Education Doctorate

Year Approved


First Advisor

Morrow, Denny


The purpose of this study was to explore the factors that influence retention of teachers in the international school setting using the construct of job embeddedness. As the largest global study of its kind to date, 975 respondents hired for the 2015-2016 and 2016-2017 school years were surveyed through the four main recruitment agencies: Search Associates, International School Services, Council of International Schools, and the Association of America Schools in South America. Applying a quantitative research method, the study first assessed the influence of any demographic factors significant in teacher retention regarding region, age, tenure status, number of overseas contracts, and partnership/family status. The demographic variables of significance were then used as control predictors in analyzing the influence of job embeddedness on actual or intended contract renewal using hierarchical linear regression analysis. Noteworthy findings include a lower retention rate for the sample population than previously demonstrated in research at 50-60% overall retention. Three factors of job embeddedness demonstrated significant influence more than doubling or tripling the likelihood of renewal. The organizational sacrifices a teacher expected in giving up a position tripled the likelihood of staying when examining actual contract renewal data, and influenced intended renewal by three-and-a-half times. These sacrifices consist of salary, benefits, promotional opportunities, and autonomy. Second, how well the host country community fit the teacher doubled the influence of both actual and intended contract renewal, including weather, environment, activities, and community relationships. Third, the organizational fit of school culture, professional development, authority, and responsibility doubled the influence of actual renewal and approached significance in influencing intended renewal by nearly one-and-a-half times. This study elucidates that international teachers are savvy and mobile professionals interested in adequate compensation, quality of life, career advancement, and a workplace environment rich with growth opportunities.

Degree Name

Education Doctorate

Document Type

Doctoral dissertation