Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy


College of Education and International Services


Educational Leadership PhD

First Advisor

Gustavo Gregorutti

Second Advisor

Bordes Henry Saturné

Third Advisor

Randy Siebold



In educational institutions of higher learning, turnover is seen as a double-edged sword that brings both benefits and problems. While turnover allows the opportunity to bring in a new employee who may be able to benefit the institution more than the one being replaced, the process of finding a replacement tends to be costly in terms of time, energy, and financial resources. As a young institution, Asia-Pacific International University (AIU) found turnovers challenging in more than one way because of its lack of stability in areas such as finance and human power. It could benefit from a clearer understanding of what contributes to service longevity among its workers.

Purpose of Study

Since it is essential to study retention in the context of one's institution, this study was conducted to explore the perceived factors that contributed to employees' long-term ii service at AIU. In other words, the study sought to understand why employees served for a decade or more at this institution.


This study adopted a qualitative case study design using narrative inquiry to answer its research question. The participants were carefully selected for several reasons. First, the participants had to be current university employees during the survey. The participants were identified based on the length of their employment at AIU. Semi-structured interview questions were used to collect data. The interviewer prompted responses from participants based on pre-planned questions worded per the research objectives. The participants were involved in lengthy, in-depth conversations regarding their service at AIU. The researcher employed cross-case analysis to understand the experiences that enabled the nine employees to serve beyond a decade.


The answers to the research questions were divided into five categories based on the interview questions. The categories were as follows: (a) reasons for serving at AIU, (b) elements appreciated at AIU, (c) intentions of leaving, and (d) the reasons to remain. In each category, themes or factors were identified. The themes of reasons for serving at AIU included Personal and Organizational Compatibility, Personal and Environmental Fit, Family Influence, and Positive Connection. For elements appreciated, the first two themes were similar to the first two in the reasons for serving. Two other themes under elements appreciated were Gratification and Workplace Relationships. In the area of challenges, the themes were Workplace Spirituality, Support from Others, and Mental Response. All participants had turnover intentions at one point in their long-term service. Such intentions were caused by Work-related Challenges, Greener Grass Issues, and Family Situations. One of the work-related challenges was the adjustment to new leadership or change in relationship with a colleague who had been put in a leadership position. The last category of reasons for remaining at AIU was the following themes: Affirmation, People Factor, Family Benefit, and Shift in Perspectives.


The factors contributing to the service longevity at AIU were a combination of variables in the forms of personal and organizational compatibility, personal and environmental fit, gratification, and workplace relationship. Long-term employees exercised workplace spirituality in dealing with challenges, received dedicated support from others, and assumed positive mental responses. When they thought of leaving, they prayerfully reflected on the intention and asked for divine guidance in their decision-making. A combination of factors neutralized the turnover intentions—the restoration of courage, a renewed sense of purpose and mission, family benefits, and a shift of perspective that led to the appreciation of blessings associated with serving at the institution.

Subject Area

Employee retention; Teachers--Tenure; Teacher turnover; Asia-Pacific International University (Thailand); Seventh-day Adventists-- Education