Date of Award


Document Type



Edith Cowan University

Degree Name

Bachelor of Business (Honours)


School of Business


Faculty of Business and Law

First Supervisor

Associate Professor Llandis Barratt–Pugh


The Not-For-Profit (NFP) sector is commonly described as having issues recruiting and retaining talented employees. This phenomenon places additional pressure on employees in the sector and has a negative impact on NFP organisational performance. NFP organisations are often prone to voluntary turnover pressure due to poor remuneration, poor working conditions, and onerous duties (Colleran, Gilchrist, & Morris, 2010). The majority of research in the NFP sector has focussed on the retention of volunteers. However, this study will explore the issue of retaining employees within the sector, in order to improve longevity of tenure and subsequent organisational performance.

There is a lack of research into the motivation underlying the decisions of NFP employees to join the sector and to remain in the sector. The motivation to join the sector is often associated with altruistic behaviour, the desire of employees to care for others and the nobility of the work (Collaran, et al., 2010). However, the associated concept of work passion, an individual’s persistence and emotional desire to gain positive work appraisals (Perrewe, Hochwarter, Ferris, McAllister & Harris, 2014), has had limited attention, but is also considered to be an important motivational factor. This research examines these motivational factors and their relationship to remaining in NFP sector employment. The concept of ‘Job Embeddedness’ was used for this study as it has been described as a valid indicator when explaining the voluntary turnover of employees more effectively (Yang et al., 2011). Job Embeddedness is the notion that employees may become more deeply connected to their work due to a combination of organisational and community-related connections (Yang et al., 2011). A quantitative approach was used in this study using a self-completed survey questionnaire that was distributed to employees in four organisations producing 98 viable responses.

The analysis of the data collected consisted of descriptive statistics, one-way ANOVA and hierarchical regression. The results indicate that a variety of factors influence employees to remain in the NFP sector. However, the factors that appear to motivate employees to remain with an NFP organisation are harmonious passion and on-the-job embeddedness. The results highlighted issues that require greater focus within the NFP sector if retention is to be improved, and these include the lack of retirement and health benefits, promotional opportunities, benefits on the job, and poor remuneration. The findings suggest it is important for managers to understand what motivates employees within their organisation so they can generate strategies to improve retention and employee satisfaction.