Does Turnover Spread Through Network Ties? Network Turnover Contagion as Resource Loss

Zoom Research Seminar / 5th Floor EE Lecture 2

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Past event — 14 June 2022

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Dr. Eric Quintane

Associate Professor for Organizational Behavior

ESMT Berlin

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Does turnover travel through social networks and, if so, how? Extant literature suggests that turnover can spread from one departing employee to another through a social influence process. While this assumes the existence of social relations, we lack understanding of whether and how different types of relations affect the contagion process. We build on the turnover literature, which conceives social relations as resources individuals lose when their contacts leave, to distinguish between different types of social relations (instrumental, expressive, energy) and resource providers (peers, supervisors) and examine how their loss relates to turnover contagion. We draw on a unique network dataset of 1,432 employees in the Chinese subsidiary of a Dutch multinational including employees’ date of voluntary departure (271 turnover events). We estimate models inspired from the Relational Event Framework to trace the spread of departures through social ties over time and account for the effect of each departure on the networks of remaining employees. Our results are consistent with considering turnover contagion as resource loss. However, they also suggest that contagion is triggered when losing access to specific resources from particular providers. We elaborate on our discoveries to propose a theory of network turnover contagion.


Eric Quintane is an Associate Professor of Organizational Behavior at ESMT. He holds a Ph.D. in Management from the University of Melbourne in Australia and is an Honorary Research Fellow in the School of Psychological Sciences at the University of Melbourne. Eric's research work focuses on understanding the dynamics of interpersonal networks and their consequences for individuals (such as creativity or burnout). His research work has been published in peer-reviewed international journals in Management, Psychology, and Sociology.



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Bärbel Wegener

Assistant to Resident Faculty