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What is organization commitment? According to Morrow (1993), “work commitment is seen as being constructed of a person's adherence to work ethic, commitment to a career/profession, job involvement, and organizational commitment” (Penn State World Campus, 2014).  In other words work commitment is a person’s individual dedication to their career, profession, and organization based off their own behaviors and motivations. So what influences this sense of work commitment? As we have learned throughout the course, individual motivations created by our own personal characteristics and perceptions have the greatest influence over our organizational or work-related attitudes. Our job attitudes and work ethic are largely based on the level of commitment we have to the unit whether affective, continuance, or normative. Furthermore, it is affective commitment that proves to be the most important when looking at work and organization.

Explanation On Levels of Commitment

There are 3 types of commitment:

  • Affective – “person’s emotional attachment to the organization and how they identify with it” (Penn State World Campus, 2014).
  • Continuance – “person remains with the organization because they feel they have no other option” (Penn State World Campus, 2014). Basically their decision is not their own it is influenced from outside entities.
  • Normative – “ a person remains with the company because they think is the right thing to do”  (Penn State World Campus, 2014).

In order to help you better understand and identify what the three levels of commitment are, please view the following case study I have constructed.

Case Study

Tonya Briggs is a Staff Sergeant (SSgt) in the United States Marine Corps whose Military Occupational Specialty (MOS) is Supply Administration. Currently, SSgt Briggs is the Staff Non-commissioned Officer (SNCOIC) for her supply section, where she has three Sergeant’s in her charge and a Supply Officer as her supervising officer. They are part of a new command that has just been re-structured. The old account in which they took charge of is completely compromised and although they did not cause the errors, they have to help in cleaning up the errors. Because they all are new to the command, they have not gotten a chance to really get to know one another’s personalities. Lately, SSgt Briggs, has had the Marines working critically long hours just for the sake of increasing the accounts overall proficiency. Single parents, despite the financial burden, have to find additional after school care and no formal introductions have been made yet delegation has already begun. The Marines are physically on the verge of reaching a level of burnout and loosing motivation to keep going through the rigors of having to sacrifice their individual time. Their proficiency in regards to their arrival time at work has declined, Marines take their time completing task since they know that regardless of whether they finish with all their daily task, additional work will be added to their individual work loads. Their commitment to their job and the shop leaders is slowing declining and it is showing in their behaviors. What can SSgt Briggs due to insure the account gets fixed but also make sure that her Marines are taken care of and that their commitment to their job, their supervisors and the Marine Corps remains in tact.

Background of Individuals

            Sgt Casey is a single mother and full-time college student online, not only this but she is a true definition of what a Marine is. She loves the Marine Corps and is always super motivated. Sgt Casey believes that the Marine defines who she is individually and professionally. Lately the time away from her daughter, and the disregard for the time that she needs to spend with her daughter, is proving to be a influencer of her decision to possibly leave the Corps. She loves her job, but no one comes before her daughter. Whereas she used to think the Marine Corps was a great definition of who she was, that perception slowly changes. From her understanding the Marine Corps was and has always been about stabling a sense of a familial relationship with peers, taking care of that family as well as yours individually, and working together as a team. At this point in time, she does not feel the same way. She is doing her best to maintain a level mindset but the pressure is starting to get to her and it is lowering her emotional identification (affective commitment) to her unit and decreasing her commitment, to the Marine Corps. Her once very positive self-reflection and relation to her work and organization is declining due the fact that her affective commitment to her daughter has greater influence over her behaviors and decisions.

            Sgt Major is a hard-charging bachelor. Lately, he has noticed that more and more of his individual time is being taken up for work related issues that are not a direct reflection of his work. Sgt Major doesn’t like this. He understands having to work late sometimes to finish an extenuating task or correct some errors that he made, but not to clean up someone else’s erroneous actions. He’s also noticed that if time was not taken out of their day for physical training, non-mos related task such as painting and re-organizing an already organized warehouse, that more work would get accomplished. He has talked to the SSgt about this yet nothing has been done. Despite everything he loves his job. Understanding his current situation in life, being that he has no college degree, no home to return too, he has determined that civilian opportunities for him, would not be better than what he has in the Corps. Personally, he looks at the Marine Corps as having given him the opportunity to leave a poverty situation, because of that he continues to serve; he has no problem working over-time, especially when he does not have any plans. As long as he gets his personal time he is ok with things. Besides what else would he do? Where would he go? Not knowing the answer to these questions he feels that at this point regardless of the bad and good days he has no other option (continuance commitment) but to endure the stress of his work and be happy or endure stress of work and be miserable.

            Sgt Chamblee is very basic Marine. She does what is required of her in her specific billet and physically. She has no problem staying within standards. Sgt Chamblee has been in for 3.5 years and have determined that when her contract she will re-enlist, not because she wants too but because at this point in life she really has no other options. Even though this is true, she has always been exceptional at her job. The long hours and constant drainage is influencing her somewhat positive attitude to be altered. Sgt Chamblee wants to be moved to another section where there is less work but she doesn’t want to make it seem like she can’t handle her job and she doesn’t want them to take on anymore burdensome work. She begins to debate with herself asking, ‘I am a supply Marine. Right? What would leaving say about my shop loyalty? No one else is running away from the problem, right?” After her inner confrontation, she determined that staying would be loyal and right thing would be to stay thus establishing a normative commitment.

Assessing the Situation

            The work ethic within SSgt Brigg’s office, despite the Marines conflicted commitment statuses, has not declined. She has noticed that they are very great Marines and is looking to adjust the schedule to allow them more personal time as well as assist the single parents in having appropriate care for their children that will not be a financial burden. Therefore, in order to renew job commitment SSgt Briggs has devised the following plan and will be taking it to the Supply Officer for final approval:

  1. 3 Major Steps

            1. Identify the strengths and weaknesses of her Non-commissioned Officers’s (NCOs). This will be done by monitoring their work habits as well as asking them individually what they think their strengths and weaknesses are.

            2. Determine with their individual values are in relation to Marine Corps values and shop values. This can be done through a survey.

            3. Make sure the Marines are given the proper off-duty time to take care of all their personal issues and life matters.

2 Major Situational Changes

            1. Sgt Casey will be able to bring her daughter to the shop on days that they will have to work after hours. There is a t.v. and plenty of paper and coloring books so there should be more than enough items to keep her daughter occupied.

             2. How do these solutions help increase organizational commitment? By taking into account the concerns of her Marines both professionally and individually, SSgt Briggs shows that she is acknowledging the work environment. Regardless of their reasons for their level of commitment, the SSgt’s actions in acknowledging their concerns will be a positive influencer on their attitude about retention and increase work ethic. When we know that our boss will take care of us in every aspect, we tend to be more motivated about our work and environment.

           Sgt Casey thrived on family and the theme there of. By being allowed to bring her daughter in on nights with her it showed that the SSgt was atleast attempting to take care of the shop family, and as a result allow Sgt Casey to take care of her family. This re-establish the sense of family that Sgt Casey has known the Marine Corps to value. We take care of our own, no matter whether it’s personal or professional.

Perceived Results

            “High levels of job satisfaction are likely to be reflected via high levels of job involvement and organizational commitment” (Penn State Worldcampus, 2014). There is a saying that goes, “If it’s not broke, don’t fix it”. If you are overall satisfied with your job why would you leave? Nothing is perfect, and work is work. When individuals find joy in their work they will be more motivated and very likely to stay with the organization. When all our basic needs are met, it would be very hard not too. In order for the workers to be committed to her as a leader, they need to know that she is their SSgt and Supply Officer genuinely care about them as individuals as well as Marines. By addressing their concerns and giving them the opportunity to perform duties related to their job more than those which are not. Do not treat them like janitors and custodians instead make each event they do a shop function. For example: instead of making just the NCOs paint the warehouse or do something unrelated to their specific job, set aside a day for the entire shop to close down the workspace and do it together. (I have from personal experience seen this method and approach yield very positive results).

            As a result of the supervisor, SSgt Briggs, taking the time to get to know her subordinate, providing feedback to their job performance, making the attempt to acknowledge and fix the issues that they are having, and looking out for their personal welfare, their commitment to the leader and shop will increase. Due to the positive increase in their job satisfaction within their individual office their work ethic will continue to be great and or rise. In correlation, their commitment to the United States Marine Corps (organization) will increase to higher levels as well. Even Sgt Chamblee with her normative commitment will potentially alter and it may become affective in nature as she truly experience what it is she assumed the “familial values” within the Marine Corps to emulate.


            “Job satisfaction is so important in that its absence often leads to lethargy and reduced organizational commitment” (Tella, Ayeni, & Papoola, 2007). My case study showed the link between employees individual needs, work ethic, and the importance of addressing those in order to increase level of commitment to the supervisor, work, and the organization. As our individual needs and concerns are addressed within our work, we obtain a sense of satisfaction. This ultimately affects our commitment due to the fact that we become more involved in our job and committed to the organization.




Penn State Workdcampus. Introduction to Work and Organizational Commitment. (2014, July 1). Retrieved July 1, 2014, from

Tella, A., Ayeni, C., & Popoola, S. Work Motivation, Job Satisfaction, and Organisational Commitment of Library Personnel in Academic and Research Libraries in Oyo State, Nigeria. Library Philosophy and Practice 2007. Retrieved July 1, 2014, from

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