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The term fluctuation (from Latin fluctuare , "to and fro", "weigh, wall") generally describes a short-term or permanent change (fluctuation, change) of people , personnel , facts or conditions . Depending on the context of meaning and subject area, fluctuation can have different conceptual contents.

Fluctuation in science

In many natural sciences and mathematics , fluctuation is understood as the random change in an otherwise known constant or oscillating system variable, such as fluctuations in the earth's gravitational field or fluctuations in an animal population or fluctuations in sea ​​level.

In medicine , fluctuation refers to the movement of a liquid under the skin. In addition, one also means continuous movement, mostly of the extremities. It often occurs as a side effect of neurological medication, for example after taking L-Dopa preparations for several years , cf. also dyskinesia .

Fluctuation in social and economic sciences

In social sciences and economics, fluctuation figuratively describes the exchange rate of personnel in companies , authorities or institutions as well as the rate of entry and exit of people in an organization or group . It is a short form of the term fluctuation rate, which measures the change per time span or billing period.

For example, fluctuation changes

The fluctuation of employees is determined as follows:


Experience shows that the fluctuation rate decreases with increasing age and seniority , female staff quit more often than men, single men quit more often than married men, and conversely, married women have a higher fluctuation rate than single women. The term is also the subject of organizational psychology , which u. a. examines the influence of employee satisfaction on fluctuation.

Types of turnover

  • Institutional fluctuation:
    • A primary school that looks after grades 1 to 4 has an average fluctuation of around 25% per school year or almost 100% in four years due to regular transfers of pupils.
    • The Bundestag has an institutional fluctuation of 100 percent every four years.
  • Individual fluctuation:
    • The actual fluctuation at a primary school is changed by moving in and out, other arrivals and departures as well as repeaters or skips of grade levels.
    • The institutional fluctuation of the Bundestag is significantly reduced by individual election successes (re-election) and the second votes.
  • Natural fluctuation:
    It comprises the share of total fluctuation that arises because people leave an institution or company due to old age or death.

External factors influencing staff turnover in companies

See also

Web links

Wiktionary: fluctuation  - explanations of meanings, origins of words, synonyms, translations

Individual evidence

  1. Meik Führing, Risk Management and Personal , 2006, p. 188
  2. Heinz Schuler (Ed.): Handbook of work and organizational psychology . Hogrefe, Göttingen 2007, ISBN 978-3-8017-1849-7 .