Academic journal article Public Personnel Management

Leisure Ethic, Money Ethic, and Occupational Commitment among Recreation and Park Professionals: Does Gender Make a Difference?

Academic journal article Public Personnel Management

Leisure Ethic, Money Ethic, and Occupational Commitment among Recreation and Park Professionals: Does Gender Make a Difference?

Article excerpt

Introduction

For decades, organizational commitment has been an important topic for researchers and managers in the literature. (1) High commitment leads to improved work performance, reduced absenteeism, lower turnover, and extra-role behavior. (2) Researchers have examined affective, continuance, and normative commitment in different private (3) and public (4) organizations, occupations, (5) and cultures. (6) The importance of organizational commitment leads to the study of occupational commitment. (7) Professionals in the public sector, those in the recreation and park profession in particular, may have unique and occupation-specific knowledge, skills, and abilities (KSAs) applicable to special environments, e.g., parks, community centers, and greenway trails that may not be easily transferable to others occupations.

In 2006, the oldest of 77 million Baby Boomers turned 60. Many will retire in the near future; some may enjoy leisure during their early retirement. There is no exception for recreation and park professionals. This may reduce the supply and increase the demand of trained professionals to leisure service organizations. The recruitment and retention of professional personnel will become increasingly important as the leisure services field continues to expand, and agencies and organizations attempt to meet the growing demand for trained professional staff. (8) This shows the importance of studying occupational commitment for people in general and in recreation and park profession in particular.

Further, we briefly searched the ISI Web of Knowledge data base using the term "recreation and park professionals" in our computer search. Although we may have overlooked many articles without using these terms in this search, we have found very little or no research on "recreation and park professionals" among 1,345 journal articles published in Public Personnel Management. This study fills the void and investigates the occupational commitment for recreation and park professionals.

The Present Study

This study examines occupational commitment of recreation and park professionals who provide professional services in the public sector. Based on the attitude-behavior literature, attitudes will predict behavior effectively only when there is high correspondence between the attitude object and the behavioral option. (9) For people in most professions, it is reasonable to examine the relationship between the Protestant Work Ethic (antecedent variable), for example, and organizational commitment. The Protestant Work Ethic, defined as one's commitment to the values of hard work, individualism, asceticism, and industriousness, (10) is positively correlated with organizational commitment. We assert that it is very appropriate to examine recreation and park professionals' Leisure Ethic (11) and Money Ethic (12) because these constructs are related to these professionals' work-related attitudes. (13) For example, students in recreation and leisure services have higher Leisure Ethic and lower Money Ethic (MES) than those in education or business. (14) Both the Protestant Work Ethic and the Leisure Ethic are significantly related to the Money Ethic (MES). We examine Leisure Ethic and Money Ethic in this study.

First, we examine the relationship between (1) the Leisure Ethic and the Money Ethic and (2) Affective, Continuance, and Normative Occupational Commitment while controlling for gender, organizational tenure, and career tenure using a structural equation model (SEM) (Figure 1). Since gender, organizational tenure, and career tenure are highly related to occupational commitment, (15) we investigate these relationships with and without these demographic variables as controls. Second, this study analyzes males and females simultaneously in a multi-group confirmatory factor analysis (MGCFA) and investigates possible gender differences using our theoretical model. We review the relevant literature, define the constructs, propose a theoretical model, and present our hypotheses below. …

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