Academic journal article Public Personnel Management

Exploring the Relationship between Commitment Profiles and Work Attitudes, Employee Withdrawal, and Job Performance

Academic journal article Public Personnel Management

Exploring the Relationship between Commitment Profiles and Work Attitudes, Employee Withdrawal, and Job Performance

Article excerpt

Four commitment profiles, based on levels of commitment to the organization and the career, were used to explore the relationship between distinct patterns of commitment and work-related outcomes with a sample of professional hospital employees. As two distinct forms of organizational commitment have been identified affective and continuance commitment separate profiles were constructed for each type of organizational commitment in conjunction with career commitment. Results for profiles based on affective commitment were consistent with prior research findings, in that employees committed to both their organization and their career exhibited the most positive work attitudes and the strongest intention to remain with the organization. Unexpectedly, the dually committed also had the strongest intensity of job search behavior, but these efforts did not translate into higher incidences of turnover. No differences were observed across commitment profiles with respect to job performance. The synergistic effect between affective and career commitment was not observed for profiles based on continuance commitment to the organization. Employees committed only to their careers exhibited more positive work outcomes than did those committed only to their organizations. The implications of these findings for management practice were discussed.

As organizations have become less bureaucratic to meet increasing competitive pressures, control mechanisms in organizations have become more informal.[1] That is, managers have relied less on formal rules and more on building a committed workforce to attain organizational objectives.[2] There are some obvious advantages to this strategy in that the benefits of organizationally committed employees include acceptance of organizational goals, reduced turnover and absenteeism, and potentially better job performance.[3]

Recent thinking about employee commitment has shifted from an emphasis on commitment to organizations, to an emphasis on commitment in organizations.

Specifically, the notion that commitment has multiple foci (i.e., job, organization, career, work group) has gained increasing attention, as has the possibility that these commitments might compete.[4] The concept of organizational commitment has also been broadened to include at least two forms: affective commitment and continuance commitment.[5] Affective commitment is the more widely studied of the two, and it is defined as an emotional attachment to an organization, that includes support for organizational objectives and activities.[6] Continuance commitment, on the other hand, refers to one's perceived investments in the organization (both psychological and economic), so that it is associated with the perceived costs of exit.[7] More specifically, individuals with high levels of continuance commitment believe that it is difficult to leave their present organizations, because other organizations might not match the benefits they have (economic investments), and because change is often more difficult when one has been associated with an organization for an extended period of time (psychological costs). Thus, individuals who are affectively committed to their organizations remain with them because they want to, while individuals with high levels of continuance might remain because they have to.

Defining commitment in terms of multiple foci and multiple forms has raised the issue of commitment profiles.[8] As such, there has been an increasing interest in identifying patterns of commitment that are both beneficial and detrimental to individuals and to organizations. One set of profiles that has become especially salient was derived from the relative levels of one's commitment to the organization and to the career. Understanding the influence of organizational and career commitment is especially important, as organizations restructure and shrink in response to global competitive pressures, while still expecting a workforce of committed survivors. …

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