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The following article
was written by Coleman Patterson and
appeared in the Business section of the Abilene Reporter-News.
Commitment is a
multiple-layered variable at work, February, 3, 2008, 6D.
As social beings,
humans form bonds and relationships with many types of people and for many different
reasons. Some relationships are based on
family bonds, some are based on love and emotions, and others form for mutual benefit and
safety. Interpersonal relationships can be
long-term or short-term and can be deep or superficial.
At different times and stages in life, the strength, reasons behind, and
nature of relationships between people can change. The
choice of whether to remain in an interpersonal relationship is determined in large part
by the degree of commitment to the other person and the relationship.
online dictionary defines commitment as the state or an
instance of being obligated or emotionally impelled. In this definition, commitment is identified as a
multi-dimensional concept. Being
obligated and being emotionally impelled are two different reasons
for remaining in an interpersonal relationship. However,
most interpersonal relationships probably involve both of those dimensions.
Humans spend much
of their lives working and living in groups. And
as with interpersonal relationships, there are many different reasons why people join and
remain in groups (e.g., family, love and emotions, mutual benefit and safety, etc.) and
the relationships that members have with their groups can be long- or short-term, can be
deep or superficial, and can change over time. The
concepts of commitment to a group or organization are similar in many ways to commitment
to an interpersonal relationshipincluding the multi-dimensional nature of the
Meyer and Natalie Allen defined organizational commitment as a psychological state
characterizing an employees relationship with the organization and affecting his or
her decision to remain with the organization. They
identified three types of organizational commitment: affective, continuance, and normative
commitment is rooted in a members emotional attachment to an organization. It forms because the individual identifies with
the goals of the organization and willingly assists the organization in achieving those
goals. Continuance commitment is based in the
real and perceived costs and benefits of leaving or remaining with an organization. I am getting paid too much to leave or
Where else will I be able to have the benefits that I have with this company?
are statements that demonstrate continuance commitment.
Lost friendships and social interaction are social costs of leaving an
organizationand contribute to continuance commitment.
Normative commitment refers to a perceived sense of obligation or loyalty. Feeling that you owe the company
something in return for what it has done for you or sensing that you have moral obligation
to remain with the organization characterize this form of commitment. Affective, continuance, and normative commitments
refer to want to, have to, and ought to orientations
toward organizational membership.
and Allen suggested that all three types of commitment operate on organizational members
simultaneously. An employee can be committed
to an organization in affective, continuance, and normative senses at the same
timeand those levels can change over time. Understanding
these concepts is key to developing deep, long-term, and positive relationships with
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