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RAM. Revista de Administração Mackenzie

On-line version ISSN 1678-6971

RAM, Rev. Adm. Mackenzie vol.19 no.spe São Paulo  2018  Epub Dec 06, 2018

http://dx.doi.org/10.1590/1678-6971/eramd180017 

Dossier

THE MEANING OF WORK AS A PREDICTOR OF THE INTENTION TO REMAIN/LEAVE AMONG TEACHERS

OS SIGNIFICADOS DO TRABALHO COMO PREDITORES DA INTENÇÃO DE PERMANÊNCIA/SAÍDA ENTRE DOCENTES

1Universidade Federal de Minas Gerais (UFMG), Belo Horizonte, MG, Brazil.

2Universidad de Oviedo (UO), Oviedo, Asturias, Spain.

ABSTRACT

Purpose:

Assessing whether the meanings attributed to the work by teachers from a course of professional technological education (PTE), Human Resource Management (HRM) were predictors of the intention to remain in or to leave employment.

Originality/value:

There is a gap in the literature about the research of the relationship between working meanings and the turnover intention. Also, the recent expansion of PTE in Brazil was not accompanied by the development of research related to different aspects of the work of the teachers who work in PTE, considering that they act in a context of the historical and cultural devaluation of HRM teachers

Design/methodology/approach:

We developed a multi-methodological study in two stages: 1. Application of semi-structured interviews; 2. Application of structured questionnaires.

Findings:

The results of the first stage provided an empirical basis for constructing hypotheses concerning the prevalence of leaving intention and the prediction of this phenomenon by the components of work meaning. The results of the second stage confirmed that the leaving intention was prevalent among most HRM teachers. Also, a valuation of the dignity-humanization, the occupation and a sense of the reality of dehumanization and exhaustion are predictors of the likelihood of the leaving intention. We concluded that, despite the increased job opportunities for teachers in PTE, it does not represent a quality alternative, as well as HRM teachers, considered it a temporary option of work.

KEYWORDS Teaching; Higher Technical Education; Human Resources Management; Meanings of work; Turnover Intention

RESUMO

Objetivo:

Avaliar se os significados atribuídos ao trabalho de docentes de um curso da educação profissional tecnológica (EPT) brasileira - Gestão de Recursos Humanos (GRH) - são preditores da intenção de perma- nência/saída do emprego.

Originalidade/valor:

A recente expansão da EPT no Brasil não foi acom- panhada pelo desenvolvimento de pesquisas relacionadas a diferentes aspectos do trabalho dos docentes que atuam na EPT. Além disso, esta expansão ocorre em um contexto de desvalorização histórica e cultural do professor da EPT incrementando a necessidade de realização de pes- quisas sobre seu trabalho.

Design/metodologia/abordagem:

Desenvolvemos uma pesquisa multi- metodológica em duas etapas: 1. Aplicação de entrevistas semiestrutu- radas; 2. Aplicação de questionários estruturados.

Resultados:

Os resultados da primeira etapa forneceram base empírica para a construção de hipóteses a respeito da predominância da intenção de saída e da relação de predição dos componentes do significado do trabalho para a intenção de saída. Os resultados da segunda etapa con- firmaram que há mais docentes de GRH para quem a intenção de saída prevalece. Além disso, os resultados também indicaram que a valoriza- ção da dignidade-humanização e da ocupação e da expressão de uma realidade de desumanização e esgotamento são preditores da probabili- dade da intenção de saída. Concluímos que, apesar da expansão das pos- sibilidades de trabalho para docentes na EPT, esta não representa em uma alternativa de qualidade, sendo então considerada como plano tem- porário para os docentes de GRH.

PALAVRAS-CHAVE Docentes; Educação Profissional Tecnológica; Gestão de Recursos Humanos; Significados do Trabalho; Intenção de Rotatividade

1. INTRODUCTION

The intention of remaining/leaving refers to the conscious and deliberate willingness to stay in or leave an organization in the near future (Mobley, Horner, & Hollingsworth, 1978). Some authors (e.g., Holtom, Mitchell, Lee, & Eberly, 2008) consider it one of the immediate predictors of turnover behavior. High turnover rates have been associated with such consequences as reduced organizational performance, elevated accident rates, inferior quality of service, and greater counter-productivity (Heavey, Holwerda, & Hausknecht, 2013).

The situation of financial globalization, driven by the information technology revolution, has transformed contemporaneity and the structure of work (e.g., content, conditions, and meanings), and consolidated trends such as the diversification of forms of employment and the precariousness of work (according authors as Agulló-Tomás, 2001; Blanch & Cantera, 2009; Hewison, 2016; Standing, 2011). Consideration of elements related to the meaning of work as predictors of intention to remain in/leave an organization is not new, neither is it common. Shacklock and Brunetto (2012), for example, investigated nurses, referencing the meaning of work model of the MOW team (1987), and they found that work-family conflict, autonomy perceptions, attachment to work, importance of the work to the individual, a satisfactory relationship with superior, and interpersonal relationships at work influenced the intention of remaining. Arnoux-Nicolas, Sovet, Lhotellier, Fabio and Bernaud (2016), another example, demonstrated that work meanings mediated the relation between the perceived work conditions and the turnover intention, highlighting the need to explore its role against other variables.

In this situation of changes in the working world higher-level, the professional technological education (PTE) expanded rapidly in Brazil (INEP, 2014). However, publications regarding the work of PTE teachers have mainly focused on teachers’ training (e.g., Gariglio & Burnier, 2012). Then, we identified studies about what work means to teachers and turnover intention as a gap in the investigation. We developed this research to assess whether the meanings attributed to the work by Brazilian PTE teachers in courses of Human Resource Management (HRM) were predictors of the intention to remain in/leave employment.

2. MEANINGS OF WORK

Studies on the meaning of work have intensified since the 1980s (e.g., Bendassolli, Coelho-Lima, Pinheiro, & Gê, 20015; Saunders & Nedelec, 2014). Research has explored the meanings assigned to work in different occupations, including teaching (e.g., Albu & Cojocariu, 2012; Caraballo, Blanch, & Perez, 2016).

We consider the meaning of work as a cognitive act, that is subjective, and it is simultaneously social, being associated with socio-historical conditions of society (Borges & Tamayo, 2001). Accordingly, the meaning of work is a phenomenon that crosses levels of analysis (societal, organizational, and individual) and is characterized as a psycho-sociological object, following the reasoning of authors such as Lévy (1994) and Lhuilier (2013).

For the investigation of the meaning of work, we chose the model of Borges and Tamayo (2001). This model has been shown to be appropriate in Brazil for different occupations and populations, such as psychologists (Borges & Yamamoto, 2010), construction workers (Barros, Borges, & Álvaro-Estramiana, 2017), and disabled workers (Tette, Carvalho-Freitas, & Oliveira, 2014). It includes four facets of the meaning of work: 1. The centrality of work (MOW, 1987), which refers to the relative importance attached to work compared to family, leisure, religion, and community, and the absolute importance attached to a job; 2. Value attributes, which refer to the characteristics attributed to the work that indicates what it should be (the ideal of work) (Borges & Tamayo, 2001); 3. Descriptive attributes, referring to perceived characteristics of work, describing it as it really is (Borges & Tamayo, 2001) and; 4. Hierarchy of attributes, which refers to the order of importance attributed by the individual to these characteristics.

Borges and Yamamoto (2010) organized the value and descriptive attributes in eight types for psychologists (a profession, from previous studies, that contains many similarities to HRM teachers, including intersections such as there being psychologists who are HRM teachers) from empirical research where they applied the data analysis technique called smallest space analysis (Figure 2.1).

Table 2.1 VALUE AND DESCRIPTIVE ATTRIBUTE TYPES FOR THE MEANING OF WORK 

Value types. The work should be: Descriptive types. The work represents specifically:
Equality and acceptance. Opportunity to consider own opinions, guarantee of survival, equal rights and duties, feeling of acceptance by peers. Equality-recognition-acceptance. Professional opportunities, recognition, consideration of opinions, equal rights, security, and a sense of acceptance.
Achievement. Means to benefit others, and at the same time, a constant source in the search for improvement, productivity, and decisionmaking. Achievement. Pleasuring the performance of tasks, opportunities to help others, as well as productivity, creativity, and decision-making.
Economic recognition. Means of recognition through economic rewards; proportionality between these rewards and effort; personal and family assistance; and social contribution. Economic independence. Provision of livelihood, independence, economic rewards, stability, and assistance.
Growth and independence. Source of pleasure in tasks, livelihood and economic independence, the stable standard of living, respect, trust, learning, and creativity. Exhaustion. Burden in the repetition of tasks, physical effort, and speed, causing the individual to feel exhausted.
Dignity-humanization. Provision of hygienic care, recognition of authority, sense of dignity, comfort, obligations, and tasks in proportion to the individual’s ability, adoption of measures of security, and psychological well-being. Humanization-sociability. Feeling respected, rational, and accepted by others.
Normative safety. Ensuring compliance with rules and obligations according to safety criteria, avoiding physical and/or material risks. Normative safety. Conciliation of challenges and self-demands with the need to comply with standards and obligations of protection to health and integrity.
Occupation (overburden). Providing occupation, but also the repetition of daily tasks, daily difficulties, and demands of speed. Occupation-responsibility. Require the individual to remain occupied and confront dayto- day difficulties, try hard, and reconcile spheres of life.
Dehumanization (objectification). Characterized by exhaustion; demands of physical exertion; hurry; inhumane treatment. Dehumanization. Treatment of worker in an inhumane way and giving a sense of discrimination in front of other people.

Source: Elaborated by the authors.

3. REMAINING/LEAVING INTENTION

According to Holtom et al. (2008), before 1985 research on turnover focused on previous analyses on the individual level; between 1985 and 1995 the research included its consequences on an individual level and introduced some analysis at the organizational level; since 1995, research has been extended to include more diverse antecedents and consequences at the individual and organizational levels, an increased focus on remaining, preoccupation with temporal aspects (dynamic models), and multilevel analyses. Even so, intentions to remain/leave have been treated indiscriminately in the literature as opposed measures of the same construct, although some authors (e.g., Cho, Johanson, & Guchait, 2009; Kersaint, Lewis, Potter, & Meisels 2007; Nancarrow, Bradbury, Pit, & Ariss, 2014) have indicated some differentiation in relation to precedents. We have chosen to maintain the distinction in this article to consider possible differences between remain and leave and for being an object of investigation of the same.

Studies on intention to remain/leave are better developed around the work of nurses (e.g., Daouk-Öyry, Anouze, Otaki, Dumit, & Osman, 2014). However, research also exists (e.g., Basar & Sigri, 2015; Borman, & Dowling, 2008; Grandey & Cropanzano, 1999; Hanushek, Rivkin, & Schiman, 2016; Jyoti, Rani, & Gandotra, 2015; Moreno-Jiménez, Garrosa, Rodriguéz, Martinez, & Ferrer, 2009) on teachers of different teaching levels, indicating that many factors affect the decision to remain or leave. Borman and Dowling (2008), for example, performed a meta-analysis that identified that higher wages, greater administrative support, a collaboration between colleagues, and networking decreased the intention of leaving among teachers. Additionally, Moreno-Jiménez et al. (2009) found that features of work (such as the capacity for control and autonomy) are directly and negatively related to the intention of leaving among university teachers.

4. METHOD

We opted for a multi-method approach to expand the understanding of the field and to complement and contrast information in an exploratory sequence (Creswell, 2010). We applied semi-structured interviews (Stage 1) and structured questionnaires (Stage 2). In both steps, we applied a sociodemographic and occupational form, where we requested information about: gender, age, graduate education, degree, length of time (in the course of HRM, institutes of higher education (IHE), and teaching), workload, income, and other paid work.

Regarding the field of research, there are thirteen IHE with classrooms with HRM courses operating in the city of Belo Horizonte (Brazil). Eight of them agreed to participate in this study (61.5%). From these institutes, seven were from the private for-profit sector, and one was a state public university, with twelve HRM courses running in ten locations.

4.1 Stage 1: Semi-Structured Interviews

We applied exploratory interviews in the context of Stage 1. The objective was to introduce us to how PTE teachers refer to their intentions of remaining or leaving. The option to start with the interviews helped overcome the scarcity of specialized literature on HRM teachers. We compared the results of this stage, which provided empirical evidence, mainly to the results of three previous studies (Heleno & Borges, 2016; Heleno, Agulló-Tomás, & Borges, 2018; Shacklock & Brunetto, 2012), to propose hypotheses about the predictive ability of the components of the meaning of work on the intention of remaining/leaving. We highlight this research because the first focused on HRM courses/teachers, the second on the meanings of work with the same sample, and the third on the relationship between turnover and meaning of work.

We interviewed ten teachers from seven IHE - one from a public state university and the others from the private sector. These teachers had the following characteristics: six females; aged between 25 and 54 years (mean = 39.7 years, SD = 7.89); two specialists, seven masters, and one doctor; average experience of 4.1 years in HRM courses (SD = 2.89), 4.4 years in IHE (SD = 2.45), and 8.6 years in teaching (SD = 5.38); training in Psychology (n= 6), Administration (n = 3), Economics (n = 1), and Technologist in Hospital Management (n = 1), and one teacher had two areas of training. Five teachers were active in other IHEs, and for six, the teacher’s salary represented more than 60% of total income. To define the number of participants, we used the criteria of accessibility and saturation (Ibañez, 1986).

The interviews included items about the work of meanings and remaining/leaving intentions. We conducted the interviews individually, with an average duration of 31 minutes. We recorded and transcribed the interviews, maintaining the anonymity. The transcriptions omitted names of people, institutions, and their sectors.

We performed categorical content analysis (Minayo, 2006), with the collaboration of four pairs of arbiters in phases fluctuating between reading and analytical categorization. We used the QDA Miner program to record and support the content analysis. We also developed the consolidation, downsizing, and final systematization phases.

4.2 Stage 2: Structured Questionnaires

We applied structured questionnaires to evaluate the relevance of the hypotheses developed in Stage 1. Considering the IHE participants, the population was 136 teachers, from which we obtained 77 (56.62%) questionnaires. Participants presented the following characteristics: 46 (59.74%) were female; aged between 28 and 63 years (mean = 42.16, SD = 8.31); 57 (74%) with master and/or doctoral degrees, and 20 (26%) with specialization; average experience of 4.41 years in HRM (SD = 3.40), 4.83 years in IHE (SD = 3.35) and 8.27 years in teaching (SD = 4.98). They presented 15 different areas of training - Psychology (f = 28), Administration (n = 20), Law (n = 8), Social Communication (n = 5), Economics (n = 5), and other (n = 15) - and four teachers had more than one area of training. About having another job, 52 (67.5%) participants responded positively, but 48 (62.3%) considered teaching as their main occupation. Teaching represented 60% of total income for 40 participants (51.9%) and was the sole income for 22 (28.6%) of these.

In addition to the socio-demographic and occupational evaluation form, the instruments consisted of the following:

  • 1. Behavioral Intent Scale of Remaining in Organization - BISRO (Menezes & Bastos, 2010). The BISRO is2 unifactorial and features seven dilemma situations with two alternative courses of action (remain/ leave, ranging from -3 to +3, respectively); it has already demonstrated a satisfactory Cronbach’s alpha (α = 0.71) in research on different sectors and regions in Brazil.

  • 2. Questions on the centrality of work (MOW, 1987). These consist of the allocation of points according to their importance to the work (Likert scale of 1 to 7), and, in order of importance between the spheres of family, work, leisure, religion, and community (total of 100 points), corresponding to the absolute and relative centrality of work, respectively.

  • 3. Inventory of Work Meaning - IWM (Borges & Yamamoto, 2010). This measures the descriptive and value attributes (Table 1) in 62 items (Likert scale from 0 to 4), having already demonstrated Cronbach alphas of 0.67 to 0.86 in a study with psychologists.

We delivered the instruments individually to HRM teachers. We provided collection boxes, helping to ensure anonymity and confidentiality. We recorded responses to the questionnaire using SPSS (Statistical Package for Social Science), from which we performed the statistical analysis. In a preliminary stage, we explored the descriptive statistics. Referring to sociodemographic/occupational variables, considering the measured levels (nominal and continuous), we applied a t test or correlation (Spearman) to the intention to remain/leave, to assess the need to adopt any of them as a control variable in our main analysis. However, the results indicated independence between intention to remain/leave, and the referred to variables. Still, in the preliminary phase, we also observed that some value attribute scores were non-normally distributed.

Thus, we chose to evaluate the hypotheses, which will be presented in Stage 1, through binomial logistic regression analysis (BLRA) and hierarchical BRLA. We transformed the score obtained in the BISRO scale into a binary format, where we considered that for x>0 the intention to leave predominated and for x≤0 the intention to remain was the dominant factor. We took as a criterion variable the intention to leave (binary) and as independent variables, the centrality, and value and descriptive types. Regarding the centrality of work, we created a secondary binary measure, considering a work-family conflict, when the difference between the importance of these spheres is small (less than 20 points). We found no significant difference (p < 0.05) in the allocation of the absolute importance of work between the two groups of participants according to the presence or absence of work-family conflict (t test), indicating independence between the two measures and justifying the use of both in the same BLRA. With the other independent variables (value and descriptive attribute types), we performed correlation analysis (Spearman), to exploring the presence of multicollinearity (≥ 0.7) between them.

5. RESULTS AND DISCUSSION FOR RESEARCH STAGES

5.1 Results of Stage 1: Semi-structured Interviews

The content analyses resulted in the surveying of 33 categories of reasons that support the intentions to remain or leave the IHE. These were organized by detailing their influence on each of the intention phenomena shown in Figure 5.1.1. The size of the forms symbolizes the frequency of each category.

Source: Elaborated by the authors.

Figure 5.1.1 CATEGORIES PERCEIVED BY TEACHERS OF HUMAN RESOURCE MANAGEMENT ABOUT THEIR WORK, ACCORDING TO THEIR INFLUENCE ON THE INTENTION OF REMAINING OR LEAVING THE JON 

However, in addition to the frequency, other information should be considered such as the interactions between these categories. For example, work-family conflicts are compounded by night-time working hours, job instability, and workload instability, as excerpts from the interviews show: “He [spouse] could not adapt to this teaching timetable (...) for this reason we separated” (interview 4) and “you cannot make plans for six months from now” (interview 2). In another example, the desire to go to a public IHE, due to the relationship with “student-client” and the devaluation of the teacher can be viewed in a single excerpt, “the private school still greatly legitimizes the teacher/student relationship as a client relationship, which weakens the teacher’s authority, and I think in a public school this does not exist” (interview 10). These examples show that the presented categories constitute an integrated system for understanding the work of an HRM teacher.

In addition, we have identified three categories that contribute to the intention of remaining in the profession but not in employment or in an IHE, which have not been included in Figure 1: conception of teaching as an activity of knowledge transmission, transformation of another, and helping (f = 10); liking the profession (f = 10); career path as a monitor and/or being a child of a teacher (f = 10). We also identified the absence of turnover intention (f = 4) and indifference about remaining/leaving from an IHE (f = 1).

5.2 Discussion of Stage 1 Results: Semi-structured Interviews

Figure 1 shows the distinction of the background of the two phenomena and shows that there are categories of intention to leave corresponding with the intention to remain, such as competition and gossip among colleagues (leave) on one side and cooperation between colleagues (remain) on the other. Therefore, the results corroborate the existence of an overlap, albeit partial, of the phenomena, and at the same time the distinction of the precedents, as indicated in the literature (e.g., Cho et al., 2009; Kersaint et al., 2007; Nancarrow et al., 2014).

Figure 1 shows the likelihood of the participants experiencing a conflict between their intentions to remain or leave, but there is a predominance of categories related to leaving an organization at the expense of remaining. Therefore, we understand that these results support the hypothesis:

H1: HRM teachers will have a greater intention to leave than to remain in an IHE.

Assuming the predominance of the intention to leave, we chose to focus our attention on this phenomenon and its prediction of meanings assigned to work. We organized additional hypotheses about the intention to leave, providing variations of this criterion variable with the dimensions of the meaning of work - the centrality of work, value attributes, and descriptive attributes - these last two dimensions are shown separately in Table 1.

Centrality of Work: the finding of the category work-family conflict in the results of intention to leave is by the literature (e.g., Grandey & Cropanzano, 1999; Daouk-Öyry et al., 2014; Keeney, Boyd, Sinha, Westring, & Ryan, 2013). These conflicts, in the case of HRM teachers, were associated with night work hours, job instability, and workload instability. Furthermore, Heleno et al. (2018) found little difference between assigning importance to work and to family for these teachers (mean = 35.84, SD = 13.65, and mean = 36.17, SD = 13.18, respectively), corroborating the findings of this research stage relating to the conflict between these two spheres of life. Thus, we constructed H2:

H2: The more that work-family conflict is perceived, the more likely the intention to leave an IHE prevails.

We have not identified any category that corroborates the influence of the absolute importance of work in the intention of leaving an IHE. However, Shacklock and Brunetto (2012) identified a directly proportional relationship between such importance and the intention of remaining. Considering, then, the distinction of motives and reasons for the two intentions, we developed H3:

H3: The absolute importance of work does not predict the probability of the intention to leave.

Value attributes: according to Heleno et al. (2018), for HRM teachers, dignity-humanization, growth, and independence are among the types of value attributes of highest priority, and achievement is among the secondary priority attributes. However, in the analysis of the categories (Figure 1), we identified that dignity-humanization, growth, and independence as well as achievement, are counteracted, in a form that should contribute to the intention to leave. The first value type is clearly opposed in the categories: desire to go to a public IHE, employment instability, workload instability, “student-client” relationship, rotation of disciplines, and injustice. The second is hindered by the lack of incentives for improvement, by employment instability, workload instability, and low workload. These categories indicate that the reality experienced by teachers deconstructs the ideal of a stable pattern of life. Also, we observed that the value attribute accomplishment has a diminished possibility of implementation, considering categories such as controlled/low autonomy, little incentive to conduct research, devaluation of the teacher, and the desire to go to a public IHE. Thus, in a societal context where there is a recognized devaluation of the work of a PTE teacher (Heleno & Borges, 2016) we developed H4:

H4: The more HRM teachers prioritize dignity-humanization, growth, independence, and achievement, the more likely the intention of leaving prevails.

Although economic recognition has appeared as a priority (Heleno et al., 2018), we found among the categories of the intention to leave (Figure 1) aspects that contradict it, which indicates that this must be related to the intention to remain (see, for example, the categories compatible remuneration, scholarships, and courses). This is also the case for equality and acceptance, evidenced in the categories of friendship with colleagues, cooperation between colleagues, and preference for the organization. In contrast, we found that occupation (overburden) presented categories indicating the intention to leave in two directions (ambiguous), such as diversity of workload and low workload at the same time, which could cause one to cancel out the other. However, occupation (overburden) may be represented by economic recognition, as Heleno et al. (2018) found that the value of work as an occupation is associated with higher pay, considering that teachers from private IHE are paid per classroom hour. Furthermore, the value attributes normative safety and dehumanization (objectification) were not identified in the categories. Thus, we developed H5:

H5: Economic recognition, equality and acceptance, occupation (overburden), normative safety, and dehumanization (objectification) do not significantly predict the likelihood of the intention to leave.

Descriptive attributes: we found that the dehumanization and exhaustion types were represented by different categories in the Stage 1 analyses. Dehumanization is expressed in the reality of pressures, threats and stress, controlled/low autonomy, rotating disciplines, devaluation of the teacher, the perception of being “disposable,” and injustice. This corroborates the results of the devaluation of the social role of PTE teachers (Heleno & Borges, 2016; Heleno et al., 2018). Exhaustion, in turn, expresses the pressures, threats and stress, rotating disciplines, diversity of disciplines, night working hours (even considering that most of the participants had 13 another job), and difficulties with aspects of bureaucracy and information technology. According to Heleno et al. (2018), although it is not among the predominant types, HRM teachers have worrying signs of exhaustion. These findings supported H6:

H6: The more HRM teachers experience dehumanization and exhaustion, the more likely that the intention to leave prevails.

We identified (Figure 1) various analytical categories with content that could reduce equality-recognition-acceptance such as lack of incentives for improvement, controlled/low autonomy, rotation of disciplines, competition and gossip among colleagues, the relationship of “student-client,” perception of “being disposable,” and injustice. This result is consistent with Shacklock and Brunetto (2012), who showed that perceptions of autonomy, relations with superiors, and interpersonal relationships affected the intention of remaining. We also noted categories that impact economic independence, such as, employment instability, workload instability, low workload, and devaluation of the teacher; and normative safety such as “student-client” relationship and bureaucratic aspects, and these proved to be prevalent among HRM teachers (Heleno et al., 2018). Thus, we developed H7:

H7: The more HRM teachers perceive equality-recognition-acceptance, economic independence, and normative safety, the less likely that the intention to leave prevails.

We have not identified categories that support a relationship between the descriptive type humanization-sociability and the intention to leave. However, we identified in the intention to remain, for example, a positive relationship with students, autonomy in the classroom, the establishment of friendship with colleagues, and cooperation among colleagues. Thus, despite being one of the predominant types in the meaning of work for HRM teachers (Heleno et al., 2018), this does not seem to interfere with the intention to leave and can contribute to the intention to remain. The same probably occurs with the achievement type that, except for controlled/low autonomy, is expressed by the social role that this work represents (Heleno & Borges, 2016). Finally, we find that occupation-responsibility has ambiguous categories, similar to those that occur with occupation (overburden) in the value attributes. Thus, we constructed H8:

H8: Humanization-sociability, achievement, and occupation-responsibility do not significantly predict the likelihood of the intention to leave.

5.3 Results of Stage 2: Structured Questionnaires

The results indicate that there are more HRM teachers for whom the intention to leave prevails (H1), although with a weak mean intensity (Figure 5.3.1). To test the hypotheses regarding the centrality of work, we adopted work-family conflict (H2) and absolute importance of the work (H3) as independent variables and the intention to leave (binary) as the criterion variable in BLRA. The results indicated that neither contributes significantly to the model. Thus, these variables were not re-included in other BLRAs.

Figure 5.3.1 MEAN, DIRECTION, AND INTENSITY OF THE INTENTION TO REMAIN/LEAVE OF HUMAN RESOURCE MANAGEMENT TEACHERS 

Average a Standard Deviation % of participants by score interval
Remain Balance Leave
Strong Mean Weak - Weak Mean Strong
x ≤-2 -2<x≤-1 -1<x<0 x=0 0<x≤1 1<x≤2 x>2
0.20 1.09 5.2 9.1 22.1 6.5 36.5 18.2 2.6

aScale from -3 a +3.

Source: Elaborated by the authors.

Among the value types, we did not identify multicollinearity (< 0.7). We tested H4 and H5 using BLRA adopting the value types as independent variables and the intention of leaving as the criterion variable (Figure 5.3.2). The results indicated that only dignity-humanization and occupation (overburden) significantly predicted the likelihood of intention to leave, explaining 27.4% of the variance (Nagelkerke’s R Squared).

Figure 5.3.2 PREDICTING THE LIKELIHOOD OF INTENTION TO LEAVE BY VALUE ATTRIBUTES (BLRA) 

Independent variables Wald Significance level
Dignity-humanization 4.46 0.04
Growth and independence 1.43 0.23
Economic recognition 0.31 0.58
Achievement 0.11 0.75
Equality and acceptance 1.08 0.30
Dehumanization (objectification) 1.65 0.20
Occupation (overburden) 6.94 <0.01
Normative safety 0.01 0.93
Constant 1.77 0.18

BLRA: binomial logistic regression analysis.

Source: Elaborated by the authors.

To test H6, we applied hierarchical BLRA. The first block kept in the value types dignity-humanization and occupation (overburden), and the second block, the descriptive types exhaustion, and dehumanization. The results indicated that these are predictive of the likelihood of the intention to leave (Table 4), adding 12.2% in accounting for the variance that reached 39.6%. Thus, we kept that second block in further BLRA analyses.

Continuing the test of H7, we created a third block in the hierarchical BLRA with equality-recognition-acceptance, economic independence, and normative safety. None of them contributed significantly to the model, and this block was not maintained in subsequent BLRA.

We identified the existence of multicollinearity (≥ 0.7) between humanization-sociability and achievement. Therefore, to test H8, we repeated the hierarchical BLRA twice, considering in the third block humanization-sociability with occupation-responsibility, and followed by achievement with occupation-responsibility. The results indicated that none of them contributed significantly to the explanation of the model. The blocks of the final model obtained with BLRA are summarized in Figure 5.3.3.

Figure 5.3.3 PREDICTING THE LIKELIHOOD OF INTENT TO LEAVE BY VALUE AND DESCRIPTIVE ATTRIBUTES FROM THE MEANINGS OF WORK (HIERARCHICAL BLRA) 

Independent variables Wald Significance level
Block 1 (Nagelkerke’s R Squared = 0.191)
Dignity-humanization. 3.43 0.06
Occupation (overburden) 5.33 0.02
Constant 5.80 0.16
Block 2 (Nagelkerke’s R Squared = 0.396)
Dignity-humanization. 2.74 0.10
Occupation (overburden) 4.82 0.03
Dehumanization 3.92 0.05
Exhaustion 10.96 <0.01
Constant 6.29 0.01

BLRA: binomial logistic regression analysis. Criterion variable: the probability of the intention to leave.

Source: Elaborated by the authors

Comparing the results (Tables 3 and 4), it is possible to observe that the value type dignity-humanization ceased to be significant with the removal of the other value types. This indicated that its predictive capacity is partly achieved with the mediation of other value types, although its prediction about the criterion variable is not significant. The decrease in the magnitude of the Wald test between blocks 1 and 2 of the last BLRA (Table 4) indicated mediation by the descriptive types (dehumanization and exhaustion).

5.4 Discussion of Stage 2 Results: Structured Questionnaires

The results of questionnaires corroborated H1 and Stage 1 findings: they indicated a predominance of an intention to leave among HRM teachers. The results also signaled a conflict between intentions to leave and to remain because in both situations there is a concentration in the weak-intensity interval. Few participants were assured from their intentions in both directions. The distribution of scores indicated that the weak intensity was not an artifact of the mean but a trend in these teachers. In this regard, the allocation of contradictory meanings or the actual work with its attractions and difficulties engenders a conflict in the construction of the intention of remaining in or leaving a job among HRM teachers. According to Blanch and Cantera (2009), instability has psychological implications, both cognitive and emotional, and the observed results supported the existence of worrying signs of labor uncertainty in the work of HRM teachers. Labor uncertainty impacts on health and psychosocial well-being, as evidenced in the literature (e.g., Landsbergis, Grzywacz, & LaMontagne, 2014; Sverke, Hellgren, & Näswall, 2002).

H2 was not corroborated because work-family conflicts do not predict the likelihood of intention to leave, differing from the literature (e.g., Grandey & Cropanzano, 1999; Daouk-Öyry et al., 2014; Keeney et al., 2013). However, we must consider that we adopted a secondary measure and developed the analysis with a sample that was not very extensive. These aspects may have minimized the relationship between the variables. Therefore, we believe that future studies should investigate the impact of work-family conflicts on the intention of leaving.

H3 was corroborated considering we did not identify the absolute importance of work as a predictor of the likelihood of the intention to leave. However, the fact that the interviews were silent on this relationship between variables, and previous research (Heleno et al., 2018) points to the predominance of the high centrality of work between HRM teachers, allowed us to consider that this aspect contributed to the composition of the context in which the encountered relationships of significant prediction have validity. In other words, the high centrality of work is a conditioning variable.

H4 was partially corroborated because we did not identify that the more HRM teachers prioritized growth, independence, and achievement, the more persuasive the intention to leave became. This result may be due to low expectations regarding performance in HRM courses, arising from the known devaluation of courses and PTE teachers (Heleno & Borges, 2016; Heleno et al., 2018), and/or the acceptance that teaching HRM courses is an initial stage of integration into higher education teaching, that is, a stepping stone to better future placements in the labor market (Heleno et al., 2018). In contrast, we identified dignity-humanization as an indirect predictor of the probability of intention to leave, being mediated by other components of the final model. Thus, the appreciation of dignity-humanization interferes with the perception of dehumanization and exhaustion in real work. This finding may represent a movement of HRM teachers in the sense of reacting (or intending to react) to the devaluation of the PTE teacher (Heleno & Borges, 2016; Heleno et al., 2018) and the intensification and precariousness of the teaching work, as reported in the literature (e.g., Campello et al, 2009; Lucal, 2014; Silva & Sguissardi, 2013).

H5 was partly corroborated. The value types: economic recognition, equality and acceptance, normative safety, and dehumanization (objectification) did not predict the likelihood of the intention to leave. However, we found that the more HRM teachers prioritize occupation (overburden), the more likely it is that the intention to leave prevails. This finding contradicted the idea that there is a naturalization of adopted policies by an IHE, in which the workload (hours/class) defines the remuneration (Heleno et al., 2018). It is also consistent with the observation that teachers assuming their role in HRM courses is temporary. In the analysis of the final model, we see also that the value of work as an occupation (overburden) interferes with the perception of dehumanization and exhaustion, which, in turn, increases the likelihood of turnover intention. This indicates the need for future studies to continue investigating the appreciation of the occupation (overburden) and its impact on the intention to leave.

H6 was corroborated: we found that the more HRM teachers understood dehumanization and exhaustion, the more likely the intention to leave prevailed. Both types were mediators of the influence of dignity-humanization and occupation (overburden). These findings indicated, on one hand, that these teachers perceived dehumanization and exhaustion, but are willing - to some extent or for a specified time - to face adverse conditions in the daily exercise of work. On the other hand, these teachers envisioned alternatives (in other IHEs or not) and/or considered teaching as an income supplement. These results confirm that the intensification and precariousness of work, problematized in the literature mentioned on teaching work, impacted the probability of the intention of leaving among HRM teachers. Even so, the low dehumanization scores among HRM teachers (Heleno et al., 2018) probably contributed to the likelihood of the intention to leave concentrating itself in the weak mean intensity.

H7 was not corroborated. Equality-recognition-acceptance, economic independence, and normative safety did not significantly predict the probability of the intention to leave. These types of descriptive attributes may be more related to the intention to remain and/or have their effects absorbed by other variables or minimized by the sample size. Thus, we highlight the need for future studies to continue to investigate the possible relationships between these types with the intention to leave in other samples of HRM teachers, PTE teachers, and other occupations.

H8 was corroborated. Humanization-sociability, achievement, and occupation-responsibility did not significantly predict the probability of the intention to leave, indicating that they do not appear to intervene in the intention to leave.

6. FINAL CONSIDERATIONS

The main theoretical contributions of this research were: 1. To show evidence regarding the predictive capacity of work’s meanings about the intention of leaving, identifying which aspects have such capacity; and 2. To advance in the understanding of the processes of turnover and/or remaining in work among HRM teachers. In addition to the scientific importance of these contributions, they may encourage practical applications in organizational diagnoses when there is an interest in countering the intention to leave or encouraging remains. However, a limitation of the research comes from our option to study the issue of the intention to remain/ leave by focusing on HRM teaching activity. Being a specific and small population, this also involved developing our analysis with a small sample extension. Obviously, this limits generalizability. Therefore, the generalization and/or transfer of the predictive relationships found here should be treated with caution and the context, which probably affects their validity, should be considered. On the other hand, this technical question could not be justified to pursuit without developing efforts to understand the theme in the context of such teachers and consider the real needs of improving PTE.

PTE is expanding in Brazil; however, despite a labor market that has demanded a more skilled workforce, its role still does not enjoy strong social recognition. HRM teachers tend to give high centrality to work and at the same time do not view these activities as a career to invest in for the long-term.

In summary, although HRM teachers seek better conditions - such as those obtained in jobs requiring public tenders - they submit to the adversities of an unfavorable scenario and undertake high financial and personal investment, meaning that the majority probably will not actually leave. There are not exits for everyone, neither in quantity - since the possible posts are finite - nor in quality - since there is little differentiation between IHEs. Thus, the intention to leave does not necessarily translate itself into actual exit behavior, placing itself in the level of imagination and discourse, but not preventing the promotion of prejudices to all the social actors involved. PTE teachers without a strong collective identity, see themselves as undervalued social actors in the current labor market.

We consider it essential that the work of teachers in PTE is further investigated and focused on by researchers, society, and the state (with regulation, programs, and policies). If it is in the public interest to adequately train more technologists, then policies are needed to regulate HRM courses to improve labor relations by creating opportunities to redefine teaching duties. We consider recommending the IHEs to rethink working conditions especially regarding offering a lasting teaching career. If a conflict prevails among IHE participants about remaining/leaving it will also be likely that they will not centralize their professional and educational investments in that activity. In this sense, the balance between work requirements and working conditions embraces workday care and the avoidance of organizational policies in which the teacher seeks by necessity to take more classroom hours as the only way to obtain a decent wage. Organizational policies and practices that facilitate the teacher in reconciling teaching activities in HRM courses with other professional and educational practices can be a short to medium term solution.

The development and implementation of such policies and practices should provide for teacher participation, recognizing their knowledge and experience, to respect the appreciation of dignity-humanization and enjoyment of the profession. This strategy is more likely to find creative solutions to minimize dehumanization and exhaustion. Consequently, following the encountered model, a reduction of the intention to leave is likely. Although the working possibilities for teachers in PTE have expanded, this is not reflected in a quality alternative, and it is considered as a temporary plan (even though no master plan materializes). This corroborates the literature (Agulló-Tomás, 2001; Blanch & Cantera, 2009; Hewison, 2016; Standing, 2011) that states that the implementation of neoliberal policies at the expense of the devaluation and disregard of workers can lead to psychosocial dysfunctionalities.

Finally, we registered that another strong point of this study was the combination of different data collection techniques, raising hypotheses from the empirical knowledge produced and not exclusively from the literature review.

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Received: February 06, 2018; Accepted: July 16, 2018

Correspondence concerning this article should be addressed to Camila T. Heleno, Avenida Antônio Carlos, 6627, FAFICH - Sala 4100, Pampulha, Belo Horizonte, Minas Gerais, Brazil, CEP: 31270-901. E-mail: camilaheleno@gmail.com

Camila T. Heleno, Faculdade de Filosofia e Ciências Humanas, Universidade Federal de Minas Gerais (UFMG); Lívia de O. Borges, Instituto de Psicologia, Universidade de Brasília (UnB); and Esteban Agulló-Tomás, Departamento de Psicología Social, Universidad Complutense de Madrid (UCM).

Camila T. Heleno is now Post-doctoral researcher at Faculdade de Filosofia e Ciências Humanas at Universidade Federal de Minas Gerais (UFMG); Livia de O. Borges is now Professor at Faculdade de Filosofia e Ciências Humanas at Universidade Federal de Minas Gerais (UFMG); and Esteban Agulló-Tomás is now Professor at Departamento de Psicología at Universidad de Oviedo (UO).

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