What is organisational commitment? Explain the links between the various types of organisational commitment and job-related outcomes. Are committed employees necessarily more valuable to organisations than less committed employees?
There are various definitions for the concept of organizational commitment but they all agree that it refers to a psychological state, which can be described as the bond or the attachment between an employee and their organization. McShane and Travaglione (2007:119) give the following definition: “Organisational commitment refers to the employee’s emotional attachment to, identification with and involvement in a particular organization”, while Wood et al. (2006:57) state that “organisational commitment refers to the degree to which a person strongly identifies with, and feels part of, the organization”. When it comes to closer analysing the concept of commitment, researchers have come up with various explanations and models. Hereafter, we will stick to Meyer and Allen (1990, cited in Ofenloch/Madukanya, 2007), who have come up with a three-component model, explained in the following. According to Meyer and Allen, commitment is a mental state that consists of at least three components which account for an employee’s commitment to the organization, namely affective commitment, continuance commitment and normative commitment. Affective commitment relates to the positive emotional attachment an employee has for their organization, i.e. they identify with their organization’s values, goals, and missions and long to be a part of the organization. They are dedicated to the organization because of their own wish to be. They choose to be commited, they choose to be part of the company and feel a sense of belonging. As opposed to this, an employee experiences continuance (or calculative commitment ) when they do not commit to the organization because they want to but they feel they have to or need to. The employee perceives a loss at a high social or economic cost if they left the organization. Furthermore, employees might perceive a lack of alternatives, i.e. other work opportunities or arrangements. They have invested too much to leave the company and the question of commitment is a mere cost and benefit calculation (Lambert, Hogan and Jiang, 2008). Last but not least, normative (or moral) commitment describes an employees commitment to an organization due to indebtedness. There are manifold reasons for normative commitment, e.g. the employee could feel obliged to stay with the organization because the company has invested in education and training and the employee stays in order to pay back the perceived ‘debt‘. Also, socialization processes and/or education might have led to the disposition of internalizing and displaying loyalty and responsibility. Thus, the employee feels they ‘ought to’ stay with the organization because they owe them. Meyer and Allan’s three-component model is widely accepted and constitutes the central concept of commitment research. The three components are not mutually exclusive. It is possible that one person experiences all three forms at the same time with varied markedness. Various empirical studies have confirmed the tri-dimensionality of the model (Ofenloch/Madukanya, 2007). Furthermore, the different types of commitment can take place on various levels. , i.e., an employee can feel committed to the organization as such but also, and probably more likely, an employee can feel committed to a smaller unit of the organization, such as their work group, their supervisor or the management. As well as there are antecedents to organizational commitment [more distal ones such as organizational characteristics, personal characteristics, socialisation experiences, management practices and environmental conditions as well as more proximal ones, such as work experiences - job scope, relationships, participation, support, justice - role states - ambiguity, conflict and...
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