The impact of motivation and person-job fit on employee turnover among Swedish real estate brokers: A mixed method approach

Sammanfattning: Residential real estate is a vital part of the economy, and homes are important for individuals for both financial and emotional reasons. Residential homes change owners for numerous reasons, and there is a need for these transactions to be secure and efficient from both the economic and individual perspective. The general idea of residential real estate brokerage is to facilitate these transactions securely and efficiently. Real estate brokerage has therefore captured both media as well as scholarly interest. Some scholars even argue that brokerage is a relevant research and literature field of its own. Like other occupations within sales, the brokerage industry suffers from problems connected to recruiting and retaining employees, as put forth by several spokespersons within the industry and scholars alike. Prior studies argue that there is a need for further studies that describe the occupational life cycle of brokers and employee turnover antecedents, such as intrinsic motivation. Hence, the overarching purpose of this thesis is to describe and analyze occupational turnover and its antecedents among Swedish real estate brokers. This thesis sprung out of a firsthand occupational experience of Swedish brokerage, curiosity, and an abductive stance toward knowledge creation. It is primarily explorative, and the embedded articles consist of different types of methodologic approaches and therefore also different ways of gathering data such as interviews, surveys, and registered data. All data solely involves Swedish real estate brokers. Results of the four articles show that the occupational life cycle of brokers is significantly longer than expected and that Swedish brokers display high levels of work-related intrinsic motivation, occasionally rooted in affective commitment towards customers and gained trust from sellers. Furthermore, being driven by gained trust and customer relations has a positive effect on person-job fit which in turn reduces turnover intentions. A majority of the results within the four articles are not in line with prior studies, which is interesting and prompts speculation. The service landscape of brokerage, and particularly Swedish brokerage due to the broker’s intermediary role and personal responsibility for the entire transaction, arguably drives intrinsic motivation and reduces turnover. This is enhanced by the high educational threshold for becoming a broker in Sweden. This thesis contributes to the literature field of brokerage by providing insights about what motivates brokers and the theoretical field of person-job fit by suggesting ways of improving the operationalization and the validity of person-job fit.