Job Embeddedness – A Study

Job Embeddedness - A Study


An employee stays in a job because of many reasons. A professional may have many friends in her company or may be respected by her colleagues. The company where she works may be a good payer and it may be close to her house as well. When an employee is motivated by the recognition of her manager she stays in that company for a long time. The happier an employee is in a company lesser are her chances of leaving it. In this article, we will discuss about job embeddedness and its influence in team management.


The idea of job embeddedness was initiated by Brooks Holtom, Terence Mitchell, Chris Sablynski, Thomas Lee and Miriam Erez. The theory was introduced in the Academy of Management Journal paper of 2001, “Why People Stay: Using Job Embeddedness to Predict Voluntary Turnover."

Job Embeddedness

An Idea

It is generally believed that satisfaction in job is related to employee turnover. Analysts are of the view that dissatisfied employees tend to leave companies and this leads to attrition. It is often believed that an employee feels that the next job she is going to join can make her more satisfied than her current role. But, the people associated with the study of job embeddedness state that this is not entirely true. There are actually many things that determine whether an employee stays in a company or not. The concept of job embeddedness deals with some factors mentioned below. There are three elements of job embeddedness, namely, links, fit and sacrifice.


The connection that an employee has with her colleagues or activities is called links.


It is the extent to which the work culture and the task suit an employee.


Sacrifice deals with the idea of the things that an employee has to leave behind if she has to shift to another location.

The stronger the link an employee shares with her fellow workers and her job role stronger are her chances to stay committed and engaged to the company. Mentioned below is an instance of job embeddedness.


When an employee joins a company, she starts learning about the people with whom she works and also about the job she does. In course of time, she gets attached to the job and the people in that company. The objectives of the company become objectives of the employee and she is committed to the organization. With the passage of time, the company provides her with all kinds of facilities to live a comfortable personal life. The company reimburses all her medical expenses. As a result, she is engaged to the company to a great extent. The employee becomes embedded to the company as she received all help from the organization to build a strong career and a comfortable personal life.

These activities of the company make her attached to its values. Thus, her chances of leaving the company are bleak.

Unlike traditional employee turnover models job embeddedness focuses on the reasons that do not have an impact on the cause of employee retention. The three situational dimensions of link, fit and sacrifice are considered both on-and off-the-job.

The Three Aspects of the Theory

# Links

Organizational links are both informal and formal connections between an employee and other team members or the company. This link is caused after working with the company for sometime.

Community links are those connections that a person has with the people in her locality. The links may be with family members or friends. Just like organizational links it is hard to give up community links, if there is a strong relationship with the community. Community links include the friends of a person’s spouse, children and the hobbies that she has.

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# Fit

The compatibility of an employee with the organization, in which she works, is organizational fit. The extent of compatibility depends on the perception of the employee. The theory of job embeddedness says that if the knowledge of the employee matches with the requirement of the job, perception of organizational fit is accurate. Organizational fit increases with the ability of the employee to match the needs of the company. Organizational fit also envelopes congruence between the values plus objectives of the employee and the company. An employee who perceives that she is fit for the organization cannot easily sever ties with that organization.

Community fit is the perception that a person holds about how much she is compatible with the community in which she lives. It depends on the culture of the community and the facilities she gets from it. Job embeddedness says that more is the compatibility between the requirements of the community and the needs of the person more are her chances of staying with the community.

# Sacrifice

Organizational sacrifice refers to the benefits and material costs that an employee has to let go when she leaves a job. When an employee leaves her job she has to leave behind her cherished position, cordial work relations and the amenities offered by her company. This theory states that even if an employee is thinking of leaving her job, the very idea of losing the facilities she gets and the social relationships she has built over the years will not allow her to quit her job.

The perceived sacrifice that a person has to make when she has to leave the community in which she lives is called community sacrifice. When an employee leaves her community to join a company in a different location she has to sacrifice the friends she made, her family, sell her house or even let go of the easy transport she had. If the importance of her community is greater to her than a new job, she is likely to leave the job and settle in a different geographical location.


It can thus, be concluded that these three faces of the job embeddedness theory and the on- and off- job life of an employee form a mesh which leads that professional to be embedded in the company or community to which she is attached. The three aspects of links, fit and sacrifice form a retaining power that pursues an employee to stay with the company.

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