How to reduce turnover intentions in the family business: Managing centripetal and centrifugal forces

Dmitry Khanin

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

12 Citations (Scopus)


Turnover intentions refer to the anticipation of leaving one's job. If realized, turnover intentions may result in loss of human talent and leakage of firm know-how to competitors. This article analyzes the causes and intensity of turnover intentions by contrasting two divergent forces. The first force is centripetal; it draws employees into an organization and makes alternatives less attractive. The second force is centrifugal; it makes the existing job less attractive compared to alternatives. This article argues that various combinations of centripetal and centrifugal forces can be observed in four distinct areas: the time-bomb, ineptitude, tug-of-war, and best-of-both-worlds 'turnover zones.' Respectively, the emergence and intensity of turnover intentions in each turnover zone is distinct. Thus, an interesting question to examine is: How do centripetal and centrifugal forces play out in the family business? Applying this analysis to a family firm operating in the western part of the United States helps explain the reasons family employees may or may not form turnover intentions, as well as such intentions' relative intensity. This article argues that person-job fit and family embeddedness, which are observed when an employee shares the founder's vision and the integrated values of the family and family business, help reduce turnover intentions. To succeed, however, family firms must also urge inept employees to form turnover intentions.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)63-73
Number of pages11
JournalBusiness Horizons
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - Jan 2013


  • Alternative employment opportunities
  • Centrifugal forces
  • Centripetal forces
  • Family business
  • Family embeddedness
  • Organizational commitment
  • Person-job (PJ) fit
  • Turnover intentions

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Business and International Management
  • Marketing

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