Learning Goal Orientation and Turnover Intention of the Malaysian Adult Students

Ong Choon Hee, Tan Owee Kowang, Adriana Mohd Rizal, Goh Chin Fei


The purpose of this study is to examine the relationship between learning goal orientation and turnover intention of the Malaysian adult students. Adult students were selected as the respondents in this study because they were regarded as the most active participants in the nation’s knowledge-based economy. In the creation of knowledge-based economy, employee turnover issues should not be overlooked as it has potential to become an obstacle in the process of organizational development. The findings of this study show that the respondents registered a high level of learning goal orientation and a moderate turnover intention. There were no significant group differences in the mean scores of learning goal orientation and turnover intention among the respondents. Regression analysis revealed that there is no significant relationship between learning goal orientation and turnover intention. However, adult students who are pursuing their continuing education may not have the intention to leave their organization at this moment. But, the situation may change when they have successfully completed their study. Therefore, it is recommended that the organization’s human resource department shall provide suitable responsibilities to these individuals to ensure that they remain in their organizations.  

Full Text:



Ames, C. (1992). Classrooms: Goals, structures and student motivation. Journal of Educational Psychology, 84(3), 261-271. https://doi.org/10.1037/0022-0663.84.3.261

Ames, C., & Archer, J. (1988). Achievement goals in the classroom: Students’ learning strategies and motivation processes. Journal of Educational Psychology, 80(3), 260-267. https://doi.org/10.1037/0022-0663.80.3.260

Anderman, E. M., & Maehr, M. L. (1994). Motivation and schooling in the middle grades. Review of Educational Research, 64, 287-309. https://doi.org/10.3102/00346543064002287

Barak, M. E. M., Nissly, J. A., & Levin, A. (2001). Antecedents to retention and turnover among child welfare, social work and other human service employees: What can we learn from past research? A review and meta-analysis. Social Service Review, 75(4), 625-661. https://doi.org/10.1086/323166

Chiu, C., Hong, Y., & Dweck, C. S. (1994). Toward an integrative model of personality and intelligence: A general framework and some preliminary steps. In R. J. Sternberg & P. Ruzgis (Eds.), Personality and Intelligence (104-134). Cambridge, England: Cambridge University Press.

Cotton, J., & Tuttle, J. M. (1986). Employee turnover: A meta-analysis and review with implications for research. Academy of Management Review, 11, 50-70.

Dess, G. D., & Shaw, J. D. (2001). Voluntary turnover, social capital and organizational performance. Academy of Management Review, 26(3), 446-456.

DeVellis, R. F. (2003). Scale development: Theory and application (2nd ed.). Newbury Park, CA: Sage.

Dweck, C. S. (1986). Motivational process affecting learning. American Psychologist, 41, 1040-1048. https://doi.org/10.1037/0003-066X.41.10.1040

Dweck, C. S., & Leggett, E. L. (1988). A social-cognitive approach to motivation and personality. Psychological Review, 95, 256-273. https://doi.org/10.1037/0033-295X.95.2.256

Dweck, C. S. (1991). Self-theories and goals: Their role in motivation, personality and development. In R. A. Dienstbier (Ed.), Nebraska Symposium on Motivation, 1990, 38, 199-235. Lincoln: University of Nebraska Press.

Dweck, C. S., Hong, Y., & Chiu, C. (1993). Implicit theories: Invidual differences in the likelihood and meaning of dispositional influence. Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin, 19(5), 644-656. https://doi.org/10.1177/0146167293195015

Dysvik, A., & Kuvaas, B. (2010). Exploring the relative and combined influence of mastery-approach goals and work intrinsic motivation on employee turnover intention. Personnel Review, 39(5), 622-638. https://doi.org/10.1108/00483481011064172

Fishbein, M., & Ajzen, I. (1975). Belief, attitude, intention and behavior. Reading, MA: Addison-Wesley.

Ghiselli, R. F., La Lopa, J. M., & Bai, B. (2001). Job satisfaction, life satisfaction and turnover intent: Among food-service managers, Cornell Hotel and Restaurant Administration Quaterly, 42(2), 28-37. https://doi.org/10.1177/0010880401422002

Heyman, G. D., & Dweck, C. S. (1992). Achievement goals and intrinsic motivation: Their relation and their role in adaptive motivation. Motivation and Emotion, 16, 231-247. https://doi.org/10.1007/BF00991653

Hom, P. W., & Grileth, R. W. (1995). A structural equation modeling test of a turnover theory: Cross sectional and longitudinal analysis. Journal of Applied Psychology, 76, 350-366. https://doi.org/10.1037/0021-9010.76.3.350

Hutcheson, G., & Sofroniou, N. (1990). The multivariate social scientist. London, United Kingdom: Sage.

Kanungo, R. N. (1979). The concepts of alienation and involvement revisited. Journal of Applied Psychology, 86, 119-138. https://doi.org/10.1037/0033-2909.86.1.119

Kramer, R. M. (1999). Trust and distrust in organizations: Emerging perspectives, enduring questions. In J. T. Spence (Ed.), Annual review of psychology, 50, 569–598. Palo Alto, CA: Annual Reviews. https://doi.org/10.1146/annurev.psych.50.1.569

Lin, S. C., & Chang, J. N. (2005). Goal orientation and organizational commitment as explanatory factors of employees’ mobility. Personnel Review, 34(3), 331-353. https://doi.org/10.1108/00483480510591462

Miller, D., Kets de Vries, M. F. R., & Toulouse, J. (1982). Top executive locus of control and its relationship to strategy-making structure and environment. Academy of Management Journal, 25(2), 237-253. https://doi.org/10.2307/255988

Ministry of Education Malaysia (n.d.). National Higher Education Strategic Plan. Retrieved from http://www.moe.gov.my/en/pelan-strategik-pengajian-tinggi-negara.

Mobley, W. H. (1977). Intermediate linkages in the relationship between job satisfaction and employee turnover. Journal of Applied Psychology, 62, 237-240. https://doi.org/10.1037/0021-9010.62.2.237

Mobley, W. H., Horner, S. O., & Hollingsworth, A. T. (1978). An evaluation of precursors of hospital employee turnover. The Journal of Applied Psychology, 63, 408-414. https://doi.org/10.1037/0021-9010.63.4.408

Mowday, R. T., Steers, R. M., & Porter, L. W. (1979). The measurement of organizational commitment. Journal of Vocational Behavior, 14, 224-247. https://doi.org/10.1016/0001-8791(79)90072-1

Nicholls, J. G. (1984). Achievement motivation: Conceptions of ability, subjective experience, task choice and performance. Psychological Review, 91, 328-346. https://doi.org/10.1037/0033-295X.91.3.328

Nunnally, J. C. (1978). Psychometric theory. New York, NY: McGraw Hill.

Parker, R. J., & Kohlmeyer, J. M. (2005). Organizational justice and turnover in public accounting firms: A research note. Accounting, Organizations and Society, 30, 357-369. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.aos.2004.05.001

Porter, G., & Tansky, J. W. (1999). Expatriate success may depend on a learning orientation considerations for selection and training. Human Resource Management, 38(1), 46-60. https://doi.org/10.1002/(SICI)1099-050X(199921)38:1<47::AID-HRM5>3.0.CO;2-1

Powell, M. J., & York, R. O. (1992). Turnover in country public welfare agencies. Journal of Applied Social Sciences, 16(2), 111-127.

Price, J. L. (2001). Re-elections on the determinants of voluntary turnover intention. Journal of Manpower, 22(7), 600-624. https://doi.org/10.1108/EUM0000000006233

Robbins, S. P., & Judge, T. A. (2007). Organizational Behavior (12th ed.) New Jersey: Pearson Education, Inc.

Senge, P. M. (1990). The fifth discipline: The art and practice of the learning organization, Doubleday, New York, NY.

Vande, W. D. (1997). Development and validation of a work domain goal orientation instrument. Educational and Psychological Measurement, 57(6), 995-1015. https://doi.org/10.1177/0013164497057006009

Van Yperen, N. W. (2003). Task interest and actual performance: The moderating effects of assigned and adopted purpose goals. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 85(6), 1006-1015. https://doi.org/10.1037/0022-3514.85.6.1006

Zimmerman, B. J., & Martinez, P. M. (1990). Students’ differences in self-regulated learning: Relating grade, sex and giftedness to self-efficacy and strategy use. Journal of Educational Psychology, 82(1), 51-59. https://doi.org/10.1037/0022-0663.82.1.51

DOI: https://doi.org/10.5296/ijhrs.v8i2.12992

To make sure that you can receive messages from us, please add the 'macrothink.org' domain to your e-mail 'safe list'. If you do not receive e-mail in your 'inbox', check your 'bulk mail' or 'junk mail' folders.

Copyright © Macrothink Institute   ISSN 2162-3058

'Macrothink Institute' is a trademark of Macrothink Institute, Inc.