Doctoral Dissertations

Date of Award


Degree Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy


Human Ecology

Major Professor

Ernest W. Brewer


The purpose of this study was to determine whether or not significant relationships existed between job stress and voluntary turnover intentions among Tennessee Cooperative Extension System (TCES) employees. The demographic variables gender, age, ethnicity, and education level, and the job-related variables job classification, job assignment, level in the organization, length of service with TCES, and length of service in current position were also examined to determine if significant differences existed in job stress and turnover intention scores among employee groups. The attitudinal variables job satisfaction and organizational commitment were examined as intervening variables in the job stress-turnover intentions relationship. The population for this study consisted of all employees of TCES at the time of data collection (January, 2002) who worked 30 or more hours weekly, or had a 75% or greater extension appointment. To ensure adequate representation from both job classifications, the population was stratified by professional (exempt) and support (nonexempt) employees. A 50% random sample was drawn from each stratum, resulting in 411 employees included in the study sample. A response rate of 81 % resulted in 333 employees serving as study participants, including 201 administrative/professional employees and 132 clerical/support employees. Data for this study were collected through a self-reported questionnaire packet. Instruments used to collect data included the Job Stress Survey (JSS), the Job Satisfaction Scale, Intent to Turnover Scale, and the Organizational Commitment Questionnaire. Additional demographic and job-related information was also collected in the supplementary questionnaire. A series of statistical analyses, including Pearson rand Spearman rank correlations, and linear and multiple regression were utilized to respond to eight research questions designed to examine relationships between job stress and turnover intentions of TCES employees. These analyses revealed significant and positive relationships between job stress, job pressure, and lack of organizational support with turnover intentions. The frequency that job stress and lack of organizational support occurred was also significantly and positively associated with turnover intentions, while the frequency of job pressure was not. Job stress and lack of organizational support severity was determined to also be significantly and positively related to turnover intentions, while job pressure severity was not significantly related. When individual stressors were examined, 22 of the 30 stressors had significant associations with turnover intentions. The attitudinal variables job satisfaction and organizational commitment were both determined to be significantly and negatively related to turnover intentions, as well as with job stress, job pressure, and lack of organizational support. Multiple regression analysis revealed that job satisfaction and organizational commitment explained a significant amount of the variance in the turnover intentions construct. Job satisfaction and organizational commitment were also found to be significantly and positively related to each other. A series of MANOV As and ANOV As were utilized to test the four null hypotheses in this study, which were all rejected. Significant differences were found in job stress scores when compared by education level, as well as by job classification and job assignment. Significant differences were also found among turnover intention scores when examined by age and education levels, as well as by length of tenure with TCES.

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