Allen and Meyer’s Three Component Model of Organisational Commitment Essay
This essay requires you to review a theory, apply the theory to gain insight into a personal work example, and then provide recommendations based on the theory on how to improve the situation described in your example. The criteria sheet for the essay and the theories you can choose from are available on blackboard.
The three-component model of organizational commitment by Meyer and Allen (1997) has become a very important model in the analysis of the commitment exhibited in the workplace. According to the model, employees often experience organizational commitment based on three mindsets comprising of important elements namely: normative, continuance and affective. When an employee develops emotional attachment with the organization, the organizational commitment in terms of affective aspects is fulfilled. Similarly, normative organizational commitment entails the reflection of the obligation by the employees pertaining to the organization. For instance, this could be based on the desire to exhibit the norm of reciprocity. Similarly, commitment in terms of continuance is associated with costs associated with leaving the organization either social or economic. Researchers on organizations and managers often put special attention towards the manner in which employees demonstrate commitment owing to the common perception and belief that if employees demonstrate high level of commitment, there is an assurance of long-term benefits on the organization (Luchak & Gellatly, 2007; Jaros et al., 1993; Bentein et al., 2005). Indeed, Pierce and Dunham (1987) argue that employees perceive organizational commitment more importantly especially in jobs regarded as being complex, demanding initiatives and requiring adaptability. Furthermore, the management can influence employees’ organizational support through various strategies of organizational commitment (Rhodes & Eisenberger, 2002; Maertz et al., 2007).
Organizational commitment has attracted massive attention over the last two decades through studies about organizations (Mathie & Zajac, 1990; Lincoln & Kalleberg, 1990). Indeed, researchers and organizational managers have demonstrated extensive concern about organizational commitment owing to important impact it often has on absenteeism and employee turnover. According to studies made by Porter and his colleagues (1982 and 1974), it is evident that organizational commitment has profound influence on job satisfaction, absenteeism and employee turnover. Nevertheless, although there have been several studies undertaken in organizational commitment, there has been a general disagreement about the rightful meaning and measurements to be used in assessing organizational commitment (Meyer & Allen, 1991; Allen & Meyer, 1990). Recently, Meyer and Allen (1990 and 1991) made a proposition of a model comprising of three components to be applied in organizational commitment. The model makes an integration of various alternative conceptualizations. The two researchers made a suggestion that the definitions evident in literature mainly reflected any of the three components namely: perceived costs, obligation or affective attachment. Attachment was termed on the basis of three themes namely: normative commitment, continuance commitment and affective commitment.
The definition of affective commitment as a component of the model refers to the form of attachment to the organization in such a way that an employee feels a strong identification with the organization, enjoys being a member and is highly involved in the process of achieving the organizational goals and objectives. Therefore, Porter et al. (1974) and Mowdat et al. (1982) undertook a research based on attitudinal commitment label in an attempt to investigate affective component. Continuance component is another important element associated with organizational commitment. This component is associated with the tendency towards adopting engagement along consistent activity lines (Becker, 1960). This form of commitment is also associated with a consideration of the costs associated with leaving the organization. There has been an extensive explosion of research pertaining to Becker’s side-bet view. However, Meyer and Allen have argued that the view has extensive consistency with attitudinal commitment as the form of commitment associated with the approach is highly psychological. Indeed, the emphasis made by Becker about costs of leaving the organization portrays a psychological perspective. Lastly, normative component of the model of organizational commitment has a basis of moral obligation and belief justifying the commitment. Therefore, employees feel morally obliged to be committed to the organization (Wiener, 1982).
Allen and Meyer (1990) came up with appropriate scales through which the three components of organizational commitment can be analyzed. It is no wonder, therefore, that the scales have been widely utilized in various research works (Bycio et al., 1995; Shore & Wayne, 1993; Konovsky & Cropanzano, 1991). Nevertheless, the recent studies (Hackett et al., 1994; Grube & Castaneda, 1994) pertaining to psychometric properties of the scales developed by Allen and Meyer (1990) have lacked construct validity in spite of their widespread support. Initially, the scale comprised of eight items for each component but has been modified in the recent past (Meyer et al., 1993) to only six items. The two elements eliminated from the scale were used in the analysis of affective commitment. Additionally, three items were removed from continuance commitment and one item added. For the third component of the model, normative commitment, a rewriting was done on the six items in order to incorporate adequate meaning of the component. The modifications made on the scale revealed that it was now in a position to accommodate diverse psychometric properties of the model and possessed adequate reliability, construct validity as well as convergent validity.
According to Meyer and Allen, the three components of organizational commitment have a differential linkage of variables forming consequents and antecedents (Meyer, Allen & Smith, 1993). The application of the three-component model has been widespread among organizational researchers through diverse empirical studies (Bentein et al., 2005; Snape & Redman, 2003; Lok et al., 2005). Differential effects are associated with the various components of organizational commitment model (Meyer & Herscovitch, 2001). In particular, the components affect other variables such as behaviors and attitudes. Organizational commitment is very important to employees and thus the need for a breakdown into the three components for ease in evaluation. Numerous aspects of validation are important in the assessment of organizational commitment. Certain determinants of the psychometric model have been utilized in the assessment of organizational commitment.
Affective commitment has diverse determinants. Indeed, exchange principles form the basis for the derivation of processes in the development of affective commitment (Mowday et al., 1982; Mottaz, 1988). Organizations have set out rewards as well as punishments to correspond with contributions or failure by employees. Consequently, employees seek to commit to the objectives of the organization in order to enjoy the rewards associated with the contributions made. Therefore, the element of affective commitment is mainly as a result of the rewards and punishments espoused in the organization. There are various rewards and punishments adopted by organizations to foster affective commitment of their employees (Wallace, 1995; Meyer & Allen, 1991; Mathieu & Zajac, 1990). Some examples include job autonomy, role ambiguity, routinization, role conflict, resource inadequacy, workload, supervisory support, distributive justice, coworker support, job security, promotional chances, and legitimacy, pay as well as job hazards. The different forms of rewards and punishments have varying extent of implication and consequences on the employees.
Continuance commitment is also determined by diverse factors. Meyer and Allen (1991) argue that anything that creates a psychological cost associated with leaving the organization creates continuance commitment. Available literature reveals eight variables as important determinants of continuance commitment (Allen & Meyer, 1990; Meyer & Allen; 1991; Becker, 1960). The variables include: general training, self-investment, and social support. Five variables are derived from social support namely: supervisory, coworker, parent, friend and spouse. An employee portrays self investment through the extent of valuable resources spent towards the benefit of the organization. Such valuable resources include time, energy and effort (Allen & Meyer, 1990). As employees increase their effort towards the organization, there is a continued increase in continuance commitment. This is mainly due to the increased feeling of valuable resources devoted to the organization. Continuance commitment is also associated with lack of transferability of knowledge and job skills acquired while in an organization. Therefore, when an employee exits from one organization, there is an increased feeling of loss. It is therefore important for acquisition of general training in order to reduce continuance commitment.
Normative commitment is also determined by diverse factors. According to various researchers (Wiener, 1982; Scholl, 1981; Meyer & Allen, 1991), there are two main mechanisms namely exchange and socialization which play an important role in the determination of normative commitment. Wiener (1982) suggested that the development of normative commitment is facilitated by normative beliefs often internalized through post-entry and pre-entry processes of socialization. It is therefore evident that commitment norm, which Wiener labels internalized normative beliefs plays an important role in determining normative commitment. The principle of exchange is another important mechanism determining normative commitment (Scholl, 1981). Therefore, the development of normative commitment is brought about by the availability of rewards in the organization thus instilling a moral obligation on employees to repay the organization through commitment. It is also important to note that note all forms of rewards bring about an obligation. If the rewards given to an individual go beyond the normal expectation, they translate into normative commitment (Scholl, 1981). Additionally, Dunham et al. (1994) argued that when others provide expected rewards may cause moral obligation although they are not necessarily unexpected.
In my first job, I experienced a high level of organizational commitment. The organization was my first place of work immediately after graduating from college. Having started as a graduate trainee, this organization opened me into the work environment. As a fresh graduate, there was an element of fear and anxiety about the nature of work environment. Therefore, I gained firsthand experience from this organization. The organization is an exceptional training ground for beginners and I found it particularly helpful in instilling the appropriate training for me. Numerous aspects of this organization made my career foundation extremely strong. Indeed, the organization reflected the three main components of organizational commitment as discussed by Meyer and Allen (1990). I found my stay at the organization particularly rewarding as there was a clearly spelt out organizational culture developed over time. Everyone seemed to understand the organizational culture and happy about it.