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Nonlinear effects of employee engagement and satisfaction on turnover intention

Haemoon Oh (College of Hospitality, Retail, and Sport Management, University of South Carolina, Columbia, South Carolina, USA)
Miyoung Jeong (School of Hotel, Restaurant, and Tourism Management College of Hospitality, Retail and Sport Management, University of South Carolina, Columbia, South Carolina, USA)
Hyejo Hailey Shin (School of Hotel and Tourism Management, The Hong Kong Polytechnic University, Hong Kong, China)
Allan Schweyer (Chief Academic Advisor, Incentive Research Foundation, McLean, Virginia, USA)

International Journal of Contemporary Hospitality Management

ISSN: 0959-6119

Article publication date: 1 December 2022

Issue publication date: 9 June 2023




This study aims to advance the understanding of the relationships between employee engagement (EE), satisfaction and turnover intention (TI) beyond their known linear functions by providing a set of significant empirical evidence on nonlinear functions including quadratic, cubic and interactive effects.


This study used four 2 × 2 between-subjects experiments sampling 640 hospitality sales professionals through online data collection methods. EE and employee satisfaction (ES) were examined in disaggregation into personal and organizational dimensions. Residual regression models controlling for age and gender as covariates were the main approaches for analyzing data for nonlinear effects.


Both EE and ES consistently have significant negative quadratic and positive cubic effects on employees’ TI. EE and ES have a negative interaction effect, that is, complementing each other, on TI such that the effect is more pronounced at higher levels than lower levels of EE and satisfaction.

Practical implications

Organizations need to understand some threshold phenomena that may exist in the widely believed linear effects of EE and satisfaction on TI. Doing so may help allocate resources more effectively for EE and satisfaction.


This study examined the nonlinear as well as interactive nature of the relationships between EE and TI and ES and TI to expand our understanding of these relationships beyond the known linearity and add new empirical evidence to the literature.



The research in this paper was funded by the Incentive Research Foundation.


Oh, H., Jeong, M., Shin, H.H. and Schweyer, A. (2023), "Nonlinear effects of employee engagement and satisfaction on turnover intention", International Journal of Contemporary Hospitality Management, Vol. 35 No. 7, pp. 2410-2436.



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