Based o an attitudinal perspective and associated
to job contentment, the concept of organisational commitment has expanded over
the time. As reported by Porter, organizational commitment can be defined as
“an attachment to the organization, characterized by an intention to remain in
it; an identification with the values and goal of the organization; and a
willingness to exert extra effort on its behalf” (Porter et al, 1974, p.604).
Depending on its level, organizational commitment can have a positive or a
negative impact on the way employees behave and consequently on the
Conforming to Mayer and Allen, a
tri-dimensional model can be used to approach organizational commitment:
affective, continuance and normative commitments (Mayer and Allen, 1997, p.106).
Affective commitment represents the employee’s emotional attachment to the
organization. In fact, it refer to how much the employee appreciate to work for
the company and how much he or she wants to stay, because they identify with
the organizational goals, feel valued, and feel that they fit into the
organization. For example, the nurse at the Accident and Emergency Department
that says “I enjoy it.. If I didn’t enjoy it I wouldn’t like coming to work.. I
wouldn’t change jobs unless I really, really needed to”. The level of
attachment commitment is influenced by factors such as the extent to which the
individual’s expectations about the organization are matched by their actual
experience, participation in projects, job challenge, and others. Team members
of the accident and emergency department get involved with the project, staffs
makes suggestions and are looking forward to share their own ideas with the
rest of the Trust, for example.
Continuance commitment relates
to how much employees feel the need to stay at the organisation they are in.
Employees committed for this reason, accentuate their motivation to remain in the
organization in the reason why they need to stay. Possible reasons for this
needing vary, but the main reasons relate to a lack of work alternatives,
remuneration or benefits, such as amount of holidays.
For example in the Medical Department an
employee said that the only reason they are not looking for a job somewhere
else is that they are working for the Trust for more than ten years now and
they get more holidays than they would get elsewhere and due to it is able to
help her or his daughter with childcare in the school holidays. This type of
commitment is influenced by the weigh of what the individual will loose, in
comparison of what the new opportunity will give them. Staying is associated
with profit, while leaving is associated with cost.
commitment is “a feeling of obligation to continue employed” (Mayer and Allen,
1997, p.11). Normatively committed
employees feel a sense of guilt about the possibility of leaving the
organization. Reasons for such feeling are often concerned with employees perception
that by leaving the organisation they would create a vacant in
knowledge/skills, which would subsequently increase the pressure on their
colleagues, or even feel an obligation to repay the organisation for investing in them, for
example through training and development. Employees with this type of
commitment, believe that staying in the organisation is the most decent attitude,
disregarding the level of status enhancement or satisfaction the organisation is
willing to offer to them over the course of the time, which is not the case of
the staff at the medical department, since two of their best staff have left
the hospital to take jobs elsewhere and two further members of staff have told
the HR manager that they are looking for new jobs.
In one hand, in
the Medical Department, employees don’t feel trusted, challenged or motivated, due
to their autocratic leadership, and can consequently become unproductive. Staff
don’t get involved in the projects. A member of the team said that the staff don’t
enjoy going to work anymore and that the organization does not think about
them. Despite of having the chance to specialize and be trained, employees of
this department don’t feel committed to the organization due to their low job
One the other
hand, in the Accident and Emergency Department, where each team encloses a
mixed staff including doctors, nurses, administrative staff and porters, and
have a democratic leadership, where the clinical manager has suggested that the
department continues to use the action teams to look further ways to improve
the service, for example. Employees feel highly motivated, challenged,
important and that they are part of the organization since they can give ideas
that are actually implemented by managers, for example this department recorded
the highest score of the Trust in the staff survey. Since employees were satisfies
with their jobs, they don’t want to leave the organization and feel highly
committed to it.
After all, this study validated the
relationship between employees’ commitment towards their organizations and organizational
performance. In fact, maintaining its employees with a high level of commitment
is not only beneficial to the individual work performance and wellbeing, but
for the organization as well. Employees with a solid and remarkable level of
commitment are more likely to put higher level of efforts to have a effective performance
and be productive, and invest their assets in the organisation behalf.
Organisational commitment may drive to a reliable, dynamic and profitable
labour force. It allows labourers to liberate their originality and to strengthen
the organisational evolution and development ambitions (Walton, 1985) There are
a variety of factors affecting organizational commitment, such as job-related
factors, employment opportunities, personal characteristics, needs and
expectations, positive or negative relationships, organizational structure and
management style. What is most important for organisations is to recognise each
type of commitment in employees, and to aim to encourage affective commitment.
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Buchanan, B. (1974) ‘Building Organizational
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Derby Slides 2017
Meyer, J. and Allen, N. (1997) Commitment in the
workplace: Theory, Research and Application, Califirnia, SAGE.
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Walton, R. (1985) From control to commitment in the workplace, March
issue, Harvard Business Review.