THE EFFECT OF CONFIDANT RELATIONSHIP ON
TURNOVER INTENTION AND MODERATED BY
EMPLOYEE’S JOB INVOLVEMENT
Graduate Institute of Human Resource Management, National Changhua University
2, Shi-Da Road, Changhua City 500, Taiwan
Graduate Institute of Human Resource Management, National Changhua University
2, Shi-Da Road, Changhua City 500, Taiwan
This study examines the confidant relationship influences employees’ turnover
intentions, and uses employees’ job involvement to be a moderator. In Confucian
thoughts and traditional culture, Chinese emphasize the relationship between people
very much so that it would influence the attitude which they treat each other. This
relationship isn’t a blood relationship certainly. It may be a kindred relationship that is
produced by a leadership for the employees because the employees perform so good
that a leader appreciates them. In that way, the kindred relationship becomes the
confidant relationship. Because the confidant roles are very major roles in the
organization and a leader places importance on confidant roles, they get involved in
their job and don’t have turnover intention. However, because non-confidant roles are
not paid much attention by a leader, they lose a confident feeling for an organization
as well as a leader and produce turnover intentions. Nevertheless, non-confidant roles
get involved in their job, whether non-confidant roles influence their turnover
intention or not. Past researches only put focus on the effect of confidant relationship
on turnover intention. To enlarge the research range, this research takes the job
involvement to be a moderator between confidant relationship and turnover intention.
Keyword：Confidant relationship, Job involvement, Turnover intention
In history, confidant relationship is a very unique phenomenon. The confidant
relationship is generation of differential matrices (Chaxugeju). Many kings and
governors are successful because their confidants are successful to power and know
what kings or governors’ needs clearly. The confidants’ influences aren’t ignored. A
successful confidant must have wisdom to differentiate from good and wickedness
and give leaders some strategies (Chi, 1996). That difference on the relationship
results in treating people differently is associated with the enterprise. In the modern
enterprise, because Chinese society pays more attention to relationship, confidant role
still exists, and is responsible for major role (Chi, 1996).
In the organization, confidant relationship belongs to unofficial relationship(Hsu&
Cheng& Huang, 2002). Because the leaders believe confidant role, they give
confidant roles are paid more attention by their leaders. However non-confidant roles
are more ignorant than confidant roles. It is easier for non-confidant roles to have
turnover intention (Cheng, 1995).
Employee turnover intention has received considerable attention in industrial and
organizational psychology (Campion, 1991). Work-related attitudes, especially
satisfaction facets, have been a common focus in turnover intention research (Gary &
Kimberly, 1989). Accordingly, in confidant relationship, non-confidants are ignored
and then they produce dissatisfaction for the organization. It induces non-confidants’
turnover intention. Previous studies focus on the confidant relationship between
employees and leaders (e.g. Cheng, 1995；Chi, 1996；Chu, 2000). Fewer studies link
confidant relationship and turnover intention. We would like to examine the linkage
between confidant relationship and turnover intention and then explore the gap
between them. We address that the gap is job involvement because job involvement
would interact with turnover intention (Sjoberg & Sverke, 2000) and is the extent to
which employees psychologically identify with their job, or the degree of importance
of the job in employees' self-image (Lodahl & Kejner, 1965). Time of knowledge
economy comes, one of the major issue in the company is to detain employees. How
to reduce employees’ turnover intention is an important goal of the company.
Therefore, the purpose of this study was to replicate and extend previous research by
investigating if confidant relationship influence turnover through the moderator of job
involvement. The proposed model is graphically represented in Fig.1. Using
questionnaires, this study represents the first of whether job involvement moderates
the effects of confidant relationship and turnover intention.
LITERATURES AND HYPOTHESES
The Confidant Relationship Between Employees And Leaders
In Chinese society, the result and remain of relationship forming are very important.
The confidant relationship produces from differential matrices (Chaxugeju). The
notion of differential matrices (Chaxugeju) is from local society of Chinese which
reflect traditional and agricultural society based on blood and sectionalism (Chu,
The resource of confidant relationship is produced from employees’ loyalty and the
same values of employees and leaders. In addition to loyalty, when leaders choose
their confidants, they also observe the work values which employees express (Chi,
1996). Confidant relationship has been a long time in history. In ancient time,
confidants only appear in politic, family and friends. Research has shown that family
members are the preferred sources of confidant relationships but that significant
differences exist in terms of gender, marital status, and availability of children
(Connidis & Davies, 1992) Now, in the enterprise, leaders produce a trustful feeling
for particular employees gradually(Chu, 2000). According to Sternberg (1986) the
intimacy component appears to at the core of many loving relationships. The leaders
develop a closer relationship than other employees. The leaders and confidants have
high confidence, interaction, and support, but the leaders and non-confidants only
have limited confidence, interaction and support. Chi (1996) concluded the
relationship between confidants and leaders is closer than that between
non-confidants and leaders.
A study by Mobley (1977), the withdrawal decision process presented here suggests
that thinking of quitting is the next logical step after experienced dissatisfaction and
that “intention to leave.” According to Wanous (1979), the reason for job termination
was also solicited from both the worker and employer and is categorized as either
voluntary or involuntary. This research discusses voluntary turnover. The turnover
intention is a tendency. In the organization, if many employees have turnover
intention, this organization must find out the problems. Turnover intentions, or
intentions to quit a job, have been found to be one of the best predictors of actual
quitting (Griffeth et al., 2000). There are many factors to make employees produce
turnover intention such as job satisfaction, organization commitment, environments
and so on. Intent to turnover has been found to be the best predictor of actual turnover
(Griffeth et al., 2000). Moreover, intentions are important outcomes of socialization
(Bauer et al., 1998) For this reason, if employees would like to have turnover
intention, the organization didn’t make their demands. Mobley (1977) brings up a
schematic representation of the withdrawal decision process. It shows that employee’s
turnover intention influences impulsive behavior to quit.
In explaining an individual's level of job involvement, a combination of job and
personal factors is a source of influence (Lodahl & Kejner, 1965). Rabindra (1982)
defined job involvement is as both a cognitive and a positive emotional state of the
individual. Job involvement is a commitment which employees give organization.
This is an involvement of work values, and would make employees refuse to change
their jobs. If employees get involved in their job very much, they won’t be interested
in non-working activities. For highly involved employees, their jobs seem inexorably
connected with their very identities, interests and life goals, and are crucially
important. (Peter, 2004) And highly job involved individuals seem also to be satisfied
with their jobs, to be characteristic positive moods at work, and to be highly
committed to their employing organizations, their careers, and their professions
(Cohen, 1995). In a word, job involvement is a kind of organization commitment and
employees care about their job schedule.
The Connection Of Confidants And Turnover Intention
According to social exchange theory, when a person or a group interacts with others,
they expect that they may get reward. People expect to get reward because social
exchange theory is based on equity. If someone pay more contribution but he doesn’t
get the same reward, that doesn’t fir for social exchange theory. It shows that each
other doesn’t have equal offering. Tsui et al. (1997) showed that balance in the
employment relationship was important from the employer’s perspective. Applying
Lynn and Kevin (1998), in a balanced relationship, employee and employer are
perceived to be similarly obligated in the exchange, whereas in an unbalanced
relationship, either the employee or the employer is perceived to be substantially more
obligated than the other party to the exchange. Consequently, in equal exchange,
employees and leaders make the same contribution to each other. On the contrary, in
unfair exchange, employees or leaders make more contributions to each other.
Social exchange theory is addressed by western society so the relationship between
each other is established on benefit and reciprocity. Applying social exchange theory
to Chinese society, besides having benefit and reciprocity to each other, they still
respect and believe each other. Because of exchange relationship, employees and
leaders devote to each other. Continuous devotion and feedback means that the
relationship of each other is accumulating and expanding. On the other hand, when
employees’ pays don’t get the same respond, the relationship between employees and
leaders will be holding pattern (Chi, 1996). According to Tekleab, Takeuchi and
Taylor (2005), the resulting social exchange relationship repeatedly has proven to be a
significant predictor of a number of important employee attitudes and behaviors,
including job satisfaction, organizational commitment, organizational citizenship
behaviors, intentions to leave, and others. This supports Shore and Tetrick's (1994)
view that employees who perceive that the organization has not fulfilled their
obligations may seek a number of alternative means for restoring balance in the
exchange, and that leaving the organization is one of those. A study by Steel and
Ovalle (1984), dissatisfaction will motivate such adverse behaviors as increased
absenteeism, tardiness, turnover intentions, and actual turnover.
For this reason, leaders make more contribution to confidants, and confidants also
have the same feedback to leaders. Leaders and confidants establish the balanced
exchange relationship. On the contrary, leaders treat non-confidants coldly, and make
less contribution to them. Non-confidants pay more attention to leaders, but they don’t
get the same reward. The relationship between non-confidants and leaders isn’t
balanced and makes non-confidants feel unsatisfied. According to withdrawal
decision process which Mobley (1977) brings up, employees feel unsatisfied, and then
produce turnover intention. Thus,
H1：The effect of the confidant relationship will be negatively related to turnover
The Effect Of Confidant Relationship On Turnover Intention And Moderated By
Employee’s Job Involvement
Job involvement is one of the reasons which influence turnover intention. According
to Brooks and Edward (2006), the greater a person's connections to an organization
and community, the more likely it is that he or she will remain in their organization.
Working is a part of the organization. If employees think working is an important part
in their life, they won’t give up easily. The employees, employers and work are webs.
The greater the number of links between the person and the web, the more likely an
employee will stay in a job (Mitchell et al, 2001).When employees get involved in
their job, they performance well and don’t want to leave the organization. Because
employees don’t get involved their job, they become poor performers. Individuals
who leave an organization are poor performers, and that the separation of these
individuals actually provides the organization with an opportunity to replace poor
performers with more effective workers (Dalton & Tudor, 1979). High-involvement
work practices will enhance employee retention. Employees that identify strongly should
value their work group and organizational membership more and hence should be less willing
to leave the work-group and the organization (Knippenberg & Schie, 2000). Firms are
more likely to utilize high-involvement work practices when employees are deemed
critical (Huselid, 1995). When employees are put in an important position, they have
high rewards and then have more wills to stay in the organization. Accordingly,
employees’ job involvement make employee produce a close relationship for the
organization. This kind of relationship makes employees not to leave the job and
would like to stay in the organization.
The more employees get involved in their job, the less interested they do non-working
activities. Because job involvement represents a person's psychological identification
with the job (Lodahl & Kejner, 1965), job is a part of life. For this reason, employees
who get involved in their job don’t care about attitudes that leaders treat them. They
only care about their job performance and work schedule. In the confidant
relationship, that leaders treat confidants and non-confidants differently makes
non-confidants have turnover intention. However, when non-confidants are involved
in their job very much, non-confidants may reduce turnover intention. Thus,
H2a：When employees aren’t confidants, the more they get involved in their job, the
less negative relationship between confidant relationship and turnover intention.
The intimacy component appears to be at the core of many loving relationships
(Sternberg & Grajek, 1984) such as the relationship between leaders and confidants.
Leaders treat confidants very well and confidants also feel they are important roles for
leaders. Therefore, leaders and confidants treat each other fairly. High-involvement
work practices will enhance employee retention (Huselid, 1995). And employees who get
involved in job regard their job as a part of the organization. They devote to their job. Thus,
H2b When employees are confidants, the more they get involved in their job, the more
positive relationship between confidant relationship and turnover intention.
Confidant Turnover intention
Sample And Data Collection
We choose Loans Department to be samples. The Loan Department of bank is
selected for several reasons. First, the department has declaration of secretary. Second,
it is easier for the department to have competition. Third, a given job is relatively
stable relationship across department. Thus, the representitiveness of a sample of
Loan Department will not be biased by failures to report confidant relationship. We
connect with certain banks in Taiwan and appeal to them for participating this study.
We will select a simple random sample of 30 banks using the following procedure.
Each bank has eight to ten employees to be respondents. We will hire some people to
provide the questionnaires for the employees who are chosen by random. We plan to
send out three hundred questionnaires. Two weeks later, we will retrieve
questionnaires. If they don’t take back the questionnaires to us, we will call them to
ask to return questionnaires.
Confidant Relationship. Confidant relationship was measured by 31-item scale
developed by Lin (1999). Sample items included, “I am empowered adequately and
the leader makes me do by myself” and “The leader have more confidence in me, and
reveal dependence on me.” 1 = “strongly disagree”; 5 =“strongly agree”). Reliability
of the scales was assessed by calculating internal consistency using Cronbach's Alpha.
The 31items produced an acceptable reliability level (Alpha 0.915). Originally, the
scale measure leaders’ confidant relationship for employees so respondents are
leaders. In this research, we would like to understand level of confidant relationship
which employees feel. Therefore, in this scale, we transform personal (him/her) to
personal (me) to measure employees’ confidant relationship so new scale is created
specifically for this research.
Turnover Intention. Turnover intention was measured by Kelloway, Gottlieb, and
Barham’s (1999) often used 4-item scale. Items included, “ I am thinking about
leaving this organization,” “I am planning to look for a new job,” “I intend to ask
people about new job opportunities,” and “I don’t plan to be in this organization much
longer.” Reliability of the scales was assessed by calculating internal consistency
using Cronbach's Alpha. The four items produced an acceptable reliability level
(Alpha 0.93). Each item is rated along a 5-point scale (1= strongly disagree, 5=
Job Involvement. Job involvement was measured by a 10-item scale developed by
Kanuago (1982). Reliability of the scales was assessed by calculating internal
consistency using Cronbach's Alpha. The ten items produced an acceptable reliability
level (Alpha 0.844). The items most representative of this scale were reverse scored
and worded” To me, my job is only a small part of who I am. ” and "Usually, I feel
detached from my job." This two items are low variable scores denote high levels of
the construct in question. Other items are rated along a 5-point scale (1= strongly
disagree, 5= strongly agree).
In order to avoid interferences from demographic variables of individuals, gender,
education level, age, and work experiences will be included as control variables.
After retrieving the questionnaires, we will delete invalid questionnaires and code the
questionnaires. We will adopt hierarchical regression analysis to examine all the
hypothesized relationships are addressed above.
THE EXPECTED RESULT AND CONTRIBUTION
The Expected Result
We expect the results of this study will be supportive of all three of the hypotheses
(1) Turnover Intention Is Associated With The Effect Of The Confidant Relationship.
The leaders give confidants more confidence and make confidants feel the cares
which leaders give. The relationship between confidants and leaders is positive
correlation. Consequently, the leaders provide confidants reliable feelings so
confidants rarely have turnover intentions. However, non-confidants don’t have
dependent feelings which the leaders give. Because they don’t have security for the
organization, they produce the turnover intention.
(2)Moderating Effects Of Job Involvement
If non-confidants are involved in their job, they will care about performances.
Although the relationship between non-confidants and leaders influence
non-confidant’s loyalty for the organization, job is more influential than the
relationship between non-confidants and leaders. For this reason, the more
non-confidants get involved in their job, the less negative relationship between
confidant relationship and turnover intention.
When the relationship between confidants and leaders are good, confidants would like
to maintain in the organization. Moreover, confidants get involved in their job very
much. Because leaders and job are important for confidants, confidants rarely produce
turnover intention. Therefore, the more confidants get involved in their job, the more
they don’t produce turnover intention.
The construction and connection of the relationship need efforts which employees and
leaders provide. The more leaders pay attention and cares, the shorter physical
distance leaders give employees. For potential employees, leaders should develop
their ability, After all, employees’ behaviors may influence operation of the
organization. For this reason, leaders aren’t obvious to treat confidants and
non-confidants differently. Maybe non-confidants are good employees, and leaders
don’t observe their advantages in the short time. Therefore, leaders would avoid to
The organization creates adaptive surroundings, and then employees will be involved
in their job and like their job. Employees are responsible for their job and produce a
kind of satisfaction. For this reason, they don’t produce turnover intention. The most
important event in the organization is to maintain the good employees so the working
condition and the leaders are major factors for employees. The organization tries to
create the condition which employees would like to stay and then employees would
pay more attention on this organization. Leaders avoid dividing employees into
confidants and non-confidants. Non-confidants may have good ability, but the
relationship with leaders is bad. Therefore, non-confidants produce turnover intention.
In a word, the organizations must try their best to maintain good employees and then
employees would increase high performance in the organization.
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