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Mentoring and turnover intentions in public accounting firms: A research note


  • Hall, Matthew
  • Smith, David


Turnover in public accounting firms is a critically important issue as firms seek to retain quality accounting personnel in the face of skilled labour shortages. Mentoring is one initiative that has been suggested as a means of reducing the high costs associated with employee turnover. However, prior accounting research examining the association between mentoring and turnover intentions has produced mixed results, which may be due, at least in part, to difficulties in operationalizing the mentoring construct. Drawing on recent management literature regarding organizational turnover intentions, we challenge the conventional view that mentoring generally leads to reduced turnover intentions, by testing a theoretical model that posits that different functions of mentoring have differing effects on turnover intentions. Specifically, we argue that while the psychosocial support function of mentoring can serve to reduce public accountants' turnover intentions, the career development function of mentoring has the potential to increase turnover intentions. Results support this conclusion.

Suggested Citation

  • Hall, Matthew & Smith, David, 2009. "Mentoring and turnover intentions in public accounting firms: A research note," Accounting, Organizations and Society, Elsevier, vol. 34(6-7), pages 695-704, August.
  • Handle: RePEc:eee:aosoci:v:34:y:2009:i:6-7:p:695-704

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Hall, Matthew, 2008. "The effect of comprehensive performance measurement systems on role clarity, psychological empowerment and managerial performance," Accounting, Organizations and Society, Elsevier, vol. 33(2-3), pages 141-163.
    2. Viator, Ralph E., 2001. "The association of formal and informal public accounting mentoring with role stress and related job outcomes," Accounting, Organizations and Society, Elsevier, vol. 26(1), pages 73-93, January.
    3. Shields, Michael D. & Deng, F. Johnny & Kato, Yutaka, 2000. "The design and effects of control systems: tests of direct- and indirect-effects models," Accounting, Organizations and Society, Elsevier, vol. 25(2), pages 185-202, February.
    4. Scandura, T. A. & Viator, R. E., 1994. "Mentoring in public accounting firms: An analysis of mentor-protege relationships, mentorship functions, and protege turnover intentions," Accounting, Organizations and Society, Elsevier, vol. 19(8), pages 717-734, November.
    5. Parker, Robert J. & Kohlmeyer, James III, 2005. "Organizational justice and turnover in public accounting firms: a research note," Accounting, Organizations and Society, Elsevier, vol. 30(4), pages 357-369, May.
    6. Viator, Ralph E. & Pasewark, William R., 2005. "Mentorship separation tension in the accounting profession: the consequences of delayed structural separation," Accounting, Organizations and Society, Elsevier, vol. 30(4), pages 371-387, May.
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    Cited by:

    1. repec:eee:joacli:v:37:y:2016:i:c:p:19-35 is not listed on IDEAS
    2. Donna Bobek & Amy Hageman & Robin Radtke, 2015. "The Influence of Roles and Organizational Fit on Accounting Professionals’ Perceptions of their Firms’ Ethical Environment," Journal of Business Ethics, Springer, vol. 126(1), pages 125-141, January.
    3. repec:eee:ijoais:v:12:y:2011:i:4:p:305-328 is not listed on IDEAS
    4. Hall, Matthew, 2011. "Do comprehensive performance measurement systems help or hinder managers' mental model development?," LSE Research Online Documents on Economics 36703, London School of Economics and Political Science, LSE Library.
    5. repec:eee:advacc:v:38:y:2017:i:c:p:63-74 is not listed on IDEAS

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