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  • Fall 2015- Work Attitudes and Motivation
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Work and Organizational Commitment Theory

The theory of work commitment is comprised of a number of factors, each of which contributes an element to the concept as a whole. These factors, as outlined by Morrow (1993), include work ethic, the belief in the importance of work and its effect on a person's character; career commitment; job involvement, which describes how involved an employee is in their everyday work tasks; and organizational commitment or how loyal the employee is to their company. Within each of these are additional notions that further describe and elaborate their impact upon commitment. For more detailed information regarding Work and Organization Commitment theory visit: Work and Organizational Commitment Theory.

Case Study

ABC school is a privately funded pre-primary school that takes pride in preparing children for school. The school is regarded as prestigious and has a waiting list that requires parents to apply for enrollment on behalf of their children at least a year in advance. The philosophy of the school’s director has been to provide each teacher with the discretion to create the curriculum and daily agenda for their respective classes. This gives the staff the independence and ability to conduct their classes in a way they feel is most appropriate for the children enrolled in their programs. Each teacher must meet certain education and experience requirements in order to be considered for a position with the institution. In this particular case study, we will examine a sample of teachers who exhibit certain behaviors that influence organizational commitment, specifically affective, continuance, and normative commitment.

Affective Commitment

Mary has been a teacher at the school for 15 years, and began teaching there when the school first opened. She arrives early each day to ensure that she is prepared for the day and that the classroom is in order. Mary takes great pride in the school’s record of success and feels her own success is reflected in the school’s accomplishments. She has witnessed firsthand how far the institution has come since its inception, and is very excited to see it thrive in the future. She has been offered a number of interviews for teaching jobs at similar schools; however she has declined because she feels an attachment to ABC school. Mary displays affective commitment to ABC because she believes she works hard for the school, has faith in its mission and function, and is loyal and wishes to remain employed there because she feels an attachment to the organization (Pennsylvania State University, 2015).

Continuance Commitment

Jane has been a teacher at ABC school for 10 years. Jane arrives to school right before the students arrive. She rarely goes out of her way to think of new and innovative ways to help the children in her classroom succeed. She doesn’t neglect the students. She just doesn’t try to go above what is expected of her. She occasionally talks to teachers at other schools and finds their salaries to be lower than hers. The other teachers normally don’t have any benefits either, which Jane does. However, the biggest reason that Jane stays with ABC school is that her children get to attend the school for free. Jane is aware of how the prestigious school will help her children in their futures. She also knows that if it wasn’t free for her then she would not be able to afford it. Jane displays continuance commitment to ABC school because she is staying because she needs the benefits that are given to her but doesn’t find the need to work harder for ABC school (Pennsylvania State University, 2015).

Normative Commitment

Sarah has been a teacher at ABC school only for a few years. She had applied for a position at ABC school immediately after getting her Associates degree at a community college. The school’s director normally requires a minimum of a bachelor’s degree for those in a teaching position. However, the director felt that Sarah had a great attitude and passion about teaching. Since the director felt that Sarah would make a nice addition to ABC school, she hired Sarah. Now, Sarah has completed her bachelor’s degree in teaching. She thinks about getting a new job at new organization but doesn’t feel that it would be right of her to leave ABC school. She feels obligated to stay at ABC school since they gave her a chance even though she wasn’t qualified for the job. She doesn’t want to disappoint her director or the other teachers. She shows up early and continues to give her entire effort to teaching every day at ABC school. Sarah displays normative commitment because she feels obligated to remain with ABC school because she feels that it’s the morally right things to do since the organization gave her a chance and she doesn’t want to disappoint her director or coworkers (Pennsylvania State University, 2015).

These same three employees differ when it comes to their job involvement as well. Mary, who displays affective commitment, also possesses high job involvement. Which is to say that she finds the job motivating and challenging. She is committed to her work in general and her particular classes that she teaches. Jane, on the other hand, is lower in job involvement and she does not share the same commitment to her work and often finds herself just going through the motions to get her work accomplished. Lastly, Sarah is the poster child of a workaholic. She would rather be at work than anywhere else. She is one of the first to get to work and one of the last to leave. One would think that she would love her job, but in fact, she is not happy.



Morrow, P.C. (1993). The theory and measurement of work commitment. Greenwich, CT: JAI Press.

Pennsylvania State University World Campus (2015). PSYCH 484 Lesson 12: Work and organizational commitment: Am I attached to the organization? Retrieved from:

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