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affective commitment, knowledge transfer, mentoring, retention, turnover intentions



  1. Fleig-Palmer, Michelle M.
  2. Rathert, Cheryl


Background: Health care organizations (HCOs) invest in knowledge transfer to promote improved patient outcomes; however, these investments prove costly when health care workers with enhanced knowledge and skills leave to seek better employment opportunities.


Purpose: The aim of this study was to examine the impact of interpersonal mentoring on affective organizational commitment and the potential moderating effect of affective commitment in the knowledge transfer-retention relationship.


Methodology/Approach: One hundred fifty-three clinicians working at a Midwestern acute care hospital and associated clinics were surveyed at their worksite.


Findings: Clinicians who received more interpersonal mentoring were also more likely to have stronger affective commitment. In addition, affective commitment moderated the relationship between knowledge transfer and turnover intentions, that is, when affective commitment was low, clinicians with higher levels of knowledge transfer indicated higher turnover intentions. However, clinicians with high levels of affective commitment and knowledge transfer reported lower turnover intentions.


Practice Implications: HCOs must simultaneously invest in knowledge transfer while implementing strategies that assist in retaining knowledgeable workers. Interpersonal mentoring appears to play an important role in the retention of valued clinicians through its influence on affective commitment. HCOs must facilitate cultures that show top management support for mentoring through practices such as educational programs, flexible scheduling, and reward systems.