This Is AuburnElectronic Theses and Dissertations

Spinning the Web to Stay: Teacher Retention Factors and Job Embeddedness in Alabama's Rural Public Schools




Kelly, Mary Elizabeth Grice

Type of Degree

PhD Dissertation


Education Foundation, Leadership, and Technology

Restriction Status


Restriction Type


Date Available



Retaining quality teachers is an assurance of successful schools. Moreover, research shows that high teacher turnover has academic and social impacts that are detrimental for students. Unfortunately, teacher turnover is often more pernicious in rural schools, and many teachers do not make it past the first five years. "The Theory of Staying" (Watson & Olson-Buchanan, 2016, p. 5), also known as job embeddedness, is a construct hypothesized as critical to organizational success (Shibiti, 2019). This study will utilize a sample of teachers drawn from 496 rural public schools in Alabama to analyze teacher retention factors through the lens of job embeddedness. Through a survey of rural public-school teachers in Alabama that have remained in the school for three consecutive years or more, this research will examine the relationship between job embeddedness and factors that support teacher retention. Participants will complete an online survey intended to measure their perceptions of retention factors and a job embeddedness scale. This study utilized Pearson’s correlation between retention factors and job embeddedness. This will be followed by a multiple regression analysis to determine which retention factors are significantly associated with job embeddedness. The implications of this study will include distinctive findings linked to the dynamics surrounding rural public schools in Alabama while offering insights for school administrators, policymakers, and institutions of higher learning in program development to improve teacher retention. Furthermore, the results of this study will provide information for the development of Human Resource Management practices that increase the probability of sustained collaborative relationships, a climate of administrative support, and opportunities for professional growth; such are the elements that encourage teachers to become embedded in a school and the profession.