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

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Abstract

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.

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