The development of a process model of collective turnover

Jean M. Bartunek, Evelyn J. Ferris, Zhi Huang, Ian J. Walsh

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

75 Scopus citations


Based on three case studies, we constructed an inductive process model of collective turnover, those instances in organizational life when two or more people choose to leave their organization in close temporal proximity based on shared social processes. The model highlights three phases through which an escalating interaction process that culminates in collective turnover unfolds. First, two or more members of an organizational group experience unresolved dissatisfaction with some aspect of their organization. Second, individual negative experiences are transformed into shared group perceptions through group sensemaking and emotional contagion that occurs in cohesive groups that view themselves as superior to others. Third, when group members feel no hope of improvement but have other opportunities available and few constraints on leaving, they collectively decide to leave their organization, begin searching for placements, and, turn over. We propose theoretical and practical implications of this model.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)5-38
Number of pages34
JournalHuman Relations
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 2008


  • Collective turnover
  • Emotion
  • Group cohesion
  • Process model
  • Sensemaking
  • Turnover

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Arts and Humanities (miscellaneous)
  • General Social Sciences
  • Strategy and Management
  • Management of Technology and Innovation


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