Antecedents of turnover in federal public administration


  • Pedro Cavalcanti G. Ferreira Instituto de Pesquisa Econômica Aplicada
  • Elaine Rabelo Neiva Universidade de Brasília



Engagement, Values, Turnover, Expectations, Civil servants


Purpose – Understanding the reasons that lead civil servants to abandon their offices is an important step towards qualifying personnel management in the Federal Administration. The purpose of this study is to present an initial approach to the subject and to investigate variables that favor or reduce the turnover intention among civil servants in the Federal Executive Branch. Design/methodology/approach – To fulfill the objective stated, the study resorted to variables of values, expectations and affective commitment to the organization. Variables were tested in a model of structural equations capable of verifying if these are antecedent or not of the turnover intention levels in a sample comprising 228 civil servants. Findings – The validation of a model of structural equations unveiled a statistically relevant relation of dependence among values, expectations and the affective commitment to the organization. Moreover, engagement proved to be a mediator of the relation between the other variables and the turnover intention. Originality/value – The work contributed to literature by presenting evidence that low expectations among civil servants bring low affective commitment which, in turn, leads to higher willingness to quit organizations. On the other hand, the same model showed that self-transcendent values, typical to the public career (serve the public), prevail among civil servants and positively impact commitment. This scenario shows that in people management all these elements of values and expectations must be worked on to reduce the number of civil servants that quit the government every year, as well as the high costs associated with quitting.


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