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Title: An exploratory study on the predictors of turnover intentions among expatriate academics and talent retention strategies at selected universities in KwaZulu-Natal, South Africa
Authors: Henha, Edwige Pauline Ngo 
Issue Date: Mar-2019
This research study aimed to identify the factors that predict turnover intentions among expatriate academics and to propose effective retention strategies. The study was conducted on expatriate academics employed at two selected traditional Higher Education Universities in the KwaZulu-Natal province of South Africa, namely the University of KwaZulu-Natal and the University of Zululand. The study was underpinned by meeting the key objectives and research questions of the empirical investigation. Having skilled expatriate academics is a competitive advantage in this era of internationalisation of Higher Education Institutions. However, with the high turnover propensity amongst expatriate academics, this study focussed on the primary causes of actual turnover intentions in these two HE Institutions under investigation.
The review of the literature on turnover intentions revealed various factors that predict employees’ turnover intentions. However, eight recurrent factors were selected for this study. These factors included demographics, job satisfaction, organisational commitment, organisational justice, perceived job opportunities, social and cultural adjustment, adequacy of retention strategies and institutional characteristics. A conceptual framework highlighting the linkages between the aforementioned factors was also formulated for this study. Various hypotheses were formulated and tested using the Statistical Package for Social Sciences (SPSS) version 25 for Windows. In addition, the thesis was subjected to a TURNITIN Test to assess the degree of plagiarism and yielded a result of 15%.
For the research methodology and design, a linear snowball non-probability sampling referral method was adopted to acquire the target respondents. A structured self-administered questionnaire measured on the Five-Point Likert Scale was used to collect the primary data for the quantitative paradigm employed. Thus, 133 questionnaires were obtained from the identified target population using the personal method of data collection and 8 questionnaires were discarded as they were incomplete. The responses to the remaining 125 usable questionnaires were captured to form a data set and thereafter subjected to various statistical tests. This equated to a response rate of 93,9%. The overall findings of this research study revealed that most of the aforementioned factors, except for perceived job opportunities, correlated with expatriate academics’ turnover intentions. Moreover, the multiple regression analyses revealed that job satisfaction was the more pertinent factor that highly predicted turnover intentions of expatriate academics. Furthermore, job satisfaction was also found to mediate the relationship between the other factors and turnover intention. Thus, it was recommended that the management of the two Higher Education Institutions under study undertake appropriate measures to conduct turnover intention surveys to uncover the reasons for leaving and develop set criteria during the recruitment and selection process to assess expatriate academics’ expectations. Furthermore, the study suggested that the two institutions implement sound retention strategies that enhance expatriate academics’ commitment and job satisfaction and deter turnover intentions.
Submitted in fulfillment of the requirement for Doctor of Philosophy in Management Sciences: Human Resources Management, Durban University of Technology, Durban, South Africa, 2019.
Appears in Collections:Theses and dissertations (Management Sciences)

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