the employees are the more they retain in an organization.

William and Werther argued that one of the traditional ways of managing employee retention and turnover is through the organisational reward system. William and Werther explain reward as what employees receive in exchange for their contributions to the organization [47]. When the reward system is effectively managed, it helps in achieving organisations’’ corporate objectives, and maintains and retains a productive workforce. These two reported that traditionally employees focused on extrinsic motivators that are pay, benefits, status, bonuses, pension plans, expense accounts and others to influence employees’ decision to remain in an organisation. Thomas supported this assertion when he highlighted that such extrinsic job satisfaction factors are powerful motivators and they do influence employee’s decisions to leave an organization [48]. However Armstrong argues that there are limits to the extent to which financial payments to talented people will induce them to work harder or stay in an organization [49]. This shows that extrinsic job satisfaction does have a positive relationship with intentions to quit.

From the literature reviewed it is seen that intrinsic job satisfaction influences employees decisions to leave an organisation more than extrinsic job satisfaction factors. This assertion is supported by Thomas who reported that intrinsic job satisfaction factors results in employees being more engaged and committed with an organisation than extrinsic job satisfaction factors [50]. Robbins and Judge [27] also concur with this as they reported that employees are more engaged in remaining in an organisation when such an organisation provides employees with intrinsic job satisfaction factors. This therefore shows that there is a positive relationship between job satisfaction and intentions to quit.


This chapter reviewed the literature related to the study variables which are job satisfaction and intentions to quit. Also the theories that support this study were also discussed in this chapter. The following chapter focuses on the methodology used to obtain research data.

Research Methodology

Research design

Research design provides the basic direction for carrying out a research project so as to obtain answers to a research question . It is the overall plan that is used to conduct a study. Penman defines a research design as a plan for selecting the sources and types of information used to answer research questions [51]. The results of which provide a framework for analysis and presentation of variables considered. The research design is a researcher`s plan that puts paradigms of interpretation into motion [52]. An effective research design clearly outlines the defined purpose of the study and shows coherence between the research questions and methods or approaches proposed that generates data that can be verified and credible [53].

There are five different kinds of research designs; experimental, cross-sectional/survey, longitudinal, case study and comparative designs. Quantitative research will be used in this study. Cant, Geber, Nel and Kotzez stated that quantitative researchers collect data in the form of numbers and use statistical types of data analysis. It employs mathematical analysis for the measurement of variables and places a heavy emphasis on the use of structured questionnaires. This research design is suitable for this study because it can be used within a short space of time and data can be statistically summarized.

Population and sampling

Population: The target population (N) for this study consists of all employees of Nkonkobe municipality in Alice and Fort Beaufort. The population is defined as the total category of elements which are focus of attention in a study. Churchill describes a population as the totality of cases that conform to some designated specifications. This population consists of all departments in the municipality. The population for the study is 2670.

Sampling: A sample is a subset of the population that should represent the entire group [54]. A sample size of this study consists of 100 respondents. A non- probability sampling technique in form of convenience random sampling will be used in this study. Random sampling technique will be used to select individuals based on age, sex, education and other variables that are of direct interest in this study but may influence the outcome of the study.

Mason is of the view that random sampling can be selected to generate meaningful and relevant data that enables the researcher to address the research questions and form grounded arguments to support the findings [55].

A total of 100 questionnaires will administered to both employees and managers in different work environments in Nkonkobe Municipality. The questionnaires will be administered to both respondents. This will be done to reduce discrepancies in the data collected. The sample size n=100.

Measuring instrument

This section discusses the measuring instruments which are applied in this study.This study employed a self-administered questionnaire which is handed to the respondents to complete it on their own. The researcher can only assist in the case where they experience a problem while completing it and encourage the respondents to continue and complete the process. The respondents can only give answers set in a questionnaire, and no other ideas, propositions or alternative answers allowed. The research instrument comprises of 3 different sections which is divided as follows:

Part1: General information: This section includes all general instructions which accompany the questionnaire with regard to completion. The participants were requested to read the instructions carefully and to answer all questions as accurately as possible.

Part 11: Biographical information: The second section deals with the participant’s biographical details. The questionnaire has been developed for the researcher to gain information regarding gender, age, marital status, race/ethnicity and number of children.

Part 111: Occupational stress scale: The Halpern Job Satisfaction Questionnaire for stress at workplace was used. It focuses on the extent to which respondents are satisfied or dissatisfied with certain aspects of the work they do in their present jobs. Respondents were asked to rate these aspects using 7-point graphic scales. The scale values ranged from very dissatisfied (1), through (4), neutral to 7, very satisfied. The job aspects were opportunity for achievement, interpersonal relationships, work itself, supervision, task responsibility, company policy and pay. Total job satisfaction was later computed by summing up the scores for these eight items. The Cronbach’s Alpha for the whole questionnaire is 0.80 Josias.

Part IV: Intentions to quit scale: Turnover intentions scale (TIS) developed by Roodt in 2004 was used to measure intentions to quit. This six item scale was adapted from the 15- item version initially developed by Roodt [14]. The scale adopts a 5 point Likert Scale where participants are asked to indicate the extent to which they experience particular feelings. Responses ranges from (1) strongly agree to (5) strongly disagree. This scale is sufficient and reliable and has a Cronbach alpha of 0.80 for turnover/intention to quit.

Administration and interpretation

The respondent is expected to place a dash mark (/) through each scale line (----/----) directly under the number that best describes the extent of his or her satisfaction/dissatisfaction. The questionnaire can be administered into groups or individually. High responses on occupational stress questionnaire means that individuals are very satisfied of the job aspects they do in their present jobs while on the intentions to quit questionnaire means that individuals strongly disagree with their job aspects.

Rationale and motivation for using the scale: The above questionnaire measures occupational stress and intentions to quit is a cheap instrument for collecting data. The occupational stress and intentions to quit questionnaire gives a quantitative summary of the eachemployee’s level of stress and intentions to quit in the job he/she is currently doing.

Validity and reliability: Validity of this research requires that the questionnaires measures exactly what it is attempting to measure. Pretesting of the questionnaires was done to eliminate ambiguities. Hence, the researcher is confident that the validity tests were proved and the questionnaire was fit for data collection.

According to Neuendorf reliability is the extent to which results are consistent and yield the same results on repeated trials. According to Bothman and Roodt [14] to enhance reliability behaviour variables should be measured within a reasonable time frame. Reliability is mainly concerned about how well it is being measured rather than what is measured. Reliability of the findings can be said to represent the selected population as long all biases are excluded. Further, reliability is ensured by the instrument that would be tested prior to interviews in this case it is the questionnaire. For the occupational stress scale, the Cronbach’s coefficient alpha value is 0.80. The intention to quit scale 6-verion has a Cronbach’s alpha of 0.80 DuPlooy and Roodt [7].

Research procedure

Upon the approval from the Research committee at the University of Fort Hare for the commencement of the study, the researcher approachedNkonkobe Municipality in at Fort Beaufort, where the researcher obtained participants of the study. Permission was also obtained from the Human Resources division of Nkonkobe municipality. Data for this study wascollected through questionnaires. The researcher personally delivered the questionnaires (Appendix A) to the respondents who consented to participate in the study. A refreshment hall was arranged and participants were requested to attend a brief session where the purpose of the study was fully explained. Participants were given a clear statement which indicated the aims of the process verbally. The contribution each participant could make to improve the value of the study was also communicated to participants. For ethical reasons, the participants were asked to fill in a consent form (Appendix B). The researcher gave assurance to all participants who are involved in the research that confidentiality and anonymity will be maintained in the reporting of the research. The questionnaire was set in English, but the translator was present for those employees whose home language is not English. Participants were asked to either submit the completed questionnaires in a box that will be utilised for this purpose. The respondents were given reasonable time (3 days) to complete the questionnaires.

According to Babbie and Mouton [11], the use of questionnaires is advantageous because questionnaires are economical, speedy, there is no bias (as in interviews), and the possibility of anonymity and privacy encourages candidates to be willing to respond on sensitive issues, and do so honestly.

After the data collection phase, the questionnaires were checked in order to determine their completeness. Questionnaires with missing will be discarded. The responses on questionnaires were being coded and captured using a data base program on a computer.

Statistical analysis of data

The statistical processing of data is presented in terms of quantitative procedures and statistical techniques. According to Bogdan and Biklen [52] data analysis is the process of making data manageable by organising the collected data into categories and interpreting that data. Hoyle, Harris and Judd state that data analysis involves the researcher arranging and portraying data in ways that help detect patterns or problems, explore associations that exist in the data and generally see if the data is consistent with the hypotheses and theories [54]. The data collected was transcribed and coded. The data coding ensures that themes are properly categorizes in relation to research questions. A statistical tool called Statistical Package for Social Science (SPSS) was used in the study to analyse data.

A descriptive analysis was briefly explained using demographic characteristics of the sampled respondents and service deliveries in the different department in the municipality. Descriptive statistics such as mean, percentages, standard errors, frequencies and standard deviation were used in this study to summarise and convert the raw data into an understandable format and to describe characteristics of the sample such as age, ethnicity and length of service. Correlation analysis was done to estimate the relationship between the study variables (turnover and occupational stress). The Pearson and regression analysis of variance were used to analyse the data. Regression analysis will ascertain the casual effect of one variable to the other.

Chapter summary

This chapter focused on the research design and methodologies used by this research. A description of the population, sampling methods used, measuring instruments, procedure, statistical analysis as well as consideration of ethics was covered. The next chapter will present and discuss the results of the data analysis.

Data Analysis


The previous chapter discussed the research methodology that was employed in this study. The current chapter is concerned with explaining and presenting the overall findings of the study. Descriptive and inferential statistics was used to analyse the research findings. The researcher used descriptive statistics such as graphical tables, pie charts and bar charts to aid the analysis of data and make the results clearer. To tests the hypothesis inferential statistics in the form of correlations was used. The results of the study with relation to the hypothesis are also presented in this chapter. To clearly present and discuss the results, this chapter begins with the presentation of the demographic and occupational distribution linking that information with the issues in question and then hypothesis testing follows. The following sections examine the analysis and interpretation of data obtained from the respondents through the questionnaire.

Internal consistency

Table 1 shows the Cronbach’s coefficient alpha of the intentions to quit questionnaire in study was 0.73 which shows that the instrument was reliablein measuring the intentions to quit among the employees.

Cronbach’s Coefficient Alpha
Variables Alpha
Raw 0.730413
Standardized 0.729695

Table 1: Cronbach’s Alpha for Intentions to quit Questionnaire.

Table 2 shows the Cronbach’s coefficient alpha of the job satisfaction questionnaire in study was 0.82 which shows that the instrument was reliablein measuring the job satisfaction among the employees.

Cronbach’s Coefficient Alpha
Variables Alpha
Raw 0.821612
Standardized 0.821905

Table 2: Cronbach’s Alpha for Job satisfaction Questionnaire.

Demographic results

Gender: Figure 2 depicts the gender of respondents. The majority of the respondents (51%, n=51) are female respondents, while male respondents employees comprised 49% of the respondents (n =49).


Figure 2: Gender distributions of respondents.

Age: Figure 3 above shows the distribution of respondents in relation to their age. Figure 4 shows that 46% (n=46) are in the age group 31-40 years and 26% are in the age group 41-50 years. Twentyone respondents (21%) fall in the age category of less than 30 years and seven respondents (7%) fall in the more than 50 years category.


Figure 3: Age distribution of respondents.


Figure 4: Marital status distributions of respondents.

Marital status: Figure 4 overleaf illustrates that of the 100 respondents who participated, 48 (48%) of the respondents are single, forty-one (41%) are married, five respondents (5%) are separated, four (4%) respondents are divorced and two (2%) of them are widowed.

Qualifications: Figure 5 illustrates the education level of the sample. The graph depicts that the majority of the respondents, 27% (n =27) has a diploma, whilst 25% (n=25) possess a degree educational level. 16% (n=16) has a certificate and 15% (n=15) have an honors degree. Fourteen respondents (14%) had a matric education level and three respondents (3%) had a master’s degree.


Figure 5: Qualifications distribution of respondents.

Number of children: Figure 6 shows the number of children the respondents have. The majority of the respondents (27%; n=27) have two children, 25% (n=25) had one child, 19% (n=19) had three children, 17% (n=17) had four and more children and 12% (n=12) had no children.


Figure 6: Distribution of respondents by number of children.

Position in the organisation: Figure 7 overleaf shows the positions of respondents in their organisation. Twenty-seven (27%) are administration staff, 21 (21%) respondents are technical staff and 14% (n=14) of the respondents are office assistants. Managers comprised of 14% (n=14) of the sample while cleaning staff comprised of 12% (n- =12) of the sample. 8% of the respondents (n=8) were clerks or cashiers and lastly 4% (n=4) of them were security staff.


Figure 7: Distribution of position occupied by respondents.

Inferential statistics

Correlations of job satisfaction and intentions to quit on demographics: Table 3 shows the correlation of job satisfaction and intentions to quit on demographics. Gender, age, marital status, number of children and position of respondents in the organisation did not have any correlation with job satisfaction and intentions to quit. In terms of education qualifications it had a highly significant positive correlation with job satisfaction (r=0.61272; p=<.0001). This shows that the level of education the respondent have has a significant impact on how they are satisfied with their jobs. In addition education qualification had a significant negative correlation with intentions to quit (r=-0.48797; p=<.0001). This shows that the level of education a person have impact on their intentions to quit from the organization. Those with low educational levels have less intention to quit than those with high education level. This may be due to lack of opportunities for those with less education.

GENDER 0.19540
AGE 0.06396
POSITION 0.02862

Table 3: Correlations of job satisfaction and intentions to quit on demographics.

Hypothesis testing: Where, H0: There is no significant negative correlation between job satisfaction and intention to quit.

H1: There is a significant negative correlation between job satisfaction and intention to quit.

Table 4 shows that there is is a high significant negative correlation between job satisfaction and intention to quit (r=-0.89579; p=<.0001). This shows that when employees are not satisfied with their job they have high levels of intending to leave their organisation.

Pearson Correlation Coefficients, N = 100
Prob > |r| under H0: Rho=0
INTENTION -0.89579

Table 4: Pearson correlation coefficient of job satisfaction and intentions to quit.


Chapter four focused on the analysis of data that was collected by the researcher. The SPSS package was used to obtain the empirical inferential statistics used in this study. The Cronbach alpha coefficients for the questionnaires measuring the study variables were computed and were found to be internally consistent, thus indicating that the two isnstruments used in the study are reliable and valid. Empirical results which were obtained from data analysis indicated a significant negative relationship between job satisfaction and intentions to quit. The results of the study in relation to the hypothesis indicated a significant negative relationship between the study variables. The results indicated a significant negative relationship thus leading to us accepting the alternative hypotheses in the study and rejecting the null hypotheses.

Conclusions and Recommendations


The previous chapter focused on the analysis of the data which was collected from the respondents and the discussion of the results from the descriptive and inferential statistical analysis. With special reference to the results discussed in the former chapter, this chapter focuses on the conclusions, limitations, and recommendations and also give guidance to upcoming research directions in related fields.

Discussions of results

From the data analysis the data indicated a significant negative relationship between job satisfaction and intention to quit (r=-0.89579; p=<.0001). This is a high significant negative correlation between the study variables. This showed that the higher the level of job satisfaction the lower the intentions to quit and vice versa. The negative overall correlation thus means job satisfaction is directly related to intention to quit. Job satisfaction has been one organisational factor that impact on employees intentions to stay or quit an organisation [56]. A study by Markovits, Davis and Van Dick reported that the more employees are satisfied with their job the more they are willing to commit and stay in this organisation [57]. Their findings support the results of this study as there is a significant negative correlation between the study variables. This shows that the more the municipal employees are satisfied with their jobs the more they are likely to commit and remain in the organisation. Increased satisfaction results in employees staying for long.

They are two different components of job satisfaction that were measured in the study which are extrinsic job satisfaction and extrinsic job satisfaction. From the results of the study we can conclude that the two different components contribute significantly to employees withdrawal intentions from an organisation. Factors such as pay, supervision, company policies and interpersonal relationships contribute to extrinsic job satisfaction whereas opportunity for achievement, work itself, and task responsibility contributes to intrinsic job satisfaction. Mahdi, Zin, Nor, Sakat and Naim reported that extrinsic job satisfaction and intrinsic job satisfaction are significantly correlated with intentions to quit [58]. This shows that combining extrinsic job satisfaction factors and extrinsic job satisfaction factors contributes to decreased municipal employees intentions to quit. As these two different components are covered in the study we can also conclude that extrinsic job satisfaction is negatively correlated with intention to quit as well intrinsic job satisfaction is negatively correlated with intention to quit.

McBey and Karakowsky [9] reported that when rewards such as pay received by employees are perceived as capable of fulfilling their needs and desires, they experience a positive emotional state, which in return, induces an obligation to reciprocate their employers by being more committed. When employees get committed they remain in the organisation. When employees see their supervisors as supportive, comfortable positive working relationships are developed between supervisors and co-workers which is likely to stimulate them to reciprocate by increasing their loyalty to the organisation [59,60] hence remain in the organisation for long. This supports the fact that extrinsic job satisfaction is negatively correlated with intentions to quit. Providing municipal employees with sufficient pay, supportive relationships and good organisational policy contributes to them staying in the organisation for long.

The results also imply that a significant negative relationship exists between intrinsic job satisfaction and intentions to quit. This shows that when intrinsic job satisfaction increases turnover intentions of municipal employee decreases. The higher the levels of intrinsic job satisfaction the lower the levels of intentions to quit among support staff members. This is supported by a study by Gunlu, et al. [61] who found out that intrinsic job satisfaction is negatively correlated with intentions to quit among hotel employees in Turkey. Increasing intrinsic job satisfaction factors to municipal employees will increase their desire to stay within the organisation and reduce their intention to quit. Increasing factors such as opportunities for achievement, work itself and task responsibility increases the satisfaction of municipal employees thus reduce their intentions to quit their jobs.

In terms of the demographic variables education was found to impact the study variables. Education qualifications had a highly significant positive correlation with job satisfaction (r=0.61272; p=<.0001). This showed that the level of education the respondents had has a significant impact on how they are satisfied with their jobs. The more educated respondents are the more they become satisfied with their jobs. In addition education qualification had a significant negative correlation with intentions to quit (r=-0.48797; p=<.0001). This showed that the level of education a person have impact on their intentions to quit from the organization. Those with low educational levels have less intention to quit than those with high education level. This may be due to lack of opportunities for those with less education.

Recommendations to management

Loyalty of employees in an institution may change. The results of the study showed that job satisfaction and intentions to quits are significantly negatively correlated. The results of this research might imply that intrinsic job satisfaction and extrinsic job satisfaction is significantly and negatively related to intention to quit. These two variables have an effect on municipal employee’s intentions to quit. The management should take action to increase both intrinsic job satisfaction and extrinsic job satisfaction as an attempt to reduce turnover intentions among municipal employees thus improving employee retention in the municipality. Increasing the provision of such factors result in them not looking for alternative jobs hence remain in the organisation. The following initiatives can also be implemented to improve retention and reduce intentions to quit in the municipality.

The management must do stay interviews. Instead of waiting until employees leave and doing an exit interview, there is a need for management to be proactive. There is a need to ask employees what the organisation can do to retain them. With the stay interviews, municipal management gathers information while it still has an opportunity to act on it and engage an employee before he or she leaves. There is a need to recognise specific achievements of employee’s as early as possible in their careers. There is a need to give special recognition when employees acquire certain accomplishments. It helps to recognise achievement among municipal members in any area. This could be done by announcing them at some organisational functions, and providing them with certificates. This increases employees’ intrinsic motivation and at the same time decreases their intention to quit, thus increasing municipal employee’s retention.

The other recommendation is that the municipality management must focus on redesigning jobs to such an extent that jobs change rather becomes monotonous and boring to employees. Offering employee’s new challenging work as well adding more tasks and responsibilities to the ones previously done increases the intrinsic satisfaction of municipal employee’s thus improve intentions to quit. When the job is redesigned and new tasks added to previous occupied duties the rewards in form of salary should also increase thus in turn improving the employee’s extrinsic rewards and later on improve retention in the institution.

Limitations of the present study

This study focused on the relationship between job satisfaction and intentions to quit among Nkonkobe Municipal employees. It is important to note some of the limitations of this study.

The first limitation is that the study only used questionnaires as data the collection instrument. It is possible that in some cases respondents wanted some clarity before answering some questions but could not get it. A desire for social desirability may have caused some respondents to answer some questions untruthfully or to want to impress the researcher with their answers. In other words, questionnaires are susceptible to social desirability bias. Also, the use of the questionnaire limits the amount of information to be obtained. Respondents only answered questions that were asked without substantiating where they felt like adding their comments.

The other limitation is that the study is correlational and as such we cannot assume any causal relationship between job satisfaction and intentions to quit. The sample used for this study was from only one municipality, that is, Nkonkobe Municipality. Therefore it may not be quite justifiable to generalize the findings to other municipalities in the entire country.

Future research directions

Future researchers should focus on the above limitations of the present study and thus improve the generalisability of the results.

It is important that in future studies researchers should use both quantitative and qualitative data collection methods rather than quantitative methodologies only used in the present study. Having so many data collection methods mostly quantitative methods will ensure triangulation of research results. Triangulation is often used to counteract the problem of common method variance. By using many methods, for instance three, to get the same answer to one research question, the hope is that two of the three method will produce similar answers, or if three clashing answers are produced, the investigator knows that the question needs to be reframed or method reconsidered. Therefore in the future a variety of methods should be used to solve common method variance.

Furthermore, some future studies should adopt an experimental design. This will help in clarifying whether or not the relationships among variables that have been observed in the present study are causal relationships or not. Experimental studies will also clarify the direction of any causality that may exist among the job satisfaction and intention to quit.

Also a large sample should be drawn from the population to enable generalization of results. In future the researcher might use the employees from various municipalities so as to have a bigger population to draw the sample from. Having a bigger sample will enable generalisation of results. Other municipalities must be included in the population so as to ensure generalisability nationally. Drawing a sample from various municipalities would ensure external validity.

Conclusion relating to this chapter

This chapter served to discuss the results of this study, to highlight the limitations of the study and to make recommendations for future research as well provides recommendations to management to improve job satisfaction and intentions to quit.

Conclusions relating to the entire study

To sum up, this study was done to determine the relationship between job satisfaction and intentions to quit among Nkonkobe Municipal employees. The objectives of the study among others were as follows: to determine whether there is a relationship between job satisfaction and intentions to quit and to provide some recommendations that might be used by the municipality to improve employee retention.

A sample of 100 municipal employees participated in this study. Job satisfaction was the independent variables while intention to quit was the dependent variable. The study found that job satisfaction is significantly negatively related to intention to quit.

With respect to the above, the following conclusions were drawn from the findings of the study based on the previously mentioned objectives:

a) Increasing job satisfaction increases the retention of municipal employees.

b) Increasing extrinsic job satisfaction increases the retention of municipal employees.

c) Increasing intrinsic job satisfaction increases the retention of municipal employees.

The results above support the alternative hypotheses of the study that there is a significant negative relationship between job satisfaction and intention to quit among Nkonkobe Municipal employees. This implies that one way to improve staff retention at the Municipality could be to increase job satisfaction.


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