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“Should i stay, or should i go” : teachers’ motivation to stay at their workplace

Publicerad:22 maj

Jeffrey Casely-Hayford har i sin avhandling undersökt relationen mellan lärares psykosociala arbetsmiljö och viljan att stanna kvar i yrket.


Jeffrey Casely-Hayford


Docent Lydia Kwak, Karolinska institutet Professor Gunnar Bergström, Karolinska institutet Docent Christina Björklund, Karolinska institutet Professor Per Lindqvist, Karolinska institutet


Professor Beng Huat See, Professor, Durham University, England

Disputerat vid

Karolinska institutet



Abstract in English

The overarching aim of this thesis was to increase the knowledge on the relationship between teachers’ psychosocial work environment and teachers’ retention intention. This was done by exploring the psychosocial work factors and mechanisms that facilitate teacher retention in four studies.

The first study in this thesis was a cross-sectional study that explored the individual and contextual factors associated with Swedish teachers’ intention to remain in the profession (n= 5903). The main finding in study 1 was the importance of teachers’ work-related health for their retention intention and that transactional work stress models such as the JD-R model are needed to understand how psychosocial work factors influence teachers’ retention intention.

The second study was a qualitative interview study teachers (n= 8) that explored the specific aspects of teachers’ psychosocial work environment that facilitated teacher retention in a positive deviant case: a school that has the characteristics of a hard-to-staff school but that has had a low turnover rate over time. The analysis of the teachers’ narratives pointed to the importance of the teachers’ surrounding social context and suggested that their decision to remain at their school was due to being embedded in a protective professional community. The teachers’ decision to remain at the school was attributed to the teacher social capital found within this protective community which provided them with a sense of security and belonging, recognition and appreciation.

The third study was a prospective longitudinal study that examined the longitudinal influence of three job demands (quantitative demands, emotional demands, work pace) and four job resources (possibilities for development, social support from supervisor, social support from colleagues, recognition) measured at baseline with exhaustion, work engagement, and retention intention measured at two timepoints (12-months and 24-months; n= 308). Moreover, the third study also explored the buffering effect of each job resource on the relationship between each job demand and exhaustion at 12-months and 24-months. The main findings in study 3 were that the influence of the health-impairing process on teachers’ retention intention is stronger than that of the motivational process and that the buffering hypothesis proposed by the JD-R model needs further development.

Lastly, the fourth study examined the relationship between psychosocial safety climate, job demands, and job resources measured at the school-level with teacher turnover at 12-months and 24-months using objective turnover data from 14 schools in two Swedish municipalities. The main findings in study 4 were that the examination of school-level teacher turnover requires the consideration of labour market dynamics, and that psychosocial safety climate is a viable predictor of teacher turnover.

Therefore, the combined findings in this thesis point to the importance of teachers’ work-related health; the management of psychosocial risk factors; and protective job resources such as collegial relationships for teachers’ retention intention.

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