What Is Organizational Commitment and Discuss Ways of Managing It Effectively?

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What is organizational commitment and discuss ways of managing it effectively? There are hundreds of articles (Mathieu & Zajac, 1990) related to Organizational Commitment and multiple definitions. This paper reviews the different perspectives and examines how multiple views of organisational commitment could be integrated into businesses and what benefits would be achieved for both the employee and employer. There are a number of views on how staff become committed to an organization and variant belief’s of how this is achieved, there is even debate on the desirability of organizational commitment. If organizational commitment is clearly defined and attitudes and behaviours of individuals could be predictive, how would commitment to an organization be managed for maximum benefits? Many researchers have attempted to answer these questions, below is a summary of the various organizational commitment theories which is followed by discussion of the practical implications. Early researchers such as March and Simon (1958) hypothesised that commitment involves an exchange relationship, “in which individuals attach themselves to the organization in return for certain rewards or payments from the organization”. (Mowday & Steers, 1979 p. 225). Becker (1995) referred to this transactional relationship as having a side-bet, that commitment is formed on the basis of rewards and costs which increases over a period of time (Reichers, 1985). The notion of side-bets is that once staff have locked themselves into a particular course of action they will continue on that path as termination of that behavior would result in loss of their investment. (Culverson, 2002). Mowday, et al further developed the organizational commitment theory by distinguishing attitudinal and behavioural commitment. “Attitudinal commitment thus represents a state in which an individual identifies with a particular organization and its goals and wishes to maintain membership in order to facilitate these goals”. (Mowday et al, 1979, p 225). Mowday et al stated that commitment has at least three related factors: (1) a strong belief in and acceptance of the organization’s goals and values; (2) a willingness to exert considerable effort on behalf of the organization; and (3) a strong desire to maintain membership in the organization (Mowday et al, 1982, p. 226). Behavioural commitment is believed to be the outcome of an individual’s personal beliefs and opinions and repetition of the behaviour reinforces commitment. Salancik (1977) has reasoned that behaviors that are explicit (undeniable), irrevocable, volitional, and public bind the individual to the behavior and therefore cause greater commitment (Reichers, 1985, p. 468) Meyers & Allen (1991) developed a 3 component model that identifies three distinct types of commitment, affective organizational commitment (AOC) which is described as having an emotional attachment to the organization, continuance organizational commitment (COC) is where an individual has invested themselves into an organization and the cost of leaving the organization is too high and the third type is normative organizational commitment (NOC) is when an individual feels an obligation to stay with the organisation (Chang, Chi, & Miao, 2007). O’Reilly and Chatman (as cited in Dessler, 1999) also described commitment as having 3 distinct components, they are compliance, identification and internalization. In their later research identification and internalization were merged and renamed normative commitment. Penley and Gould (Boehman, 2006 cites Penley & Gould, 1988) also developed a three dimensional view of commitment, their categories include moral, calculative and alienative commitment. The recognition of commitment being a multidimensional concept has further developed our understanding and highlighted the complexity and ultimately the inability to describe commitment in unidimensional terms (Boehman, 2006 cites Mayer...
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