johns_ob_6e_ebook_ch04

A recent development in the commitment literature is

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Unformatted text preview: . Employees at Husky have high affective commitment. They participate in rotating council meetings where they make suggestions for improvements and they are proud of where they work. Continuance commitment is commitment based on the costs that would be incurred in leaving an organization. People with high continuance commitment stay with an organization because they have to. Normative commitment is commitment based on ideology or a feeling of obligation to an organization. People with high normative commitment stay with an organization because they think that they should do so. A recent development in the commitment literature is that employees can be committed not only to their organization but also to various constituencies within and outside the organization. For example, each type of commitment could also apply to one’s work team, union, or profession.60 Key Contributors to Organizational Commitment As you might expect, the causes of the three forms of commitment tend to differ. Far and away the best predictor of affective commitment is interesting, satisfying work of the type found in enriched jobs (Chapter 6).61 One mistake that organizations sometimes make is starting employees out in unchallenging jobs so that they do not make any serious errors. This can have a negative impact on affective commitment. Role clarity and having one’s expectations met after being hired also contribute to affective commitment.62 Continuance commitment occurs when people feel that leaving the organization will result in personal sacrifice, or they perceive that good alternative employment is lacking. Building up “side bets” in pension funds, obtaining rapid promotion, or being well integrated into the community where the firm is located can lock employees into organizations even though they would rather go elsewhere. Not surprisingly, continuance commitment increases with the time a person is employed by his or her organization. Chapter 4 125 Values, Attitudes, and Work Behaviour Normative commitment (“I should stay here”) can be fostered by benefits that build a sense of obligation to the organization. These might include tuition reimbursements or special training that enhances one’s skills. Strong identification with an organization’s product or service (“I should stay here because the Sierra Club is doing important work”) can also foster normative commitment. Finally, certain socialization practices (Chapter 8) that emphasize loyalty to the organization can stimulate normative commitment. For example, sports coaches often haze players who miss practice to stress the importance of loyalty to the team. Consequences of Organizational Commitment There is good evidence that all forms of commitment reduce turnover intentions and actual turnover.63 Organizations plagued with turnover problems among key employees should look carefully at tactics that foster commitment. This is especially called for when turnover gets so bad that it threatens customer service. Many service organizations (e.g., restaurants and hotels), however, have traditionally accepted high turnover rates. Organizations should take care, though, in their targeting of the kind of commitment to boost. Research shows that affective commitment is positively related to performance. However, continuance commitment is negatively related to performance, something you might have observed in dealing with burnt-out bureaucrats.64 An especially bad combination for both the employee and the organization is high continuance commitment coupled with low affective commitment—people locked into organizations that they detest. This happens very frequently during recessions. Is there a downside to organizational commitment? Very high levels of commitment can cause conflicts between family life and worklife. Also, very high levels of commitment have often been implicated in unethical and illegal behaviour, including a General Electric price-fixing conspiracy and illegal payoffs made by some Lockheed employees. Finally, high levels of commitment to a particular form or style of organization can cause a lack of innovation and lead to resistance when a change in the culture is necessary.65 Changes in the Workplace and Employee Commitment Organizations are experiencing unprecedented change as a result of shifts in workforce demographics, technological innovations, and global competition.66 In an era of layoffs, downsizing, outsourcing, restructuring, and reengineering, there is evidence that employees are losing commitment to their organizations.67 People often view their careers as a series of jobs with a variety of potential employers, or they even see themselves as freelancers rather than having a series of jobs in one organization. Because of the consequences of employee commitment for individuals and organizations, it is important to understand how these changes might affect employee commitment. John Meyer, Natalie Allen, and Laryssa Topolnytsky have studied commitment in a changing world of work, and they note that changes in the workplace on employee commitm...
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