An Examination of Human Resource Management Practices' Influence on Organizational Commitment and Entrenchment.

Topics: Human resource management, Organizational commitment, Dimension Pages: 29 (8833 words) Published: May 2, 2013
An examination of human resource management practices' influence on organizational commitment and entrenchment. | |

Globalization and the pressure for innovation as means of survival have changed the psychological contract between organizations and their employees. Guarantee of employment can no longer be used to generate commitment (Meyer, Allen, & Topolnytsky, 1998). As a result, workers today do not expect to develop their careers in only one organization (Nussbaum, 1991 as cited in Carson & Bedeian, 1994). Cooper-Hakim and Viswesvaran (2005) estimate an average of five changes of organization throughout a career. Since it is no longer possible to secure jobs, companies attempt to ensure employability and, to that end, invest in developing their people to enhance their potential mobility. This ultimately generates a paradox because companies must also retain the talents they need. Thus, there is now a demand for managerial strategies appropriate for this scenario in order to retain good employees through practices such as awards, promotions, compensation, and training (Buckingham & Coffman, 1999 as cited in Barros, 2007). It is important for organizations to foster linkages for people to remain, but it is also important to assess the nature of these bonds. Affective bonds are those that engender stronger ties since they are associated with an organization's goals and values. On the other hand, bonds based on instrumental exchanges might make it less attractive for people to leave the organization since they would be losing investments and gains already obtained (McElroy, 2001a; Morrow, 2011; Sethi & King, 2008; Steel & Lounsbury, 2009). Although several studies point out the importance of commitment to organizational outcomes (Pfeffer, 1998; Riketta, 2002; Steel & Lounsbury, 2009), many issues still pose challenges for managers. A possible answer to these issues could be planned management of commitments. Kiesler (1971) explains that commitment has motivational factors, and even though it might not be a sufficient enough factor to compel action, it ultimately influences the way individuals react to situations, due to its binding properties. So, it can end up driving behaviors. However, can commitments be deliberately and purposefully managed? According to Meyer and Allen (1997, p. 69), this is possible because commitment "is actually related to employees' perception regarding Human Resource Management (HRM) practices". Morrow (2011) adds that the answer to this question lies in identifying factors that affect commitments. Among them, which practices are appropriate for generating commitment and its presumed impact on other linkages? Sethi and King (1998) studied organizational commitment in Information Technology (IT) professionals and suggest that organizations should carefully examine their policies related to enhancing commitment. These authors warn that practices such as stock distribution, rapid promotion, pension plans, among others, may be working against organizations by merely building instrumental bonds. As such, although these practices might encourage employees to continue in an organization, they do not necessarily motivate people to contribute or exercise extra effort on its behalf. In addition, individuals may wish to leave an organization but don't because of potential financial or social status loss. Affective commitment, despite being more difficult to promote, fosters strong bonds between people and organizational values, making them eager to contribute to organizational success. Thus, in order to properly manage commitments, it becomes important to pay attention to the nature of the bond being strengthened. Companies can adopt practices aimed at achieving higher commitment levels, but the results obtained may produce unwanted effects (McElroy, 2001a) such as strengthening a continuance bond rather than an affective one. Meyer, Paunonen, Gellatly, Goffin, and...
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