Does turnover affect an organization or an organization’s executive?

As part of a larger undertaking on exploring how case study research designs are applied by doctoral students and approved by faculty at some universities, I came across an interesting viewpoint on employee turnover. Onyenacho (2019) stated the following problem that led to her research –

Physician turnover is costly for outpatient health care executives (Fibuch &
Ahmed, 2015). Outpatient health care executives lose 2 to 3 times the physician’s annual
salary when replacing a physician (Shanafelt, Goh, & Sinsky, 2017; Shanafelt &
Noseworthy, 2017), and lost revenue for physician replacement is $990,000 per full-time
equivalent physician, with an organizational cost to replace a physician ranging from
$500,000 to $1,000,000 (Shanafelt et al., 2017). The general business problem was that
some outpatient health care executives experienced high physician turnover, which led to
increased cost. The specific business problem was that some outpatient health care
executives lacked strategies to reduce physician turnover.

Onyenacho, 2019, p. 3 (emphasis added )

My question: Does an individual experience turnover or does an organization experience turnover?

I suppose if a specific health care executive’s compensation or continued employment with an organization is connected to physician turnover rates within the organization, then the first statement would be true. But as I read on, I realized the emerging researcher is attributing or assigning physician turnover to a specific person in an organization rather viewing employee turnover as an organizational artifact. That’s a unique perspective.

I have an idea on why she phrased her problem statement that way. It relates to her selected research design, but that’s a different discussion.


Onyenacho, M. A. (2019). Strategies outpatient health care executives use to reduce physician turnover (Doctoral Dissertation). PQDT Open.


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