2.1. Job Embeddedness
Mitchell et al. suggested that job embeddedness is similar to an integrative network system where employees form indivisible links with people, things, and other networks of their organizations [15
]. According to these researchers, higher density networks and stronger links will make employees more reluctant to change their jobs when they are offered a new one because they want to stay connected in the indivisible network of their organizations. In general, employees with higher job embeddedness are more willing to stay [18
]. Mitchell et al. postulated that three key elements exist in job embeddedness [15
]. The first is the content of the links between employees and other people or activities in their organizations or communities; the second is the level of similarity or fit of employees’ lifestyles with their work and residential area; and the third is what employees must relinquish if they leave the job or community. In addition, Mitchell et al. asserted that three critical aspects exist for job embeddedness: links, fit, and sacrifice [15
]. Links refers to the levels of interaction and connections—formal or casual—between individuals and their organizations or other members of the organizations. These links can be further divided into on-job links (which concern employees’ participation in group activities in the organization as well as other formal or casual interaction (e.g., business collaboration) with members of the organization) and off-job link (which are links formed when employees interact or exchange information with friends in their communities). Stronger links are suggested to equal higher levels of job embeddedness. Moreover, increasing job embeddedness will reduce the likelihood of people quitting their jobs. Compatibility refers to employees’ perception of how compatible they are with or how fit they are for the organizations or environment of their organizations. On-job compatibility refers to how compatible a member’s personal values, career goals, and plans for the future are with the knowledge and skills required for the organizational culture and work. High compatibility will make an employee less likely to leave the organization. External work compatibility refers to the level of fit to the residential area or community perceived by an individual, especially in terms of the culture, atmosphere, and leisure activities. The more suitable the activities or environment are for an individual, the higher the compatibility. Sacrifice refers to the benefits and values lost when an employee leaves the organization or community. In other words, it is the opportunity cost for quitting one’s job. When an employee leaves a job, he or she may lose premium benefits, interpersonal interaction, and job promotion opportunities. In addition, the employee may have to change their living habits and lifestyle. Holtom and Inderrieden divided job embeddedness into on-job and off-job embeddedness [17
]. On-job embeddedness concerns one’s work organization and job-related matters, whereas off-job embeddedness concerns one’s community and events outside of work. In this study, job embeddedness was examined from three aspects: organization fit, organizational sacrifice, and organizational links.
2.4. Relationships between Job Embeddedness, Organizational Commitment, and Intention to Stay
Lee et al. revealed that an individual may identify with their organization because of salary, status, job autonomy, or friendship with colleagues, and become reluctant to leave that organization [12
]. This is called job embeddedness. Robinson et al. indicated that both organizational sacrifice in on-job embeddedness and community links in off-job embeddedness have significant effects on organizational commitment [23
]. According to these studies, employees’ organization fit has a positive effect on job embeddedness, and the greater the organization fit, the more positive this effect. Furthermore, these studies have indicated that job embeddedness mediates the positive relationships between organization fit and organizational commitment. Therefore, the present study proposed the following hypotheses:
Hypothesis 1 (H1a).
The greater the organization fit, the greater the organizational commitment.
Hypothesis 1 (H1b).
The greater the organizational link, the greater the organizational commitment.
Hypothesis 1 (H1c).
The greater the organizational sacrifice, the greater the organizational commitment.
Griffeth, Hom, and Gaertner suggested that organizational commitment can effectively predict employees’ job quitting behavior [28
]. Low employee organizational commitment indicates more quitting behavior in employees. Furthermore, when employees identify with their organizations and its goals and wish to be members of their organizations, organizational commitment will be negatively associated with the rate of employee absenteeism [19
]. Thus, organizational commitment is an emotional expression of belongingness, identification, and participation [29
]. Members being highly committed to their organizations improves members’ sense of solidarity, and the organizations’ competitiveness will also improve. By contrast, if their commitment is low, they will feel insecure within their organizations and be more likely to quit. Perryer, Jordan, Firns, and Travaglione indicated that organizational commitment can effectively predict employees’ intention to stay [30
]. Porter, Steers, Mowday, and Boulian asserted that in comparison with job satisfaction, organizational commitment can better predict employees’ intention to stay [31
]. These studies suggested that organizational commitment is an antecedent variable of employees’ intention to stay and, moreover, organizational commitment is positively associated with intention to stay. Thus, the higher the employees’ organizational commitment, the greater their intention to stay. As a result, the present study proposed the following hypothesis:
Hypothesis 2 (H2).
The greater the organizational commitment, the greater the intention to stay.
Studies have shown that job embeddedness has a high explanatory power for employee retention, and these two are positively correlated [15
]. Therefore, higher levels of job embeddedness can more effectively reduce employees’ job quitting behavior and make employees more willing to stay. Harari, Reaves, and Viswesvaran indicated that the organizational dimension of job embeddedness is a crucial indicator of employee performance [33
]. Other studies have suggested that for the organizational dimension, an individual’s intention to stay is affected by his or her job satisfaction and organizational commitment [34
]. From a link perspective, employees’ intention to stay can be improved by boosting their sense of commitment through enhancing their job content, work teams, and interaction with colleagues [15
]. In terms of the level of fit, a poorer fit between employees and their organizations was indicated to be associated with higher job dissatisfaction and lower intentions to stay [35
]. For organizational sacrifice, economic loss is the first challenge that people quitting their jobs must face. Therefore, the traditional attitude-based model has included and prioritized the factor of losing economic benefits and suggested that greater economic benefits are associated with higher job satisfaction and relatively higher intention to stay [36
]. Some other types of organizational sacrifice and loss to be considered are job stability, job promotion opportunities, and interpersonal relationships, which are all involved in employees’ job-related decision-making. Therefore, the present study proposed the following hypotheses:
Hypothesis 3 (H3a).
The better the organization fit, the higher the intention to stay.
Hypothesis 3 (H3b).
The higher the level of organizational link, the higher the intention to stay.
Hypothesis 3 (H3c).
The greater the organizational sacrifice, the higher the intention to stay.
Jiang, Liu, McKay, Lee, and Mitchell demonstrated that higher levels of job embeddedness are associated with higher organizational commitment [37
]. Tang et al. demonstrated that a significant and positive association exists between job embeddedness and organizational commitment [38
]. Kalidass and Bahron consistently showed a positive effect of organizational commitment on intention to stay [39
]. Allen chose organizational socialization strategies, on-job embeddedness, and intention to leave as measures, and revealed that new employees’ on-job embeddedness and intention to leave are negatively correlated [40
]. Second, organizational socialization strategies can enhance new employees’ job embeddedness. Moreover, organizational socialization strategies were found to be more strongly associated with on-job embeddedness than off-job embeddedness. Reiche, Kraimer, and Harzing considered that repatriated employees with higher levels of job embeddedness with their parent companies have lower intention to leave [41
]. Allen and Shanock chose job embeddedness, perceived organizational support, organizational commitment, and voluntary redundancy as measures, and found that both perceived organizational support and job embeddedness affect new employees’ organizational commitment and voluntary redundancy [42
]. Robinson et al. showed that the organizational sacrifice in on-job embeddedness and the community links in off-job embeddedness have significant effects on organizational commitment and intention to leave [23
]. More specifically, organizational sacrifice has a significant and negative effect on intention to leave, whereas community link has a significant and positive effect on intention to leave.
These findings suggested that job embeddedness affects employees’ organizational commitment, and that the higher the employees’ organizational commitment, the higher their intention to stay. Therefore, the present study proposed the following hypotheses.
Hypothesis 4 (H4a).
Organization fit increases intention to stay through organizational commitment.
Hypothesis 4 (H4b).
Organizational link increases intention to stay through organizational commitment.
Hypothesis 4 (H4c).
Organizational sacrifice increases intention to stay through organizational commitment.
2.5. Moderating Effect of Work–Life Balance
In recent years, work–life balance has been found to be very important in attracting and retaining talent [43
]. Work–life balance means an employee is achieving balance between work, home, and other life roles [45
]. Work–life balance is defined as the accomplishment of satisfactory experiences in all domains of life. Attaining satisfying experiences in all domains of life requires an equal distribution of personal resources such as energy, time, and commitment across all domains [47
]. If the responsibilities, pressures, and obligations of employees at work are too high, or the working hours are too long and the resources are not evenly distributed, they may oppress the quality of life and lead to poor physical and mental state. Therefore, work–life balance is the employee mentality that must be emphasized in organizational management [48
]. Greenhaus and Beutell [49
] have pointed out that work–life imbalances can cause problems such as reduced employee productivity, low morale, lateness, absence, etc., and may lead to employee turnover. If employees can maintain a good balance between work and personal life, it will be beneficial to both the company and the employees themselves in the long run. According to Hayman’s [50
] study, work–life balance is defined as the psychological satisfaction of individuals, and it can comprehensively improve self-efficacy. Work–life balance is negatively correlated with the number of overtime work and the working hours of the individual. The longer the number of overtime work and the number of working hours, the more unbalanced work and life will affect the employee’s willingness to stay and the productivity of the work [51
]. Organizational commitment and growth are pivotal for an individual from the point of view of career growth. They are obligatory for an individual to accomplish societal commitments, social responsibilities, and share time for the wellbeing of society. However, commitment towards self-development and sound health are essential for leading a peaceful life. Any mismanagement among personal, societal, and organizational commitments can end up with serious consequences in each of those areas. While definitions and explanations differ, work–life balance can be generally associated with equilibrium, or maintenance of an overall sense of harmony in life [52
]. Malone and Issa refer to a person’s level of organizational commitment as a reliable predictor of employee turnover, and work–life balance had a decisive impact on an employee’s overall job satisfaction, organizational commitment, and willingness to stay [54
]. Poor work–life balance has negative consequences on employees’ health and wellbeing, as well as organizations’ performance [55
]. Hence, an imbalance between work and personal life causes higher stress that might also lead to greater turnover intention among employees [57
]. As such, employees’ ability to achieve work–life balance with organizational support should lead to higher job engagement, greater commitment, better job performance, and lower turnover rate [57
]. According to these findings, work–life balance is associated with organizational commitment, and it affects intention to stay. In addition, the positive effect of organizational commitment on intention to stay is mediated by organizational commitment reinforcing work–life balance. Therefore, this study suspects that work–life balance has a moderating effect on the association between organizational commitment and intention to stay, and proposed the following hypothesis:
Hypothesis 5 (H5a).
Work–life balance reinforces the association between organizational commitment and intention to stay.