The impact of push factors on the intent to quit amongst private security officers
Williams, Christopher Juan
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The primary objective of the current study was to establish the impact that certain push factors (namely, job satisfaction and organizational commitment) have on the intent to quit amongst private security officers. Literature indicate that a strong negative relationship exist between both job satisfaction and organizational commitment and the employee's intent to quit his or her employing organization. Moreover, a number of studies indicate that push factors, such as job satisfaction and organizational commitment, are antecedents to turnover intentions and that both these variables are negatively related to intent to quit (Chen, 2006; Elangovan, 2001; Slattery & Selvarajan, 2005). "For too long, private security has been rated an inferior job" (Potgieter, Ras & Neser, 2008, p. 39). Berg (2007) proffers that government officials have frequently commented on the poor treatment of security officers in terms of the long hours, low pay and job instability. The current study investigates whether security officers are satisfied with their jobs, and if not, which facets of satisfaction they are least satisfied with. Furthermore, the current study attempted to establish which of the two variables (namely, job satisfaction and organizational commitment) predicts intent to quit better. The literature presents opposing views with regards to this; however, various researchers (Bateman & Strasser, 1984; Ben-Bakr, Al-Shammari, Jefri & Prasad, 1994; Slattery & Salvarajan, 2005; Elangovan, 2001) postulate that organizational commitment predicts intent to quit better than job satisfaction. Despite the differences in views in the literature, there is overwhelming evidence that both job satisfaction as well as organizational commitment are strong predictors of intent to quit (Chen, 2006; Firth, Mellor, Moore & Loquet, 2004; Igbaria & Greenhaus, 1992; Slattery & Selvarajan, 2005; Tumwesigye, 2010) and it is a topic worthwhile investigating, especially in a South African private security industry context. Purposeful sampling was used to select the sample for the current study. Security officers with a grade 10 qualification and higher were selected whilst those with qualifications lower than grade 10 were excluded from the selection process as the researcher felt that respondents may have found it difficult to interpret the questions as a result of their literacy level which, in turn, might have an impact on the results of the study. The sample of the current study consisted of (n=143) private security officers employed at a private security organization operating in the Northern suburbs of the broader Cape Town area. Three standardized questionnaires and a self-developed biographical questionnaire were used to collect the data for the current study. The Job Satisfaction Survey (JSS) which was developed by Spector in 1985 was used to assess an employee's attitude towards his/her job and which facet of his/her job he/she is satisfied or dissatisfied with. The Organizational Commitment Questionnaire (OCQ) developed by Porter and Smith in 1970 but further developed later by Mowday, Steers and Porter in 1979 was used to measures a respondent's commitment to his/her employing organization. Intent to quit was measured by making use of the Intent to Quit Questionnaire which was developed by Roodt (2004). All of the measuring instruments possess sound psychometric properties with respect to validity and reliability. The results of the study indicate that both job satisfaction as well as organizational commitment is negatively related to intent to quit. The results further indicate that private security officers are least satisfied with their pay followed by promotional opportunities and that they are most satisfied with coworkers followed by communication. With regard to the strength of the relationship between job satisfaction and intent to quit and the strength of the relationship between organizational commitment and intent to quit, the results of the current study indicate that organizational commitment is a stronger predictor of intent to quit which is in line with the results of previous studies.The current study has a number of limitations. These limitations as well as recommendations for future research and the organization are put forth.