Purpose of this paper: The purpose of this study is to investigate the claim that high-performing employees lose their motivation to exert effort, and has a higher propensity to quit during the process of a closedown.
Design/methodology/approach: A longitudinal design was used, with one year between data collection points (T1 and T2). Data was collected using online and paper copies of the same questionnaire, with a response rate of 61% on T1 and 55% on T2. A 2 (T1 Job performance: Low vs. High) × 2 (T2 Overall justice: Low vs. High) between-subject analysis of covariance (ANCOVA) was performed on two dependent variables (effort and turnover cognitions), while controlling for positive and negative affectivity.
Findings: The results showed that high-performers’ who perceived low justice received lowest scores on effort, while low-performers’ perceiving low justice received next highest score on effort. Whereas, all groups who perceived high justice had lower turnover cognitions than those who perceived low justice.
Practical implications: Using high-performers’ in key positions during a plant closure could be disappointment since the results suggest that high-performers’ could either be those who put forth most and least effort, depending on if they perceive low justice. Therefore, we suggest that it could be more productive to open up the key positions to all employees to apply and interview those who are interested.