Organizational commitment - American businessOrganizational commitment has to do with how much employees identify with and are involved with the company they work for, as well as how hard they are willing to work for the organization. Many factors affect such commitment, including whether an employee accepts and endorses the company values and goals, how willing he or she is to exert extra effort on the company’s behalf, and whether he/she has a strong desire to remain affiliated with the organization. Employees tend to have higher levels of commitment when there is a strong match between their personal values and goals and those of the organization. An employee who believes in, accepts, and internalizes the company goals is more likely to be committed to the organization than someone with conflicting values or goals. For example, an employee who takes tremendous pride in developing a superior product may feel a low level of commitment to an organization that sacrifices quality for the sake of quantity, but he or she may be much more committed to a company whose primary focus is product quality. Although the values and goals of both the employees and the organization may change over time, having a close match is beneficial for both parties in the long term. In addition, some employees are more willing to engage in extra work for their employers than others when they experience levels of JOB SATISFACTION and perceive that the organization treats them in a fair and just manner. Also important are organizational citizenship behaviors, which include voluntary helping behaviors that aid the organization, such as speaking well about the organization to others, attending optional functions, and staying current in company changes and policies. Citizenship behaviors may also include voluntarily helping other employees by, for example, easing a coworker’s workload during a busy time, volunteering for assignments, and being efficient in order to avoid wasting others’ time. Although citizenship behaviors may not be recognized in the organization’s formal reward system, research suggests that when employees believe that their supervisors notice such behaviors and reward “good team players” they may be more inclined to perform citizenship behaviors. Other factors can affect how strongly an employee wants to stay affiliated with a company. Older employees with a high ACHIEVEMENT MOTIVATION, tend to have high levels of organizational commitment and presumably have a stronger desire to maintain their affiliation, in large part due to having higher levels of SENIORITY and status and more financial INVESTMENT in the company than younger or newer employees have. Younger employees tend to be more mobile in the workforce and may be less likely to forfeit significant contributions to pension plans or high levels of seniority by leaving an organization. Because it costs the organization money to recruit, select, and train new employees, retention of high-performing individuals at all levels is desirable. There are several ways that an organization may try to increase their employees’ level of commitment. Providing opportunities for job enrichment or the chance to learn and use new skills, providing sufficient opportunities for advancement, and increasing workers’ autonomy in their positions are ways organizations can show their employees that the company is committed to them. When employees believe that the organization cares about their needs, it may lead to a reciprocal increase in employees’ loyalty. Indeed, increasing commitment tends to reduce employee turnover and is associated with fewer employee absences from work. However, having a high level of organizational commitment is not always beneficial to the organization or the employee. Commitment that is too intense can inhibit an employee’s personal and professional growth and development. Employees with extremely high levels of commitment may be resistant to changes in the organization, ultimately diminishing their contributions to achieving organizational goals. Job turnover in these situations may be helpful to both the organization and the employee. In general, companies that treat their employees well tend to promote employee loyalty and commitment, benefiting the organization in terms of higher levels of citizenship behaviors and lower levels of job turnover.
See also employee motivation; MOTIVATION THEORY.