INVESTIGATING CRITICAL FACTORS PREDICTING EMPLOYEE WILLINGNESS TO RELOCATE WITHIN ORGANISATION
Willingness to relocate is just one factor that companies use to profile the ideal employment candidate. While most of the relocation literature focuses on the relocation of current employees, this study investigates the issue through the eyes of paramilitary officers. These officers were surveyed relative to their attitudes toward relocation.Findings from the study indicates that dual earner couples demonstrates higher willingness to relocate for their organisation than their counterparts with spouses who are not working [t(345) = 2.39) P< .05]. Also, the study found that employees do consider salary level (β = -.182, t = -3.455, P<.05) and their involvement with the job (β = .124, t = 2.348, P<.05) before accepting relocation duties for their organisation. This study concludes on the following points employees in single-earner marriages having spouses who do not work are less willingness to move than those in dual-earner marriages having spouses who work. Finally, the study has shown that willingness to relocate is determined by a number of factors and one factor alone cannot be used to predict an employee’s willingness to relocate for his or her organisation. Keywords: Willingness to relocate, job involvement, salary level.
Rapid globalization and boundary less business ventures is increasingly contributing to a growing number of employees relocating for their organisation. As a result of this, it is increasingly important that organisations sending their employees for relocation assignments consider how the employees feel about the transfer. For organisations, the task of relocating to new premises is exacting and time consuming as this involves job mobility. Job mobility refers to patterns of intra- and inter-organizational transitions over the course of a person’s work life (Hall, 1996; Sullivan, 1999). As organizational lay-offs and restructuring are now common (Littler, Wiesner, & Dunford, 2003), it is not surprising that employees today realize that lifelong job security may not be a realistic employment goal and many are ready to become more mobile (Arthur & Rousseau, 1996). Additionally, individuals have become more self-directed about obtaining a variety of work experiences and knowledge across jobs and organizations (Bird, 1996). Thus, many workers are willing to relocate to build their skill sets.
Employees' attitudes toward relocation to other geographic areas are important for at least three reasons: (1) employers use employee transfers as a strategy for staffing organizations and developing rnanagers (Carruthers & Pinder, 1983]; (2) relocation may be a useful strategy for personal career enhancement (Hall, 1976); (3) there is some evidence indicating that workers are becoming less willing to geographically relocate for career reasons (Magnus & Dodd, 1981). As the length of time an individual has lived in an area increases, the area's attractiveness may increase. Over time, a person is likely to become increasingly integrated into the social structure of a community (Swanson, Luloff, & Warland, 1979). Hence, willingness to relocate should decline as the length of time an individual has lived in an area increases (Gould & Penley, 1985).
Employee’s attitude to relocate may be determined by some factors which includes background and situational factors. The demographic makeup of the Nigerian workforce is cause for concern among human resource managers who are responsible for recruiting, selecting, and hiring employees. First off, a vast majority of business students enter the workforce as salespeople (Stevens & Kinni 2007). One time-based factor is age. Veiga (1983) reports that propensity to change jobs within the same geographical area lessens with increased age. Therefore it is expected that willingness to relocate to another geographical area will decline in later career stages. Another time-based factor, length of time in the job, has been linked with low upward mobility (Ferrence, Stoner, & Warren, 1977). Veiga (1983) reports that average length of time in a job has a small but significant negative correlation with the propensity to change jobs within the same geographical area. Hence, it is likely to be negatively associated with the willingness to relocate as well.
Situational factors include job-related factors and family-related factors. Two job-related factors that may be related to willingness to relocate are salary level and job involvement. Salary may be positively related to the willingness to relocate for two reasons: (1) individuals with high salaries may be in a better position to receive relocation opportunities than are employees with low salaries, as the first group has higher exposure and visibility (Hall, 1976); (2) relocation involves some degree of financial risk (Magnus & Dodd, 1981), including unrecoverable moving expenses. Clearly, persons with higher salaries are more likely to have the surplus financial reserves needed to cover the financial risks of relocation than are those with lower salaries. Hence, it is expected that a high salary level may be positively related to willingness to relocate. Job involvement on the other hand, is another factor that is likely to be related to willingness to relocate. Job involvement, as defined by Lodahl and Kejner (1965), entails a strong attachment to a job, which should be reflected in a low willingness to relocate.
Two family-related factors are: (1) spouse's work status, and (2) family status. Several researchers (e.g., Maynard & Zawacki, 1979) argue that individuals in families having two wage earners are less likely to relocate since a relocation would jeopardize the spouse's income-earning potential. Hence, it is expected that persons in such families will be less willing to relocate than those who are sole wage earners for a family. Family status may also be related to willingness to relocate. Gould and Werbel (1983) have shown that the presence of children in families having two wage earners is related to increased involvement in a job and identification with an organization. Additionally, parents of teenage children may hesitate to relocate because their children may be hurt socially by a move (Veiga, 1983). Hence, it is anticipated that willingness to relocate will be lower when there are children in the home. Given this background, we can begin to understand the factors that may be considered when predicting one’s willingness to relocate. Understanding such factors can be a powerful recruitment and selection tool for employers. Unfortunately, there are few, if any relocation studies that focus on a combination of factors as its subject and their attitudes toward relocation.
1.2: Statement of the problem
With companies relocating about half a million employees annually (Fusco, 1990), job-related relocation is an important human resource planning and development activity in many organizations (Ahlburg & Kimmel, 1986; Sell, 1983). Notwithstanding this high rate of employee mobility, recent trends suggest that companies will face increasing difficulty in their efforts to maintain a mobile workforce. Between 1986 and 1989 employee refusal of transfers requiring relocation almost doubled, growing from a 36% refusal rate to a 70% refusal rate (Ricklin, 1991). Similarly, the Employee Relocation Council (ERC) found that around 65% of the companies surveyed reported employee resistance to geographic moves (ERC, 1993). With increasing resistance to job-related moves, research is needed to understand the predictors of employee willingness to relocate. Willingness to relocate is just one factor that companies use to profile the ideal employment candidate (Buehrer, Mallin & Jones 2007). While most of the relocation literature focuses on the relocation of current employees, there is still a dearth of literature investigating the critical factors that determine employee willingness to relocate especially in a Nigerian population.
To address the problem, this research will explores the relationship between family related factors and job related factors attitudes toward relocation and their stated willingness to relocate. A vast amount of research can be found in the social science literature regarding issues, problems and concerns expressed by HR professionals regarding the willingness of their current work force to relocate. However, there is little empirical data regarding the willingness of workers to relocate. Findings of relocation studies conducted on employers’ existing work force (Frank 2000; Hendershott 1995; Reimer 2000; Stroh 1999; & Wong 1990) reveal that responsibility for children, number of previous moves, attitude toward the destination, involvement in the community, career motivation, and perceived stress associated with a move are all attitudinal factors impacting a worker’s willingness to relocate (Buehrer, et., al. 2007). Demographic factor research in the relocation literature exists but provides mixed findings. In many organizations employees move repeatedly, sometimes as often as every 2 or 3 years (Cooper & Makin, 1985) and, on average, every 5 to 7 years (Brett et al., 1990). Mobile employees also have past experiences to draw upon which may influence their attitudes about moving again (Barrett & Noble, 1973; DeJong & Fawcett, 1981). This suggests that some of the predictors of employee willingness to relocate may be unique among the Nigerian population, warranting closer study. Employee willingness to relocate is an individual’s intention to perform a specific type of behavior (i.e., relocate for the organization), not the actual decision of whether to move. While many predictors of willingness to relocate have been examined (Brett, Stroh, & Reilly, 1992), it is neither feasible nor prudent to include all these variables in the current study. Rather, a subset of predictors are selected based on both theoretical and empirical support. These variables can be grouped into three categories: Background Factors, job related factors and family related factors.
1.3: Purpose of the study
This study is highly relevant to understanding the factors that will make an officer to be willing to relocate. This will make their various commands to understand how to arrange transfers and relocation processes so that the most suited employees for various types of jobs involving relocation can be sent to such areas. The findings of the present study will be relevant to Nigeria employees’ and most especially employees of para-military departments in understanding the employee’s willingness to relocate.
1.4: Significance of the study
This research is important to recruiters since gaining an understanding of this relationship may aid in identifying, interviewing, and selecting the right recruits to meet firms’ long-term employment needs. For business faculty and career services professionals, such knowledge can enhance the process of identifying employees with specific job location needs. For all involved in the placement, recruitment, and selection process, this may be a needed step in the matching of employees to satisfying and long-term careers.
1.5: Scope of Study
This study encompasses employees from various para-military arms of Nigerian workforce. This is because the predictors of willingness to relocate, though not discipline specific may be most common to such jobs. Employees from across several organisations may indicate different levels of wiliness to relocate for their organisation. In this regard, the main objective of this study is to investigate the critical factors predicting employee willingness to relocate for the firm. Other objectives includes to examine the critical background, job related and family related factors that can influence an officer’s willingness to relocate for his or her organisation. Specifically, this study intend to achieve the following objectives
- To examine the influence of family related factors such as single earner marriages vs dual earner marriages and number of children on officer’s officer’s willingness to relocate for their organisation.
- To investigate if background factors such as marital status, age and can predict an officer’s willingness to relocate.
- To determine the measured relationship between job related factors such as salary level and job involvement and employees willingness to relocate
1.6: Theoretical Framework
1.6.1: THEORY OF REASONED ACTION (TRA)
The TRA was formulated in 1967 as an attempt to provide consistency in studies of the relationship between behaviour and attitudes. (Fishbein & Ajzen, 1975; Ajzen & Fishbein, 1980; Fishbein, 1980). TRA suggests that a volitional or voluntary behaviour (B) can be predicted directly by individual’s intention to perform the behaviour (I). This involves people’s expectancies about their own behaviour in a given setting (Fishbein & Ajzen, 1975). This intention to act (I) is a function of two determinants, one personal in nature and the other reflecting social influence (Ajzen & Fishbein, 1980). The attitudinal component is termed attitude toward the behaviour or act (Aact) (an evaluation of the behaviour as favorable or unfavorable) and the normative component is termed subjective norm (SN) (the perceived social pressure to perform or not to perform the behaviour). The relative importance of these two determinants in predicting intention to act is expected to vary with the type of behaviour, situation, and based on individual differences (Ajzen & Fishbein, 1975). Variables other than attitude toward the behaviour and subjective norm are assumed to influence intention to act and behaviour indirectly through these two determinants.
Based on this theory, employee’s willingness to relocate may be predicated on the employeesattitude toward the behavior, that is, “the employee positive or negative feelings about relocating”. Attitudes toward relocating are predicated on the employees belief system and the perceived importance the employee places on the combined set of these beliefs (Fishbein & Ajzen 1975). Such beliefs may be formed based on childhood experiences (e.g., children of parents who move a lot) or adult career modeling (e.g., one’s family moved frequently to advance a parent’s career).
1.6.2: THEORY OF PLANNED BEHAVIOR (AJZEN 1991; FISHBEIN & AJZEN 1975).
One of the most commonly used and accessible theory of attitude is Ajzen’s Theory of Planned Behaviour (TPB), which is formed on the basic premise that attitudes are significantly correlated to behavioural intentions, which in turn are the proximal determinants of behaviour. Ajzen (1985, 1988, 1991) developed the TPB because the TRA is limited to predicting behaviours over which individuals have volitional control (Ajzen & Fishbein, 1980) (i.e., behaviours that do not require special skills, resources, or support and hence can be performed at will) and Ajzen (1985, 1988, 1991) recognized that the extent to which some intentions to act can be carried out depends partially on the levels of control individuals have over behaviours. Consistent with Bandura’s (1977, 1982) work on self-efficacy [i.e., ‘‘the conviction that one can successfully execute a behaviour’’ (Bandura, 1977), the TPB therefore adds perceived behavioural control (PBC) (i.e., the belief as to how easy or difficult performance of the behaviour is likely to be) as a predictor of intention to act and behaviour. Perceived behavioural control is assumed to reflect the opportunities and resources needed to engage in behaviour. Thus, the path between perceived behavioural control and intention to act reflects individuals’ perceived control over the behaviour, whereas the path between perceived behavioural control and behaviour reflects actual control over the behaviour (Ajzen, 1985). As with the TRA, the relative importance of the three determinants in predicting intention to act is expected to vary with the type of behaviour and situation, and is based on individual differences (Ajzen, 1985, 1988, 1991).
According to the theory of planned behavior, subjective norms are also considered in the formation of behavioral intentions. Such norms are employees beliefs about how other people they care about (e.g., friends and family) will view the relocation. This was reinforced by the research of Kracke (1997) who found that parents play a major role in the decision-making process of their children. In the context of relocation, a worker may form a negative attitude about moving based on the belief that a family member may require them to remain nearby. Likewise, friends and spousal attitudes toward moving may serve to capture normative influences (Brett & Reilly 1988). For example, a worker who has a positive attitude about the relocating may indicate so by the attitudinal statement. One’s attitude toward the destination may shape his/ her willingness to relocate. A worker who has a positive attitude about the destination and has some familiarity with the area is likely more willing to relocate than one who is unfamiliar with the new territory (Carruthers & Pinders 1993). Likewise, studies have indicated that negative attitudes toward relocation may be formed when the relocation destination is viewed as dissimilar to what the individual considers “home” (Vardi 1977). According to Riemer (2000), the concept of home is more than just a physical location or house rather it is a more all-inclusive concept. Home is an area where people identify themselves relative to childhood memories and feelings of belonging. When someone moves, he/she is losing a part of him/herself; a major part of him/her is changing. To these people, relocation signifies a new beginning (Riemer 2000). One’s sense of career development and advancement may also serve to form attitudes toward relocation. A worker may view relocation a necessary part of being successful in the job or advancement of one’s career.
1.6.3: Herzberg two factor theory of motivation
To better understand employee attitudes and motivation, Frederick Herzberg performed studies to determine which factors in an employee's work environment caused satisfaction or dissatisfaction. He published his findings in the 1959 book The Motivation to Work. The studies included interviews in which employees where asked what pleased and displeased them about their work. Herzberg found that the factors causing job satisfaction (and presumably motivation) were different from those causing job dissatisfaction. He developed the motivation-hygiene theory to explain these results. He called the satisfiers motivators and the dissatisfiers hygiene factors, using the term "hygiene" in the sense that they are considered maintenance factors that are necessary to avoid dissatisfaction but that by themselves do not provide satisfaction. The following table presents the top six factors causing dissatisfaction and the top six factors causing satisfaction, listed in the order of higher to lower importance.
Source: Herzberg 1959
Herzberg reasoned that because the factors causing satisfaction are different from those causing dissatisfaction, the two feelings cannot simply be treated as opposites of one another. The opposite of satisfaction is not dissatisfaction, but rather, no satisfaction. Similarly, the opposite of dissatisfaction is no dissatisfaction. While at first glance this distinction between the two opposites may sound like a play on words, Herzberg argued that there are two distinct human needs portrayed. First, there are physiological needs that can be fulfilled by money, for example, to purchase food and shelter. Second, there is the psychological need to achieve and grow, and this need is fulfilled by activities that cause one to grow. From the above table of results, one observes that the factors that determine whether there is dissatisfaction or no dissatisfaction are not part of the work itself, but rather, are external factors. Herzberg often referred to these hygiene factors as "KITA" factors, where KITA is an acronym for Kick In The A..., the process of providing incentives or a threat of punishment to cause someone to do something. Herzberg argues that these provide only short-run success because the motivator factors that determine whether there is satisfaction or no satisfaction are intrinsic to the job itself, and do not result from carrot and stick incentives.
If the motivation-hygiene theory holds, management not only must provide hygiene factors to avoid employee dissatisfaction, but also must provide factors intrinsic to the work itself in order for employees to be satisfied with their jobs. When employees are satisfied with their jobs, they can take up relocation assignments. Herzberg argued that job enrichment is required for intrinsic motivation, and that it is a continuous management process. According to Herzberg: The job should have sufficient challenge to utilize the full ability of the employee. Employees who demonstrate increasing levels of ability should be given increasing levels of responsibility to increase their job involvement. If a job cannot be designed to use an employee's full abilities, then the firm should consider automating the task, relocating the employee or replacing the employee with one who has a lower level of skill. If a person cannot be fully utilized, then there will be a motivation problem. Critics of Herzberg's theory argue that the two-factor result is observed because it is natural for people to take credit for satisfaction and to blame dissatisfaction on external factors. Furthermore, job satisfaction does not necessarily imply a high level of motivation or productivity. Herzberg's theory has been broadly read and despite its weaknesses its enduring value is that it recognizes that true motivation comes from within a person and not from KITA factors.
1.7: Literature review
Studies on age suggest two competing paradigms. The first theory is that older workers are less willing to relocate because they are more established in their career, family, and geographic area than a younger worker (Gould & Penley 1985; Mobley 1977; Brett & Werbel 1980). Alternatively, older workers are more willing to relocate because of their investment of time committed to their organizations (Meyer & Allen 1984). This suggests that age alone is not a primary factor influencing a worker’s willingness to relocate (Stroh 1999). Research on gender as a factor suggests that females are usually less willing to relocate because they associate relocation with family conflict (Breen 1983). However, females often move for their spouse's relocation (Markham et al. 1983; Markham & Pleck 1986) unless they are the primary provider of financial support. Stroh (1999) points out that measuring the difference between willingness to relocate based on gender is difficult because typically men are offered more opportunities for relocation than women. Relative to family factors, Hall and Hall (1978) found that a significant number of relocation offers are turned down because of lack of spousal support or concern for the children's wellbeing. The presence of children makes an employee less likely willing to relocate (Hall & Hall 1978), unless a substantial pay increase was involved (Araji, 1983) or the children were older (Turban et al. 1992). The research here is somewhat mixed as some studies have found a strong positive link between marital status and willingness to relocate (Araji 1983; Brett & Reilly 1988) while others have found that married women are less likely want to relocate than married men (Gaylord 1984). A study by Gould and Penley (1985) suggests that when both a husband and wife are employed, both parties would be more willing to relocate for each other. Gould and Penley (1985) cite that dual income households have more money to finance a move. Other studies found that when traditional gender roles are assumed, families may be more willing to relocate (Lamont & Wuthnow 1990; Bielby & Bielby 1992).
Traditional gender roles mean that a wife is more willing to move to accommodate her husband’s career. On the contrary, many studies have found that employees with employed spouses are less willing to relocate (Brett & Reilly 1988; Bielby & Bielby 1992; Lichter 1982; Martin & Roberts 1984). A move has to be financially worthwhile to counter the employed spouse’s income. In particular, a woman will be less willing to relocate for her husband’s career if she is very involved in a career of her own. A review of the literature suggests that two classes of variables may be related to an individual's willingness to relocate. These are: (1) time-based variables; age, length of time in the job, and length of time living in the area; and (2) situational variables; salary, job involvement, family status, and spouse's employment status (Gould & Penley, 1985).
A limited number of studies have examined employee willingness to relocate and much of this research has yielded mixed results. For example, some studies have found that background factors such as not having children or being married to a spouse who does not work predicted employee willingness to move, whereas other studies have found opposite or non-significant relationships (compare Brett & Reilly, 1988; Brett, Stroh, & Reilly, 1993; Gould & Penley, 1985; Landau, Shamir, & Arthur, 1992). Similarly, some studies have found positive relationships between career-related variables (e.g., future developmental opportunities), work attitudes (e.g., job satisfaction), and employee willingness to move, whereas others have not (Brett et al., 1993; Landau et al., 1992; Noe, Steffy, & Barber, 1988). Several characteristics of the existing research may help explain why much of the evidence is mixed. First, some of these studies have used homogeneous samples and idiosyncratic settings which limit generalizability across studies. This includes examining willingness to relocate using all-male samples (e.g., Brett & Reilly, 1988; Kirschenbaum, 1991), managers and professionals (e.g., Brett & Reilly, 1988; Landau et al., 1992; Veiga, 1983), government employees (e.g., Fox & Krausz, 1987; Noe et al., 1988; Noe & Barber, 1993), or military personnel (Kirschenbaum, 1991). In addition, many of the studies have relied upon single-item criterion measures (e.g., Brett & Reilly, 1988; Brett et al., 1993; Kirschenbaum, 1991; Veiga, 1983) and single-source data (e.g., Noe & Barber, 1993; Noe et al., 1988; Landau et al., 1992; Veiga, 1983), both of which raise validity concerns (Podsakoff & Organ, 1986). It is expected that employees in single-earner marriages will report more willingness to move than those in dual-earner marriages. Of the studies that predicted such a relationship, one found support (Kirschenbaum, 1991), three did not (Brett et al.,1993; Brett & Reilly, 1988; Noe et al., 1988), and one found dual-earners more willing to relocate than single-earners (Gould & Penley, 1985). Having children living at home may also influence employees’ attitudes about moving (Brett, 1982; Pinder, 1989; Luo & Cooper, 1990; Munton & Forster, 1990). While the empirical record is again mixed as to whether children in the home is negatively related (Landau et al., 1992) or unrelated (Brett & Reilly, 1988; Gould & Penley, 1985) to employee willingness to move, based on the relocation stress literature it is expected that having children living at home would be negatively related to employee willingness to relocate Finally, previous research (Brett et al., 1993; Gould & Penley, 1985; Landau et al., 1992; Veiga, 1983) suggest that employee age relates negatively to employee willingness to relocate since in the early career years individuals are generally less tied to a specific geographic area due to family concerns and are typically more oriented toward developing new skills (Feldman, 1988). Further, since the company relocation policy may influence employees’ attitudes toward relocating (Munton, Forster, Altman, & Greenbury, 1993), it is expected that relocation policy satisfaction related positively to employee willingness to relocate again.
Geographical mobility is an important precondition for career development, especially for high potentials (Ackers, 2004; Challiol and Mignonac, 2005; Robert and Bukodi, 2002). Early studies on mobility issues showed that people relocate for mainly two reasons; for career enhancement or to stay employed (Bielby and Bielby, 1992). Some research revealed that women were less willing to accept job transfers than men (Landau et al., 1992). Men’s careers were often given priority and therefore women decided not to relocate (Abele, 1996; Behnke and Meuser, 2003a, b). Relocation decisions in DCCs are especially complicated as compatibility issues have to be considered (e.g., Challiol and Mignonac, 2005). Even DCCs often give priority to the man’s career, suggesting that traditional gender roles still exist (Valcour and Tolbert, 2003). Ackers (2004) investigated the mobility of EU DCCs working in science. They found that not only parenthood but even partnering had a strong impact on career decision making. Specifically, the results of that study show that living in a dual scientist partner constellation had a detrimental effect on a female’s career success. Women more often than men made compromises in favor of their partner’s career. Robert and Bukodi (2002) investigated the effects of spouse’s resources on career success in the former communist Hungary. Their findings demonstrated that the spouse’s occupational and informational resources exerted a positive impact on the other partner’s upward career moves, supporting advantage accumulation (i.e., education and profession) and status similarity frameworks. Working in the same discipline (Burkett et al., 1999) or with the same employer (Moen, 2002) can also be advantageous for career progression
The common economic model of migration, built in the framework of a human capital model by Larry Sjaastad (1962), implies that in order to relocate, the present value of all future gains from moving need to outweigh the costs. Mincer (1978) extended that framework to model a family migration decision. He noted that to undertake a move, the future gains to one spouse would need to be large enough to offset any lost income (or utility) to the other. The model assumed a joint distribution for husband and wife wage shocks, and implied that married couples’ migration probabilities rise the more highly correlated the arrival probabilities of two (net) positive wage offers. In other words, larger urban areas provide more wage offers, and thus it is more likely that both spouses instead of just one draw a beneficial wage offer from that location.
Further, Mincer’s model implies that migration for two-earner couples should move closely with vacancy rates at a business cycle frequency as the relative abundance of vacancies is likely to increase the odds of two beneficial offers reaching the couple. Few contributions to the literature on the migration propensities of two-earner couples have been made since Mincer (1978), in particular whether two-earner couples are in fact less likely to move than one-earner couples. Also, Mincer’s paper is based on early 1970s data, an era with very different household labor supply patterns than today. Even the most recent studies of other aspects of couples’ location choice are based on pre-1994 data. The relative contributions of wives labor income to household income has risen dramatically since the 1970s, depressing migration rates. More recent work has evaluated the location choices of educated married couples, dubbed "power couples" by Costa and Kahn (2001). Costa and Kahn note that by the 1990 decennial census, couples composed of two college graduates were increasingly concentrated in large metropolitan statistical areas (MSA). In theory, a larger city would have more employers, and thus be more likely to satisfy the career desires of both members of a well-educated couple. Less populated areas, with a narrower array of job vacancies, would be less likely satisfy both members of the couple. The hypothesis that pairs of acceptable job offers for married couples are more prevalent in larger cities coincides with the traditional theories of family migration of Mincer (1978) and Frank (1978). Of course, cities want to lure the educated.
No city wants "brain drain” the outmigration of the most productive labor and part of a city tax base. As Costa and Kahn (2001) point out, the propensity of skilled workers to migrate would determine the ability of cities to adjust to positive regional labor market shocks some smaller cities might find it difficult to lure skilled workers if co-location decisions matter. If the migration of working couples is limited, firms may be less likely to locate in cities that are small or that have fewer college graduates. This would reinforce the negative effects of the outmigration of skilled workers. Understanding whether the rise of two-earner couples depresses labor supply adjustment is not only interesting because of the implications for regional or urban economic development, but also because this is a source of aggregate friction. Robert he couple’s migration decisions and finds that relative income is an important determinant.
Shimer (2006) recently proposed a macroeconomic model of the labor market based on mismatch which overcomes the empirical shortcomings of the often-used Mortenson Pissarides model (Dale Mortensen and Christopher Pissarides, 1999), which has difficulty explaining the relative volatility of unemployment during business cycles. The mismatch is generated in part by stickiness in regional migration which inhibits labor supply adjustment, and the results below suggest this mechanism is indeed an important labor market feature, as Shimer assumes. Not only is urban development influenced by two earner couples’ migration, but the aggregate matching function and unemployment durations are influenced by how collocation decisions are made by the nation’s 33 million dual-earner married couples.
However, in an era of high-speed communication, higher levels of education, interstate media coverage, and cheap air travel, even flat migration trends are a bit of a surprise. For example, education levels have been shown to raise migration propensities, and the average level of educational attainment in the population has risen over time. In addition, macroeconomists generally think that job search has become more efficient which should facilitate acquiring out-of-state information and lead to more job-related relocation. Similarly, smaller families and the later ages at which people marry should increase migration rates. One only has to look at the incredible growth in the Southwest and Southeast portions of the country to acknowledge that migration remains a vibrant part of American economic development.
Spouse attitudes and employee intentions to relocate seem to be related (Eby & Russell, 2000). For example, Brett et al. (1993) used a single-item measure of spouse willingness to move and found that in one study of 1000 managerial and professional employees it predicted employee willingness to relocate. However, in another study of 79 male employees no such effect was found (Brett & Reilly, 1988). This relationship was reexamined using a reliable and valid multi-item measure of spouse willingness to relocate, predicting a positive relationship between employee and spouse willingness to relocate. Several scholars have noted that relocation can benefit one partner’s career and at the same time have a detrimental effect on the marriage (Glickhauf-Hughes, Hughes, & Wells, 1986; Spiker-Miller & Kees, 1985). Based on the relocation stress literature (e.g., Barrett & Noble, 1973; McAllister, Butler, & Kaiser, 1973) it is expected that spouse perceptions of the difficulty associated with moving would relate negatively to employee willingness to relocate. Sekaran and Hall (1989) note that career decision making often involves negotiations among married partners. Further, situations that pose career trade-offs, such as relocating for one person’s job, are particularly complicated.
1.8: Research questions
a) To what level will family related factors such as single earner marriages vs dual earner marriages and number of children influence employees willingness to relocate for the firm?
b) Will background factors of marital status, age and gender predict an employee willingness to relocate for the firm?
c) What is the measured relationship between job related factors such as salary level and job involvement and employee willingness to relocate for the firm?
1.9: Research hypotheses
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