The impact of humanitarian context conditions and individual characteristics on aid worker retention

  • High employee turnover rates constitute a major challenge to effective aid provision. This study examines how features of humanitarian work and aid workers' individual characteristics affect retention within one humanitarian organisation, Medecins Sans Frontieres (MSF) Holland. The study extends existing research by providing new theoretical explanations of employment opportunities and constraints and by engaging in the first large-scale quantitative analysis of aid worker retention. Using a database of field staff (N=1,955), a logistic regression is performed of the likelihood of reenlistment after a first mission. The findings demonstrate that only 40 per cent of employees reenlist for a second mission with MSF Holland, and that workplace location and security situation, age, and gender have no significant effect. Individuals are less likely to reenlist if they returned early from the first mission for a personal reason, are in a relationship, are medical doctors, or if they come from highly developed countries. The paper reflectsHigh employee turnover rates constitute a major challenge to effective aid provision. This study examines how features of humanitarian work and aid workers' individual characteristics affect retention within one humanitarian organisation, Medecins Sans Frontieres (MSF) Holland. The study extends existing research by providing new theoretical explanations of employment opportunities and constraints and by engaging in the first large-scale quantitative analysis of aid worker retention. Using a database of field staff (N=1,955), a logistic regression is performed of the likelihood of reenlistment after a first mission. The findings demonstrate that only 40 per cent of employees reenlist for a second mission with MSF Holland, and that workplace location and security situation, age, and gender have no significant effect. Individuals are less likely to reenlist if they returned early from the first mission for a personal reason, are in a relationship, are medical doctors, or if they come from highly developed countries. The paper reflects on the findings in the light of policy.show moreshow less

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Metadaten
Author:Valeska P. Korff, Nicoletta Balbo, Melinda Mills, Liesbet Heyse, Rafael Wittek
DOI:https://doi.org/10.1111/disa.12119
ISSN:0361-3666 (print)
ISSN:1467-7717 (online)
Pubmed Id:http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed?term=25581498
Parent Title (English):Disasters : the journal of disaster studies, policy and management
Publisher:Wiley-Blackwell
Place of publication:Hoboken
Document Type:Article
Language:English
Year of first Publication:2015
Year of Completion:2015
Release Date:2017/03/27
Tag:aid worker; humanitarian organisations; personnel policy; retention; staff turnover
Volume:39
Issue:3
Pagenumber:24
First Page:522
Last Page:545
Organizational units:Wirtschafts- und Sozialwissenschaftliche Fakultät / Sozialwissenschaften
Peer Review:Referiert