Organization resort to another type of mobility of employees in order to place the right candidate in the right job. This type of mobility is restricted to movement of an employee from one job to another in the same level of organizational hierarchy is termed as transfer.


Transfer is defined as “a lateral shift causing movement of an employee from one job to another usually without involving any marked change in duties, responsibilities or compensation.

Transfer is defined as the moving of an employee from one job to another. It may involve a promotion, demotion or no change in the job status other than moving from one job to another. However, transfer is viewed as change in assignment in which the employee moves from one job to another in the same level of hierarchy pay. Thus, promotion is upward reassignment of a job, demotion is a downward job reassignment whereas transfer is a latter or horizontal job reassignment.

Reasons for transfer: organizations resort to transfer with a view to attain the following purposes:

i. To meet the organizational requirement: organization may have to resort to transfer of employees due to change in the technology, change in the volume of production, production schedule, product line, quality product, change in the job pattern caused by the change in the organizational structure, fluctuations in the market conditions like demand fluctuations, introduction of new lines and dropping of existing lines. All these changes demand the shift in the job assignment, with a view to place the right man in the right job.

ii. To satisfy the employee’s needs: employees do need transfer in order to satisfy their desire to work under a friendly superior, in a department where opportunities for advancement are bright, in or near their native place or place of interest, doing a job assignment, with a view to place the right man in the right job.

iii. To utilize employees skill, knowledge etc., where they are more suitable or badly needed.

iv. To improve employees background by placing him in different jobs of various departments, unit, regions etc. this develops the employees and enables him to accept any job without hesitation.

v. To correct inter-personal conflict.

vi. To adjust the workforce of one section/plant on other section, plant lay off, closure or adverse business conditions or technological change.

vii. To give relief to the employees who are overburdened or doing risky work for long period.
To punish the employee who violate the disciplinary rule.

ix. To minimize fraud, bribes etc. which result due to permanent stay and contact of an employee with the customers, dealers and suppliers.


Types of Transfers

i. Production transfer which is caused by changes in production.

ii. Replacement transfer which is caused by long standing employee in the same job.

iii. Rotation transfer initiated by the increase in versatility of employees.

iv. Shift transfer which is the shift of an employee from one shift to another.

v. Remedial transfer which is initiated to correct wrong placement.

vi.    Penal transfer which is due to punishment for in disciplinary action of an employee.

Employee Initiated Transfer

These transfers are also known as personal transfers. These transfers are primary in the interest of the employee and according to his convenience and desire. Further, these transfers can be classified into temporary and permanent transfers.

a) Temporary Transfers: these reasons for employee initiated temporary transfer are:

i.    Due to ill health or involvement of employees in accidents.
ii.   Due to family problems like taking care of old parents.
iii.  Due to ad-hoc problems like pursuing higher education.

b) Permanent Transfers: there are several reasons for employee initiated permanent transfers. Employees prefer transfer:

i. Due to chronic ill health or permit disablement caused by accident.

ii. Due to family problems like taking care of domestics affairs in his native place.

iii. With a view to correct his wrong placement. Employees may not be interested with the work, or environment, may also require transfer.

iv. In order to relieve him from the monotony or boredom caused due to doing the same job for years together.

v. To avoid conflict with his superiors, if most of the employees working under the same superior request for a transfer, the situation should be corrected by other means like developing that superior in inter-personal skills etc. rather than transferring the subordinates.

vi. With a view to search for challenging and creative jobs.

vii. With a view to search for job with opportunities for advancement to higher level job, opportunities for financial gains etc.


Company initiated Transfers

Transfers are also at the initiative of the company, they can be classified into temporary and permanent.

a) Temporary transfer: due to temporary absenteeism, fluctuations in quality of production and thereby in work load, and short vacations.

b) Permanent Transfer: it occurs due to change in quality of production, lines of activity, technology, organizational structural as discussed earlier, to improve the versatility of employees and reduce bribes and corruption.

Public Initiated Transfer

Public initiated transfer generally through the politicians/government for the following reasons,

i. If an employee behavior in the society is against the social norms or if he indulges in any social evil.

ii. If the functioning of an employee is against the public interest.

The major drawback of public initiated transfers is the politicalisation of the issues. Some employees may be transferred frequently because of political victimization and company initiated transfers of some employees may be stopped due to political favoritism.

Benefit of Transfer: Transfers benefit both the employees and organization. Transfers reduce employees monotony, boredom etc. and increase employees job satisfaction. Further they improve employee’s skills, they correct erroneous and employees conflict. Thus they improve employees morale. They prepare the employees to meet organizational exigencies including fluctuation in business and organizational requirements.

Problems of Transfer: despite these benefit, some problems are associated with the transfers as shown below;

i. Adjustment problems to the employee to the new job, place and colleague.

ii. Transfer from one job to another cause much inconvenience and cost to the employee and his family members relating to the housing, education of children etc.

iii. It results in to the loss of time.

iv. Company initiated the transfer result in reduction in employee contribution.
v. Discriminatory transfer effect employee morale, job, satisfaction and contribution.


However these problems can be minimized through transfer principles discussed below;

Transfer Principles: organization should clearly specify their policy regarding transfers. Otherwise, superiors may transfer their subordinates arbitrarily if they do not like them. It causes frustration among employees. Similarly, subordinates may also request for transfer even for petty issues. Most of the people may ask for transfer to risk less and easy job and places. As such, an organization may find it difficult to manage the transfer policy. Systematic transfer policy should contain the following:

i. Specification of circumstance under which an employee will be transferred in the case of company initiated transfer.

ii. Specification of asuperio who is authorized and responsible to initiate the transfer.

iii. Jobs from and to which transfers will be made based on the job specification, description and classification.

iv. The region or unit of the organization within which transfers will be administered.

v. Reasons which will be considered for personal transfer, their order of priority etc.

vi. Reasons for mutual transfer of employee.

vii. Norms to decide priority when two or more employees request for transfer like priority of reason, seniority.
Specification of basis for transfer like job analysis, merit and length of job.

ix.   Specification of pay, allowances, benefit etc. there are to be allowed by the employee in the new job.

x. Other facilities to be extended to the transferee like special leave during the period of transfer, special allowances for packaging luggage, transportation.