A communicative-tension model of change-induced collective voluntary turnover in IT

23 Mar 2017

Losing talented IT employees, the most critical strategic resource in IT, during a major organizational change can be catastrophic to the overall performance of the IS organization. This paper develops a multi-layered communicative-tension model of change-induced collective voluntary turnover from a historical case study analysis. A major organizational change at a healthcare insurance firm’s IT unit reveals the presence of three primary communicative tensions: alignment-autonomy, stability-change and expression-suppression. A group of employees, dissatisfied with the negative communicative practices employed by their managers in the midst of these communicative tensions, left the organization. A communicative-tension model of change-induced collective voluntary turnover complements and extends upon prior collective voluntary turnover research by accounting for the organizational change context and broader relational dynamics. This study offers practitioners important insights on how to manage communicative tensions during an IS organizational change to improve IT talent retention.