Academic journal article International Journal of Education

The Contingent Effect of Justice on Foci Commitment for Teachers of Public Universities: An Empirical Test of the Moderating Role of Trust

Academic journal article International Journal of Education

The Contingent Effect of Justice on Foci Commitment for Teachers of Public Universities: An Empirical Test of the Moderating Role of Trust

Article excerpt


In public university setting, whether trust in supervisor would attenuate the relationship justice and commitment is not certain. In addition, past commitment research focused on organizational commitment, but neglected the foci of commitment. This study investigated the moderating role of trust in supervisor in the relation of distributive justice, procedural justice, and interactional justice with foci commitment (commitment to school, commitment to supervisor, and commitment to colleagues). It was expected that the relationships between three types of justice and foci commitment were weaker for those with high trust in their supervisor. This study uses teachers in public universities as the research sample, collects data by questionnaire survey, and analyzes data through hierarchical moderator regression. This study finds that whether trust in supervisor has the attenuating effect for the influence of justice on commitment depends on the type of justice and commitment. Trust in supervisor can attenuate all relationships between three types of justice and commitment to supervisor. However, regarding commitment to colleagues, trust in supervisor can only attenuate the effect of distributive justice on it.

Keywords: foci commitment; justice; public university; teacher; trust

1. Introduction

Commitment is of substantial interest in organizational research. This is grounded in the belief that employee commitment can predict organizational and individual outcomes, such as, employee turnover, performance, and intention to stay in or leave an organization (Razak, Darmawan and Keeves, 2010). In educational settings, teacher commitment is also very important to the school because teacher commitment can increase teachers' job performance and teacher quality (Tsui and Cheng, 1999).

Historically, commitment research focused on commitment to organization. The conventional commitment view is that employee attachment involves the relative strength of an individual's identification with and involvement in a particular organization, not a person (Yang, Wu, Chang and Chien, 2011). Recent research has begun to recognize that commitment has different foci; that is the targets to which employees are committed (Cohen, 2003; Wasti and Onder, 2009). It is of value to discriminate among foci commitments because teachers' views, values and behavior may vary, depending on which commitments are operating (Singh and Billingsley, 1998), such as commitment to school, students, teaching work, and profession (Razak et al., 2010).

In addition, even though there have been research of exploring commitment to other targets or foci (e.g., Redman and Snape, 2005; Vandenberghe and Bentein, 2009), most of the prior studies only examined important organizational outcome variables such as intention to quit, satisfaction and work behavior (Bentein, Stinglhamber and Vandenberghe, 2002; Clugston, Howell and Dorfman, 2000; Veurink and Fischer, 2011). The current study addresses this gap by examining the antecedents of three different foci: the organization, supervisor and colleagues.

Regarding the antecedents of commitment, the empirical findings of the relationship between justice and commitment were not consistent. Iverson and Roy (1994) suggested that reinforcing an employee's perception of justice can increase attitudinal commitment and then increase behavioral commitment. Magner and Welker (1994) indicated that procedural justice improves commitment, but distributive justice does not. In contrary, Mo (2002) found that procedural justice and distributive justice are both critical predictors of commitment. These inconsistent findings may be due to the target of commitment is not clearly defined and the moderator is neglected.

In addition, Nowakowski and Conlon (2005) suggested that further studies of the justice-outcome relations are needed to focus on the moderators. We consider that trust may be a moderating variable in the relationship of justice and commitment, but there are few related studies. …

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