Quitting before leaving: the mediating effects of psychological attachment and detachment on voice

J Appl Psychol. 2008 Jul;93(4):912-22. doi: 10.1037/0021-9010.93.4.912.


This research advances understanding of the psychological mechanisms that encourage or dissuade upward, improvement-oriented voice. The authors describe how the loyalty and exit concepts from A. O. Hirschman's (1970) seminal framework reflect an employee's psychological attachment to or detachment from the organization, respectively, and they argue that psychological attachment and detachment should not be considered as separate, alternative options to voice but rather as influences on voice behavior. Findings from 499 managers in the restaurant industry show that psychological detachment (measured as intention to leave) is significantly related to voice and mediates relationships between perceptions of leadership (leader-member exchange and abusive supervision) and voice, whereas psychological attachment (measured as affective commitment) is neither a direct predictor of voice nor a mediator of leadership-voice relationships.

MeSH terms

  • Aggression*
  • Attitude
  • Communication*
  • Employment*
  • Humans
  • Job Satisfaction*
  • Object Attachment*