Loyalty as a Guide to Organizational Retention: Applying Moral Foundation Theory to Hospitality

Sean P. McGinley, Xiaolin Shi

Research output: Journal article publicationJournal articleAcademic researchpeer-review

2 Citations (Scopus)


Moral Foundations Theory is used to help explain human behavior and beliefs across cultural contexts. In this study, one specific foundation, loyalty, was used to predict intentions to stay in an organization and job embeddedness. Regulatory focus was proposed as a moderator to the association with prevention focus being found to be particularly salient. A total of 744 hospitality workers were recruited and acted as participants for this study. A two-wave time-lagged design was applied for the data collection. The results showed that loyalty as a moral foundation predicted organizational retention, and that the association was mediated by job embeddedness. Furthermore, the results suggested that prevention focus moderates the relations between hospitality employees’ loyalty and job embeddedness, and between loyalty and intention to stay. The positive associations become stronger for the prevention-focused employees.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)225-248
Number of pages24
JournalJournal of Hospitality and Tourism Research
Issue number2
Early online date5 Apr 2022
Publication statusPublished - Feb 2024


  • job embeddedness
  • loyalty
  • Moral Foundations Theory
  • organizational retention
  • regulatory focus

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Education
  • Tourism, Leisure and Hospitality Management


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