Driver turnover research: exploring the missing angle with a global perspective

Daniel Sersland (University of Maryland University College, Adelphi, Maryland, USA)
Rajan Nataraajan (Auburn University, Auburn, Alabama, USA)

Journal of Service Management

ISSN: 1757-5818

Publication date: 17 August 2015



The purpose of this paper is to investigate and contribute to the understanding of the critical issue of “driver turnover” in the USA long-haul trucking environment which is becoming a malaise in the transportation sector not only in the USA but also worldwide. Most importantly, it accomplishes this through an exploration of the perceptions of the “drivers” themselves regarding the external customer-base in the trucking industry. This, to the best knowledge of the authors, has not yet been done and so becomes the missing angle in focus on driver turnover research.


This exploratory study employs a qualitative research methodology via in-depth interviews of a select sample of drivers in a field setting followed by content analysis of the responses. This methodology, by and large, is the most suitable for this type of exploration.


A content analysis of the perceptions of drivers reveals several important reasons (or causes) for driver turnover. This paper elaborates on those and offers customer-centric solutions to alleviate the plight of the driver and improve overall performance in the trucking sector.

Research limitations/implications

Needless to say, this exploratory research should be replicated in several other locations within the USA, other settings (e.g. trucking in extreme conditions), and other countries in order to enhance the external validity of the findings and recommendations.

Practical implications

All implications of this research are practical as they have direct managerial significance.


The value of this research lies in the fact that, to the best knowledge of the authors, this is the first study that explores the perceptions of long-haul drivers regarding the external customer-base of the trucking industry. The findings have direct implications for management in the trucking sector.



Sersland, D. and Nataraajan, R. (2015), "Driver turnover research: exploring the missing angle with a global perspective", Journal of Service Management, Vol. 26 No. 4, pp. 648-661.

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