Organizational Commitment

Organizational commitment refers to the “degree to which an employee identifies with a particular organization and its goals and wishes to maintain membership in the organization.”

Nowadays, organizational commitment is given lower importance. Organizational commitment is being replaced by “Occupational Commitment” where employees are more loyal to the occupation they are in and lesser to the organization they are in. This has resulted in a high employee turnover ratio in firms.

Organizational Commitment can be Affective, Continuance or Normative in nature.

  1. Affective Commitment which tells the emotional commitment and attachment to the culture, work place, location or the organization itself. It shows individuals working with dedication because they are more attached to the organization. Affectively committed employees in the organization can strongly identify with the goals of the organization and desire to be a part of the organization. In simple words affective commitment refers to the “Emotional attachment to the organization and belief in its values”. The concept can be explained by the common “Kissing the Badge” event present in sports where the players kiss the badge to show their affection to the organization/team and belief in its vested interests. Another example of affective commitment are organizations like PETA, PFA (People for Animals) where the employees are emotionally attached to animals and blindly believe in the goals of the organization.
  2. Continuance Commitment refers to the “Perceived economic value of remaining with an organization compared to leaving it”. The principle can be compared to the case of an employee leaving a well paid job which might directly affect his/her family. Many a time’s employees are committed to their organization because of better economic value of the organization.
  3. Normative Commitment refers to the “Obligation to remain with the organization for moral or ethical reasons”. It  refers to the obligation or responsibility that the individual feels due to the benefits such as training, education, learning opportunities, career growth given by the organization to the individual. The feeling of obligation makes the individual more committed as the feeling that the organization has invested on the individual makes him stay in the organization to “repay the debt”. The employee stays with the organization in normative commitment because he ” ought to”. For example the Founder/Initiator of a company/project leaving the organization may feel it would leave the company/project in a lurch. Imagine Steve Jobs (Apple Inc. founder) leaving Apple Inc to join its competitor like Microsoft, Google. He would feel quite awkward to leave the organization he had started and would prefer to remain in Apple Inc. itself due to moral or ethical reason.

The fundamental basis of distinguishing between these is that they have very contrasting impacts on/ implications for behavior. This behavior in turn has very important implications for the work environment and subsequent performance. Studies indicates that affective commitment is strongly associated with not only job performance, but also with organisational citizenship, and often is a precursor to normative commitment. Continuance commitment is negatively associated with these aspects and usually needs to be moderated in favor of the other two forms of commitment. This assertion also suggests that while all three forms of commitment are useful to operationalize, but they need to be scoped and balanced carefully.

A number of studies shows that organization commitment can predicts many variables such as absenteeism, organizational citizenship, performance and turnover. A primary aspect of organizational commitment can be extra role behavior. This means employees go beyond their job specifications and done some thing extra. Most of the managements appreciate initiatives by the employees, this shows their commitment and positive attitude to the company. But few of the management professionals argue that job descriptions can effective describe all the aspects of the work of an employee. Organizational commitment resulted in more positive outcomes, it reduces absenteeism and it improves and promotes job satisfaction. Many firms changing from simple work systems to highly motivating high commitment work systems that needs high discretion, motivation with less supervision from management. It involves more roles to employees so that their creativity and working efficiency would improve, this leads to high performance and job satisfaction.

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