Academic journal article Journal of Managerial Issues

Affective Commitment and Intent to Quit: The Impact of Work and Non-Work Related Issues

Academic journal article Journal of Managerial Issues

Affective Commitment and Intent to Quit: The Impact of Work and Non-Work Related Issues

Article excerpt

Organizational commitment is recognized as a key factor in the employment relationship. Similarly, it also is widely accepted that one way to reduce voluntary turnover is by strengthening employee commitment to the firm. Given the deleterious effects unmanaged turnover can have on organizations, it has been suggested that future studies focus on delineating the motivational and psychological effects that influence the development of affective commitment, as well as the complex relationships among focal variables (Mathieu and Zajac, 1990; Meyer et al., 1993).

Consistent with this call, the present study of intent to quit will move "up-stream" by focusing on the impact of several constructs believed to influence affective organizational commitment. Thus, within the context of intent to quit, this study looks at: (1) the relationship between perceived organizational values and affective commitment, and the moderating impact of (2) career commitment on the training-affective commitment relationship, as well as the moderating effect of (3) work-family balance and childcare availability on the gender-affective commitment relationship. By addressing these three issues, this study expands our knowledge of commitment in at least two ways. First, the subjects who participated in this study hold what can be described as "atypical" jobs in that they are prison Correctional Officers. This presents an opportunity to explore the boundary conditions of several accepted relationships. Second, this investigation looks at the impact of non-work related issues on employee attitudes toward their organization.

We divide the article into four parts. First, we outline the theoretical justification for the research hypotheses, which are presented here. Next, we discuss the research and sample design, construct measurement, and statistical methods employed. Then, we report the results of this study and last, we discuss implications of our findings and the limitations of the study, and offer suggestions for future research.



Figure I summarizes the hypothesized relationships in this study. Each of these relationships and the concomitant variables is discussed in this section.


Organizational Commitment

Organizational commitment is a multi-dimensional construct that denotes the relative strength of an individual's identification with, involvement in, and loyalty to a particular organization (Allen and Meyer, 1990; Meyer et al., 1993). Affective commitment, one of three component dimensions, refers to an emotional attachment to the organization based on feelings of loyalty toward the employer. Continuance commitment is based on the perceived costs of leaving the organization, while normative commitment reflects a sense of obligation on the part of the employee to maintain membership in the organization.

Most empirical studies of organizational commitment have focused on affective commitment. This is because affective commitment is the strongest and most consistent predictor of organizationally desired outcomes such as employee retention (Allen et al., 2003; Meyer and Smith, 2000; Rhoades et al., 2001). One reason for the connection between affective commitment and turnover is that supportive human resource management practices signal the company's concern for the workforce. These signals elicit attitudinal and, presumably, behavioral responses such as increased commitment, continued service to the organization, and a lower intent to quit which results in lowered actual turnover (Mathieu and Zajac, 1990; Meyer et al., 1993). Thus, based on previous research it is expected that:

H1: Employees who report greater levels of affective commitment will express weaker desires to leave the organization.

Caring and Supportive Environment

Social exchange theory provides the conceptual framework for empirical evidence that shows employees have greater affective commitment to organizations that support and care about them (Eisenberger et al. …

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