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Organisational commitment of professional employees: measurement and interaction effects

By Stephen Swailes


This thesis presents an exploratory study into the nature of organisational commitment among professional employees. This thesis argues that the classic definition of commitment (Mowday, Porter and Steers, 1982) has been superseded by a reshaped psychological contract that affects the employment relationship in post-industrial society.\ud \ud Following exploratory, qualitative research organisational commitment was conceptualised as a multi-dimensional construct involving the congruence of individual and organisational goals, effort directed at goal achievement and innovation in the work place. A Behavioural\ud Commitment Scale was developed and construct validity was examined through a cross sectional, quantitative survey of 329 pharmaceutical chemists, 166 public sector accountants and 138 private sector accountants.\ud \ud Social exchange theory is used to contextualise a study of how behavioural commitment is related to professionalism, perceived organisational support and social exchange disposition. Confirmatory factor analysis supported the three-dimensional structure of the Behavioural Commitment Scale. Multiple moderated regression revealed that the influence of situational variables upon interaction effects was greater than the nature of the profession. Union membership, low tenure, and prior involuntary job change all influenced positive interactions between perceived support and exchange. Professionalism moderated the effect of social exchange on commitment. Feelings of inability to leave the organisation and job insecurity in the late career stage both interact negatively with professionalism to have detrimental affects upon behavioural commitment.\ud \ud The implications for human resource management include: recognition of the influence that competing commitments have upon employees and the potential for judicious use of support; and, maintaining commitment in climates of job insecurity and job immobility.\ud Suggestions for further research are given

Publisher: University of Leicester
Year: 1999
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