Organizational Commitment

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Description of Organizational Commitment. Explanation.

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Organizational CommitmentDefinition Organizational Commitment. Description.


Organizational Commitment (OC) is the psychological attachment and the resulting loyalty of employees to an organization, based on the pride of being part of the organization and the belief that their organization values them. The OC-concept goes beyond mere job satisfaction and employee hapiness. OC is part of the field of organizational behavior which defines, explains and humanizes the reasons behind organizational employee commitment. Through the commitment and collaboration of employees with different backgrounds, cultures, values, norms, experiences and skill sets a company or organization gains growth, flexibility and global marketability.

Also called: Employee Commitment and Employee Engagement.


Levels of Employee Commitment

The attachment and loyalty of employees can be present at a variety of levels: their job, profession, department, boss or (entire) organization.


Advantages of Organizational Commitment. Benefits

A highly committed employee will identify with the goals and values of the organization, has a stronger desire to belong to the organization and is willing to display greater organizational citizenship behavior i.e., a willingness to go over and beyond their required job duties. Advantages of gaining employee commitment have been perceived to be better employee retention (lower labor turnover, attrition, and sickness rates), extra role behavior (go the extra mile for a customer, contribute ideas voluntairaly, work hard and smart, recommend organization to other people), better product quality, better work safety, and increased employee flexibility contributing to the firms’ competitive advantage.

If human resources are said to be an organization‘s greatest assets, then committed human resources should be regarded as an organization's competitive advantage (Ranya Nehmeh, What is organizational commitment, why should managers want it in their workforce and is there any cost effective way to secure it? ISSN 1662-761X).


Reasons for employee commitment. 3 Types of Organizational Commitment

Rosabeth Kanter argued in 1968 that different types of commitment result from different behavioral requirements placed on members by the organization:

  1. Continuance commitment has to do with a member's dedication to the survival of the organization and results from having people make sacrifices for and investments in the organization.
  2. Cohesion commitment is attachment to social relations in an organization; it can be enhanced by having employees publicly renounce previous social ties or engage in ceremonies that enhance group cohesion.
  3. Control commitment is a member's attachment to the norms of an organization that shape behavior in desired ways. It exists when employees believe that the organization's norms and values are important guides to their behavior.

According to the Meyer and Allen Model of Commitment (Meyer, J P and Allen, N J (1991) - A three-component conceptualization of organizational commitment: Some methodological considerations", Human Resource Management Review, 1, pp. 61-98), there are generally three 'mind sets' (reasons, motives) for an employee to be committed to an organization:

  1. Affective Commitment: positive feelings of identification with, attachment to, and involvement in the work organization. The development of affective commitment is based on the exchange principle. The employees commit themselves to the organization in return for the rewards received or the punishments avoided.
  2. Normative Commitment: the employees’ feelings of obligation to remain with the organization. Normative commitment develops as a result of beliefs that are internalized through socialization processes, both familial and cultural, that occur both before and after entry into the organization.
  3. Continuance Commitment: the extent to which employees feel committed to their organizations by virtue of the costs that they feel are associated with leaving (e.g., investments or lack of attractive alternatives). Continuance commitment is expected to be related to anything that increases the cost associated with leaving the organization.

Components of Organizational Commitment

According to Porter et al (Organizational commitment, job satisfaction, and turnover among psychiatric technicians. Journal of Applied Psychology, 1974, 59, 603-609.), organizational commitment consists of the following three components:

  1. A strong belief in and acceptance of the goals and values of the organization.
  2. A willingness to exert (display) considerable effort on behalf of the organization.
  3. A definite desire to maintain organizational membership (belong to the organization).

How to enhance the commitment of employees to an organization

Here are some HR practices for enhancing organizational commitment:

  • Commit to people-first values. Put it in writing, hire the right-kind managers, and walk the talk.
  • Clarify and communicate your mission. Clarify the mission and ideology; make it charismatic; use value-based hiring practices; stress values-based orientation and training; build tradition.
  • Guarantee organizational (procedural) justice. Have a comprehensive grievance procedure; provide for extensive two-way communications.
  • Establish communities of practice. Build value-based homogeneity; share and share alike; emphasize barn raising, cross-utilization, and teamwork; getting people to work together.
  • Support employee development. Commit to actualizing; provide first-year job challenge; enrich and empower; promote from within; provide developmental activities; provide employee security without guarantees.

The more of these three factors an employee is showing, the larger his commitment to the organization is. A too large commitment to the organization can be caused by Presenteeism. Another interesting manifestation of commitment is the phenomenon known as whistle-blowing, or publicizing unethical, illegal, or immoral behavior. For the individual, whistle-blowing may be the last resort, the only step left open; for the organization it is extremely threatening when negative information reaches the press. Whistle-blowing may occur because the whistle-blower feels tremendously committed to the organization; it is, after all, borne of an impulse to reform an evil, and few people are willing to risk punishment to reform what they do not value.


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Compare with: Work Absenteeism  |  Dual Commitment  |  Work Presenteeism  |  Expectancy Theory  |  Two Factor Theory  |  Employee Attitude Survey  |  Charismatic Leadership  |  Efficiency Wage  |  Hoshin Kanri - Policy Deployment  |  Skeleton Staff

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