Contagion, trajectory, and turnover : exploring network factors influencing turnover over time.
Organizations use a large portion of their budget on building and maintaining human resources. Losing an employee, especially a good one, can be expensive. While turnover has been studied using a network lens, it has traditionally viewed network characteristics as a property of the particular individual, and the majority of research that has examined social network position and its outcomes has focused on a cross-sectional view of an individuals’ position. We consider that an individual’s network position changes over time: moving toward the center of the network becoming more embedded, away from the center becoming less embedded, or staying relatively static. We call this an individual’s Structural Trajectory. We build a research model using Structural Trajectory, and social contagion, to explore the drivers of turnover in a dataset containing employee email metadata. The results show a strong contagion effect, and a relationship between large network movements (Structural Trajectory) and turnover.