Cross-Disciplinary Applications of I/O Psychology Concepts: Predicting Student Retention and Employee Turnover

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Two survey investigations conducted over a 2-year period serve as a case study illustrating how research that crosses disciplinary boundaries can shed light on current conceptual and methodological issues in student retention. Specifically, we applied the concepts of organizational commitment and job embeddedness used by industrial/organizational psychologists in the study of employee turnover to an investigation of factors that influence college student retention and withdrawal. The present research models the cross-disciplinary approach by examining the associations between embeddedness (including links, fit, sacrifice) and organizational commitment, and focusing on their ability to predict students' intentions to leave and, longitudinally, to predict actual departure prior to graduation. The case study demonstrates how understanding a particular behavior in one domain, that of education, is advanced by taking an approach from outside that discipline. Similarly, concepts from I/O psychology and management become clarified when applied outside their own boundaries.

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