Job embeddedness of manufacturing SME employees in Indonesia

Fanny Martdianty, Alan Coetzer, Pattanee Susomrith

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

5 Citations (Scopus)


Purpose: The purpose of this paper is to explore the applicability of job embeddedness (JE) theory to employees in manufacturing SMEs in Central Java, Indonesia, and to qualitatively assess the transferability of the JE framework and its measure to these distinctive contexts. Design/methodology/approach: Data were collected using semi-structured interviews with 42 employees from 13 SMEs. The JE framework informed development of the interview questions, which focussed on participants’ lived experiences. Thematic analysis of the textual data was conducted. Findings: Distinctive characteristics of SMEs, such as resource constraints and managerial informality, and cultural factors influenced employees’ perceptions of the forces that embedded them in their jobs. For example, participants perceived the psychological costs associated with severing ties with co-workers as a more salient embedding force than the material costs associated with leaving a job. Additionally, lack of job fit was not an important turnover determinant, because work was perceived as a duty or obligation, rather than a personal choice. Research limitations/implications: The findings imply that the JE framework and its measure only partially explain why employees stay in manufacturing SMEs in Central Java. Accordingly, the original JE scale items would need to be significantly modified to accurately assess employees’ levels of embeddedness in Indonesian manufacturing SMEs. Originality/value: Limited research has examined how SME owner-managers can retain key employees, particularly in Indonesia. This study contributes to an understanding of factors that embed employees in the cultural context of Indonesia and enhances our understanding of how JE theory operates in SMEs.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)180-193
Number of pages14
JournalEmployee Relations
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 8 Jan 2020


  • Human resource management
  • Indonesia
  • Job embeddedness
  • Retention
  • SMEs


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