The Effects of Organizational Learning Culture, Perceived Job Complexity, and Proactive Personality on Organizational Commitment and Intrinsic Motivation

Article excerpt

This article investigated the effect of personal characteristics (proactive personality) and contextual characteristics (organizational learning culture and job complexity) on employees' intrinsic motivation and organizational commitment. Employees exhibited the highest organizational commitment when they perceived higher learning culture and higher job complexity. Employees were more intrinsically motivated when they showed higher proactive personality and perceived higher job complexity. The perception of their job complexity partially mediated the relationship between organizational learning culture and organizational commitment and the relationship between proactive personality and intrinsic motivation. Overall, organizational learning culture, proactive personality, and perceived job complexity accounted for 44% and 54% of the variances in organizational commitment and intrinsic motivation, respectively. In addition, proactive personality moderated the relationship between organizational learning culture and organizational commitment. Theoretical and practical implications, limitations, and recommendations for further research are discussed.

Keywords: organizational commitment," intrinsic motivation; job complexity; proactive personality; organizational learning; learning organization


The effect of organizational commitment on individual performance and organizational effectiveness has prompted much interest among researchers (Allen & Meyer, 1996; Beck & Wilson, 2000; Mowday, 1998). Organizational commitment refers to an individual's feelings about the organization as a whole. It is the psychological bond that an employee has with an organization and has been found to be related to goal and value congruence, behavioral investments in the organization, and likelihood to stay with the organization (Mowday, Steers, & Porter, 1982). It has become more important than ever in understanding employee work-related behavior because it is identified as more stable and less subject to daily fluctuations than job satisfaction (Angle & Perry, 1983; Mowday et al., 1982). Whereas the antecedents of organizational commitment include organizational characteristics, personal characteristics, group/leader relations, and job characteristics, the consequences of organizational commitment are the job performance variables including intention to leave, turnover, and output measure (Mathieu & Zajac, 1990).

People are more productive and creative when they are intrinsically motivated primarily by the passion, interest, enjoyment, satisfaction, and challenge of the work itself--not by external pressures or rewards (Amabile, 1996; Amabile & Kramer, 2007). A necessary component of intrinsic motivation is the individual's orientation or level of enthusiasm for the activity (Amabile, 1988). Although motivational orientation may be partially shaped by the environment (i.e., organizational, social, job characteristics; Amabile, 1996), there is also evidence suggesting a stable, trait-like nature (Amabile, Hill, Hennessey, & Tighe, 1994). Thus, intrinsic motivation encompasses both contextual and personal characteristics. Because intrinsic motivation affects an employee's decision to initiate and sustain creative effort over time (Amabile, 1988), intrinsic motivation has been cited as one of the most prominent personal qualities for the enhancement of creativity (Amabile, 1988, 1996) as well as job performance (Barrick, Stewart, & Piotrowski, 2002; Tiemey, Farmer, & Graen, 1999).

Organizational commitment and intrinsic motivation are important constructs in the human resources (HR) and organization behavior (OB) field. Both constructs share the personal characteristics and contextual characteristics for their antecedents. Moreover, they are two of the most frequently used variables for satisfaction, performance, change, and innovation and creativity. Although the consequences of organizational commitment and intrinsic motivation are not in the scope of this study, they ultimately influence employee job/career satisfaction and turnover, organizational performance, and employee creativity and innovation. …