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JOB SATISFACTION AND ORGANISATIONALCOMMITMENT: A THEORETICAL FRAMEWORK
Theoretical Framework of Job Satisfaction
Theoretical Framework of Organisational Commitment
JOB SATISFACTION AND ORGANISATIONAL COMMITMENT:
A THEORETICAL FRAMEWORK
Job Satisfaction and Organisational Commitment are two among the
most prominent work attitudes examined in work and organisational literature.
A brief outlook of the theoretical constructs underlying these two variables are
attempted in this chapter.
3.1 THEORETICAL FRAMEWORK OF JOB SATISFACTION
Job Satisfaction probably is the most widely studied variable in
organisational behaviour. When the attitude of an employee towards his or
her job is positive, there exists job satisfaction. Dissatisfaction exists when
the attitude is negative. Job Satisfaction often is a collection of attitudes
about specific factors of the job. Employees can be satisfied with some
elements of the job while simultaneously dissatisfied with others.
Job Satisfaction is defined as the extent to which people like
(satisfaction) or dislike (dissatisfaction) their jobs (Spector, 1997). This
definition suggests that job satisfaction is a general or global affective reaction
that individual hold about their job.
Schaffer (1957) was of the opinion that job satisfaction is primarily
based upon the satisfaction of needs. The stronger the need, the more
closely will job satisfaction depend on its gratification.
79Job Satisfaction and Organisational Commitment: A Theoretical Overview
Bullock (1952) views job satisfaction as an attitude which results from a
balancing summation of many specific likes and dislikes experienced in
connection with the job.
Kornhauser (1965) has presented that men in routine production jobs
have an average less satisfactory mental health than those in more skilled
occupations. Furthermore, the more job satisfied workers in each occupation
enjoyed better mental health than the least satisfied.
Sushila and Singhal (1972) defines job satisfaction as the zest an
employee displays in his harmonious relationship on the job as a result of his
adjustment on three dimensions: people, society and work. It has been
argued that job satisfaction is a composite measure which can be obtained by
a meaningful combination of the indices of personal, organisational and
The term job satisfaction refers to the attitudes and feelings people
have about their work. Positive and favourable attitudes towards the job
indicate job satisfaction. Negative and unfavourable attitudes towards the job
indicate job dissatisfaction.
According to Mathur and Mehta (1996), job satisfaction constitutes
emotional response to a persons job satisfaction. It often depends how well
the job outcomes fulfil expectations of people at work.
Purcell, Hutchinson and Rayton (2003) believe that discretionary
behaviour which helps the firm to be successful is most likely to happen when
employees are well motivated and feel committed to the organisation and
80Job Satisfaction and Organisational Commitment: A Theoretical Overview
when the job gives them high levels of satisfaction. Their research found that
the key factors affecting job satisfaction were career opportunities, job
influence, team work and job challenge.
Guna and Maimunah (2008) in their study reveals that job satisfaction
is an employees level of positive effect towards job or job situation that
enhances quality of work life. They state that a better understanding of job
satisfaction will ensue a sustainable development of IT workforce. The action
of attending work regularly, working hard and intending to stay in the
organisation for long period of time shows the positive behaviour which
indicates job satisfaction. In contrast, negative behavioural outcomes reveal
dissatisfaction in job.
Altaf (2010) states that job satisfaction is a complex and multifaceted
concept, which can mean different things to different people. The link
between job satisfaction and performance may prove to be a spurious
relationship, instead, both satisfaction and performance are the result of
personality. Hence the behavioural aspect of human resource management
has to be kept in mind by the organisational decision-makers.
Thus, job satisfaction can be surmised as the favourableness or
unfavourableness with which employees view their work. Job satisfaction
results when job characteristics and wants of employees are in agreement. It
relates to inner feelings of the workers regarding his job.
Job satisfaction describes how content an individual is with his/her job.
The happier people are within their job, the more satisfied they said to be.
81Job Satisfaction and Organisational Commitment: A Theoretical Overview
Job satisfaction is a very important attribute which is frequently measured by
organisations. Job satisfaction has been defined as a pleasurable emotional
state resulting from the appraisal of ones job; an affective reaction to ones
job; an attitude towards ones job. Weiss (2002) has argued that job
satisfaction is an attitude but points out that researchers should clearly
distinguish the objects of cognitive evaluation which affect beliefs and
behaviours. This definition suggests that we form attitudes towards our jobs
by taking into account our feelings, our beliefs and our behaviours.
Since work is one of our major activities, psychologists have had a long
standing interest in job satisfaction. How employees feel about their job is
highly variable. Some employees derive great pleasure and meaning from
their job, while others regards work as drudgery. This is because individual
difference in expectations and in particular, the degree to which a job meets
ones expectation (Muchinsky, 1999).
One of the biggest preludes to the study of job satisfaction was the
Hawthrone studies. These studies (1924-1933), primarily credited to Elton
Mayo of the Harvard Business School, sought to find the effect of various
conditions (most notably illumination) on workers productivity. These studies
ultimately showed that novel changes in work conditions temporarily increase
productivity (called the Hawthrone Effect). This finding provided strong
evidence that people work for purpose other than pay, which paved the way
for researchers to investigate other factors in job satisfaction.
82Job Satisfaction and Organisational Commitment: A Theoretical Overview
Scientific Management (also known as Taylorism) also had a
significant impact on the study of job satisfaction. Frederick Winslow Taylors
1911 book, Principles of Scientific Management, argued that there was a
single best way to perform any given work task. This book contributed to a
change in industrial production philosophies, causing a shift from skilled
labour and piecework towards the more modern approach of assembly lines
and hourly wages. The initial use of scientific management by industries
greatly increased productivity because workers were forced to work at a faster
pace. However, workers became exhausted and dissatisfied, thus leaving
researchers with new questions to answer regard job satisfaction. It should
also be noted that the work of Bryan, Walter Dill Scott and Hugo Munsterberg
set the tone for Taylors works.
Some argue that Maslows hierarchy of needs theory, a motivation
theory, laid the foundation for job satisfaction theory. This theory explains that
people seeks to satisfy five specific needs in life psychological needs, safety
needs, social needs, self-esteem needs and self-actualisation. This model
served as a good basis from which early researchers could develop job
Job satisfaction can also be seen within the boarder context of the
range of issues which affect an individuals experience of work, or their quality
of working life. Job satisfaction can be understood in terms of its relationships
with other key factors such as general well-being, stress at work, control at
work, home-work-interface and working conditions.
83Job Satisfaction and Organisational Commitment: A Theoretical Overview
Nature of Job Satisfaction
It is a nebulous concept. Vroom has defined it as the positive
orientation of an individual towards the work role which he is presently
occupying. It can be paraphrased as an individual liking more aspects of his
work than he dislikes. The four measures of job satisfaction are:
i) Pride in work group
ii) Intrinsic job satisfaction
iii) Company involvement
iv) Financial and job status satisfaction
Following are the major factors that influence job satisfaction:
Factors Results Reduces Leads
1) Proper technology
2) Proper environment
3) Proper individual
4) Proper wages
5) Proper schedules
High quality of
Source: Kaila (2011)
84Job Satisfaction and Organisational Commitment: A Theoretical Overview
Consequences of Job Satisfaction
High job satisfaction may lead to improved productivity, increased
turnover, improved attendance, reduced accidents, less job stress and lower
unionisation (Aswathappa, 2008).
Productivity and Job Satisfaction
The relationship between satisfaction and productivity is not definitely
established. However in the long run, job satisfaction leads to increased
productivity. But there are some conditions under which high productivity
more clearly leads to job satisfaction. One condition is that the employees
perceive that intrinsic and extrinsic rewards are contingent upon their
productivity. The second condition is that the extrinsic rewards (e.g. pay) be
distributed equitably. Inequitable distribution fails to convince the employee
about the close correlation between hard work and rewards. However, the
adage a happy worker is a productive worker is not always wrong. Brayfield
and Crockett (1955) undermine the notion that there is a high relationship
between job satisfaction and high productivity.
Job satisfaction and Employee Turnover
High employee turnover is of considerable concern for employers
because it disrupts normal operation, causes morale problems for those who
stick on and increases the cost involved in selecting and training
replacements. The employer does whatever possible to minimise turnover,
making the employees feel satisfied on their jobs, being one such. It has
been demonstrated that workers who have relatively low levels of job
85Job Satisfaction and Organisational Commitment: A Theoretical Overview
satisfaction are the most likely to quit their jobs and that organisational units
with the lowest average. Satisfaction levels tend to have the highest turnover
Satisfaction and Absences
Correlation of satisfaction to absenteeism is also proved conclusively.
Workers who are dissatisfied are more likely to take mental health days, i.e.,
days off not due to illness or personal business. Simply stated, absenteeism
is high when satisfaction is low. The degree to which people feel that their
jobs are important has a moderating influence on their absences. Employees
who feel that their work is important tend to clock in regular attendance.
Besides, it is important to remember that while job satisfaction will not
necessarily result in low absenteeism, low satisfaction is likely to bring about
Satisfaction and Safety
Poor safety practices are negative consequence of low satisfaction
level. When people are discouraged about their jobs, company and
supervisors, they are more liable to experience accidents. An underlying
reason for such accidents is that discouragement may take ones attention
away from the task at hand. Inattention leads directly to accidents.
Satisfaction and Job Stress
Job Stress is the bodys response to any job-related factor that
threatens to disturb the persons equilibrium. In the process of experiencing
stress, the employees inner state changes. Prolonged stress can cause the
86Job Satisfaction and Organisational Commitment: A Theoretical Overview
employee serious ailments such as heart disease, ulcer, blurred vision, lower
back pain, dermatitis and muscle aches.
Chronic job dissatisfaction is a powerful source of job stress. The
employee may see no satisfactory short-term solution to escaping this type of
stress. An employee trapped in a dissatisfying job may withdraw by such
means as high absenteeism and tardiness; or the employee may quit.
UnionisationIt is proved that job dissatisfaction is a major cause for unionisation.
Dissatisfaction with wages, job security, fringe benefits, chances for promotion
and treatment by supervisors are reasons which make employees join unions.
Another dimension is that job dissatisfaction can have an impact on the
tendency to take action within the union, such as filing grievances to striking.
Other Effects of Job SatisfactionIn addition to the above, it has been claimed that satisfied employees
tend to have better mental and physical health and learn new job related tasks
All things considered, practising managers and organisational
behaviour researchers would agree that job satisfaction is important to an
organisation. On the other hand, when job satisfaction is low, there tends to
be negative effects on the organisation. So, if only from the standpoint of
viewing job satisfaction as a minimum requirement or point of departure, it is
of value to the organisations overall health and effectiveness and is deserving
of study and application in the field of organisational behaviour.
87Job Satisfaction and Organisational Commitment: A Theoretical Overview
Theories of Job SatisfactionThe theoretical domain of job satisfaction is affluent with the numerous
theories propounded regarding the dynamics of satisfaction in work
Dispositional Theory is a very general theory that suggests that people
have innate dispositions that cause them to have tendencies toward a certain
level of satisfaction, regardless of ones job. This approach became a notable
explanation of job satisfaction in the light of evidence that job satisfaction
tends to be stable over time and across career and jobs. Research also
indicates that identical twins have similar levels of job satisfaction.
A significant model that narrowed the scope of the Dispositional Theory
was the Core Self-Evaluation Model proposed by Timothy A. Judge in 1998.
Judge argued that there are four core self-evaluations that determine ones
dispositions towards job satisfaction: self-esteem, self-efficacy, locus of
control and neuroticism. This model states that higher levels of self-esteem
(the value one places on his/her self) and general self-efficacy (the belief in
ones own competence) lead to higher work satisfaction. Having an internal
locus of control (believing one has control over her/his own life, as opposed to
outside forces having control) leads to higher job satisfaction. Finally, lower
levels of neuroticism lead to higher job satisfaction.
88Job Satisfaction and Organisational Commitment: A Theoretical Overview
Job Characteristics Model
Hackman and Oldham proposed the Job Characteristics Model, which
is widely used as a framework to study how a particular characteristics impact
on job outcomes, including job satisfaction. The model states that there are
five core job characteristics (skill variety, task identify, task significance,
autonomy and feedback) which impact three critical psychological states
(experienced meaningfulness, experienced responsibility for outcomes and
knowledge of the actual results), in turn influencing work outcomes (job
satisfaction, absenteeism, work motivation, etc.). The five core job
characteristics can be combined to form a Motivating Potential Score (MPS)
for a job, which can be used an index of how likely a job is to affect an
employees attitudes and behaviours. A meta-analysis of studies that assess
the framework of the model provides some support for the validity of the Job
Job satisfaction is in regard to ones feelings or state-of-mind regarding
the nature of their work. Job satisfaction can be influenced by a variety of
factors, e.g., the quality of ones relationship with their supervisor, the quality
of the physical environment in which they work and degree of fulfilment in
Lockes Value Theory
The theory posits that job satisfaction is the relationship between job
outcomes realised as compared to those desired. In other words, satisfaction
is high when an employee receives outcomes which he or she values high.
89Job Satisfaction and Organisational Commitment: A Theoretical Overview
Satisfaction is less when the outcomes received are valued less by the
employee. Lockes approach focuses on any outcomes that people value,
regardless of what they are and not necessarily lower order needs. The key
to satisfaction, according to the theory, is the discrepancy between those
aspects of the job one has and those one wants: the greater the discrepancy,
lesser the satisfaction.
Lockes theory calls attention to those aspects of the job that need to
be attended for job satisfaction to result.
Model of Job Satisfaction
Fig. 3.1 shows the causes and consequences of job satisfaction.
Causes for job satisfaction comprise organisational factors, group elements
and individual needs. All these factors contribute to job satisfaction, there are
two variables, namely, outcomes valued/expected and outcomes received.
Causes of Job Satisfaction
90Job Satisfaction and Organisational Commitment: A Theoretical Overview
CAUSES OF JOB SATISFACTION
There are five major organisational factors which contribute to an
employees attitude towards his or her job: pay, opportunities for promotion,
the nature of work, policies of the organisation and working conditions.
Wages: Wages play a significant role in influencing job satisfaction. This is
because of two reasons. First money is an important instrument in fulfilling
ones needs; and two, employees often see pay as a reflection of
managements concern for them. When pay system is fair, based on job
demands, individual skill level and community pay standards, satisfaction is
likely to result.
Promotions: Promotional opportunities affect job satisfaction considerably.
The desire for promotion is generally strong among employees as it involves
change in job content, pay, responsibility, independence, status and the like.
It is no surprise that the employee takes promotion as the ultimate
achievement in his career and when it is realised, he feels extremely satisfied.
Nature of Work: Most employees crave intellectual challenges on job. They
tend to prefer being given opportunities to use their skills and abilities and
being offered a variety of tasks, freedom and feedback on how well they are
doing. These characteristics make jobs mentally challenging.
Organisational Policies and Procedures: Organisational policies include
the basis for effecting promotions (seniority versus merit), transfer of people,
91Job Satisfaction and Organisational Commitment: A Theoretical Overview
foreign assignments, lay-off and retrenchments, appraisal and reward system,
motivational methods, skill based versus job based pay and the like.
Working Conditions: Working conditions that are compatible with an
employees physical comfort and that facilitate doing a good job contribute to
job satisfaction, Temperature, humidity, ventilation, lighting and noise, hours
of work, cleanliness of the workplace and adequate tools and equipment are
the features which affect job satisfaction.
The assumption that working conditions and satisfaction are
interrelated contradicts the two-factor theory of motivation. According to this
theory, working conditions are a part of maintenance factors which, when
provided, help remove dissatisfaction.
Thus, while working conditions constitute a source of job satisfaction,
they are a relatively minor source. Generally, unless working conditions are
either extremely good or bad, they are taken for granted by most employees.
Only when employees themselves change jobs or when working conditions
change dramatically over time (e.g. moving new facilities) do working
conditions assume more relevance.
Group factors wielding influence on satisfaction include group size and
Size: It is truism to say that longer the size of the group, lower the level of
satisfaction. As size increases opportunities for participation and social
interaction decrease, so also the ability of members to identify with the
92Job Satisfaction and Organisational Commitment: A Theoretical Overview
groups performance. More members mean dissension and conflict within
groups. All these do not augur well for satisfaction of members.
Supervision: Perceived quality of supervision is another determinant of job
satisfaction. Satisfaction tends to be high when people believe that their
supervisors are more competent, have their best interests in mind, and treat
them with dignity and respect. Communication is another aspect of
supervision. Satisfaction of members tends to be high when they are able to
communicate easily with their supervisor.
In addition to organisational and group factors, there are certain
personal variables that have a bearing on job satisfaction.
First, several personality variables have been linked to job satisfaction.
Among these are self-esteem and ability to withstand job stress. Stronger an
individual is on these traits, more satisfied he or she tends to be on his or her
Second, status tends to influence on ones job satisfaction. Generally
speaking, the higher ones position in an organisational hierarchy, the more
satisfied the individual tends to be. A dissatisfied employee may not stay at
one place to reach higher position in organisational hierarchy.
Third, job satisfaction is related to the extent to which people perform
jobs congruent with their interests.
93Job Satisfaction and Organisational Commitment: A Theoretical Overview
Finally, job satisfaction has been found to be related to ones general
life satisfaction. Here more the people are satisfied with aspects of their lives
unrelated to their jobs, the more they also tend to be satisfied with their jobs.
Hackman and Oldham (1975) maintains that job satisfaction is
associated with five core dimensions: skill variety, task identify, task
significance, autonomy and feedback from the job itself as well as two
supplementary dimensions feedback from agents and dealing with others.
Maslows Need Hierarchy Theory
Maslows (1954) need hierarchy divides human needs into five levels,
each level represents a group presents. The five levels are physiological
needs, safety needs, social needs self-esteem needs and self-actualisation
The most basic, powerful and obvious of all human needs is the need
for physical survival. The needs included in this group are need for food,
drink oxygen, sleep, protection from extreme temperature and sensory
stimulation. These physiological drives are directly concerned with the
biological maintenance of the organism and motivated by higher order needs.
Physiological needs are crucial to the understanding of human behaviour.
They dominate human desires.
In the organisational context, physiological needs are represented by
employees concern for salary and basic working conditions. It is the duty of
94Job Satisfaction and Organisational Commitment: A Theoretical Overview
the managers to ensure that these needs of the employees are met so that
they can be motivated to strive for gratification of higher order needs.
The primary motivating force here is to ensure a reasonable degree of
continuity, order structure and predictability in ones environment. Safety
needs exert influence beyond childhood. The preference for secured income,
the acquisition of insurance and owning ones own house may be regarded as
motivated in part by safety seeking. Security needs in the organisational
context correlate to such factors as job security, salary increase, safe working
conditions, unionisation and lobbying for protective legislation.
These needs arise when physiological and safety needs are satisfied.
An individual motivated on this level longs for affectionate relationship with
others, namely for a place in his or her family and or reference groups.
Maslow believed that love involves a healthy, loving relationship between two
people, which include mutual respect, admiration and trust. In the
organisational context, social needs represent the need for a compatible work
group, peer acceptance, professional relationship and friendly supervision.
Maslow classified these needs into two subsidiary sets: self-respect
and esteem from others. The former includes such things as desire for
competence, confidence, personal strength, adequacy, achievement,
independence and freedom. Esteem from others include prestige,
95Job Satisfaction and Organisational Commitment: A Theoretical Overview
recognition, acceptance, attention, status, reputation and appreciation. In the
workplace, self-esteem needs correspond to job title, merit pay increase,
peer/supervisory recognition, challenging work, responsibility and publicity in
Self Actualisation Needs
Maslow characterised self-actualisation as the desire to become
everything that one is capable of becoming. The person who has achieved
this highest level presses towards the full use and exploitation of his talents,
capacities and potentialities. In an organisation, self-actualisation needs
correlate to desire for excelling oneself in ones job, advancing an important
idea, successfully managing a unit and the like.
Maslows theory represents a significant departure from economic
theories of motivation.
Herzbergs Two Factor Theory
Herzberg (1959) proposed that there are two distinct aspects of the
motivation-hygiene theory. The first and more basic part of model represents
a formally stated theory of work behaviour. The second aspect of Herzbergs
work has focused upon the behavioural consequences of job enrichment and
job satisfaction programmes.
96Job Satisfaction and Organisational Commitment: A Theoretical Overview
Recognition of achievement
Company policy and administration
Herzbergs Hygienes and Motivators
Hygiene: Job Dissatisfaction Motivators: Job Satisfaction
*Because of its ubiquitous nature, salary commonly shows up as a motivatoras well as hygiene. Although primarily a hygiene factor, it also takes on someof the properties of a motivator, with dynamics similar to those of recognitionfor achievement.
97Job Satisfaction and Organisational Commitment: A Theoretical Overview
Intrinsic factors such as achievement, recognition, the work itself,
responsibility, advancement and growth seem to be related to job satisfaction.
These factors are variously known as motivators, satisfiers and job content
factors. One the other hand, when they were dissatisfied, they tended to
extrinsic factors such as company policies and administration, supervision,
work conditions, salary, status, security and interpersonal relationships.
These factors are also known as dissatisfiers, hygiene factors, maintenance
factors or job content factors. Satisfaction is affected by motivators and
dissatisfaction by hygiene factors. This is the key idea of Herzberg and it has
important implications for managers.
Proposed by Calyton Alderfer (1972). According to him, there are
three primary categories of human needs. These categories are:
(b) Existence: The basic physiological needs (hunger and thirst) and
protection from physical danger.
(b) Relatedness: Social and affiliation needs and the need for respect and
positive regards from others.
(c) Growth: The need to develop and realise ones potential.
According to Adams (1965), when employees work for an organisation,
they basically exchange their services for pay and other benefits. This theory
is based on the assumption that individuals are motivated by their desire to be
equitably treated in their work relationship. The equity theory proposes that
98Job Satisfaction and Organisational Commitment: A Theoretical Overview
individuals attempt to reduce any inequity they may feel as a result of this
exchange relationship. The theory proposes that the motivation to act
develops after the person compares inputs, outcomes with the identical ratio
of the relevant other. The important inputs include skill and knowledge,
experience, effort, loyalty, etc. Outcomes include pay, recognition, job level,
social relationship, intrinsic rewards, etc. Satisfaction becomes a ratio of
output to input.
Porter and Lawlers Expectancy Model
Porter in this model identifies the source of peoples valence and
expectancies and link effort with performance and job satisfaction. This
theory assumes that employee should exhibit more effort when they believe
that they will receive valued rewards for task accomplishment. The
relationship between effort and performance is moderated by an employees
abilities and traits and role perceptions. That is, employees with higher
abilities attain higher performance for a given level of effort than employees
with lesser abilities. Performance begets intrinsic and extrinsic rewards to
employees. Intrinsic rewards are intangible outcomes such as achievements.
Extrinsic rewards are tangible outcomes such as pay and recognition. Now,
job satisfaction is determined by employees perceptions of the equity of the
99Job Satisfaction and Organisational Commitment: A Theoretical Overview
Measuring Job Satisfaction
There are many methods for measuring job satisfaction. By far the
most common method for collecting data regarding job satisfaction is the
Likert Scale (named as Rensis Likert). Other less common methods for
gauging job satisfaction include: Yes/No questions, True/False questions,
point system, checklist and forced choice answers. This data is typically
collected using an Enterprise Feedback Management (EFM) system.
The Job Descriptive Index (JDI) created by Smith, Kendall and Hulin
(1969) is a specific questionnaire of job satisfaction that has been widely
used. It measures ones satisfaction in five facets: pay, promotion and
promotion opportunities, co-workers, supervision and the work itself. The
scale is simple. Participants answer either Yes, No or Cannot decide in
response to whether given statements accurately describe ones job.
The Job in General Index is an overall measurement of job satisfaction.
It is an improvement to the JDI because the JDI focuses too much on
individual facets and not enough on work satisfaction in general.
Other job satisfaction questionnaires include.
Minnesota Satisfaction Questionnaire (MSQ)
In Minnesota Satisfaction Questionnaire, individuals rate the degree to
which they are satisfied with various aspects of their jobs like their degree of
responsibility, opportunities for advancement, pay, etc. The range of ratings
is from not at all satisfied to extremely satisfied. The higher ratings indicate
greater satisfaction, with various aspects of job.
100Job Satisfaction and Organisational Commitment: A Theoretical Overview
Pay Satisfaction Questionnaire (PSQ)
The focus is on specific facts of job satisfaction. Individuals reaction to
pay raises, pay structure, administration and benefits are measured by this
Job Satisfaction Survey (JSS)
The JSS is a 36 item questionnaire that measures nine factors of job
The Faces Scale of job satisfaction, one of the first scales used widely,
measures job satisfaction with just one item which participants respond to by
choosing a face.
3.2 THEORETICAL FRAMEWORK OF ORGANISATIONAL COMMITMENT
The concept of Organisational Commitment plays an important part in
human resource management philosophy. The concept of Organisational
Commitment is concerned with the degree to which people are involved with
their organisations and are interested in remaining within them.
Organisational Commitment is important to researchers and organisations
because of the desire to retain a strong workforce.
As defined by Mowday, Steers ad Porter (1982), commitment consists
of three components: identification with the goals and value of the
organisation, desire to be long to the organisation and a willingness to display
effort on behalf of the organisation.
101Job Satisfaction and Organisational Commitment: A Theoretical Overview
The most thoroughly investigated approach to organisational
commitment is the perspective advanced by Mowday and his colleagues
which emphasises the employees affective bond with the organisation.
In other words, this is an attitude about employees to their organisation
and is an ongoing process through which organisational participants express
their concern for the organisation and its continued success and well-being.
According to Salanick (1977), Commitment is state of being in which
an individual becomes bound by his actions to beliefs that sustain his
activities and his own involvement. Three features of behaviour are
important in binding individual to their acts: the visibility of the acts, the extent
to which the outcomes are irrevocable, and the degree to which the person
undertakes the action voluntarily.
Guest (1987) has suggested that HRM policies are designed to
maximise organisational integration, employee commitment, flexibility and
quality of work. Organisational commitment is the relative strength of the
individuals identification with, and involvement in, a particular organisation.
Pierce and Dunham (1987) state that as with job involvement, the
research evidence demonstrates negative relationship between organisational
commitment and both absenteeism and turnover.
Mowday (1974) believes that organisational commitment is probably a
better predictor because it is a more global and enduring response to the
organisation as a whole than is job satisfaction. An employee may be
102Job Satisfaction and Organisational Commitment: A Theoretical Overview
dissatisfied with his or her particular job and consider it a temporary condition,
yet not be dissatisfied with the organisation as a whole.
Sheldon (1971) suggests that organisational commitment is an attitude
or orientation toward the organisation which links or attaches the identity of
the person to the organisation. Robins (1974) also defines organisational
commitment as an individuals orientation towards the organisation in terms of
loyalty, identification and involvement.
Allen and Meyer (1990) proposed three component model of
organisational commitment, viz., emotional belongingness to their
organisation (Affective Commitment), the cost associated with living the
organisation (Continuance Commitment) and the feeling of obligation to
remain with the employer (Normative Commitment).
In recent times, with employees switching over jobs so frequently and
with such as ease at every possible opportunity for gaining personal benefits,
a major question that the recruitment personnel in various organisations face
at the recruitment process is whether the employee being recruited will benefit
to the organisation in the long run and will he remain with the organisation for
a longer period of time than what the current trend shows. Another problem,
which is a common dilemma for the HR managers, is to hold back the
potential employees in the organisation and preventing them from leaving it.
To succeed in this, what ideally should be done is to not just offer these
employees high material incentives but also try and create a sense of
103Job Satisfaction and Organisational Commitment: A Theoretical Overview
commitment to the organisation so that the employee remains and works with
the organisation by choice and not force and identifies with the organisation.
Principles of Organisational Commitment
The sense of organisational commitment will prevail an employee if the
following principles are already present in the employees nature and
behaviour or if the organisation successfully generates these principle
qualities in them. It is on the presence and absence of these principle
feelings; a certain level of organisational commitment is developed and
The ability to keep a job for as long as one wants, providing ones job
performance is satisfactory.
The feelings of affection and attachment to ones organisations.
Trust in Management
The extent to which employees ascribe good intentions to, and have
trust in, the works and actions of management and their organisation.
The extent to which employees adopt, as they are own, the goals and
values of the organisation.
The extent to which the employees feel disappointed with their career
and professional development.
104Job Satisfaction and Organisational Commitment: A Theoretical Overview
The extent to which employees feel that they possess few opportunities
and alternatives available to them outside their organisation.
Factors Affecting Commitment
Kochan and Dyer (1993) have indicated that the factors affecting the
level of commitment are what they call mutual commitment. They are:
- supportive business strategies
- to management value commitment
- effective voice of HR in strategy making and governance
Function (human resource policy) Level
- staffing based on employment stabilisation
- investment in training and development
- contingent compensation that reinforces cooperation
- participation and contribution.
- selection based on high standards
- broad task design and teamwork
- employee involvement in problem solving
- climate of cooperation and trust.
The research carried out by Purcell et al. (2003) established that the
key policy and practice factors influencing levels of commitment were:
received training last year;
105Job Satisfaction and Organisational Commitment: A Theoretical Overview
are satisfied with career opportunities;
are satisfied with the performance appraisal system;
think managers are good in people management (leadership);
find their work challenging;
think their form helps them achieve a work-life balance;
are satisfied with communication or company performance.
Multiplicity of the Meanings of Organisational Commitment
The review of the meanings of organisational commitment shows that
different authors stress different aspects of organisational commitment.
Sociologists in particular use organisational commitment to mean certain
behavioural aspects like continuing membership, willingness to exert oneself,
acceptance of and compliance with norms and values, etc. Psychologists, on
the other hand, consider organisational commitment as an attitude, a feeling
of oneness with or an attachment to the organisation, positive evaluation,
psychological pre-occupation considering the organisation central to one life, etc.
Porter (1974) have defined organisational commitment as the relative
strength of an individuals identification with and involvement in a particular
organisation. They suggest these definitions for operational purpose and
state that organisational commitment can generally be characterised by at
least three factors.
(a) A strong belief in and acceptance of the organisations goals and
106Job Satisfaction and Organisational Commitment: A Theoretical Overview
(b) A willingness to exert considerable effort on behalf of the
(c) A strong desire to maintain organisational membership.
These three characteristics are clearly implied in the meanings of
identification, performance and permanence respectively.
Buchanan (1974) has viewed organisational commitment as a partisan,
affective achievement to the goals and values of an organisation, to ones role
in relation to goals and values, and to the organisation for its own sake, apart
from its purely instrumental worth. According to him, organisational
commitment consists of three components:
(1) Identification adoption as ones own the goals and values of the
(2) Involvement psychological immersion absorption in the activities of
ones work role and
(3) Loyalty a feeling of affection for and attachment to the organisation.
Dimensions of Organisational Commitment
There is some disagreement with regard to the dimensionality of
organisational commitment and these differences stem from different motives
and strategies involved in their development. These include attempts to
account for (a) empirical findings (Angle & Perry, 1981); (b) distinguish among
unidimensional conceptualisation (Jaros, 1993; Allen & Meyer, 1990),
(c) ground commitment with an established theoretical construct (OReilly &
Chatman, 1986;) or some combination of these (Mayer & Scoorman, 1992;
107Job Satisfaction and Organisational Commitment: A Theoretical Overview
OReilly, Chatman and Caldwell, 1986). However, a major factor that
distinguishes the different forms of commitment from another within the
various models is the mindset (emotional attachment, sense of being locked
in, belief in and acceptance of the goals) presumed to characterise the
commitment. Moreover, there is considerable similarity in the nature of the
mindsets within the different frameworks.
Dimensions of Organisational Commitment within Multidimensional
Angle & Perry (1981)Value Commitment Commitment to support the goals of the
organisationCommitment to stay Commitment to retain their organisational
membershipOReilly & Chatman (1986)Compliance Instrumental involvement for specific extrinsic
rewards.Identification Attachment based on the desire for affiliation with
the organisation.Internalisation Involvement predicted on congruence between
individual and organisational values.Allen & Meyer (1990)Affective The employees emotional attachment to
identification with an involvement in theorganisation.
Continuance An awareness of the costs associated with leavingthe organisation.
Normative A feeling of obligation to continue employmentMayer & Schoorman (1992)Value A belief in and acceptance of organisational goals
and values and a willingness to exert considerableeffort on behalf of the organisation.
Continuance The desire to remain a member of theorganisation.
108Job Satisfaction and Organisational Commitment: A Theoretical Overview
Jaros (1993)Affective The degree to which an individual is
psychologically attached to an employingorganisation through feelings such as loyalty,affection, warmth, belongingness, fondness,pleasure and so on.
Continuance The degree to which an individual experiences asense of being locked in a place of high costs ofleaving.
Moral The degree to which an individual ispsychologically attached to an employingorganisation through internalisation of its goals,values and missions.
Varieties of Organisational Commitment
It is the strength of peoples desire to continue working for an
organisation because they agree with its underlying goals and values. People
feeling high degrees of affective commitment desires to remain in their
organisations because they endorse what the organisation stands for and are
willing to help in its mission.
Bauer (2007) posit that organisational conditions encourage
commitment. Participation in decision making and job security are two such
conditions. Certain job characteristics also positively affect commitment.
These include autonomy, responsibility, role clarity and interesting work.
Managers should encourage affective commitment because committed
individuals expend more task related effort and are less likely than others to
leave the organisation (Somers, 1995). Stinglhamber (2003) is of the view
that that managers can increase affective commitment by communicating that
109Job Satisfaction and Organisational Commitment: A Theoretical Overview
value employees contributions and that they care about employees well-
Eisenberger (2000) suggests that affective commitment increases
when the organisation and employees share the same values, and when the
organisation emphasises values like moral integrity, fairness, creativity and
openness. Snape (2003) believes that negative experiences at work can
undoubtedly diminish affective commitment. One such experience is
discrimination. Perceived age discrimination, whether for being too old or too
young, can dampen affective commitment.
Luthans (1985) revealed that American workers displayed higher
affective commitment than Korean and Japanese workers. Wong (2003)
showed that Chinese place high value on social relationship at work and that
those with stronger interpersonal relationships are more committed to their
organisation. The author suggests that Chinese firms improve employee
commitment and retention by organising activities to help cultivate relationship
among employees. This means that expatriate managers should be sensitive
to the quality of relationship among their Chinese employees if they want to
improve organisational commitment.
It is strength of a persons desire to remain working for an organisation
due to his or her belief that it may be costly to leave. The longer the people
remain in their organisation, the more they stand to lose what they have
invested in the organisation over the years.
110Job Satisfaction and Organisational Commitment: A Theoretical Overview
Becker (1960) view continuance commitment as an employees
tendency to remain in an organisation because he or she cannot afford to
leave. Sometimes employees believe that if they leave, they will lose a great
deal of their interest in time, effort and benefits and they cannot replace these
In Kanters (1968) opinion, continuance commitment refers to
participating in a system and remains as its member, which emanates from a
cognitive judgement that it is worthwhile to remain in the group rather than
bear the cost of leaving the group.
Stebbins (1970) has stated that continuance commitment is a
psychological state that arises not from the presence of rewards but from the
presence or imminence of subjectively defined penalties associated with the
attempt or desire to leave a specific position.
It refers to employees feelings of obligation to stay with their
organisations because of pressure from others. People who have high
degrees of normative commitment are greatly concerned about what others
would think of them for leaving.
Meyer (1993) defined normative commitment as a perceived obligation
to remain with the organisation. Individuals who experience normative
commitment stay with the organisation because they feel that they should.
111Job Satisfaction and Organisational Commitment: A Theoretical Overview
Benkhoff (1996) posits that affective commitment and normative
commitment are related to lower rates of absenteeism, higher quality of work,
increased productivity and several different types of performance.
Normative commitment refers to an employees desire to stay with the
organisation based on a sense of duty, loyalty and obligation. This sense of
loyalty makes individuals feel that they ought to stay committed to the
relationship simply because it is the right thing to do (Allen, 1990).
Common to these approaches is a link between the employees and the
organisation. But the nature of the link differs. Employees with strong
affective commitment remain because they want to, those with strong
continuance commitment remain because they want to, those with strong
normative commitment remain because they ought to do so.
The definitions given by various researchers view organisational
commitment as an attitudinal phenomenon and as the loyalty that the
employees show towards the organisation to attain the goals and vision of the
company and to remain in the organisation.
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