A new study of 240 people that voluntarily resigned or quit their full-time jobs in the past twelve months has identified 7 common resignation styles:
- By The Book (31 per cent) was the most common style of resignation. Typified by an employee-initiated face-to-face meeting, in which employee provides manager with reason for quitting and provides two to three weeks’ notice.
- Perfunctory (29 per cent) similar to “by the book”, but in a clinical fashion, where the employee does not give the manager with a reason for quitting.
- Grateful Goodbye (9 per cent) where the employee expresses gratitude toward manager, often combined with an offer by the employee to do what he or she can to reduce the disruption caused by him or her quitting.
- In The Loop (8 per cent) where a formal notice of resignation is preceded by the employee informally informing his or her manager of his or her intentions to resign.
- Avoidant (9 per cent) where the employee formally resigns by informing someone other than one’s boss, or using written and not face-to-face communication to resign.
- Bridge Burners (10 per cent) characterised by the employee insulting or harming the organization or its members as part of his or her resignation.
- Impulsive Quitting (4 per cent) typically involves the employee resigning without providing any notice, and may involve “walking off the job” or simply not showing up for work without communicating anything to one’s manager.
The study found that people who used Bridge Burning or Impulsive Quitting to resign reported higher levels of abuse from their supervisors.
They were also more likely to feel their organization had treated them unfairly.
However, co-worker satisfaction was no different from other common resignation styles.
The authors of the study commented:
our quantitative analyses suggest that social exchange relationships influence the ways employees choose to resign.
When employees who feel they have been treated unfairly by their organization or abused by their boss quit their job, they appear to choose more destructive resignation styles than those who perceive higher levels of organizational justice or who have not been abused by their manager.
A further analysis involving 498 managers on the receiving end of a resignation found that resignations generally evoked more negative emotions than positive ones for managers.
However, managers experienced relatively higher levels of positive emotions in By The Book, Grateful Goodbyes, and In The Loop resignations.
The authors said:
beyond simply being upset or indifferent about an employee’s departure, managerial reactions to the news that one of their workers is quitting differ based on how that news is delivered and the content of that message.
As such, when examining the costs and consequences of voluntary turnover, researchers should not only consider the impact that an employee’s departure has on the organization and its members, but also contemplate how the style in which the employee quits may contribute to, or detract from, the performance of his or her work group and organization.
The study was published in the Journal Of Applied Psychology (Klotz et al., 2016)
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