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Introduction to Work and Organizational Commitment


Work and Organizational commitment are at the forefront of almost any successful entity. A review of mission statements from several Fortune 500 companies reveals verbiage to this effect. Words and phrases such as "relentless focus, reliability, sustaining, consistently producing, and tirelessly pursuing" are all part of the rhetoric that businesses and organizations use to describe the type of work they are doing for those they serve. Each of these endeavors give reference as well to what an employer will need from its people, and that is commitment. 

Commitment and job involvement are, according to researchers, important indicators of who will be reliable and productive. Khan, et al., (2011) states that they can create a "sense of ownership" and vested interest in the organization itself. Individual differences among people can influence their attitudes and beliefs toward work affecting what is known as work ethic. The Center for Work Ethic Development cites a lack of work ethic to be "responsible for a person's decreased performance, declining engagement, and skyrocketing levels of terminations." Paying close attention to attitudes as they relate to work ethic can really help to keep employees on the right track. Furthermore, a person's involvement can vary among the three types of commitment mentioned by Redmond: affective, continuance, and normative (PSU, 2016). Even those with adequate work ethic find themselves in "have to" or "ought to" work positions in which they can become what Stirling (2008) refers to as "disengaged." The following sections will more closely explore the nuances of commitment to shed some light onto how it works and how organizations can create more "want to" work positions and employees.  



Case Study


Kosta, R (2013)

Baby Boomer, Bob, is ex-military, he received his education by using his GI Bill, and he has worked at the same company, holding the same position for the last thirty years. Bob shows up early, values his role, and feels valued by others. Bob demonstrates excellent examples of positive work ethic through dedication, remaining with the company for over thirty years, and dependability, always arriving to work early and never missing a day. He is also respectful and professional to all coworkers and customers in answering any questions or helping to resolve misunderstandings. He exhibits humility, as he is always giving credit to his coworkers when collaborating on group projects. Lastly, he holds himself accountable for his mistakes, and when discussing information with coworkers he understands he is not always correct in his assumptions.

Johnny is Generation Y and just graduated college, which was paid for by his mom and dad. He has never held a job longer than six months, and his longest commitment was college itself. Johnny shows up on time, but never a minute sooner, he does not stand out, and he is only concerned with the amount of time it will take him to be promoted or receive a raise. Johnny shows adequate dedication and dependability by showing up on time but, never missing the opportunity to use his paid vacation, or call out because of a cold. When working on assignments independently he rushes through the work without checking his information, he rarely takes the time to discuss discrepancies with his peers. When working with a group, he is very negative toward the ideas of others and does not take responsibility for his own misconceptions, which are examples of the areas that he is lacking in accountability and respectfulness. When speaking with customers, he lacks professionalism by always finding others to blame when an error is found, but is quick to take credit for fixing the errors which displays a lack of humility.

Work commitment reflects the sum of one’s adherence to his or her work experience. It may be said that both Bob and Johnny exhibit work commitment, but due to their differing personalities, experiences, and priorities, their levels of commitment present in very different ways. Job attitudes are inter-correlated (PSU, 2016), so a combination of various aspects overlap to comprise Bob's and Johnny's individual work and organizational commitment.

Organizational Commitment reflects the level to which an employee feels attached to their employer. While organizational commitment is highly correlated with job satisfaction, commitment relates specifically to the organization for which one works rather than to the work which one is doing. Three types of commitment include:

                --Affective commitment is one’s feelings of loyalty to a company or organization because he or she believes in the organization. Bob is high in affective commitment. He harbors great emotional attachment to his company; and, over his thirty years there, has come to identify with the organization. He accepts and feels in touch with the company’s goals and values. Throughout the years he has felt rewarded for his loyalty and taken care of by a supportive climate which he believes treats employees fairly.

                --Continuance Commitment is reflected when an employee feels that he or she has to stay with the company because the costs of leaving are too great. While Bob's commitment to the company stems from a sense of genuine loyalty, in his over thirty years at the company, he has witnessed employees whose commitment stemmed from financial dependence and an inability to otherwise find gainful employment. Often Bob recognized such employees may stay with the company, but they had low job satisfaction, were not very dependable, and their lacked impressive job performance.

                --Normative Commitment is demonstrated in an employee that feels he or she owes it to the employer to stay out of a perceived obligation.

Commitment to Career/Profession is reflected in employees who place priority commitment upon their own career, utilizing organizations to further their own growth. Modernly, the average American has seven careers in his or her lifetime (PSU, 2016). The culture of work environment in which Bob spent most of his career and which shaped much of his affective commitment has declined, with organizations hiring and firing more often without focus on relationships. Individuals, such as Johnny show less commitment to organizations and focus more commitment to their own professional career. Johnny does not imagine himself working for the same company for years and years. In fact, Johnny may consider changing careers entirely.

Job Involvement is the degree that an individual is engaged in their work (PSU, 2016). We can tell by Bob's level of commitment to his job that he has a high level of involvement. Bob shows up early and works hard every day, from this we can tell that he feels a personal connection to his work. He feels that he is valued at his company which also leads him to have a higher level of involvement. Johnny on the other hand does not have a high level of involvement because he has not been with the company for a long time. With Johny being new to the company, he does not feel a connection between his personal self and the work that he does (PSU, 2016). Johnny is also at en entry level position, so he does not feel valued and feels his work is not as important as others.

It is important individuals feel involved in their job because they should feel a positive connection between themselves and their work. If someone has a negative attitude toward their job, it may lead to a low level of job satisfaction. The combination of a negative attitude and low job satisfaction can lead to a higher level of turnover at the company (PSU, 2016). We can tell Johnny is much more likely to leave the company because he does not feel a connection between himself and his work. Bob, on the other hand, feels strongly about his work and will continue to stay with the company.



In conclusion, work and organizational commitment can be viewed in different aspects. As seen in the case study conducted, Bob is seen as what many will consider an exemplary employee. Meanwhile, Johnny would be viewed as a an unideal employee. Commitment mainly comes from the  employee that is hired; however, it is up to the organization to give the employee a reason to make that commitment. With the many different commitments described, it is all seen with the various employees the company hires. As we see in our daily lives, work and organizational commitment is something we can view in many different ways. In every company, you will find yourself a Bob and you will find yourself a Johnny, but the bigger picture when coming down to a decision on wanting to make a commitment to the company you work for varies on what they are offering you. The key goal when making a commitment is to love what you do. As seen above, never settle and keep looking until you find what you love to do. 



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Khan, T. I., Jam, F. A., Akbar, A., Khan, M. B., & Hijazi, S. T. (2011). Job Involvement as Predictor of Employee Commitment: Evidence from Pakistan. IJBM International Journal of Business and Management, 6(4). doi:10.5539/ijbm.v6n4p252.

Kosta, R (2013, August 09).  Work Ethic. Retrieved April 6, 2016, from

Pennsylvania State University World Campus (2016). PSYCH 484 Lesson 12: Work and organizational commitment: Am I attached to the organization? Retrieved from:

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Stirling,J. (2008, March 22). Cultivate commitment. Weekend Australian, 9. 

The Center for Work Ethic Development -. (n.d.). Retrieved April 07, 2016, from


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