Malaysia Literature Review Essay
Chapter 2: Literature Review
2.1 - Malaysia Literature Review Essay introduction. Introduction
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As previously mentioned, the purpose of this study is to determine the employee’s level of commitment and at the same time, determine the factors which play a very important role in influencing the loyalty of the employees to the organization, looking closely to the Education and Health Departments of the Malaysian Government. It is in line with this objective that this chapter shall present a review of literature that had been written and published on different issues that are seen to be of vital importance in the discussion of the aforementioned topic.
Amongst all other form of attitudes in the workplace, Rahman and Hanafiah (2002) mentions dealing with organizational behaviour. This is because of the fact that many people believe that committed employees will demonstrate differential degree of organizational outcomes (i.e. employee turnover, employee performance, and their intention to stay or leave an organization) (Rahman & Hanafiah, 2002). At the same time, many organizations are now constantly facing major challenges that it is commitment to the organization which received so much attention from researchers which often call for the restructuring, reengineering and downsizing of their companies. It is because of this that factors such as organizational commitment are now becoming more and more important. As result, many researchers have devoted their studies, whether conceptual or empirical, in looking into the different issues concerning commitment. However, Rahman and Hanafiah once again notes that most of the aforementioned studies made use of samples from the United States whilst only few had been devoted to the study of organizations outside the US. As a result, the researcher considers this as one of the limitations that may be encountered in this study. Nonetheless, this literature review would include a comprehensive analysis of the following: (1) definitions of organizational commitment; (2) effects of variables (such as age, marital status, gender, race, experience, education, job satisfaction, employee communication and leadership style) on organizational commitment; (3) the outcomes of organizational commitment (i.e. intention to leave, absenteeism, productivity, labour turnover, medical leave and burnout); (4) different empirical studies made on organizational commitment; (5) the Malaysian Government, including the possible influences in the organizational commitment of the employees and; (6) organizational commitment in the health and education departments of the Malaysian government.
2.2. Definitions of Organizational Commitment
The concept of Organizational Commitment usually differs from one research to another. In fact, there is said to have an abundance of these definitions in the different literature written with regard to the said topic. Table 1, as obtained from the work of Rahman and Hanafiah (2002) gives examples of the different definitions given by a number of scholars on organizational commitment. Generally, there are two ways by which definitions of the said concept differ from one another and this is how a certain researcher views it. Others view it as an attitude, seeing organizational commitment as a factor in influencing the way people feel and think about the organizations to which they belong to. On the other hand, there are also some who views it as behaviour, saying that it is also a factor which influences the reasons why individuals remain ‘locked’ to their organizations. The definitions based on these approaches would become evident as each is presented in the next paragraphs.
However, a significant theme emerges in the definitions of the researchers that shall be presented in the latter parts of this literature. Generally, the definitions that would be covered by this paper would basically deal with organizational commitment being a state which often characterizes the relationship of an employee with the organization to which they belong in. Salami (2008) recognizes the importance of organizational commitment. According to this researcher, organizations would need committed workers in order to stay alive in the worldwide economic competition.
Generally, organizational commitment is seen an employee when he or she is happier at work, spend less time away from his or her job and finally, are less likely to leave their organization (Salami, 2008).
Definitions of Organizational Commitment
The attachment of an individual’s fund of affectivity and emotion to the Group (Kanter, 1968).
The process by which the goals of the organization and those of the individual become increasingly integrated or congruent (Hall, Schneider & Nygren, 1970).
A partisan, affective attachment to the goals and values of the organization to one’s role in relation to goals and values, and to the organization for its own sake, apart from its purely instrumental worth (Buchanan, 1974).
The relative strength of an individual’s identification with and involvement in a particular organization (Mowday, Porter & Steers, 1982).
Profit associated with a continued participation and a ‘cost’ associated with leaving (Kanter, 1968).
A structural phenomenon which occurs as a result of individual-organizational transactions and alterations in side-bets or investments over time (Hrebiniak & Alutto, 1972).
The totality of internalized normative pressures to act in a way which meets organizational goals and interests (Wiener, 1982).
The committed employee considers it morally right to stay in the company, regardless of how much status enhancement or satisfaction the firm gives him or her over the years (Marsh & Mannari, 1977).
The differences and disparities between the definitions only show that there is inconsistency in the understanding and perception of organizational commitment among the researchers, Rahman and Hanafiah (2002) mentions. Laka-Mathebula (2004), on the other hand said that this is because of the fact that organizational researchers have recognized that a consensus has not yet been reached with regard to the definition of organizational commitment. Laka-Mathebula (2004) also adds that the definition adopted by a certain researcher tends to be influenced by the approach that he or she uses. In their study of the concept of organizational commitment, the authors mention the ideas of two other researchers which also supported their idea on the different understandings and perceptions of organizational commitment. The first study mentioned was that of Mathieu and Zajac (1990) which claimed that organizational commitment was by nature, unidimensional. On the other hand, Allen and Meyer (1991), another research mentioned in the study authored by Rahman and Hanafiah (2002) mentioned that organizational commitment should be treated as a multidimensional component.
Laka-Mathebula (2006) defines organizational commitment as “either an employee attitude or as a force that binds an employee to an organization.” However, the author recognizes the fact that there are other definitions of organizational commitment that are present which may or may not be different to what has been supplied, as stated by Suliman and Isles, one of the researches which had been the basis of the study of Laka-Mathebula.
Suliman and Isles (2000), as mentioned by Laka-Mathebula, cites four main approaches in studying organizational commitment. These are the following: (1) attitudinal approach; (2) behavioural approach; (3) normative approach; and (4) multidimensional approach. The attitudinal approach basically deals with commitment being an employee attitude and more specifically, as set of behavioural intentions (Laka-Mathebula, 2004). The attitudinal conceptualization of organizational commitment usually refers to the “the relative strength of an individuals’ identification with, and involvement in a particular organization” (Laka-Mathebula, 2004). There are usually three characteristics of organizational commitment based on this approach. These are: (1) a strong belief in and acceptance of the goals and values of the organization, (2) an employee’s willingness to exert an effort on behalf of an organization and (3) the intention and desire to stay with the organization. As a result, the following are the factors that are usually related with commitment under this approach: positive work experiences, persona; characteristics and job characteristics. In the same manner, it also produces outcomes such as increased performance, reduced absenteeism and reduced employee turnover.
The behavioural approach, on the other hand, sees organizational commitment as a behaviour. According to Laka-Mathebula (2004), “the behavioural approach emphasizes the view that an employee continues his/her employment with an organization because investments such as time spent in the organization, friendships formed within the organization and pension benefits, tie the employee to the organization.” As a result, the employee commits to the organization because the aforementioned are too costly to loose. Laka-Mathebula (2004) also mentions that it was Becker’s 1960 Side Bet Theory which served as the foundation for this approach. Generally, this theory states that “employee commitment is continued association with an organization that occurs because of an employee’s decision after evaluating the costs of leaving the organization…this commitment only happens once the employee has recognized the cost associated with discontinuing his association with the organization” (Laka-Mathebula, 2004).
The third approach mentioned by Laka-Mathebula (2004) is the normative approach which says that the congruent goals and values of the employees and the aims of the organization often makes the employee feel obligated to his or her organization. Based on this approach, organizational commitment is “the totality of internalized normative pressures to act in a way which meets organizational goals and interests (Weiner, 1982, in Laka-Mathebula, 2004).
Lastly, the fourth approach is relatively new, the multidimensional approach. This approach puts forward the idea that organizational commitment is something more complicated than just emotional attachment, the perceived costs and moral obligation. Laka-Mathebula mentions, “This approach suggests that organization develops because of the interaction of the three components [emotional attachment, perceived costs and moral obligations].” O’Reilley and Chatman (1986) argue that commitment often have three distinct forms. These are the following: compliance, identification and internalization. These researchers believe that compliance often happens when attitudes and behaviours are adopted in order to gain specific rewards. On the other hand, identification happens when the individual starts to accept influence to establish or otherwise maintain a good relationship with the organization to which they belong to. Finally, internalization occurs when the attitudes and behaviours that one has are encouraged to be adopted complement that of the organizations.
Despite the presence of many approaches in viewing organizational commitment, Laka-Malethbula (2004) gives importance to the multi-dimensional approach in dealing with organizational commitment for there are many factors which affect this phenomenon, despite it being an attitude or behaviour.
It was however, Meyer and Allen (2001) who adopted a framework based on this approach which looked into the three dimensions of organizational commitment. This framework shall be discussed in detail in the next paragraphs as more and more definitions of organizational commitment takes into full view. As earlier mentioned, this multidimensional nature of organizational commitment is one of the reasons why it was difficult for researchers to come up with a universal definition of the issue at hand.
Salami (2008) defines organizational commitment as one of the factors that could eventually lead to a healthy organizational climate, increased morale, motivation and productivity. Thus, he also mentioned this as one of the most important factors that companies need in order to prevent the restructuring and downsizing of their organizations because of the different problems and challenges arising. Salami (2008) also recognizes the fact that most workers have the tendency to be committed to the goals and values of the companies. However, it is the organizations that do not actually care about the plight of workers. As a result, employee turnover is highly affected.
Brown (2003), on the other hand defines organizational commitment as the “employees’ commitment to the organization.” She also concurred with the statement of Morrow & McElroy (1993), one of the researches which became a basis for her study that “organizational commitment is the most maturely developed of all the work of commitment constructs.
Layman and Porter (1968) saw commitment as the following: (1) “the willingness of an employee to exert high level of effort on behalf of the organization,” (2) “a strong desire to stay with the organization,” and (3) “an acceptance of its [organization’s] major goals and values.”
Stup (2006) also presented his own definition. For him, organizational commitment is “the relative strength of an employee’s attachment or involvement with the organization where he or she is employed. It is important because committed employees are less likely to leave for another job and are more likely to perform at higher levels.” This also concurs with the definition given by Mullins (1999). For Mullins, organizational commitment is “an employee’s level of identification and involvement in the organization.”
Makanjee, Hartzer and Uys (2006) define organizational commitment as “the psychological state, characterizing and individual’s relationship with the organization, in accepting the goal of the organization and the willingness to exert [considerable] effort to achieve its goal.” However, these authors recognize the fact that employee turnover, no matter how strong the organizational commitment of certain employees is, and is an inevitable phenomena in the life cycle of an organization. Nonetheless, human resources management strategies that aim in increasing the organizational commitment of the employees become necessary as it could at least lessen employee turnover.
Sheldon (1971), on the other hand, viewed commitment as a positive evaluation of the organization and the intention to work its goals. He defined it as “an attitude or an orientation toward the organization which links or attaches the identity of the person to the organization.”
In the same manner, Blau and Boal (1987) defines it differently as they perceived organizational commitment as a psychological state in which an employee identifies with a particular organization and its goal and desires to maintain membership with the organization.
Chen, Tsui and Farh (2002), also defines organizational commitment as the “psychological attachment of workers to their organizations.” They also mention, concurring with the beliefs of other previously mentioned researchers that organizational commitment has seen to have positively affected desirable work outcomes such as job satisfaction, motivation and performance.
Similarly, Meyer and Allen (1991) define commitment as a psychological state that: (1) characterizes the employee’s relationship with the organization, and; (2) has implication for the decision to continue or discontinue membership in the organization. Beyond this, however, it is clear that the nature of the psychological states differ.
Previous researches suggest that organizational commitment have three dimensions. Rahman and Hanafiah (2002), Stup (2006) and Brown (2003), concur with the findings of Allen and Meyer (1991) as they recognize the said three dimensions of organizational commitment. These are the following: affective commitment, continuance commitment and normative commitment. Affective commitment is defined as the “emotional attachment to, identification with, and involvement in the organization” (Rahman and Hanafiah, 2002; Brown, 2003; Stup, 2006). According to these authors, those employees with a strong degree of this commitment generally continue employment with the organization because they want to. Conversely, continuance commitment refers to “an awareness of costs associated with leaving the organization.” This means that the loyalty of the employees who have this kind of commitment is basically affected with their need to stay with the organization (Brown, 2003; Stup, 2006). Simply put, they stay not because they want to but because they need to. Lastly, normative commitment deals with the feeling of the employees that they have an obligation to continue employment in a certain organization (Rahman and Hanafiah, 2002; Brown, 2003; Stup, 2006). Rahman and Hanafiah (2002) mentions, “employees with a high degree or level of normative commitment feel that they ought to remain with the organization.”
Allen and Meyer (1991) suggested that the aforementioned are components of organizational commitment rather than types as employees often have different degrees by which they exhibit these. They say that one employee may have a strong attachment to an organization yet at the same time feels that they have an obligation to remain. Another employee may also enjoy working for the organization yet recognizes the costs of leaving as from an economic standpoint, this could be very difficult. Lastly, another employee may also recognize a degree of desire, need and obligation to remain with their current employer.
Organizational Commitment in a workplace, according to Makanjee, Hartzer, Uys (2006) usually have different forms which had already been previously mentioned. These different kinds of commitment usually influence the well-being of the employees as well as the effectiveness of the organization in rendering service to their patrons and to their employees.
The different researches that had been earlier mentioned state that there are indeed many factors which influence the organizational commitment of workers. Salami (2008), based on the works of other researchers mentioned in this study identified these variables and these are the following: (1) job satisfaction, (2) motivation, (3) participative decision making, (4) organizational support, (5) financial reward, (6) communication, (7) promotion prospects, and finally, (8) leadership styles. These variables and how they influence the organizational commitment of the employees would be discussed in the latter parts of this literature review that shall be devoted in analyzing these phenomena.
2.3. Variables that affect Organizational Commitment
As earlier mentioned, several variables are seen to affect and influence the organizational commitment of the employees toward the organization to which they belong to. This is one of the areas which had been the focus of most researches on organizational commitment as researchers delve into the aspects of employees’ experiences that have the greatest influence on the development of organizational commitment once an individual has entered into the organization. As a result, a great number of empirical researches have been devoted to the study associated with organizational commitment (Laka-Mathebula, 2004). Mowday, et al., as cited by Laka-Mathebula (2004) grouped the different factors which influence organizational commitment into three major groups: (1) personal factors, (2) organizational factors, and (3) non-organizational factors. These categories of factors contribute to the development of the different components of organizational commitment. In the same manner, the degree by which they influence organizational commitment also varies. Also, the level by which they affect organizational commitment depends on whether it is perceived as an attitude or a behaviour.
Laka-Mathebula (2004) in her study mentioned how Meyer and his colleagues grouped these variables into three major categories. These are: (1) personal characteristics, (2) organizational characteristics and (3) work experiences. Personal characteristics include the following: age, tenure, gender, family status, educational level, need for achievement, sense of competence and a sense of professionalism. Organizational characteristics, on the other hand, are those factors which results from the experiences of the employees in the organization. According to the study of Laka-Mathebula (2004), the experiences of the employees in an organization lead to a perception that they are indeed, supported by their organization. As a result, they feel that they have an obligation towards the organization, thus repaying the latter with affective commitment. Meyer and Allen (1997), as cited by Laka-Mathebula (2004) mentioned,
Organizational characteristics such as structure, culture and organizational level policies, which can induce perceptions of organizational support, would probably induce organizational commitment. The idea that organizational policies are related to affective commitment has some support in the organizational commitment literature.
The aforementioned were what Laka-Mathebula (2004), based on her study, identified that could have a great impact on the affective commitment of an employee towards his or her organization. In the same manner, the author also recognized the presence of other variables which could also play a role in the other dimensions of organizational commitment such as continuance commitment. As earlier defined, continuance commitment has something to do with the choice of an employee to stay because he or she is aware of the costs that he or she may face as a result of leaving the organization. As a result, investments and employment alternatives are cited by Meyer and Allen (1991) as variables that are often associated with continuance commitment.
Another aspect of organizational commitment worthy of discussion is normative commitment. Compared to the other dimensions that had been previously mentioned, very few variables had been identified that greatly influence normative commitment. As also earlier mentioned, normative commitment usually stems out from the psychological contract between an employee and an organization. According to Laka-Mathebula (2004), there are usually two kinds of contracts which usually affect the development of continuance commitment: these are relational contracts and transactional contracts. Transactional contracts are usually more objective and are often based on principles regarding economic exchange. On the other hand, relational contracts are abstract and based on the principles of social exchange. This paper would then reassess the effects of these variables on organizational commitment based on the previous researches made as made available by the World Wide Web.
Most researchers perceive age as one of the factors which greatly influences organizational commitment. However, there are also different studies conducted by scholars of organizational commitment which proves that there is no link between age and loyalty to one’s organization.
This paper would first look into the variety of reasons given by the researchers who claim that age is indeed a positive predictor of commitment, often claiming that it is the older generation of employees who exhibit a higher degree of loyalty towards their organization. Several researchers recognize the linkage between age and organizational commitment. These include: Kaldenberg, Becker and Zvonkovic (1995, as cited in Laka-Mathebula, 2004), Salami (2008), Feinstein and Harrah (n.d.), Gattiker (1992), Bowen, Radhakrishna and Keyser (n.d.) and Liou (1995).
The study of Kaldenberg, Becker and Zvonkovic (1995), as cited by Laka-Mathebula (2004), shows that aging workers tend to show stronger commitment to their jobs as their alternative employment options continue to decrease. It is because of this decrease in alternative employment options that their current job becomes more and more attractive. In the same manner, the study mentioned above also stated that older individuals tend to show more commitment to the organization, as compared with the younger employees because of the stronger investment and history they have had. Salami (2008) also concurs with the findings mentioned above in his study of the Demographic and Psychological Factors Predicting Organizational Commitment amongst Industrial Workers. Using multiregression analysis, he was able to look into the relationship of factors to organizational commitment. His study proved that older workers tend to show more commitment towards the organization rather than the younger workers. Based on his research, he then concludes that age is a significant predictor of organizational commitment as workers tend to evaluate their relationship with the organization as they grow older.
Bowen, Radhakrishna and Keyser (n.d.) also gave importance to age as a very important factor in determining the commitment of employees, more specifically, the 4-H agents as the older ones tend to exhibit higher levels of loyalty than the younger ones. This is because of the fact that the latter are still in pursuit of the careers that are truly meant for them.
The aforementioned reasons were also the reasons supplied by the other researchers that had been earlier identified. Nonetheless, there were also researches that disproved the claim of the studies previously mentioned. For these researchers, age has nothing to do with the commitment of one employee towards his or her organization. An example of this is the study of Hawkins (1998) which was used as an example in the research conducted by Laka-Mathebula in 2004. In the study of three hundred ninety-six principals, Hawkins showed a non-significant correlation between age and organizational commitment.
The same result was obtained from the study of Stanton, et al. (2003) who randomly surveyed eight hundred employees. Based on their analysis of the data obtained from their research, they were also able to find out that only minor differences were seen based on the perceptions of the respondents on the relationship between age and organizational commitment.
Trimble (2006), in the same manner also disproved the fact that age is an important factor in determining the organizational commitment of a certain employee. He believes that career stage, also known as tenure is more important in determining the organizational commitment rather than looking into the age of the employees. He believes that it is only when one becomes established with his or her job that he or she is able to show commitment towards the organization to which he or she belongs to.
2.3.2. Marital Status
This study also considers looking into the effects of marital status of the employees as one of the factors which contribute to the organizational commitment of the latter. Just like the previously discussed factors, the claims of the different scholars of organizational commitment with regard to marital status differ from one another. Lee and Maurer (1999) claims that one must first look into the family where one employee comes from in order to effectively analyze his or her commitment towards a certain organization. They believe that over the years, the different issues of the family have significantly affected the turnover process in most organizations. Bowen et al. (1994) in his study claimed that married workers tend to be more committed towards the organization rather than the single ones. This is because of the fact that those who are already married are aware of their responsibilities which would of course, require financial support. As a result, they tend to be more committed to the organization. The study of Salami (2008) is one of the researches that concur with the claim that marital status indeed affects the organizational commitment of employees and with the statement of Bowen as those who are married are more committed towards their organization rather than those who are still single.
In the same manner, Feinstein and Harrah (n.d.) also agrees with the fact that marital status, just like the other demographic factors, also play an important role in influencing their organizational commitment. Just like Salami (2008) and Bowen, et al. (1994), Feinstein and Harrah (n.d.) discovered that married people tend to show more commitment towards the organization as compared with those who are single. This is again, because of the fact that they are very much aware of the fact that they are in need of financial resources to support their responsibilities at home.
Bowen, Radhakrishna and Keyser (n.d.), in their study of 4-H agents also revealed that older, married and more experienced agents exhibit higher levels of job satisfaction and organizational commitment rather than the younger, single and less experienced ones. This is generally because of the fact that the latter are still in the stage wherein they are still deciding on which career path they will choose and whether their present job is really meant for them.
As it has earlier been mentioned, the different researches made on organizational commitment have mixed views with regard to the relationship between martial status and the commitment to the organization. Marital status is often perceived to be something confusing when being analyzed as one of the factors of commitment. As previously discussed, there are researches made that concluded that marital status is an important factor for married employees tend to stay longer in the organization, as they are facing more responsibilities than the single ones. Other researches on the other hand, views marital status as one of the factors behind the low commitment of employees. Rationale and Hypotheses claims that this is because of a new factor called avocational commitment. Generally, avocational commitment deals with the factors that exist outside the organization. The aforementioned discussion was its positive effect upon the organizational commitment of employees. However, it also has a negative effect and this happens when one’s work demands keep him or her from being with the family too much. As a result, a relatively low degree of organizational commitment is more prevalent. Fortunately, the fact that this employee has to support a family, this reason is weak in influencing him or her to leave the organization for as long as there are no other external opportunities present.
This research would also look at gender as one of the variables influencing organizational commitment. Gender is one of the variables in this study that is considered to be highly controversial due to the fact that the different researchers used for this study shows different results in the examination of the effects of this variable on the organizational commitment of the employees.
Laka-Mathebula (2004), in her study reports that when it comes to gender influencing organizational commitment, researches are inconsistent. This is because there are some researchers who claim that there is a difference between the organizational commitment of the women and men due to the fact that the former tends to stay longer because they face more discrimination and other barriers in seeking a new employment. However, there are also studies which support this possibility although they recognize that there is only a little difference between the organizational commitment of men and women employees. Still other studies claim that gender and organizational commitment are not related with each other. The study of Mathieu and Zajac (1990, in Laka-Mathebula, 2004) reveals a mean correlation of .089 for organizational commitment and gender. This means that there is a weak relationship between gender and the commitment of employees to the organizations to which they belong to. Nonetheless, they still consider the importance of this factor in influencing the perceptions of the employees with regard to the workplace and the attitudes they have towards their organization.
Salami (2008) also included gender as one of the demographic factors he studied in his research. However, this was the only factor in his study (other factors include age, marital status, job tenure and educational level) that have no significant effect on the organizational commitment of the industrial factors which was the focus of his research. The results of his study revealed a weak correlation between gender and organizational commitment (r = .17, p > .05). As a result, he gives more importance to the other factors in his study rather than gender alone in determining the organizational commitment of the industrial workers who were involved in his research.
Wahn (1998, in Laka-Mathebula, 2004), on the other hand, shows that there is a relationship between gender and organizational commitment. Wahn (1998) mentions that women tend to show a higher level of commitment than men. She believes that this is because of the fact that men, as compared with women, face little or no barriers at all when seeking for new jobs. As a result, women stick to their jobs, thinking that they would have a hard time in finding a new job once they leave the current organization to which they belong to.
Gattiker (1992) supported the findings of Wahn (1998, in Laka-Mathebula, 2004), showing that females, as compared with the male employees of an organization tend to show more commitment in his Canadian samples. On the other hand, Gattiker (1992) was not able to find this correlation with his study on his American samples which showed that gender does not have a significant effect on organizational commitment. Gattiker (1992) reports, “one explanation for this finding may be that in Canada it is more difficult for a woman to be accepted within an organization than it is in the U.S. Once a Canadian woman has become a full-fledged corporate member, she may hold more strongly to her position, making her [calculative] commitment higher than that of her American counterpart.”
Rashed (2006), in his study of the effect of gender on job satisfaction and organizational commitment in Kuwait also notes discrimination between men and women in seeking employment as a factor why females tend to be more committed to their jobs rather than men. However, he also concurs with the claim that the role between gender and organizational commitment, until now, remains unclear. As a result, he believes two of the hypotheses of his study are the following: (1) there is no significant relationship between gender and organizational commitment and (2) men and women have the same level of organizational commitment. Using correlation and t-tests to measure these hypotheses, Rashed (2006) was able to prove that the employee’s gender has no significant effect on his/her perception of job satisfaction and organizational commitment. As a result, the same level of both satisfaction and commitment is exhibited.
Rashed (2006), however, mentioned different factors why previous researches claim that there different levels of work satisfaction and organizational commitment are exhibited between men and women. One of the factors mentioned is the difference in expectations. An employee has higher or lower levels of job satisfaction because they have lower or higher expectations and greater or less ability to satisfy them. These findings were also supported by the study conducted by Marsden, Kalleberg and Cook (n.d.), Bowen, Radhakrishna and Keyser (n.d.).
Finally, the study of Stewart et al. (2007) in their hopes to discover the relationship between gender and organizational commitment decided to conduct their own study based on the findings of previous researches. Their findings show that as a group, women tend to exhibit a higher mean level of continuance commitment as compared to the men. In the same manner, they found out that the relationship between gender and continuance commitment was stronger than the relationship that existed between gender and affective commitment. In general, they still view the fact that women tend to face more obstacles in looking for new jobs as a very important factor in explaining why the latter exhibits more commitment rather than the men. Nonetheless, they still claim that their findings, just like those that had been published by previous researchers, do not establish a strong relationship between gender and organizational commitment
Race is another important factor in the discussion of organizational commitment. Although there is no research which suggests that a certain race is more committed to their works than the others, discrimination is an issue that is of vital importance at influences the turnover of the employees. In a study conducted by Shellenbarger (1993), it was revealed that non-white workers tend to show a lower level of organizational commitment due to the fact that they experience the so-called perceived discrimination or their jobs. As a result, their organization commitment lowers thus leading them to lose their willingness to take the initiative while on the job or worse, leave the organization.
Ensher, Grant-Vallone and Donaldson (2001) mentions, “it is a challenge for organizations not only to manage diversity effectively by implementing fair policies and reinforcing appropriate managerial behaviours but also to pay attention to their employees’ perceptions of discrimination. This is important because employees beliefs, whether or not they are consistent with reality affect their behaviours.” The authors also cite organizational discrimination as one of the factors haunting businesses today. As a result, these corporations tend to lose their employees that belong to the minorities. Sanchez and Brock (1996), as mentioned by Ensher, Grant-Vallone and Donaldson (2001) found in their study that perceived discrimination influences the way employees behave. This then leads to higher work tension and a decreasing level of job satisfaction, thus affecting organizational commitment greatly.
Aside from those factors that had been previously discussed, work experience is another variable that the researcher deems as necessary in the study of organizational commitment. Often referred to as tenure, this factor is seen as one of the personal characteristics that affect organizational commitment especially the affective dimension. This is evident in the studies that shall be discussed below. In the study conducted by Mathieu and Zajac (1990), as cited by Laka-Mathebula, a positive link between organizational tenure and commitment has been discovered (r = .17, p < .01). Laka-Mathebula (2004) also cited more researches that had been previously made that looked into the relationship of organizational commitment and tenure. Kushman (1992) was another example mentioned which also revealed a positive correlation between the number of years in teaching and organizational commitment in his study of urban elementary and middle school teachers. Laka-Mathebula (2004) also mentions that although a lot of empirical researches have proven the relationship of these two factors, how the said link operates has not yet been established. Nonetheless, popular names in the field of research in organizational commitment, such as Meyer and Allen (1997, as cited in Laka-Mathebula, 2004), offered suggestions on why employees with longer work experiences exhibit a higher level of commitment towards a certain organization.
They mentioned that this was so because of the fact that more experienced workers who have already served in an organization for a long time tend to develop an emotional attachment to an organization. As a result, they tend to stay long their organization. In the same manner, the aforementioned authors also suggest that one simple way to explain this phenomenon is the fact that uncommitted employees leave an organization and only those who exhibit a higher level of commitment remain (Meyer and Allen, 1997).
The claims mentioned above were also supported by the findings of the researches of Santos and Notland (2006), as cited by Salami (2008). Salami (2008) also included tenure or work experience as one of the factors that were included in his study of organizational commitment amongst the industrial workers. The findings of his study revealed that job tenure, together with age; marital status and educational level were all significant in determining the commitment of a worker towards a certain organization. The study also revealed that those who have a higher job experience show more commitment than those that had just been newly employed. Generally, Salami (2008) believes that the longer an employee stays with a certain organization, the more time he or she devotes in evaluating the relationship he or she has with the organization. As a result he or she tends to discover a relationship that he or she has already established with the organization, discouraging him or her to leave.
Trimble (2006), in his study of organizational commitment, job satisfaction and the turnover of missionaries also gave importance to tenure or work experience as one of the factors that significantly and positively affects organizational commitment. In the section devoted to the discussion of age as a factor that influences organizational commitment, the work of Trimble has already been cited as one of the researches which claims that tenure or work experience is a more important factor in analyzing organizational commitment. According to his study, the career stage where an employee is in is very important in the analysis. This is because those who have already been in the organization for a long time tend to be more committed because of the fact that they are already sure of their career and at the same time, have already developed a good relationship with their organizations. On the other hand, those who are relatively new to their jobs, tend to exhibit a lower level of commitment as they are still discovering their career path.
In contrast with the claim of Trimble’s (2006) research, that tenure or work experience is more important than age, the study of Gattiker (1992), a proponent of the side-bet theory, gives importance to both age and tenure in the analysis of organizational commitment. In fact, these two factors are said to be the most important variables in testing the said theory, in measuring organizational commitment. According to Gattiker (1992), the longer the experience an employee has with a company, he or she gains seniority and connections within the organization. As a result, they are less likely to change firms than their younger counterparts.
Hahn (2007) concurs with these findings as he explains the reasons why people with a longer work experience tend to show more commitment to the organization. He recognizes the diminishing opportunities for these people in looking new jobs, considering their age, as they devoted a longer period in their organizations. As a result, their commitment increases.
The educational training received by the employees is also very essential in the analysis of the organizational commitment of an individual. Laka-Mathebula (2004) mentions employment alternatives, aside from personal characteristics as one of the factors affecting the organizational commitment of the employees. Apparently, the presence of these employment alternatives brings the organizational commitment of employees down to a lower level. Education is perceived to be one of the factors that increase the employment alternatives of an employee. When a certain employee thinks that the educational training they have received are less transferable elsewhere, they then exhibit a stronger commitment towards the organization.
Salami (2008) in his study also found out that the educational level of employees significantly contributes to their organizational commitment. According to him, those who have met higher educational qualifications were more committed to the organizations, a claim that is somehow different from that of Laka-Mathebula (2004). This is because of the fact that employees who have higher educational qualifications tend to occupy higher positions, thus giving them more responsibilities. As a result, commitment to the organization is being required of them.
On the other hand, Hahn (2007) provides a statement that is highly contradicts the different claims provided by the previously mentioned. He claims that higher education is usually associated with lower commitment because of the fact that they tend to have higher expectations that the organizations could not meet. In the same manner, the people with a better educational background tend to be more committed to their professions rather than to their organizations. Finally, their low commitment is also associated with the fact that other employment opportunities are present for them.
The claims of Hahn were also supported by Gattiker (1992) based on the side-bet theory approach to organizational commitment. According to Gattiker (1992), and the different researchers he mentioned in his paper (such as Ritzer and Trice, 1969), a low level of education could mean a higher organizational commitment for the employees. This is because of the fact that fewer career alternatives are available for them.
Lastly, Huselid and Day (1991) also concurred with the claims made by the aforementioned researchers as he mentioned that of the respondents they used for their study, those who exhibited lower organizational commitment and eventually left were those people who have higher educational attainment as compared with the other participants. This is because of the fact that they expect more from their organizations yet the latter was not able to provide them. In the same manner, those with higher educational experiences also recognized that there are other opportunities available for them that they decided to pursue them rather than just stay and remain committed to the organization who nonetheless failed to meet their expectations.
2.3.7. Job Satisfaction
Job satisfaction is a cognitive evaluation that individuals often make in relation to the experiences they have at work (Makanjee, Hartzer and Uys, 2006) On the other hand, it is defined by Salami (2008) as “a pleasurable or positive emotional state resulting from the appraisal of one’s job or job experience. It is a result of employee’s perception of how well their job provides those things that are viewed as important.” The researcher gives importance to the analysis of the relationship job satisfaction and organizational commitment as the latter is one of the factors that are seen to affect organizational commitment greatly. Aside from influencing the latter, the former is also seen to lessen employee turnover in a certain company (Martin, 1995). Apparently, a company with a low rate of employee turnover only shows that the employees are somehow committed to the organization. Other researchers view job satisfaction as one of the results of the other factors discussed above. Basically, researchers such as Trimble (2006) associate factors such as gender, age, marital status, educational experience and tenure as variables influencing job satisfaction. Upon reaching the point where the employees are already satisfied with their jobs, then they start to exhibit greater commitment towards their organizations.
Just like the other factors that had been discussed earlier, the relationship between job satisfaction and organizational commitment has been highly debated upon. Salami (2008) mentioned several researches which proved organizational commitment to be highly affected by job satisfaction and those studies which proved otherwise. Those who do not believe in the relationship between the two claims that job satisfaction do not necessarily produce organizational commitment as this develops slowly, “after the individual form more comprehensive valuations of the employing organization, its values, and expectations and one’s own future in it” (Salami, 2008). Nonetheless, it is still one of the most important determinants of organizational commitment as workers with a higher satisfaction level tend to be more committed to the organization (r = 0.30, p < .05).
The findings of Salami (2008) were based on the fact that job satisfaction, more often than not reflects the immediate reactions of the individual to the job. In turn, these reactions tend to influence the development of an individual’s commitment to the organization. As a result, workers who are more satisfied with their jobs are more committed to their organizations and the absence of this variable could mean that one’s organizational commitment could decrease. The study of Chen, Tsui and Farh (2002) also concurred with the claims made by other researchers that one’s commitment to organization is influenced by different factors, employee job satisfaction being one of the most important factors.
In the same manner, Makanjee, Hartzer and Uys (2006) believe that job satisfaction is a very important mediator of the relationship between the role stressors and organizational commitment, finding that the former greatly influences the latter.
2.3.8. Employee Communication
Communication with employees is also seen to be one of the most important factors that influence the organizational commitment of most employees for this is said to have done so much in establishing and maintaining good relationships between the organization and the employees. This relationship then becomes very important to the organization for this makes the employees feel like they belong and at the same time, know the status of the organization to which they belong to. In the same manner, the employees, through the establishment of good communication lines are also made aware of the goals of the company. As a result, they now know whether or not their goals are aligned with that of their employers, a necessary condition for organizational commitment.
This is highly supported by the study of Thornhill, et al. (1996) which involved institutions offering higher education. The study found that it is through a well established communication lines with the employees that the latter feel that they are part of the organization. In the same manner, it is also through this that they also feel that the organization had a great future and this is indeed a good place to work at. It is because of these opinions and perceptions of their respondents that the researchers were able to see that they were indeed, very committed towards their organization. Thornhill, et al. (1996) concludes: “social information processing theory suggests that practices of communication that promotes open communication within an organization and open access to information, and frees information sharing, can increase [affective] organizational commitment.” As a result, they recommend organizations to use communication as one of their organizational strategies so as to keep their employees involved and committed.
Rationale and Hypotheses developed an interactive model that was perceived to be very important in the study of organizational commitment. Included in this model were communication interactions which are also seen as very important to increasing the commitment of employees toward their organization. The authors suggest the following importance of communication and the model that they developed:
(1) individual social identity is adapted through communication; (2) organizational social identity is a product of communication; (3) affective commitment variables are maintained through communication; (4) calculative commitment variables are negotiated through commitment; (5) organizational support for external commitments is expressed through communication; (6) organizational restrictions on external commitments are expressed through communication; (7) organizational preparation for external opportunities is conducted through communication; (8) individual external opportunities are identified through communication and; (9) individual external opportunities are negotiated through communication.
As mentioned above, it is through communication that an employee could lessen the chances of their employees to look for other opportunities outside of their organization. As a result, the latter would be discouraged to leave their organization.
2.3.9. Leadership Styles
Lastly, this research would discuss leadership styles as a variable in influencing the organizational commitment of employees. Different researches made on the relationship between leadership styles and organizational commitment has produced a positive correlation for it not only builds trust between the employee and the organization but also promotes the training and development of the employees. Laka-Mathebula (2004) believes that as a practice related with human resources management, the incorporation of a correct leadership style and effort could help in the promotion of the personal development and growth of the employees within the organization. Leadership styles then became one of the foci of her study as she relates leadership styles and organizational commitment.
Laka-Mathebula (2004), based on her research, gave importance to the multifactor leadership theory which had been developed by Bass in the 1980s. Apparently, this theory incorporates the different kinds of leadership styles such as transformational, transactional, laissez-faire leadership and charismatic styles of leadership. Apparently, the use supervisors’ use of these styles influences the individual and the way they perceive the organization in general. As a result, Laka-Mathebula (2004) gives importance to these styles as a very essential aspect of Human Resources Management for it transcends the behaviour of the employee towards the organization. Somehow, it is a very important antecedent of trust which could then eventually lead to organizational commitment. Commitment to the organization has a lot of prerequisites which includes the employee’s high level of identification with the goals and values of the organization and at the same time, the desire to remain in the said organization as a member. Because of this, trust in both the leader and organization is very important.
The findings of Laka-Mathebula (2004) were also supported by Brown (2003) who also gave importance to the different forms of leadership styles (i.e. relations oriented and task oriented) in influencing the different aspects of organizational commitment. For it is only through effective leadership that one is highly encouraged to remain involved and committed in a certain organization.
2.4. Outcomes of Organizational Commitment
The factors that had been discussed in the earlier section of this literature review were seen to affect organizational commitment in either a positive or negative way. In the same manner, the different researches that had been mentioned, depending on the results generated by their study, that these factors all contribute to the success or failure of organizational commitment. Aside from this, several researchers also mention different outcomes of commitment for the organizations.
In this particular part of this research, one will see how these outcomes of organizational commitment are also correlated with the different variables that are often associated with this particular concept.
The researcher would also focus on the analysis of these perceived outcomes of organizational commitment in order to analyze the importance of organizational commitment for companies. Chugthai and Zatar (2006) recognize the fact that much research has been done to understand organizational commitment, its nature, antecedents and consequences. According to these authors, employee commitment is very important because as the employees’ high level of commitment that could eventually lead to outcomes that are favourable to the organization. Different researches made on the same subject matter reveal that the commitment of the employees is also necessary to ensure that perform well in their jobs. In the same manner, it also influences other factors such as motivation and organizational citizenship behaviours. In the same manner, those with low commitment to their organizations tend to lose morale and demonstrate decreased measures of altruism and compliance. Fiorito et al. (2007) supports the aforementioned findings, stating that organizational commitment often predicts important variables such as absenteeism, turnover, organizational citizenship, intention to leave, etc. Nonetheless, the views of the researchers with regard to these matters vary. The aforementioned findings of the different researches, according to Chugthai and Zatar (2006) are considered to be of vital importance to the different organizations and the practice of human resources management. These factors and their how they affect organizational commitment, whether positively or negatively shall be analyzed in this paper, based on the findings of previous researches, as made available by the World Wide Web.
2.4.1. Intention to Leave
Intention to leave is often viewed as an outcome of organizational commitment for a simple reason, committed people stay while those who are not leave. Meyer and Allen (1997, as cited by Chugthai and Zatar, 2006) states: “the results of a positive relationship between tenure and organizational commitment might be a simple reflection of the fact that uncommitted employees leave an organization and only those with a high commitment remain.” Chugthai and Zatar (2006) also concurred with the statement of Meyer and Allen, saying that employees that are highly committed are those that actually stay longer, perform better, tend to miss less work and finally, engage in organizational citizenship behaviours. Generally, the intention to leave is influenced by a lot of factors other than simply being uncommitted to the organization. Tham and Meagher (2008) mention the following as the factors which influence the workers’ intention to leave: the lack of human resource orientation within the organization. Examples include the extent by which the personnel are rewarded for their job well done and the interest of the management in the health and well-being of their employees.
Trimble (2006), in his study of organizational commitment, job satisfaction, and the turnover intention of missionaries, reveal that committed members of an organization are usually the ones who have the slightest intention to leave. This is because of the relationship that they have already established with the organization and its other members. Gattiker (1992) also supports the findings of Trimble in his application of the side-bet theory. Just like the previous author mentioned, Gattiker gives importance to the commitment that one has towards the organization in making sure that he or she is discouraged to leave the organization. He then gives importance to investments that a person may have in the company which could increase his commitment. At the same time, the employee would also be encouraged to stay with the organization for leaving would mean that these investments would be deemed worthless (Gattiker, 1992).
Kostova (n.d.) is another researcher who supports the importance of organizational commitment in ensuring that the intention of one employee to leave their jobs is lessened. The study of Kostova also revealed that the satisfaction of the employees with their jobs usually have a positive effect on both their emotional and rational commitment. This positive effect then results to the willingness to increase their efforts yet and decrease their intention to leave the organization.
Lee and Maurer (1999) also views organizational commitment as one of the factors that discourages the employee’s intention to leave. They mentioned family structure as a very important factor in ensuring the commitment of the employees. In the same manner, they also viewed the intention to leave as a factor determining the commitment of employees and not just an outcome of the latter. This then supports the research of Hom and Griffeth (1991) which showed that organizational commitment has independent effects of the intention to leave of the employees. According to the model produced by their research however, job satisfaction is more important than organizational commitment in influencing the intention to leave. Moynihan, Boswell and Boudreau (2000) to support this claim states, “Job satisfaction, more immediate and personal than organizational commitment, may therefore be a stronger predictor of job search activity and intention to leave for an employee group.”
Vigoda (2000) also noted that job attitudes, including job satisfaction and organizational commitment have a positive relationship with one’s intention to leave the organization. The researcher also recognizes the fact that organizational politics may play an important role in encouraging one to leave the organization to which he or she belongs to. Vigoda (2000) mentions that without organizational commitment, people who are victims of organizational politics would be tempted to leave the organization. Conversely, the possession of this commitment results to a negligent behaviour towards the political issues of the organizations that are affecting them.
The study of Lee (2006) revealed that organizational commitment is one of the most important predictors in explaining why people have the intention to leave a certain company while job satisfaction have no significance at all. This means that even though a certain employee is not satisfied with his or her job, he or she may continue on to stay with the organization because of the other factors. This is then basically the dimension of organizational commitment called continuance commitment which means that they stay with their organization because they are well aware of the costs that they may encounter in case they leave.
In managing the productivity of any organization, the attendance of its workers is of great importance, Lambert and Hogan (2007) notes. Absenteeism, together with low job performances and lack of creativeness are very costly to most organizations. It is often defined as the “nonattendance of employees for scheduled work when they are expected to attend” (Huczynski & Fitzpatrick, 1989, as cited by Lambert & Hogan, 2007). There are many reasons why employees do not report from work and these usually include the following: illness, family emergency or just a day off (Lambert & Hogan, 2007). The costs are well documented, present in the researches of Mirvis and Lawler (1977), Steers and Rhodes (1978) and Wanous (1980), Blau and Boal (1987). Burton, Lee and Holtom (2002) reports that in the United States alone, absenteeism costs organizations forty billion dollars a year. However, these could all change positively with the increase of the employees’ commitment to their organization. As a result, this is now becoming a very important aspect of research dealing with this particular topic. The rising costs of absenteeism and the incapacity of certain business policies and strategies that deal with these problems gave importance to organizational commitment in lessening the frequency of absences (Avey, 2006). The results of the study of Dordevic (2004) which focused on Employee Commitment in Times of Radical Organizational Changes showed that employees’ commitment is a valuable asset for most organization for it shows a positive relationship with reducing absenteeism among other.
The study of Blau and Boal (1985) showed that many work-related such as job involvement and organizational commitment affect absenteeism. This is because the findings of their study reveal that when a certain employee is not committed towards his or her organization are usually apathetic, therefore is a tendency that they would take advantage of company policies that do not penalize absenteeism. However, the relationship between organizational commitment and absenteeism has always been inconsistent. Blau and Boal (1985) noted that researchers like Hammer et al. (1981) found a negative relationship between organizational commitment while other scholars like Angle and Perry (1981) and Lambert and Hogan (2007) did not.
Just like all the other variables and outcomes discussed in this literature review, organizational researchers have not reached a consensus on whether organizational commitment is either positively or negatively related with the growing problems of absenteeism in many businesses around the world.
The study of Chen, Tsui and Farh (2002) concurs with the findings of Hammer et al. (1981, as cited in Blau and Boal, 1985) in saying that the commitment of an employee to the organization to which he or she belongs to is positively related with employee job satisfaction, motivation, performance yet negatively correlated with absenteeism. These findings, however, had been disproved by Burton, Lee and Holtom (2002) in their application of the Steers and Rhodes Model of Absenteeism in looking into the relationship between organizational commitment and absenteeism. The Steers and Rhodes Model of Absenteeism is considered to be the most influential model that researchers use in analyzing absenteeism, breaking it into two categories: voluntary and involuntary (Burton, Lee & Holtom, 2002; Lambert and Hogan, 2007). This model shows that the attendance of most employees are highly influenced by their ability and motivation to attend which is then affected by the situation one faces in his or her job together with the economic conditions he or she is in and of course, organizational commitment. Under the Steers and Rhodes Model of Absenteeism, organizational commitment is seen to reduce the frequency of an employee to absent him/herself from work.
Gattiker (1992) also concurs with the findings of the aforementioned researchers and the Steers and Rhodes Model of Absenteeism through his use of the side-bet theory approach. Basically, Gattiker believes in the positive effects of organizational commitment in reducing the frequency of one employee’s absences. This is because of the fact that the commitment to an organization is highly stable as compared with job satisfaction for the stability of this attitude is often linked with the goals and values of the organization. Gattiker also notes that when one has a strong belief in the goals and values of the organization, he or she is willing to work in the organization, based on what is expected of him or her.
The study of Stewart et al. (2002) is another research which gives importance to the possession of a commitment towards an organization in ensuring that the frequency of absences is reduced. The researchers recognize the fact that both are indeed factors that influence each other. This means that organizational commitment is necessary in order to reduce absenteeism and at the same time, a reduction in the frequency of absences is a measure by which organizational commitment could be determined.
Avey (2006) also claimed that his research moved away from the traditional view that absenteeism is “most closely and somewhat exclusively related to aspects of job satisfaction and organizational commitment.” Generally, Avey believes in Psychological Capital as the factor which affects voluntary or involuntary absenteeism the most. However, he recommends the proper supervision of the employees to ensure that they still do develop a sense of commitment towards the organization for this could in a way, help in ensuring that the tendency of an employee to absent him/herself is reduced. Bishop (1997) also recognizes the relationship between low levels of commitment and negative factors haunting organizations such as absenteeism, turnover and the intention to quit. As a result, he gives importance to the proper supervision of employees to ensure their commitment to the organization which could then reduce the frequency of absences.
Productivity, just like the other outcomes that had been previously discussed is one of the main foci of this study, considering its importance to the different organizations. Apparently, the effects of organizational commitment on the productivity of workers are also been debated upon by the researchers in the field of organizational commitment. Laka-Mathebula (2004), together with other popular names involved in the research in the field of organizational commitment give importance to the latter in influencing the increased productivity of the employees. She mentions, “The high levels of organizational commitment would lead to higher levels of performance and effectiveness at both the individual and the organizational level.” As a result, more organizations tend to result to developing their strategies concerning human resources management to ensure that their employees are committed to organizations for its perceived effects which include productivity generates higher revenues. Laka-Mathebula (2004) reports, “adopting an integrated set of human resource management practices focusing on commitment can produce high levels of employee affective commitment and subsequent organizational performance.”
Chen, Tsui and Farh (2002), in their study which generally focused on looking into the effects of organizational commitment on increasing one’s productivity, found out that one’s commitment to his or her organization is related with the desirable work outcome of most employees, especially in increasing his or her productivity. This is also highly supported by the study of Feinstein and Harrah (n.d.) which found out that organizational commitment is indeed, positively correlated with the quality of service one employee renders to their patrons in the restaurant industry, the focus of the Feinstein and Harrah’s study. In the same manner, the researchers were also able to discover the link between organizational commitment and the increasing productivity of the workers.
The study of Stewart et al. (2007) mentions eight psychological climate dimensions which are very important to the discussion of the outcomes of organizational commitment, productive worker performance, being one of them. They mention pressure put on by the supervisors to their employees as one of the reasons that negatively affect the productivity of the employees. As a result, the time demands that are instilled upon them generally lead them to a substandard way of completing their tasks, thus affecting their performance standards. Lee (2006) also agrees with the aforementioned findings of the other researchers, saying that organizational commitment, based on his research is indeed positively related with the intention of employees to stay and most importantly, their productivity.
2.4.4. Labour Turnover
Turnover is often defined as the “voluntary cessation of membership of an organization by an employee of that organization (Morrell, Loan-Clarke & Wilkinson, 2001). This however is a definition that is highly different from that of the organizational perspective. In this particular point of view, turnover could also mean the entry of employees into an organization.
Businesses need a source of labour for them to function considering the basic economic model of firms or just by recognizing labour as one of the four factors of production (Morrell, Loan-Clarke and Wilkinson, 2001). However, the pressures of globalization increases job mobility which is then becoming very popular as a result of the growing number of employees, Lee (2006) mentions. Because of this, more and more researches are being devoted to the study of the proper management of resources, the employees being one of the foci of these studies. These researches, such as that conducted by Mobley (1982), as cited in Morrell, Loan-Clarke and Wilkinson (2001) noted that when an employee leaves, this can have a variety of effects that not only impact the organization but the employees and the society as well. These effects could either be positive or negative. Nonetheless, the different researches made on this area failed to produce a framework by which this phenomenon could be understood (Morrell, Loan-Clarke & Wilkinson, 2001). This then becomes one of the reasons why the analysis of the process of labour turnover and the factors which may or may not be negatively correlated with it is of vital importance to many organizations.
Organizational commitment, if properly managed could significantly reduce labour turnover, Laka-Mathebula (2004) notes. It is for this reason that this research also focuses on the relationship between labour turnover and organizational commitment. Kerfoot (1998) discusses that a high turnover in an organization could be quite costly for the latter because this is one of the determinants showing that the employees are no longer committed. In the same manner, this may also be a determinant of the employees’ loss of trust which could then negatively affect the initiative, performance and creativity of the employees. However, the study of Morrell, Loan-Clarke and Wilkinson (2001) gives importance in analyzing the difference between the voluntary and involuntary over to ensure that it is properly associated with factors such as organizational commitment.
Morrell, Loan-Clarke and Wilkinson (2001), nonetheless gives importance to organizational commitment as one of the important factors that are positively correlated with labour turnover, using the psychological school. This is also highly supported by the study conducted by Fiorito et al. (2007) and Gattiker (1992) which claimed that organizational commitment predicts important variables including turnover. According to the research conducted by the aforementioned authors, the commitment to one organization prevents the employees from leaving their jobs. Likewise, Martin (1995) states:
Past research on voluntary turnover has produced very extensive and sophisticated models; however, a recent and more parsimonious model of turnover utilizes only two employee work attitudes to predict turnover propensity. These two attitudes are job involvement and organizational commitment. The premise discussed here is that job involvement and organizational commitment interact jointly to affect turnover.
Martin (1995) also gives importance to the manager’s role in ensuring that the employees could identify well with their jobs and at the same time, care for these. It is through this that they become more satisfied with their jobs. Likewise, the managers are also encouraged to ensure that their employees have a positive feeling towards their organizations. Through this, they would become more identified with the different goals of the organizations, its values and culture, thus wanting to remain members of this. This is very important for apathetic employees are usually the ones who leave their jobs easily. In relation with this, Martin (1995) found out that:
Employees with both high job involvement and organizational commitment also have the most positive attitudes and lowest propensity to quit because they are attracted by both the job and organization. These employees feel they have a relationship with the company; the employee and company are part of the same whole.
Lee (2006) however, finds a negative correlation between organizational commitment and turnover, based on the research he conducted. Lee finds out that employees tend to view their alignment or attachment to the organization as a negative factor influencing their turnover whilst other factors such as job satisfaction and attendance are those which are positively linked with turnover. The findings of Lee are also supported by Chen, Tsui and Farh (2002) in their examination of the Loyalty to Supervisor vs. Organizational Commitment: Relationships to Employee Performance in China.
2.4.5. Medical Leave
The researcher recognizes the fact that not much research has been done in relating medical leave with organizational commitment. Medical leave is perceived to be another important outcome of organizational commitment, for employees are believed to resume their work as soon as they get well if their commitment to the organization is generally high. In the same manner, medical leaves as a means by which organizational commitment is measured for this gives evidence to the fact that the employees are well aware of their jobs, reporting back even though they were not asked to. Simply put, they act according to their own will because of their commitment to both their jobs and their organizations. This research also gives importance to maternity leaves as organizations could no longer deny the fact that their female employees tend to get pregnant at least once in their working lives.
Also, this is very important for pregnant women as family structures, as earlier discussed is a great determinant of the latter concept. Generally, these women tend to be more committed to organizations who give importance to their needs. The study of Lyness (1999) found out that organizational commitment is very important for employees in their planning of their leaves and returning back to their jobs. The study of Lyness showed that pregnant women were more loyal to their organizations because of the fact that these have supportive work-family cultures. As a result, they plan to return to work sooner after childbirth than those pregnant women who perceive their organizations to have lesser supportive work-family cultures. This is also particularly true for those who would apply for medical leaves that are not generally involves pregnancy. The commitment to the organization then means that the employees are moving beyond their apathy and thus begin to think in the same manner that the organization does, being faithful to the values and visions that the latter has.
2.4.6. Burnt Out
Like medical leave, the researcher also recognizes the fact that not much research has been done in relating burn out or work related stress with the organizational commitment of employees. The European Agency for Safety and Health at Work (2000) mentions that the past decades noticed that work related stress is seen to have negatively affected the health and safety of individuals as well as their organizations. As a result, health problems encountered at work tend to result to ill-health requirements, work days lost due to sickness, injury and disability, etc. which is then seen to be costly to most organizations.
Generally, work related stress or burn out often affects the way employees feel, think and behave which then affects their physiological function. When their stress and other health problems are caused by their jobs, employees tend to get dissatisfied with them, thus lowering the rate by which they are committed towards their organization. The European Agency for Health and Safety at Work (2000) notes,
Many of these changes simply represent, in themselves, a modest dysfunction and possibly some associated discomfort. Many are easily reversible although still damaging to the quality of life at the time. However, for some workers and under some circumstances, they might translate into poor performance at work, into other psychological and social problems and into poor physical health.
Because of the possible dangers and problems that it pose to many organizations, researchers have given importance to the management of work-related stress in order to produce a so-called healthier work environment for the employees and organizations (Landy, 1992; Locke, 1976, in the European Agency for Safety and Health at Work, 2000). Employee Assistance Programs are also suggested by other studies, saying that this could at least help in improving the attitudes of the employees. Some researchers on the other hand claim that these programs only reduce the absenteeism of the employees and do nothing to increase their job satisfaction or organizational commitment. The study of Bhagat and Chassie (1981) is one of the researches which deals with work-related stress or burn out and its relationship to organizational commitment. However, they tend to view the said factor as a variable affecting organizational outcome rather than an outcome of the said factor. They correlate these findings with the fact that family structures and other related problems also influence organizational commitment. Apparently, work related stress affects the family so much, often causing the conflicts between work and the family.
The correlations that exist between organizational commitment, work related stress and the family are linked only with that of female employees, Bhagat and Chassie (1981) states.
Bhalla et al (1991) on the other hand cites burnt out or work related stress as one of the factors affecting organizational commitment for all employees, whether male or female. They believe that work related stress often cause role insufficiencies, which refers to the inability of organizations to make the most out of the abilities and training of their employees. As a result, these insufficiencies then affect the psychological aspect of employees which then cause a strain in the employees’ job satisfaction and organizational commitment. As a result, the study proves that it is only through the proper management of employees that work related stress and/or burnt out could be reduced. Upon achieving this, organizations are then guaranteed that their workers would be more aware of their roles in the organizations, thus are more encouraged to give their commitment and loyalty to their employers and of course, to the entire organization.
2.5. Empirical Researches on Organizational Commitment
Based on the discussions presented above, the importance of organizational commitment has been recognized by a number of researchers including those that had been mentioned on the study for the purpose of reviewing the literature written with regard to the same issue. These empirical researches are important to this study for it gives a stable background and bases for this particular study. The analysis of these empirical studies should also focus on how it organizational commitment differs from one culture to another. The empirical researches that shall be presented in this part of the literature review would focus on the different researches made in comparing and contrasting organizational commitment from different cultures. In the same manner, it would also look into the studies conducted showing that although two countries are from the same cultural background, there is still a tendency for both to have different contexts of organizational commitment. The empirical studies that shall be presented for this study involves the different analysis made with regard to organizational commitment and the factors that influence this and how this tend to vary from one culture to another.
Brown (2003) mentions that culture is indeed one of the most important factors that should be correlated with organizational commitment as researchers tend to disregard this. The importance is based on the fact that the perception of commitment from one culture to another varies, taking into consideration the four dimensions of multiculturalism as cited by Hofstede in his Value Survey Model (Russ, 2007). The analysis that shall be later on presented would involve the analysis on the cultures that are very different from the United States and how these nations perceive organizational commitment. Likewise, the researcher also gives importance to the fact that factors that affect one’s commitment to his or her organization also varies depending on the culture to which he or she belongs to. This also affects factors such as tenure, age, positions and the level by which supervisors influence their subordinates. The differences would later on be highlighted and correlated with culture such as the difference between the western countries and those greatly influenced by Confucianism which gives more importance to authority.
Rashed (2006) concurs with the aforementioned statement of Brown by noting that personal characteristics and its relationship with work attitudes should be analyzed in a manner that would look into the differences in cultures as the influence of these vary.
Laka-Mathebula (2004) notes that these empirical researches are important in understanding the factors which affect organizational commitment and at the same time help in promoting the development of this particular concept. In the same manner, these researches are also important in developing strategies that would help the management of human resources, develop leadership styles, and finally, develop trust within the organization. Nonetheless, Laka-Mathebula (2004) gives importance to the conduction of more empirical researches to obtain evidence would help in the further development of the concept of organizational commitment. However, the book of Pfeffer (1998) was seen to have lacked empirical evidence in proving that organizational commitment is indeed a result of effective human management practices. On the other hand, Meyer and Allen (1991) shows empirical evidences in showing that there is indeed a positive relationship between organizational practices, organizational commitment and desirable work outcomes such as performance, organizational citizenship behaviour, turnover, adaptability and job satisfaction.
Gattiker (1992) was one of the researchers who have given a special attention to the empirical assessment of organizational commitment with the use of the side-bet theory approach. The study of Gattiker became a very important one in the previous discussions on the variables affecting organizational commitment and its outcomes for this particular study proved that organizational commitment is indeed a predictor of important outcomes for organizations. In the same manner, Gattiker also proved in his study that unlike satisfaction, the commitment towards one’s organization is a stable attitude of employees as it is often associated with the strong belief and acceptance of the goals and values of the organization.
Gattiker recognized the fact that organizational commitment is indeed, an international phenomenon affecting not only the management but also the lower level employees as well. It is because of this that several researches had been made that looked into the possible relation of culture to organizational commitment. Usually, studies concerning organizational commitment focus on the countries with different societal cultures, with Japan and United States of America being the most popular. Gattiker mentioned a number of researches which made use of these samples, showing that differences between the cultural values, norms and beliefs greatly matter. Nonetheless, these are also a cause in the great disparity between the survey questionnaires that has been furnished to the Japanese and American samples for what has been included to what has been given to the Americans could not generally apply to that of the Japanese. Near (1989, in Gattiker, 1992) was able to prove in her study that Americans tend to be more committed to their organizations rather than their Japanese counterparts. However, she also found out that these findings were only based upon the Western conception o commitment as these concepts simply do not apply to other cultures such as that of the Japanese. Simply put, Near was not able to analyze the organizational commitment of the Japanese due to the reason that concepts used in analyzing the commitment of the Americans could not be applied.
However, Gattiker focused his empirical study of organizational commitment on organizational commitment on countries with the same societal cultures simply because limited studies concerning this have been quite limited. Bhagat and McQuaid (1982, in Gattiker, 1992) notes that there is definitely a need to examine commitment in countries whose societal cultures are comparable. As a result, Gattiker’s study focused on the assessment of organizational commitment of Canada and the United States. In doing so, the side-bet theory has been applied as a conceptual framework in examining the difference between the two. Side-bet theory is generally concerned with the examination of cross-national issues when analyzing organizational commitment.
Gattiker recognized the fact that there is indeed two ways by which organizational commitment can be viewed. The first of which focuses primarily on this commitment as a type of behaviour or an attitude while other one solely focuses on commitment as an exchanged-based theory, the grounds by which the side-bet theory is established. Becker (1960), the well known proponent of this particular theory mentioned that the term side-bet has been used in referring to the accumulation of investments valued by the individual which would be lost or deemed worthless if he or she leaves the organization. Simply put, this view puts forward the idea that factors, both external and internal play a very important role in determining the level of one’s commitment towards his or her organization.
In testing the side-bet theory, the basic strategy is to look into how commitment increases as the number or size of side-bets increases (Gattiker, 1992). The variables that are often treated as side-bets and which are said to play an important role in influencing organizational commitment are the factors that had been earlier discussed, under the heading variables affecting organizational commitment. These include the following: age, organizational tenure, hierarchical level, education and income. Gattiker (1992) noted that these variables are very important in testing the side-bet theory and the use of these had been proposed by researchers such as Alutto, Hrebiniak and Alonso, 1972; Ritzer and Trice, 1969; Sheldon, 1971; Shoemaker, Snizek and Bryant, 1977). Generally seven side-bet indexes had been included in Gattiker’s study: age, tenure, education, marriage, gender, salary and position.
One thing that separates the side-bet theory from the psychological theory is the latter’s ability to analyze organizational commitment by looking into the possible implications of cross-national differences (Gattiker, 1992). Becker (1960, in Gattiker, 1992) argues that “a person sometimes finds that he has made side-bets constraining his present activity because the existence of generalized cultural expectation provides penalties for those who violate them. He continues that analyzing the system of values or the valuables that a person bets in the world he or she lives in is very important in the analysis of an employee’s commitment to his or her organization. In short, Becker (1960) mentions,
to understand commitment fully, we must discover the systems of value within which the mechanisms and processes described earlier operate.
Based on the side-bet theory, one could conclude that the nature and magnitude of the different side-bets will differ from one nation to another (Gattiker, 1992), despite the belief that the commitment one has to his or her organization varies from one culture to another. This is then generally seen in the work of Gattiker (1992) when he proved that although the work values of the Canadians and Americans do not vary that much, the difference in their side-bets becomes highly evident, thus explaining the difference between their values and beliefs with regard to the concept of organizational commitment.
Using twenty-eight employers from Canada and fifteen from the United States of America, the following results had been produced by the study, measuring organizational commitment through the fifteen item Organizational Commitment Questionnaire developed by Porter et al (1974). It was revealed that the side-bet indexes were of great importance in explaining the insignificant amount of variance in organizational commitment in all the models used in the study, except for calculative commitment of the Canadian sample (Gattiker, 1992). In the same manner, Gattiker’s study also revealed that the side-bet indexes were also seen to have a stronger effect in predicting commitment as compared with the overall commitment questionnaire (OCQ).
The study basically revealed a difference in the factors affecting organizational commitment for both the United States and Canada. An example of this is gender, which is a very important variable for the Canadian samples, who reveal that females tend to have higher levels of commitment than their male counterparts which are not true for the samples coming from the United States of America. According to the research of Gattiker (1992), this maybe because of the fact that Canadian women face more difficulties in finding jobs rather than the women coming from the United States.
Nonetheless, Gattiker (1992) also discovered similarities in the cultural expectations of both his Canadian and American simples due to the fact that major cultural differences have nor been discovered. In conclusion, Gattiker says, researchers should give importance to the study of side-bets for these tend to vary from one country to another even though they are from the same cultural background.
In the same manner, Laka-Mathebula (2004) concurs with the aforementioned results of the study of Gattiker. She gives importance to the revalidation of measuring instruments such as the factors that are often associated with the concept of organizational commitment. Like Gattiker, Laka-Mathebula also notes the fact that some measures used in a particular country or culture may not be applicable to another.
Chen, Tsui and Farh (2002) also conducted an empirical study in determining the relationship of cultural differences and organizational commitment. These researches basically focused on supervisors, being one of the most important determinants of organizational commitment as they act as an agent of the organization as they interact with employees in a daily basis. The researchers recognize the fact that researches relating organizational commitment with the commitment to the organization have been conducted only in the Western settings. As a result, they focused their study on organizational commitment and its correlation with loyalty to the supervisors on the People’s Republic of China whose cultural setting is very different from that of the Western countries. This is because the Chinese tend to value loyalty to a person more than their loyalty to an institution or an organization, Redding (1990, in Chen, Tsui and Farh, 2002).
In line with this, the researcher decides to look into how the Chinese perceive the concept of commitment and at the same time, look at how it influences employee performance and of course, organizational commitment. Chen, Tsui and Farh (2002) mention the works of Becker et al. (1996) and that of Gregersen (1992) which proved that there are two dimensions that had been defined in analyzing the commitment of the employees towards their supervisors. These are identification with supervisor and the internalization of their supervisor’s values. Nonetheless, the researcher recognizes the fact that the loyalty to supervisors usually transcends between these two dimensions especially in cultures which are relationship-oriented such as China. In China, Chen, Tsui and Farh (2002) mentions that the loyalty to another individual goes beyond than just identifying with them and internalizing the values of the latter. Loyalty is often expressed as an attraction based on familiarity, frequent interactions or common identity, Tsui, Egan and O’Reilly (1992, in Chen, Tsui and Farh, 1992) mentions.
In the same manner, loyalty in the People’s Republic of China is also highly related with indebtedness towards other individuals for a favour they may have granted previously. In the same manner, loyalty could also arise as a role obligation to an authority figure because of social norms, deeply embedded in the teachings of Confucianism, Chen, Tsui and Farh (2002) mentions.
Kostova (n.d.) also gives importance to Confucianism being a very important factor in analyzing why organizational commitment is very different in non-Western settings as compared with that of the Western countries, most especially in the United States of America. Without a doubt, Confucian Philosophy and its influence in many societies should be efficiently analyzed in relation to theories and practices in Western human resource management.
Undoubtedly, the Chinese culture is very different from that of the Western countries. As a result, the loyalty to one’s supervisor in the context of their culture may be very different and thus may not be positively correlated with organizational commitment.
Chen, Tsui and Farh (2002) conducted a review of the different literature written with regard to commitment in the People’s Republic of China. These researches include the following: Cheng (1995), Lee (1992) and Zhou (1983). These studies revealed the concept of loyalty one has towards their bosses or the person of authority standing above them in the hierarchical ladder. According to these researches, as supported by Chen, Tsui and Farh (2002), the loyalty to bosses usually increases the level of commitment one has towards his or her work. Employees who are loyal to their bosses are more conscientious, enthusiastic and support the decision of their bosses. However, this loyalty towards their superiors does not mean that the employees are also committed to their organizations. As a result, Chen, Tsui and Farh (2002) proposes the incorporation of these five dimensions to understand loyalty to supervisors in the People’s Republic of China and why this could not be associated with organizational commitment. These are: (1) identification with the supervisor’s character and accomplishments; (2) internalization of the supervisor’s values; (3) willingness to dedicate to the supervisor or seek and promote the supervisor’s welfare at the expense of personal interest; (4) willingness to exert extra effort on behalf of the supervisor; and (5) desire to be attached or follow the supervisor. These dimensions are then very important in analyzing why commitment in the Chinese setting is very different in the Western settings.
Kostova (n.d.) also concurs with the findings of Chen, Tsui and Farh (2002) in saying that the function of organizational commitment in the countries that are greatly influenced by Confucianism such as China, Japan and Korea is very different from that in the Western setting. This is because of the fact that the commitment to authorities is highly emphasized by Confucianism rather than giving more importance to the commitment towards organizations. In the same manner, organizations in these countries are also required to abide by the teachings of Confucius himself.
Rahman and Hanafiah (2002) also conducted an empirical study on the relationship of the commitment to the organization and to the profession. They also recognized the fact that these studies only focused on US or Western samples in their study. According to the authors of this study, the different factors that are seen to influence organizational commitment varies across cultures and usually depends upon the different types of professions. As a result, different results are produced.
The study of Hanakam and Jons (2004) is also another empirical study which focuses in the analysis of organizational commitment and national culture. The researchers do not deny that national culture influences organizational behaviour greatly. It is because of this that difficulties are said to have arisen in the different studies that cover both. In the same manner, this also becomes the reason why people misunderstood the influence of national culture to organizational commitment.
The study of Weiss (2002, in Hanakam & Jons, 2004) mentions that organizational culture is an antecedent of affective organizational commitment, thus affecting the loyalty of the employees toward the entire institution. However, this commitment is still then affected by the culture of a certain country which means that the causes or variables influencing commitment towards an organization vary from one country to another. Simply put, the prevalence of organizational culture does not mean that the culture of the entire nation is disregarded.
In conclusion, Hanakam and Jons (2004) gives importance to considering the culture of a country to which an organization belongs to in formulation practices and strategies related to the proper and efficient way of managing human resources. These findings are also supported by the study conducted by Blake-Beard, Murrell and Thomas (2006) who also said that organizations must also be able to take into consideration the cultures from where their employees come from to ensure that their practices and strategies would apply properly to them. Their study also reveals the importance to considering the race or the culture from which one comes from to ensure that mentoring relationships are efficient especially with regard to the roles that supervisors have in an organization.
Lee (2006) is another researcher who provides an empirical analysis of the determinants of repatriate turnover intentions which are said to affect organizational commitment greatly. His study focused on how repatriation adjustment, organizational commitment and job satisfaction affect Taiwanese employees, especially their intention to leave a certain organization. To meet the purpose of his study, as stated above, Lee made use of a multiple regression analysis. Using this, he was able to prove that repatriation adjustment indeed was the strongest predictor o the intent to leave the organization for Taiwanese employees. He also claimed that those who perceived a higher level of repatriation adjustment had lower intentions to leave while their counterparts who receive lower levels of repatriation were those who also have a lower rate of organizational commitment. Through his study, Lee was also able to prove that it is repatriation which plays a very important role in decreasing one’s intention to leave whilst organizational commitment is only the second strongest factor and lastly, job satisfaction do not usually guarantee a decrease in an employee’s intention to leave.
Lee (2006) mentioned that his study on organizational commitment and repatriation is very important for the era of globalization have witnessed the ever growing rate of international job mobility which is now also becoming a common experience for a significant number of employees. It is because of this that he is calling on to multinational corporations and organizations to give importance to the development and management of human resources. In looking into the processes related to international human resource management and development, one could see that it is more devoted to the process of expatriation and less attention is given to repatriation, which Lee (2006) finds significant for the completion of an international assignment. This is because of the fact that most multinational organizations always assume that the re-entry to the parent country is non-problematic and even a non-issue, Black and Gregersen (1998, in Lee, 2006) notes. However, most researchers, such as Forster (2000) also feel that this is something that should be analyzed for it also entails difficult adjustment (Lee, 2006).
True enough, management theories and models have been developed in explaining these phenomena. However, Lee (2006) notes that all these had been framed within the context of the culture o the United States. As a result, these theories apply only to the United States or to those countries that are influenced by the culture of the latter. In the same manner, however, Lee recognizes the fact that this could still be applied to those who receive support from the U.S. Nonetheless, Lee made use of the variables in these theories and models to explain the Taiwanese repatriates’ intent to leave the organization, to a different culture setting. Through this, the author aims to identify the factors that are present in the international setting and that may be used in understanding the impact of culture on various management theories and models.
Based on the multiple regression analysis that Lee made use in his study, repatriation adjustment was the strongest predictor of intent to leave the organization. This is because of the so-called cross cultural adjustment that the employees had to go through. Apparently, his study revealed that the culture shock the one experienced upon coming home is usually more difficult than the shock that one experiences upon his or her arrival at a foreign country. As a result, poor repatriation processes may mean the loss of an employee for a certain organization.
The research also gave importance to organizational commitment in order to ensure that the employees do not leave their organizations. This is because of the fact that not a number of repatriates expect to work in the same company after serving abroad. Lee (2006) also mentions that:
Organizational commitment after repatriation is important because of the positive relationship between commitment and executive retention and the much higher turnover rate for repatriated executive compared to domestic counterparts.
The aforementioned researches devoted their empirical analysis of culture and organizational commitment by focusing on the East Asian countries that had been greatly influenced by the teachings of Confucianism such as Japan, China, Taiwan and Korea. Varona (1996), on the other hand focused his research on a Latin American country, more specifically, Guatemala. The main purpose of his study is to discover the possible relationship that may exist between organizational communication satisfaction and organizational commitment in three organizations found in Guatemala. The study also made use of three questionnaires and these are the following (1) C.W. Downs’ (1990) Communication Audit (CAQ); (2) The Mowday, Porter & Steers’ (197) Organizational Commitment Questionnaire (OCQ); and (3) the Cook and Wall’s (1980) Organizational Commitment Instrument (OCI).
The results of the study revealed that there is indeed, a positive relationship between the satisfaction with in organizational communication and the organizational commitment of the employees. In the same manner, Varona found out that school teachers who are satisfied with communication practices tend to exhibit a higher level of organizational commitment as compared with their counterparts from the two other organizations – a hospital and a food factory – examined. He also found out that when it comes to job satisfaction and organizational commitment, supervisors or those with higher positions have higher levels of the aforementioned than their subordinates. Likewise, the study also gave importance to tenure in increasing one’s commitment to the organization. Finally, the questionnaires that had been mentioned earlier have different effects on their respondents which somehow disprove the claims of the author. This is because of the basic reason that some of these questionnaires are not just appropriate for the examination of organizational commitment in cultures outside of the country where it has been framed.
Varona recognizes the fact that the results of his study raised important issues with regard to the application of research instruments in cultures very different from the country where it has been framed for his research dealt with Guatemalan organizations while the instruments by which he measured the organizational commitment of the employees of these companies had been framed in the United States of America.
In lieu with this, Varona calls for the development of cross-cultural studies so that researchers would develop a better understanding of the influence of cultural factors on organizational characteristics especially when using research instruments that had been created in a different culture. In the same manner, he also calls for the development of other instruments that could be used outside the culture of the United States for the factors that had been produced in the studies conducted in this particular country do not usually apply to other countries. Consequently, using these instruments in other cultures may also lead to a misunderstanding of organizational commitment which may be perceived in a different perspective in that particular country. Despite these aforementioned limitations, the research tentatively claims that cultural differences do influence communication and commitment in the workplace. Nonetheless, it still maintains its call for the conduction of more cross-cultural researches.
The study of Hahn (2007) which examined the different factors that determine organizational commitment is also very important to the examination of the relationship of the latter and culture. Apparently, just like what Gattiker (1992) claimed, the claim that women are more committed to their jobs should be analyzed thoroughly because of the fact that the reason behind this may be embedded on their culture. As Hahn (2007) notes, Saudi Arabian women are more committed to their jobs because of the fact that job opportunities are not always open for them because of the structure of their society. In the same manner, employees from Asian countries, especially those who belong in the Third World are proven to be more committed to their jobs because of the fewer job opportunities as compared with their Western counterparts.
The study of Rashed (2006) on the other hand, aimed to disprove the claims of Hahn (2007) by concluding that there is indeed no significant relationship between gender and organizational commitment and at the same time, that men and women have the same levels of commitment to the organization. This was assessed using the fifteen item measure questionnaire developed by Porter, Steers, Mowday and Boulian (1974). Contrary to the research of Hahn, the results of Rashed’s study prove that the gender of an employee have no significant effect on his or her job satisfaction and organizational commitment. Nonetheless, one’s intention to leave an organization is influenced by the presence of other employment alternatives which then is the reason why organizational commitment is generally linked with gender. This is so because employment opportunities in Kuwait and other countries with the same cultural background, women are usually discriminated. Thus, more employment opportunities are present for the men, making the turnover of employees with this gender higher than its counterparts.
As a result, the two previous researchers also call for giving due recognition to the culture to which an employee belongs to so that one could understand why the effects of a certain factor are different to a certain culture when compared to another.
Aside from gender, Lee and Maurer (1991) also give importance to looking into family structures in analyzing organizational commitment. According to these researchers, the family plays a very important role in influencing the work attitudes of a certain employee. In the same manner, they also believe that this only depends upon the culture from where an employee comes from. Apparently, those who came from a collectivist culture tend to be greatly affected by their families while those from individualist cultures tend to stand up on their own. At the same time, those from individualistic cultures tend to decide based on their judgment and do not let anyone affect the decision.
Russ (2007) is another researcher who provides an in depth analysis of the differences in organizational communication across the different cultures all over the world. Glazer et al. (2004, in Russ, 2007) showed that one experience and openness to it is indeed one of the factors which significantly affect organizational commitment of the employees. However, this particular factor is said to be still influenced greatly by the national culture to which the employee belongs to. Simply put, openness to experience and organizational commitment vary from one nation (and/or culture) to another. In analyzing the importance of culture to organization commitment, Russ (2007) notes the Value Survey Model of Hofstede provides the best explanation and the most popular measurement method of cultural values. In the same manner, Russ gives importance to this as the framework by which she compared organizational cultures in her study.
The Value Survey Model that Russ mentions has four main dimensions, namely, (1) power distance, or the extent to which a society accepts the legitimacy of inequality and power hierarchy; (2) uncertainty avoidance or a certain culture’s level of tolerance for uncertainty or ambiguity and the extent by which they consider that there is a need to take action to reduce this uncertainty; (3) masculinity versus femininity, or how the culture accepts assertiveness, aggression, advancement, recognition, and earnings as work goals; and (4) individualism versus collectivism which gives emphasis to the amount of emotional independence that a person has from their organization or how much they value membership in a certain group or organization.
In reference to the collectivist or individualistic nature of a culture to which one belongs to, Russ (2007) mentions that those who value their independence as a person have lower levels of organizational commitment while those who have a strong attachment with their groups of organization report higher levels. Nonetheless, Russ also considers the fact that people from collectivist cultures tend to be committed to their organization or groups in spite of the absence of the factors that theories and other models of organizational commitment consider as very important for the development of this attitude. As a result, the fact that misunderstandings could arise because of the inability to take culture into consideration is once again highlighted.
In relation to Russ’ discussion of the four dimensions of Hofstede’s Value Survey Model, she mentioned the research of Randall (1993) which incorporated these dimensions into organizational commitment. Her study basically focused on how these dimensions affected a certain culture’s level of affective commitment. Randall was able to discover that countries that are characterized as collective tend to have lower levels of affective commitment and those with lower power distance had higher levels of commitment than those countries with a higher power distance. In the same manner, she was also able to discover that lower commitment had been generated from those cultures which have a high uncertainty-avoidance culture (i.e. Japan and South Korea). On the other hand, the researcher was not able to discover a relationship between the masculinity-femininity dimension and affective commitment as all the countries included in the study reported similar levels of commitment although they greatly differ with regard to the said dimension.
Vigoda (2000) also recognizes the fact that organizational commitment and the factors affecting it differs, depending on the sector where a certain employee belongs to and his or her adopted national culture.
Muthuveloo and Rose (2005) also examined commitment of Malaysian Engineers toward their organizations by looking into how their personal characteristics, values and goals affect these especially those which had been instilled in them by the national culture. In order to do this, the researchers developed a questionnaire which contained four sections which made use of five-point Likert scales that had been perceived to be of vital importance to measure the following: (1) organizational commitment, (2) employees’ perceptions (3) engineer’s behaviour and (4) the personal characteristics of the respondents. The results of the survey were then analyzed using the Analysis of Variance Method or ANOVA. The researchers note that due to the fact that their respondents may have graduated from different countries, it is but proper to consider the impact of the foreign or local culture that may have greatly influenced them (Muthiveloo & Rose, 2005).
The results of the study showed that there are only four elements out of the nine characteristics that they measured in this study proved to have a strong influence on the commitment of these Malaysian engineers to their organizations. These elements include race, academic background, country of graduation and religion. Clearly, the values and beliefs of the respondents should be analyzed thoroughly to ensure that organizational commitment is properly analyzed and no misunderstandings would analyze from the analysis. The researchers mentioned these characteristics as attitudinal, which means that these have great effects on the way the respondents see and perceive their work (Muthuveloo & Rose, 2005).
Boglarsky and Kwantes (n.d.) also concurs with the findings of Muthuveloo and Rose (2005) which had been previously discussed. Boglarsky and Kwantes (n.d.) recognizes the fact that abstract aspects of culture such as shared values and beliefs influences the employees greatly in their commitment towards their organizations. The researchers also gave importance to the analysis of the cultural patterns of these employees to understand how they behave within their organizations. As a result, they developed twelve scales which aim to reflect these cultural patterns. These patterns had been classified into three major cultures: constructive, passive/defensive and aggressive/defensive (Boglarsky & Kwantes, n.d.).
2.6. Organizational Commitment in the Public Sector
Most of the studies that had been included in this study focused on organizational commitment and how it has affected the businesses belonging in the private sector, especially the multinational corporations and organizations. The public sector organizations, as defined by Steijn and Leisink (2005) are those that deal with the formulation of public policies deals with issues concerning the same and finally, render different kinds of services to the people.
This research gives importance to the examination of organizational commitment in this particular sector firstly because of the fact that this study deals with the Malaysian health and education departments. Secondly, the researcher also recognize the fact that patterns of employment, occupation and service in public organizations substantially differ from those of private or service public systems. Finally, the researcher concurs with the claims that Vigoda (2000) stated in his research, that employees’ lack of commitment towards their organization tends to produce negligent behaviours and other attitudes which may reflect a negative organizational atmosphere. This may then result to an inefficient public service, causing the citizens to suffer. In the same manner, Vigoda (2000) also mentions that wages of the public servants are also relatively lower than those belonging in the private sector. Also, their promotion is slower and they sometimes do not receive rewards for their performance in their jobs. On the other hand, Rainey (1991) mentions several benefits that one may receive from working in the public sector. One of which is the fact that it offers a more stable work environment, a higher job security and a challenge of serving a large and heterogeneous population.
One of the possible factors that influence organizational commitment is the goals that employees have. Researchers mention that when the personal goals of the employees align with that of the organization, then there is a higher tendency for the former to be committed to their employers. This then one of the reasons why researchers such as Seok-Hwan (2004) tend to perceive that organizational commitment in the public sector may be lower as compared with the public sector. This is because of the fact that several of the researches mentioned by the said author (i.e. Dahl and Lindblom, 1953; Gortner, Nahler and Nicholson, 1987; Lan and Rainey, 1992; Boyatzis, 1982), said that private sectors employees are higher on goal clarity than their counterparts in the public sector. Nonetheless, Seok-Hwan still recognizes the fact that there are also other researchers who claim the opposite, reporting that public managers have clearer organizational goals and at the same time, are more efficient in achieving the goals that they laid out for their organizations.
It is because of the aforementioned that several researches had been made to distinguish organizational commitment in the private and public sectors (Seok-Hwan, 2004) for the inconsistencies mentioned above that needs to be clarified. As earlier mentioned, organizational commitment is usually categorized into three types: attitudinal, calculative and normative. These categories had been one of the foci of this research as it looked into the importance of employee commitment towards the organization, the variables affecting it and the outcomes of the said subject matter. However, the discussion of organizational commitment in the public sector provides another way of viewing the said subject matter by presenting a new idea introduced by Balfour and Wechsler (1991, 1996). These researchers mentioned that there are multiple constructs of organizational commitment in the public sector and these are the following: (1) affiliation commitment or belongingness; (2) compliance commitment or exchange commitment; and (3) identification commitment or value congruence. More or less, these constructs could also be present in the private sectors for organizational commitment in the public sector is still perceived to be affected by factors such as job satisfaction, job performance, tenure and educational attainment.
As a result, the analysis regarding commitment towards the organizations belonging to this particular sector is seen to be of vital importance especially because of the fact that they are usually affected by organizational politics. Vigoda (2000) gives importance to organizational politics as one of the factors that negatively influences one’s commitment to the organization to which he or she belongs to. However, the question still remains, is there a difference between organizational commitments in the public sector when compared to that of the private sector considering the disparities between the factors that influence both? In the same manner, what should the public sector undertake in order to ensure that their employees are properly motivated, thus significantly contributing to their motivation especially when monetary rewards are not usually present in these organizations? Finally, is being of service to the people enough to keep employees of the public sector motivated, thus increasing their commitment towards the organization? It is through this that the researcher hopes to give a better light to the proper management of the employees in the public sector as this could be of great importance in ensuing that the members could give an efficient service to the public especially since they deal with public administration and security together with other aspects that deal with the betterment of the society (education, health, etc). The study concerning organizational commitment in the public sector shall then make use of past researches, both empirical and conceptual, that deal with this particular topic as made available by the World Wide Web.
Seok-Hwan (2004) gives importance to people being one of the most important factors that organizations must consider in ensuring that productivity is enhanced. Organizations belonging to the public sector feel pressure in ensuring that they make the most out of their limited resources to produce maximum input with the least input. It is because of this that many strategies had been developed including total quality management (TQM) and the balanced scorecard (BSC). These strategies are seen to be of great importance for the organizations in the public sector for these are seen to affect organizational commitment. Without organizational commitment, Seok-Hwan (2004) agrees with the statement of Vigoda (2000), that these organizations could not produce efficient services for the society. Nonetheless, Seok-Hwan (2004) also recognizes that the conventional view of organizational commitment is not enough to tell the entire story that deals with the performance and productivity of individual employees.
Vigoda’s (2000) Organizational Politics, Job Attitudes and Work Outcomes: Exploration and Implications for the Public Sector is one of the researches that this study would analyze in looking into the differences of organizational commitment in the public and private sectors together with the factors that affect this. Being members of the public sector and being under a certain administration together with the fact that they are heterogeneous in nature, these organizations are not safe from organizational politics.
Vigoda (2000) mentions organizational politics as one of the factors that negatively influence organizational commitment and job satisfaction in the public sector especially in influencing the negligent behaviour of the employees thus concurring with the findings of the researches cited in his study that had been conducted by Cropanzano et al. (1997), Drory (1993) and Ferris et al. (1996). Nonetheless, organizational politics is not enough to make employees quit or leave the organization. The study of Vigoda (2000) dealt with the employees in the public sector Israel and how their attitudes towards their jobs are affected by organizational politics. The study revealed that the respondents tend to respond to organizational politics with a more passive behaviour such as neglect. This reaction towards politics in the organization is perceived to be less risky as it does not necessarily put the neither the employees’ career development nor occupational status at stake. According to Vigoda (2000), this is because of the fact that most of the organizations in the public sector do not compensate their employees according to their work performance, then a worker neglecting his or her duty or job does not really pose a significant threat to the organization. However, this may not be the case for the businesses in the private sector since they are required by law to pay their employees based on their performance in their jobs and their accomplishment of their tasks. Despite this condition, Vigoda (2000) notes that this is still a negative indicator of an organizational atmosphere which could then affect the recipients of their services, the general public. Vigoda (2000) states,
When a public sector employee neglects his/her job, organizational outcomes are damaged and the citizens are the most likely to suffer. Negligent behaviour and negative job attitudes may thus yield low-quality work outcomes and poor and ineffective public services.
The inefficiency of the public systems then affects a large portion of the population which could then pose a damaging effect on the society. In the same manner, these could then be seen as an obstacle for reforming public organizations and introducing new trends for public administration that is necessary for the improvement of the vocational skills of the public servants and at the same time, make them more responsive and businesslike, Pollit (1990) mentions.
Seok-Hwan (2004) lists the differences between the public and private sectors that may somehow be correlated with the disparities of organizational commitment between the two sectors. The first of these differences is that public agencies, compared to the organizations in the public sector, have fewer decision-making autonomy, less flexibility on procedural spheres operations, and a greater tendency to the proliferation of formal control specifications. Secondly, organizations in the public sector tend to give importance to hierarchies which later on become more rigid due to the absence of an economic market. In line with this, the members of this sector tend to also give so much importance to authority, especially those on top of the hierarchical ladder. As a result, the heads or directors of these agencies produce their personal procedures that are characterized to be highly centralized or externally controlled, Pugh, Hickson and Hinigns (1969, in Seok-Hwan, 2004) mentions.
Aside from this, Seok-Hwan (2004) also notes that public managers and private managers differ greatly in handing out motivational incentives. Simply put, the employees belonging in the private sector tend to receive more incentives than their counterparts in public agencies. As earlier established, incentives are very important in motivating the employees to give their best for the entire organization, thus increasing their productivity and making sure that they perform excellently in their jobs. Although monetary rewards are the main means by which private sector employees are motivated, the desire to serve others through their jobs is the motivating factor behind the employees of the public sector. As a result, studies of scholars such as Wittmer (1991) calls on to keep the ethic of public service alive to ensure that the employees are properly motivated and are performing their tasks efficiently.
The antecedents which lead to organizational commitment in the private sector have attracted many researchers and the latter have identified several factors that influence such. Among these is tenure, age, gender, educational attainment, although the extent by which they affect commitment is said to vary depending on how it has been studies. Conversely, the antecedents that affect motivation and commitment in the public sector have gained lesser popularity although the above mentioned factor (the desire to help and serve others) contributes so much. Nonetheless, Perry (1997, in Steijn and Leisink, 2005), cites that there are more factors which may affect organizational commitment and these are the following: (1) parental socialization; (2) religious socialization; (3) professional identification; (4) political ideology; and (5) personal and other demographic characteristics that also affect the commitment in the private sectors.
In the study conducted by Jurkiewicz et al. (1998) that looked into the differences of organizational commitment between the private and public sectors, it was discovered that there is no difference between the two when compared with commitment in hybrid organizations or those more popularly known as non-profit organizations. This is because of the fact that the latter organizations are motivated with the goal of being able to others. On the other hand, employees belonging to the public sector are motivated by a stable and secure future on top whilst those in the private sector are also motivated by a high position together with a high salary. Since the organizations of the public sector also deal with service to the people, researchers such as Jurkiewicz et al (1998) and Seok-Hwan (2004), give importance to the adoption of organizational goals that focus on helping with others as this would increase the commitment of employees to the organization. Through this, it is assumed that the commitment of employees in the public sector would be of the same level as that of those in nonprofit organizations.
The cohesion of groups within the organizations is another factor that should be considered in analyzing the different factors that affect employee commitment in the organizations belonging to both the public and private sectors. Public organizations, according to Blumental (1983) are more diverse and conglomerated as compared with the private businesses. In the same manner, Seok-Hwan (2004) also discovered that public sector managers were lower on group cohesion when compared with the managers belonging to the private sector. This is said to be typical of all the work groups falling under the government as representativeness in the form of equal protection still shapes government hiring practices to a far greater degree than is true of business, Buchanan (1974, in Seok-Hwan, 2004) mentions.
The public sector is by nature, heterogeneous because of the fact that this includes organizations that deal with issues concerning policies and those which deliver specific services, Steijn and Leisink (2005) mentions. The researchers mention that organizations within this sector fall into three categories: (1) those which deal with public administration (i.e. the national and local government, water authorities, etc; (2) those which deal with public security (i.e. the police and the members of the judicial system; and (3) the non-profit sector (employees in the educational sector and academic hospitals. However, in some researchers, the third group is not often included in the public sector for the employees in this particular category do not usually receive monetary rewards in exchange for their performance. As a result, there is a need to analyze them in a manner that is different from the examination of organizations in the public and private sectors which usually involves monetary and positional rewards.
It is because of this that organizational commitment in the private sector is seen to be higher than in organizations within the public sector. This is because of the fact that group cohesion is once again higher in private organizations than the public ones. According to Seok-Hwan (2004), employees in the private sector perceive a higher level of homogeneity in the work group. On the other hand, the employees in the public sector call for equal employment within their organizations. Thus, the heterogeneity of the public organizations contributes so much in decreasing the level of commitment of the employees toward their employers.
However, Seok-Hwan (2004) notes that the loyalty and commitment of employees in the public sector are more directed towards their supervisors and the authorities within the organization, as compared with those belonging to private businesses. One of the factors which influence this was the aforementioned strict hierarchy of the organization and the lower level autonomy in decision making. Because of this, employees tend to recognize the authority and power of the supervisors thus making them commit more to the latter than to the organizations.
Another factor which influences the lower levels of commitment that employees in the public sector have is the limited resources, cutback management and the utilization of human resources from volunteers. Apparently, employees that are paid higher are more committed to their supervisors while volunteers tend to be more committed to the organization. Because of the fact that public sector employees do not fall within these prerequisites, volunteers and employees in the private sector tend to show higher levels of commitments than those belonging to organizations in the public sector.
In conclusion, Steijn and Leisink (2005) mention the following as something of great importance to the analysis of organizational commitment in the public sector. True enough, job characteristics play a minor role whilst the permanence of a position and levels of salary have no significant influences in their study. On the other hand, the effects of autonomy, having an interesting job and the number of hours that employees work in a week have only minor effects. What matters greatly for these organizations is the proper management of the employees to keep them motivated despite the absence of motivational factors that are present for most private organizations. It is through this then that organizational commitment for organizations belonging to this particular sector would remain committed and most importantly motivated to work excellently.
2.6. The Malaysian Government and the Possible Influences in Employees’ Organizational Commitment
As mentioned in the earlier parts of this literature review, it has been mentioned that most models and theories that had been developed to analyze organizational commitment had been framed within the Western context, especially with the culture of the United States being one of the frameworks most popularly adopted. As a result, several researches had been devoted to look into whether these models are still applicable to cultures that differ greatly from these Western countries, the United States of America being the most specific. Gill (1983) mentions,
Understanding cross-cultural personality differences can help management and government to achieve more harmonious adjustment of expectations where managers are transferred from one country to another.
As a result, the researcher deems it necessary to look into how the Malaysian government influences the organizational commitment of the employees within their countries, taking into consideration the fact that their culture is very different from the culture of the United States or any Western country for that matter where the different models and theories of organizational commitment has been framed. These shall be analyzed based on the VSM Model proposed by Hofstede that has been discussed in one of the earlier parts of this literature review. However, the researcher views a limitation that may be connected with this for this model has also been drafter and constructed based on Western cultures that do not take into account Asian values that may be present in countries such as Malaysia.
Being an Asian country, Malaysia’s culture is without a doubt, very different from the culture that the United States or any other Western country has. This could then mean that theories and models of organizational commitment may produce varied results as compared with the results that these generate in the examinations of western or American organizations and businesses. Malaysia is a multicultural country with Malays, Chinese and Indians being the major ethnic groups, cooperating harmoniously in their every day lives. In their country these groups preserve their ethnic identity, practice their own culture, customs, behaviour, the language they speak, norms, values and beliefs, Abu Bakar, Mustaffa and Mohamad (2005) mentions. At the same time, even though it fully engages in the international economy, they are still able to retain the fusion of Asian cultural values that characterize their society. Their society is described to be a fusion of Asian cultures as the country is heavily influenced by a social structure whose structure has been laid upon by the principles of Islam. Aside from the society has also been influenced by the management philosophies of Britain that had been embedded upon the culture ever since the colonial era. These are then mixed with the religious and cultural values of the Chinese and Indians (Abu Bakar, Mustaffa & Mohamad, 2005).
Aside from this, the aspects of organizational commitment that had been developed by Meyer and Allen has been reformatted to suit the culture of countries outside the Western setting for researchers such as Gil and Zain (n.d.) found out that the third aspect of organizational commitment known as continuance commitment could still be broken down into two: first, continuance commitment is shown because of the employees’ awareness of the costs that they may face upon leaving the organization and second, an expression of continuance commitment since the availability of other employment alternatives does not exist. The second one has been added because of the fact that Malaysia belongs to the third world and that it is not that easy for the citizens to shift from one job to another.
In general, the Malaysian ethnic groups are often motivated because of their affiliation to groups, families and individuals. This particular characteristic does not vary when comparing the Malays, Chinese and Indian Malays. An example of this would be the results of Lim’s (2001, in Abu Bakar, Mustaffa, and Mohamad, 2005) study which proved that the work related values of the Malaysian Malays is not significantly different from that of the Malaysian Chinese with only religious constructs being the only dissimilarity between these groups. It is because of this that is easier to implement organizational strategies in this country even though they belong to different ethnic groups since all Malaysians respond to productivity increases for as long as these are equated with benefits given by the a certain organization, the family, the community and of course, the nation. At the same time, the collectivist nature of the Malaysian culture is also one of the reasons why their government gives more emphasis to internal marketing (which is basically concerned with dealing with the most important customers of businesses within their organizations, their employees) to increase organizational commitment for the employees find it easier to devote themselves to be of service to the organization because of their tendency to affiliate with these. At the same time, internal marketing could also increase the job satisfaction that one feels that then is seen to be positively correlated with one’s commitment to the organization to which he or she belongs to.
Researches that looked into organizational commitment in Malaysia found that there is a significant relationship between one’s participation in decision making processes and the development of his or her commitment towards the organization. In the same manner, researchers such as Razali (2004, in Abu Bakar, Mustaffa and Mohamad, 2005) also notes that there are two factors of work life that contributes so much in increasing the organizational commitment of Malaysian workers, there are the following: development and pay and benefit. Pearson and Chong (1997, in Abu Bakar, Mustaffa and Mohamad, 2005) also identified factors such perceived information cues as factors that contribute to job satisfaction. In the same manner, they also give importance to task content properties of identity, significance and autonomy as well as the interpersonal task attribute of dealing with others as factors that significantly affect organizational commitment.
Abu Bakar, Mustaffa and Mohamad (2005), in their study entitled Leader-Member Exchange and Cooperative Communication between Group Members: Replication of Lee (1997, 2001) Study on Malaysia Respondents found out that communication strategies are very important in ensuring that a good relationship is established between the supervisors and their subordinates, the employees especially in the organizations belonging to the public sector of Malaysia. The researchers give importance to the development of this good relationship as it would lead to the betterment of the work performance of many employees. In the same manner, this relationship could also increase the employees’ commitment towards the organization to which they belong to, a very important aspect of the Leader-member exchange theory (LMX) and cooperative communication. This particular theory, concerned with the hierarchical relationship between a superior and his or her subordinates, has been developed by Lee (1997, 2001) and was examined using Malaysian respondents. Taking this theory into consideration, one notes that the performance of the whole group and their productivity rest on the hands of the supervisors or the leaders alone. Formal authority then rests upon them, together with the formulation of rules, policies and procedures that they deem necessary in increasing the productivity and performance of the employees (Abu Bakar and Mustaffa, 2007). Apparently, the studies conducted by Lee (1997, 2001), Abu Bakar and Mustaffa (2007) and Abu Bakar, Mustaffa and Mohamad (2005) give credit to the collective nature of Malaysia’s culture and the easiness of the development of interpersonal relationships in this particular country in the extent of influence that this theory has. Because of their willingness to achieve organizational goals rather than simply prioritizing their own goals, they tend to work hand in hand with their supervisors to ensure that they maintain harmony within their groups. The LMX theory suggests that:
Quality of the relationship between superior and subordinate will have an impact on communication and in-turn will affect individual commitment to the group (Abu Bakar and Mustaffa, 2007; Abu Bakar, Mustaffa and Mohamad, 2005).
In the same manner, Asma (1992, in Abu Bakar and Mustaffa, 2007) notes,
The superior-subordinate communication acting as mediation variable is relevant in Malaysian organization setting, because Malaysian employees display a strong humane orientation in their interaction within a society that respects hierarchical differences and gives priority to maintaining harmony within a group.
The Malaysian government then adopts this particular framework in ensuring that they could significantly affect the organizational commitment of the members of its organizations.
Since the independence of Malaysia, the government has given a special importance to the following (Abdul Karim, 1995):
1. Structural Changes;
2. Improved Productivity and Delivery of Services;
3. Office Automation and information systems technology for the public sector;
4. Measuring efficiency and effectiveness;
5. Improving Performance Reporting in the Public Sector;
6. Total Quality Management;
7. Attitude and Behavioural Changes
8. Strengthening Statistical Capacity and;
9. District Administration.
The formation of Malaysia in the early sixties inspired the leaders of the new government to focus on institution building and development administration as they continue to push through with their development projects in order for the new political entity to succeed. They gave more importance to socio-economic development programs that would effectively answer the needs of its citizens. It is because of this that the government also paid so much attention to civil service, thus leading to the different projects and strategies adopted to reform the public sector, Abdul Karim (1995) mentions.
It is in line with this that the Malaysian government also gives importance to commitment as this could positively influence corruption as the latter could pose dangers to the economic growth and progress of their nation. It is in line with this that the government also established the Anti-Corruption Agency in 1967 that was eventually replaced by the Prevention of Corruption Act of 1997 which are all aimed towards winning the battle against corruption in the country (Anti-Corruption Initiative for Asia and the Pacific, n.d.).Upon independence, the government, without a doubt focused heavily on public administration, education and training to prepare the newly established country for development and progress.
According to the Anti-Corruption Initiative for Asia and the Pacific (n.d.) the said improvements are also essential in strengthening and reforming the public sector, to eliminate the doubts of the employees on the corruption within their organization, thus contributing to their commitment towards their groups. It is also in line with this that the government created the Special Cabinet Committee on Government Management so as to ensure that the integrity of the workers is preserved, enhanced their awareness to keep them away from the dangers of corruption, abuse of power and strengthen their resolve for, and commitment to, integrity.
It is in line with the government’s efforts to improve public service that they also focused on the improvement of the productivity of the employees belonging to this particular sector and the delivery of services. To achieve this, they pushed through with administrative reform in order to upgrade the administrative institutions, Abdul Karim (1999) notes. As a result, the government and its organizations began to promote organizational efficiency and effectiveness by influencing the employees to work towards the attainment of national developmental goals. Through this, organizational commitment is also promoted as the employees now work hand in hand with their employers (Abdul Karim, 1995).
As it has been earlier mentioned, the government also gave importance to Total Quality Management (TQM) to ensure that the public sector of the then newly established Malaysian government is functioning properly. In 1992, decades after the independence, the government has not forgotten its commitment to total quality management as it released the circular entitled Guidelines on Total Quality Management (TQM) in the public service. It is through this that the need for organization-wide efforts to implement quality improvement had been addressed. Several key issues had been included in this particular circular that hopes to manage the employees effectively with the attempt to increase their commitment as one of them. These issues are the following, as mentioned by Abdul Karim (1995): (a) support and commitment of top management; (b) strategic quality planning; (c) customer focus; (d) training and recognition; (e) teamwork; (f) performance measurement; and (g) quality assurance.
The government also gave importance to attitude and behavioural changes of their employees to ensure that they remain committed to their organizations, perceived to be needed in increasing efficiency and productivity within the sector. As a result, Abdul Karim (1995) says, that the public sector has to be continuously injected with new values and work ethics in order to ensure greater public accountability, integrity and transparency for it is only through this that the individual behaviour of the employees shall also be influenced, thus increasing their commitment towards the organizations to which they belong to.
It is also because of the said positive relationship between work ethics and individual behaviour that the Malaysian government also launched the Excellence in the Civil Service Program as early as 1979 which established a code of ethics for the civil service. It contained seven principles on how to manage and guide personnel and employees effectively. In line with this, the guide also provided rules on how the different organizations should carry on with the implementation of these programs. Lastly, the government also came up with the system of rewards in order to recognize those that have performed excellently and rendered exemplary service to organizations within the public sector (Abdul Karim, 1995). Studies show that this is necessary to increase organizational commitment in the public sector for not all employers recognize the performance of their employees, much more equate these with proper compensation.
In 1982, the Look East Policy was then introduced by the Malaysian government, providing a new role model for performance and behaviour for employees in the public sector. It was patterned after the development of countries such as Japan and Korea who may experience scarcity with resources yet are role models with regard to work ethics and their high productivity. The government saw this to be very important since it was indeed so close to the cultural values of the Malaysians, that it would not be so hard for them to emulate such.
The government also launched the campaign for establishing a clean, efficient and trustworthy administration in 1982, the call for the inculcation of Islamic values in the administration in 1982 and the leadership by example in 1983. All these campaigns were perceived to be very important in increasing the commitment of employees to their organizations and at the same time, to render efficient public service to the constituents (Abdul Karim, 1995).
To further ensure that the strategies they implemented work properly, the government released the code of conduct for public service which aimed to uphold the integrity of the Malaysian Civil Service. They then emphasized on the importance of the maintaining the trust that the public has given the civil servants to encourage these ethical practices. Under this policy, the civil servants are required to show their loyalty to the king, the country and the government. As a result, the employees show higher levels of commitment to their organizations to which they belong to. It is then because of this that they are discouraged to put their personal interests before that of the public or use their positions as public servants for their own advantage. They are also encouraged to perform their tasks efficiently and honestly, to accept responsibilities, avoid negligence while they are on duty and follow the rules and regulations stipulated by their organizations, as stated by Abdul Karim (1995). In addition to the aforementioned, this code of conduct prohibits them from accepting gifts, presents and other offers of entertainment if the intention of the person giving the present is to seek a favour, Abdul Karim (1995) notes. They are also prohibited from seeking outside employment if this could eventually affect their performance in the organization to which they belong to. Finally, they also prohibited to reveal secret official information, or to engage in speculative trade (Abdul Karim, 1995).
Failure to comply with the rules stipulated in the Code of Conduct could subject one to disciplinary action as a public servant ranging from warnings to reprimands and termination of service.
Without a doubt, it is because of the aforementioned policies adopted by the Malaysian government that they were able to increase the levels of commitment that employees in the public sector have towards their organization. Being in a country that has a highly collectivist culture, the Malaysian government had an easier time to imbibe these values and other beliefs into the employees working for the organizations. In the same manner, the nature of their culture could also mean that the individual behaviour of the employees would be greatly influenced by the organizations and their supervisors.
2.7. Organizational Commitment in the Malaysian Ministries of Education and Health
This section of this literature review shall focus on organizational commitment in two very important departments of the Malaysian public sector: the Ministry of Health and the Ministry of Education. Considering the limited literature written with regard to commitment of employees within the Malaysian public sector and those organizations that fall outside the Western cultural setting, the researcher shall examine commitment in the Education and Health ministries based on the actions, strategies and policies adopted by the Malaysian government after their independence to ensure the competence and efficiency of their civil service. This portion of the literature review shall then analyze the actions of the Malaysian government to improve their civil service and how the health and education departments adheres to these, as mentioned in certain literature and other publications, made available by the World Wide Web.
Commitment in the public sector, as earlier established could be very different from that in the private sector considering the factors that may affect these especially since monetary rewards may or may not be present. However, one must take a closer look to the Malaysian government and the agencies under it for the unique strategies, policies and programs they have developed led to the establishment of a civil service that is devoted to the service of the public. To achieve these then, they had to formulate policies and other programs that would strengthen the commitment of the employees towards their organizations (Abdul Hamid, 1994).
The government of Malaysia, as earlier discussed gave importance to ethics and values instilled within the subconscious of the employees to ensure that they are committed to their organizations and that is also required to ensure that these organizations render the efficient service to the public and at the same time, for the improvement of their facilities, policies, services, etc. These changes have been applied ever since their independence to prove the competence of the government despite the absence of the colonial powers that once governed the country (Abdul Hamid, 1994). In the same manner, these changes had also been adopted to ensure that the civil servants would actively participate in transforming the country and assure its readiness for economic development.
The health and education departments of Malaysia is given priority for these are the agencies who provide the most important services to the citizens, services which are seen to be of vital importance to the development of the country through the production of capable and efficient workforce: education and health.
The Ministry of Education has two wings: academic and administrative, headed by the Director-General of Education and the Secretary-General. They are basically in charge of policy planning with the Educational Planning Committee being the most important body. This ministry is headed by the none other than the Minister of Education. This committee, together with the sub-committees formulates policies regarding curriculum, the preparation of text books, development, finance, higher education, scholarships and the training of teachers. Simply put, this ministry is not only concerned with giving education to their citizens but also assuring that the students are receiving an education that is modern and applicable to the changes of the society. In the same manner, they are also given the task to assure that education that institutions provide must make their citizens competent in whatever job they may take after graduation.
The researcher gives importance to this particular organization for without committed employees, the agency could not function properly, thus rendering inefficient services for their constituents and the general public. In the same manner, without these committed employees, the curriculum, preparation of textbooks and all other aspects of the Malaysian Educational System would cease to exist.
On the other hand, the Malaysian ministry of health is responsible for the formulation of policies and programs that would address the health concerns of the citizens, whether through prevention or cure of known diseases such as dengue, which is common in tropical countries. They also work towards the establishment of institutions that are efficient to provide the necessary services for the general public. In the same manner, they also continue to join hands with the private sector to help in addressing new problems with regard to health, such as those brought about by climate change. As a result, the ministry also gives importance to organizational commitment to ensure that their employees work towards the betterment of the services they provide to their citizens.
One of the problems being experienced by both ministries is the fact that less and less health care and education profession remain in the government service while institutions in the private service experience a brain drain as most of the competent employees search for greener pastures abroad in more developed countries. As a result, these ministries develop rewards systems and other incentives like allowances to ensure that the professionals remain in service of the public.
The Ministry of Health, like the Ministry of Education must also provide services that are appropriate for the needs of the modern times, not just provision of hospitals or other health care institutions (Abdul Hamid, 1994).
Being an essential part of the public sector of Malaysia, the ministries of education and health are managed with regard to the different policies and strategies applied by the government, as mentioned in the previous part of this particular literature review. The first of which is the establishment of quality control circles, a program which had been first launched in 1983. In this particular program, small groups which are made up of relevant personnel who are in charge of the identification, selection and analysis of problems within the department are established. These groups are then responsible for the suggestion of solutions to the members of the top management for further consideration and implementation. In the same manner, the so-called “Guidelines on Quality Control Circles” was established for members of the public sector to establish quality control circles as a mechanism to mobilize expertise, experience and employee creativity in solving problems which finally lead to quality improvement. In the same manner, local, regional and national conventions with regard to quality control circles are held annually which then produce benefits for the different organizations within the public sector of the Malaysian government. These include the following which greatly affects departments such as the health and education ministries: (1) reduced waiting time in hospitals; (2) reduced processing time for examination of tenders; (3) improvement in the facilitation of file movements; (4) improved services of local authorities; and finally, (5) the collection of additional arrears (Jaharuddin, n.d.).
Without a doubt, the aforementioned strategies of the Malaysian government significantly affect public service in a positive manner. This concurs with the research of Seok-Hwan (2004), as discussed earlier which said that governments must greatly focus on establishing commitment with the employees of their agencies for it is only through this that they lessen the pressure of ensuring that they make the most out of their limited resources to produce maximum input with the least input through the adoption of total quality management (TQM). Seok-Hwan (2004) and Vigoda (2000) then gives so much importance to these kinds of strategies for organizationally committed employees tend to render their best and efficient service to their constituents. In the same manner, government employees who have a negligent behaviour tend to be more vulnerable to corruption, thus failing to work hand in hand with their organizations to give the best service they could give to the public. It is because of this that the study of Vigoda (2000) also gives importance to the elimination of organizational politics which is seen to produce this negligent behaviour.
With regard to total quality management or TQM, it has earlier been mentioned that the Malaysian government came up with the Guidelines on total quality management in the public service in 1992. Being an essential part of this particular sector, the health and education departments also adhere to these guidelines. As it has been mentioned, this strategy included seven principles which when applied yields an efficient service for the public. This strategy also comes with the circular entitled Guidelines for quality improvement strategies in the public service” which then outlines seven quality programs to be implemented by the agencies belonging to the sector, the Health and Education departments being the two most important agencies: (1) a quality suggestion system; (2) quality processes; (3) quality inspection; (4) quality day; (5) quality slogan; (6) feedback on quality; and (7) quality information (Abdul Hamid, 1994).
It is in line with this that the Malaysian government also came up with the circular entitled “Guidelines on productivity improvement in the public service” which had been issued to assist the heads of the departments, the Health and Education ministries being examples (Chee, 1992). This circular gives importance to eight factors that organizations must focus on to attain higher productivity which could then lead to an increase in the commitment of the employees toward the agencies. The factors are the following: (1) workforce; (2) systems and procedures; (3) structure of the organization; (4) management style; (5) work environment; (6) technology; (7) materials; and (8) capital equipment (Chee, 1992).
As it has been discussed in the section of this literature review entitled “Outcomes of Organizational Commitment,” employees tend to be more productive when they are committed to their organizations (Jaharuddin, n.d.). However, in the Malaysian culture, productivity is an antecedent of organizational commitment and not a consequence. This may be attributed to the fact that the Western models and theories of organizational commitment could simply not be correlated in the study of Malaysian departments because of the fact that they are culturally different from one another, with the collectivist nature of Malaysia being one of the most important differences. Therefore, it is easier to apply organizational commitment theories in this country for they tend to show exemplary affiliation to their organizations and groups to which they belong to.
Another strategy incorporated by the Health and Education Departments of Malaysia to increase the organizational commitment of their employees is handing out rewards to those who have given exemplary service to their agencies. This program has been adopted as a response to the program launched by the government as early as 1979; the program called “Excellence in the Civil Service Program” which also established the code of ethics that employees and management team must abide to (Abdul Hamid, 1994; Chee, 1992).
The Health and Education departments, to ensure that their employees are also committed to the organizations abide by the Look East Policy of the government which was modelled after the systems of countries like Japan and Korea (Jaharuddin, n.d.). The departments, just like the other agencies in the Public Sector of Malaysia also adopts the Leadership by Example strategy introduced by the government in 1983 which gave importance to Islamic Values that should be maintained in the administration. The employees show their customers these values in dealing with them and at the same time, in the management of public resources (i.e. health care and educational facilities). With regard to Leadership by Example, the employees of the two organizations also make use of the punch clock system and name tags in order to instil discipline and nurture a sense of pride and responsibility. It must be remembered that these strategies are applicable not only to the health and education ministries of Malaysia but all agencies belonging to the public sector of this particular country (Chee, 1992).
In most countries where government services are not that efficient, one can note a very significant difference between the services provided by the government-operated schools and hospitals or other health care institutions and those which are operated by the private sector. One could also see the difference in the salaries in the wages of the teachers, doctors, health care professionals, etc. working in government institutions and those employed by private ones. This then tend to decrease the organizational commitment of the employees within the public sector as they set off for stable jobs which could provide higher wages in the private sector institutions. However, with the reforms adopted by Malaysia to ensure that their public sector is competent enough, this is not the case. For they recognize how important it is for their employees to be committed to the organizations to render efficient public service to their constituents.
Both the health and education departments of the Malaysian ministries also deal with the brain drain happening in the private sector as most of the professionals employed in this sector tend to leave for other countries in search for greener pastures (Shaffie & Sta. Maria, 2004).
Being aware of the aforementioned conditions, the country introduced in 1983, the Malaysia Incorporated Policy which encouraged employees to treat the whole country as a company or a corporate nation where both the public and private sectors holding equity. Both sectors then hold important positions which are essential tot eh economic development of the country. It is in line with this that the members of the private sector, with the Education and Health Ministries developed consultative panels with the private sector. As a result, the traditional attitudes that the public sector has towards the private sector are eliminated. In the same manner, bureaucratic procedures and regulations are re-examined in order to encourage commitment within the public sector (Shaffie & Sta. Maria, 2004).
As it has also been mentioned in the previous part of this chapter, the Code of Conduct for Public Servants also increases the commitment that employees of the health and education departments have toward their agencies. This is true for all departments and agencies within the public sector for the government required them to uphold the integrity of the civil service of their country, to maintain the trust that their citizens, their constituents has given them and at the same time, incorporate the positive values that have been instilled to them for the efficient service. They are also required to remain loyal to their king, the government and the country, adopting the values upheld by them and the goals that these envision.
The aforementioned concept discussed concurs with the findings that have been earlier mentioned in the analysis of commitment in the public sector. It has been said that one of the possible factors that influence organizational commitment is the goals that employees have. Researchers mention that when the personal goals of the employees align with that of the organization, then there is a higher tendency for the former to be committed to their employers. This then one of the reasons why researchers such as Seok-Hwan (2004) tend to perceive that organizational commitment in the public sector may be lower as compared with the public sector. This is because of the fact that several of the researches mentioned by the said author (i.e. Dahl and Lindblom, 1953; Gortner, Nahler and Nicholson, 1987; Lan and Rainey, 1992; Boyatzis, 1982), said that private sectors employees are higher on goal clarity than their counterparts in the public sector. Nonetheless, Seok-Hwan still recognizes the fact that there are also other researchers who claim the opposite, reporting that public managers have clearer organizational goals and at the same time, are more efficient in achieving the goals that they laid out for their organizations (Shaffie & Sta. Maria, 2004).
Under this particular conduct, all employees must not accept gifts, presents or whatever forms that can be mistaken as bribery especially when the person offering these is asking an employee a favour. In the same manner, they must be loyal to organizations, promising not to reveal any information which only members of the departments must be knowledgeable of.
The departments of the Malaysian public sector also give importance to behavioural changes through training. They focus on the total training approach to give importance to aspects of motivation and attitude besides the regular components of knowledge and skill Abdul Karim (1995) notes. For all levels of officers, seminars and workshops on these values and ethics are held regularly. With regard to training, the Malaysian education not only focuses on the people within their organizations but also to the teachers and other members of educational institutions, whether public or private. These teachers and other professionals are required to receive training at the Aminuddin Baki Institute functions under the ministry of education (Perry & Singh, 2001).
Evidently, the Malaysian government takes use of its collectivist nature to ensure that all organizations under it concur with its vision. In the same manner, it was also through this that they were able to come up with strategies and allowed them to implement even at the level of the employees. It is then because of this that the discussion of the two ministries and organizational commitment has been patterned after the steps, policies, programs and strategies that the Malaysian government introduced (Perry & Singh, 2001).
The purpose of this literature review was to analyze the different researches made on organizational commitment, the factors (i.e. age, marital status, gender, race, experience, education, job satisfaction, employee communication and leadership style) that play a very important role in increasing the loyalty of the employees to their organization. In the same manner, the outcomes of organizational commitment was also analyzed such as one’s intention to leave, absenteeism, productivity, labour turnover, medical leave and burnout or what is more commonly known as work-related stress. Empirical studies made on organizational commitment were also analyzed looking into how culture has become one of the most important aspects of the study in this particular subject area. Considering the fact that much research has been conducted in correlating organizational commitment and the private sector, the researcher gives importance to the analysis of the said issue in the public sector for this is a matter of great importance as not much research has been conducted with regard to this topic. At the same time, the researcher also considers this to be very important as the study will deal with the Malaysian departments of Health and Education. It is because of this that the analysis of the possible influences in the Malaysian government and how it affects the commitment of employees to their organizations. Finally, organizational commitment in the health and education departments of the Malaysian government would also be analyzed and how this affects the services that they provide their constituents (Perry & Singh, 2001).
True enough, researches have not come up with a single and accurate definition of the concept of organizational commitment. As seen in the different researches presented in this study, the way by which this particular concept is designed differs from one research to another. It is then because of this that many definitions are coming out in the different literature written with regard to the same topic. Nonetheless, the central point of these definitions focuses on the concept that organizational commitment can be both an attitude and a behaviour that one employee has that greatly affects their performance in a particular organization. At the same time, a significant theme emerges from the definitions although they are very different from each other. Generally, it is discovered that these definitions all present organizational commitment as a state which often characterizes the relationship of an employee with the organization to which they belong to.
Researchers such as Salami (2008) reveals that there are many ways by which organizational commitment affects employees and at the same time, there are also many factors which affect the development of this kind of commitment. These are the following: age, marital status, gender, race, experience, education, job satisfaction, employee communication and leadership style. However, these variables are said to affect one’s commitment to an organization in different ways.
The effects of these variables however should be analyzed based on how they could affect the presence of other employment alternatives for the members of the organization. An example of this relationship is that with age, researchers of organizational commitment view older employees as the workers exhibiting higher levels of organizational commitment for they are no longer given other employment alternatives. As a result, they stick with the companies to which they are already employed at. Aside from age, marital status is also seen to be of vital importance since the duty one has to her family requires financial support. Because of this, married employees are seen to be more committed with their organizations when compared with their single counterparts.
Gender was another factor that was analyzed in this literature review. In many studies, women showed higher levels of commitment when compared to the men. However, this correlation varies from one researcher to another because of the fact that culture plays a very important role. This is because women in other cultures who are not presented with other employment alternatives tend to be more committed to their organizations. Aside from the aforementioned, race also plays an important role in increasing or decreasing the commitment of an employee towards a certain organization. Apparently, race has nothing to do with this yet a perceived discrimination influences organizational commitment so much.
Experience and educational attainment are also very important to the levels of commitment one has towards his or her organization for this increases their capacity and knowledge about how businesses operate and at the same time, thus gaining seniority. Finally, one must also give importance to communication strategies and leadership styles to ensure that employees are properly motivated for the aforementioned factors would contribute so much in making the employees feel that they are indeed a part of the organization, thus increasing their commitment towards the latter.
The perceived outcomes of organizational commitment are also very important since it would present the importance of the said issue for most businesses. Intention to leave and organizational commitment is said to be positively correlated with each other for employees who are committed to their organizations tend to have a lower degree of intention to leave. In the same manner, it is also seen to decrease an employee’s failure to attend his or her job.
Organizational commitment also increases one’s productivity for employees tend to recognize the goals of the company thus work and contribute in order to achieve these. It also decreases the rate of labour turnovers for a certain organization since the employees are encouraged to work for the business or company to which they are loyal at. Through this, the employers need not worry about the number of employees leaving their businesses.
Medical leave is another outcome of organizational commitment as employees with a high level of loyalty tend to report back to their jobs as soon as they recovered from their sicknesses, operation or as soon as female workers give birth to their children. This is also true for work related stress for it negatively affects one’s productivity. However, with a high level of organizational commitment, employees tend to work hand in hand with HRM managers to ensure that the levels of work related stress are decreased at some point.
The study also included an examination of the past researches made with regard to organizational commitment. These researches all give importance to the development of cross-cultural studies so as to ensure that the analysis of organizational commitment, its antecedents and outcomes would be analyzed based on models that had been developed in a culture different from that of the United States or other western country for that matter.
The researcher also gave importance to the examination of organizational commitment in the public sector because of the fact that not much research has been developed that would look into this. As a result, much research has been focused only on organizations in the private sector. The analysis of the former should be very well considered because of the fact that commitment is important for these organizations as this could have a great effect on the public services that they offer especially since monetary rewards are not present in this type of institutes.
It is also in line with this that the analysis of the Malaysian government’s efforts toward increasing organizational commitment to improve public service has been made. Apparently, they incorporated a series of policies, programs and strategies all aimed towards the employees in the public sector to ensure that they remain committed, motivated and productive. These strategies also allowed the government to instil in these employees ethical values and attitudes that employees in countries such as Japan and Korea have thus contributing to their high productivity they exhibit. It is also with regard to this that the country made use of their unique culture background to transcend their goals and values, affecting every single employee within every single organization.
The health and education departments, given the significant role they play in making sure that their citizens are competent, being properly educated and healthy are also affected by these strategies, having complied with the rules promulgated by the government. Through this, the government services within Malaysia is without a doubt very efficient despite the fact that it also faces problems such as brain drain and the difficulty to retain workers in the public sector through the introduction of rewards and other forms of incentives.
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