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Building Organizational Commitment: The Socialization of Managers in Work Organizations

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Based on a questionnaire survey of 279 business and government managers, this study sheds light on two questions: (a) which organizational experiences have the greatest impact on managers' organizational commitment attitudes and (b) how does the significance of such experience vary with organizational tenure, particularly at early career stages? The results identify several commitment-relevant experiences and suggest that the influence potential of particular experiences varies significantly with tenure.
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Building Organizational Commitment: The Socialization of Managers in Work Organizations
Author(s): Bruce Buchanan II
Source:
Administrative Science Quarterly,
Vol. 19, No. 4 (Dec., 1974), pp. 533-546
Published by: on behalf of the Sage Publications, Inc. Johnson Graduate School of Management,
Cornell University
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Building Organiza-
tional Commitment:
The Socialization of
Managers in Work
Organizations
Bruce Buchanan 11
Based on a questionnaire survey of 279 business and govern-
ment managers, this study sheds light on two questions:
(a) which organizational experiences have the greatest impact
on managers' organizational commitment attitudes and (b)
how does the significance of such experience vary with
organizational tenure, particularly
at early career stages? The
results identify several commitment-relevant experiences and
suggest that the influence potential of particular
experiences
varies significantly with tenure.
There has been increasing interest among scholars in the
concept of commitment and in empirical assessments of its
causes in a variety of organizational settings. Most numerous
have been studies of the commitment of such professionals as
scientists, nurses, and teachers to their employing organiza-
tions (Sheldon, 1 971; Lee, 1 971; Hrebiniak
and Alutto,
1
973). Other studies have explored the roots of commitment
to utopian communities (Kantor, 1 968: 1
972) and of em-
ployees to large public bureaucracies (Patchen, 1 970; Brown,
1
969).
Scant attention has been paid in the literature
to the commit-
ment of managers or to the organizational processes by
which commitment is inculcated.
The present research is concerned with identifying the kinds
of organizational experiences which have the effect of stimu-
lating commitment among the people who manage large
government and industrial organizations.
What is commitment? There is little consensus concerning
the definition of the concept or its measurement. Lyman
Porter (1 968), for example, saw it as the willingness of an
employee to exert high levels of effort on behalf of the
organization, a strong desire to stay with the organization,
and an acceptance of its major goals and values. Sheldon
(1 971 ) viewed it as positive evaluation of the organization
and the intention to work toward its goals. Kantor (1 968)
defined it as the willingness of social actors to give energy
and loyalty to the organization. Hrebiniak
and Allutto (1 973)
considered it the unwillingness to leave the organization for
increments in pay, status, or professional freedom or for
greater colleagueal friendship. Lee (1 971 ) defined a related
concept, organizational identification, as 'some degree of
belongingness or loyalty." Most of these scholars conceived
of commitment as involving some form of psychological bond
between people and organizations, although there is little
consensus as to a useful operational index of the concept.
The concept employed in this study resembles those surveyed.
Commitment is viewed as a partisan, affective attachment to
the goals and values of an 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. Method-
ologically, commitment consists of three components, each
of which is measured with an independent series of question-
naire items (see Table 1). These are (a) identification-adop-
tion as one's own the goals and values of the organization,
(b) involvement-psychological immersion or absorption in
the activities of one's work role, and (c) loyalty-a feeling of
affection for and attachment to the organization.
The commitment of managers is essential for the survival and
effectiveness of large work organizations because the funda-
mental responsibility of management is to maintain the
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organization in a state of health necessary to carry on its
work. Effective management thus presupposes a proprietary
concern, a sense of responsibility for and dedication to sus-
taining the well-being of the organization. In the absence of
ownership as a motive for such concern, modern organiza-
tions have of necessity turned to the deliberate creation and
protection of committed elites (Selznick, 1 957; Perrow,
1 972).
Though few scholars have concerned themselves with de-
scribing or outlining the totality of the process by which
committed managers are molded, insights can be gained
from empirically oriented studies of commitment which seek
to identify its correlates in organizational settings, Sheldon
(1 971), for example, found that commitment was related to
social involvement with colleagues and to such personal
investments as length of organizational service, age, and
hierarchical position. Lee (1 971 ) found that organizational
identification was determined in part by a sense of work
accomplishment, relations with supervisors, and length of
organizational service. In her analysis of utopian communities,
Kantor (1 968) argued that different aspects of commitment
are elicited by different behavioral requirements imposed on
community members. Thus, continuance commitment, defined
as member dedication to system survival, was stimulated by
requiring personal investments and sacrifices of members,
such that it was costly and difficult for them to leave. Co-
hesion commitment, defined as member attachment to the
social relationships which comprise the community, was
secured by such techniques as verbal public renunciation of
previous social ties and engaging in ceremonies which en-
hanced the sense of group cohesion and belonging. Control
commitment, conceived as attachment to norms which shape
behavior in desired directions, was encouraged by requiring
members to publicly disavow previous norms and to re-
formulate their self-conceptions in terms of system values.
Brown (1 969) discovered that individuals in his sample
tended to identify with the organization in three situations:
when they saw the organization as providing opportunities
for personal achievement, when they had power within the
organization, and when there were no competing objects of
identification. Hrebiniak and Alutto (1 973) found that the
best predictors of commitment for their sample were role
tension, years of organizational service, and dissatisfaction
with the bases of organizational advancement.
Common themes emerge from these studies. Three authors
identify years of service to the organization and social inter-
action with peers or superiors in the workplace as commit-
ment-relevant experiences. Two identify job achievement
and hierarchical advancement as factors likely to enhance
commitment.
SOCIALIZATION OF MANAGERS
While the literature contains many clues to the nature of
commitment-relevant experience, it is virtually silent on the
question of the relative importance of particular experiences
for influencing commitment and of how these experiences
may vary in importance with time. If, as Hall and Nougaim
(1 968) found, the relative importance and intensity of par-
ticular needs change during the first five years of the mana-
gerial career, it is reasonable to expect that the relative impact
of the experiences which stimulate commitment by gratifying
needs may change as well.
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Organizational Commitment
To test this, a scenario was constructed from a synthesis of
the social influence and organizational socialization literature.
Commitment-relevant experience is defined at each of three
stages of managerial tenure. Stage one is the first year of
organizational membership. Stages two and three correspond
to years two through four and years five and beyond, re-
spectively. The stages correspond in part to the career stage
formulations of Schein (1 971 a) and Hall and Nougaim (1 968).
It is more appropriate, however, to view the present stages
as influence susceptibility stages, rather than career stages.
The two overlap in the sense that the career stages suggest
the experiences likely to influence managers at given career
points. Influence susceptibility stages, however, are skewed
toward the early career years in keeping with the focus of
this study on the inculcation of commitment, as contrasted
with its maintenance at labor career stages. It is during the
early career years that susceptibility to influence is greatest
and attitudes toward the organization will be shaped.
Brown (1 963) spoke of a law of primacy which holds that
the earlier an experience, the more potent its effect, since it
influences how later experiences will be interpreted. Many
scholars have noted the special malleability of people in the
early stages of organizational membership. Parsons (1 951 )
talked of plasticity, Katz (1 967) of role-readiness, and Brim
(1 968) of a special motivation to conform during this period.
Presumably this unique malleability is at its peak during the
first few years and may diminish rapidly thereafter. Special
susceptibility to influence, coupled with the fact that new
managers are tabula rasa insofar as the organization is con-
cerned, suggest that enduring attitudes toward the organiza-
tion are formed during this period. For present purposes, the
assumption was made that by the fifth year, organizational
attitudes will have reached a mature stage of nongrowth,
even though their intensity remains subject to influence and
fluctuation. Thus, stage three is the outcome stage in the
sense that the organization's influence attempts will by then
be directed at maintaining or changing existing attitudes
rather than implanting new ones.
THE FIRST YEAR
The first year is a period during which management recruits
undergo what Schein (1 971 a) has termed the basic training
and initiation stages. From the standpoint of organizational
influence, this year is probably the most critical in the mana-
gerial career (Caldwell, 1
962; Berlew and Hall, 1
966). Most
who find themselves in the early stages of management
development programs in large organizations are young
persons who have recently decided on management careers
and who are questioning whether the reality of that career
is congruent with their inner sense of self. Hall and Nougaim
(1 968) contended that the primary
concern of those at this
career stage is safety: getting established with and accepted
by the organization. Certainly such people are intensely
anxious to prove themselves by showing that they can learn
and adjust to the demands of the new environment (Wheeler,
1
966; Becker and Carper,
1
956).
This general state of mind suggests the kind of experience
likely to shape attitudes toward the organization. Initially,
the most influential are experiences which attune the recruit
to what is expected of him (Berlew and Hall, 1
966). His
mild anxiety over his ability to live up to expectations acti-
vates the affiliative tendency and prompts him to identify
and attach himself to significant others who can furnish
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guidance and reassurance (Schacter, 1959). The creation of
this initial reference group is a profoundly important ex-
perience. By gratifying first needs for guidance and reassur-
ance and ultimately for respect and affection, such groups
probably exert a lasting influence over individual attitudes
toward the organization (Thibaut and Kelley, 1
959; Asch,
1951; Etzioni, 1961). Moreover, interaction with veteran
managers is the principal means by which recruits absorb
the subtleties of organizational culture and climate (Schein,
1 971 b).
Next most influential are experiences which enable the recruit
to test his expectations of organizational life. This pertains
to vague, unspecific anticipations as well as to such concrete
issues as job content or perquisites. Research has shown that
when expectations of organizational life are exceeded, the
likelihood of commitment is enhanced (Grusky, 1 966). Pre-
sumably a significant negative discrepancy between expecta-
tions and reality, termed reality shock, would undermine the
long-run prospects for commitment.
Of considerable importance among the specific experiences
is the quality of the initial work assignment. The reason is
that an individual's job is the main tangible manifestation of
the organizational goals with which he is encouraged to
identify. It will thus figure heavily in personal judgments
about the adequacy of the organization as an identity object.
If it is challenging and stimulating, such that it bolsters the
self-image and gratifies the achievement needs of the indi-
vidual, it will affect the commitment attitude positively. If,
on the other hand, the job seems trivial or unimportant to
the organization, the opposite effect can be expected.
A final category of experience is likely to be specially im-
portant to first-year managers. The category might be termed
loyalty conflicts. Its significance stems from the fact that
many recruits are torn between learning and surrender to the
new environment on the one hand and suspicion and mis-
trust of it on the other. Thus, an early concern of many will
be to sense whether the organization is trying to dominate
them, and subvert their individuality through a substitution
of organizational for personal values. Research has consis-
tently demonstrated that challenges to, or attempts to change,
ego-related attitudes will encounter defensiveness, resistance,
and even solidification of the threatened attitude (Ostrom
and Brock, 1
968; Katz, Sarnoff, and McClintock, 1
956;
Sarnoff and Katz, 1
954; House, 1
967). To the extent that
recruits feel threatened or compromised, commitment will
probably be undermined.
THE SECOND THROUGH FOURTH YEAR
Stage two might be termed the performance stage. For
Nougaim and Hall (1 968), it was signaled by a shift in em-
phasis from safety and security to a concern with achieve-
ment, the making of a mark. For Schein (1 971 a), the stage
began with the transfer of the individual to an assignment
that embodies his first genuine responsibilities. The desire
for achievement and for the recognition that goes with it
suggests the experiences most likely to influence commitment
during this intermediate stage. Most influential will be those
that reinforce the fledgling manager's sense that he is making
a real contribution, carrying his own weight. This class of
experience is labeled personal significance reinforcement or
personal importance. Managers who believe themselves to be
making significant contributions and who sense that their
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Organizational Commitment
contributions are appreciated are likely to develop commit-
ment. Such reinforcement might result either from the indi-
vidual's observation that his efforts have some direct or in-
direct impact on the success of the organization or it may
result from the assurances of significant others. Salary in-
creases, greater perquisites, casual remarks, promotions, and
social invitation all illustrate the disparate things which can
signal increasing organizational stature.
Another characteristic of managers in the middle of the
second stage, particularly
before achieving significant ac-
complishments, will be uncertainty regarding the suitability
of the career choice. Thus, experiences which reinforce the
occupational self-image may well contribute to the growth
of organizational commitment. These might include interaction
with a supportive peer group which anchors favorable atti-
tudes toward the organization or reassurances from superiors.
Romanticization of the organization and its aims might also
bolster identification and assuage self-doubt. Such experiences
are called self-image reinforcement in the scale titles below.
Another potentially influential experience is fear of failure.
Moore (1 968) held the possibility of failure to be character-
istic of most professional occupations. A sense of the possi-
bility of failure could certainly keep alive a keen interest in
one's evaluated activities. Such a fear might reinforce com-
mitment by sharpening the appreciation for success when it
occurs.
It can also be anticipated that stage two managers will be
sensitive to expectations for organizational commitment. If
they perceive that loyalty is expected of successful managers
in their organizations, they will be motivated to adopt such
an attitude (Berlew and Hall, 1966). Organizations vary in
the degree to which they encourage commitment norms
among their managers, but those who expect commitment
seem more likely to get it (SeIznick, 1957).
Stage two clearly illustrates the partial
distinction drawn
between a career stage and an influence susceptibility stage.
Even though the experiences likely to exploit the malleability
of intermediate managers were suggested in part by the
career stage descriptions of Schein (1 971 a) and Hall and
Nougaim (1 968), the time span suggested by the latter
authors--from one to eight years-considerably exceeds the
likely duration of the special susceptibility to influence which
characterizes most persons in the early years of organizational
membership.
THE FIFTH YEAR AND BEYOND
For research purposes, the fifth anniversary of organizational
membership was designated as the beginning of the outcome
stage of socialization. The rationale was that by this time
organizational attitudes would have passed from a formative
to a mature stage. Fundamental personal decisions about the
adequacy of the organizations would have been made and
solidified and the organization would have assumed a rela-
tively enduring place in the psychic economy of the indi-
vidual. This is not to suggest that the commitment attitude
cannot be influenced beyond this time. The implication is
simply that organizational efforts to influence managers must
now involve the maintenance or alteration of existing atti-
tudes rather than the molding of new attitudes.
The third stage encompasses most of the career years and it
is thus difficult to predict the experiences most likely to sus-
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tain commitment throughout this period. In addition, the
later career years seem to unfold along much less predictable
lines than the formative years and the possibilities are more
numerous. Presthus (1 962), for example, posited three modal
patterns of personal adjustment to the organization -among
senior managers. Downs (1 967) suggested five ideal types of
motive configurations among bureaucratic officials. It is
reasonable to expect that managers with different modal
orientations will be influenced by different qualities and in-
tensities of experience. To cope with these potential differ-
ences, the relevant stage three experience was conceived in
broad terms.
The prediction was made that the most influential would be
those experiences which confirmed the important expectations
of senior managers. Conversely, experiences which disrupted
the stable flow of expected inducements from the organization
to the individual could be expected to undermine commit-
ment. This category of experience was labeled organizational
dependability. Specific examples would include all of the
Table 1
Summary of Predictions
Experience
Stage 1
Role clarity
Peer group cohesion
Group attitudes toward organization
Expectations realization
Reality shock
First-year job challenge
Loyalty conflicts
Stage 2
Personal importance
Self-image reinforcement
Fear of failure
Organizational commitment norms
Work commitment norms
Stage 3
Organizational dependability
things which over the years had reinforced the steady growth
of commitment: interesting work, signals of personal im-
portance, rewarding colleague relationships, and the like.
Table 1 summarizes the experience predictions for each of
the three stages.
METHODOLOGY
Measurement Issues
Organizational commitment and socialization experiences
were measured with a combination of previously used and
specially constructed questionnaire scales. The commitment
scale is a combination of the Hall, Schneider, and Nygren
(1 970) organizational identification scale, the Lodahl and
Kejner
(1 965) job involvement scale, and a specially con-
structed index of organizational loyalty. This and other
specially constructed scales employed in this study were
constructed along a priori
lines. Table 2 displays sample
items for each scale and Table 1 contains the scale inter-
correlations. The alpha coefficient for each scale (Table 2)
is greater than its Pearson r with either of the other scales
(Table 3). This lends a measure of empirical weight to the
conceptual distinctions drawn between identification, involve-
ment, and loyalty. The relatively high interscale correlations
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Organizational Commitment
Table 2
Three-part Commitment Scale Sample Items and Reliability
Estimates
Cronbach's
Sample items alpha
Organizational
Identification
Scale, 6 items .862
I feel a sense of pride
in working for this organization.
I really
feel as if this organization's
problems
are my problems.
Job involvement
scale, 6 items .837
The most important
things that happen to me involve my work.
I live, eat, and breathe
my job.
Organizational
loyalty
scale .915
I have warm feelings toward this organization
as a place to
live and work.
I would be quite willing to spend the rest of my career with
this organization.
Combined
scale reliability
estimate .944
N=279
(Table 3), however, suggest the feasibility of collapsing the
three component scales into a single commitment scale,
designated as the dependent variable in the multiple re-
gressions reported in Tables 5 and 6. Subjects responded to
Table 3
Commitment Component Scale Intercorrelations
ID INV LOY
ID .65 .74
INV .58
LOY
N=279
ID=organizational
identification
scale
INV==job involvement
scale
LOY=organizational
loyalty
scale
all questionnaire items by expressing the extent of their
agreement on a one to seven scale, with seven indicating
strong agreement.
All measures of experience were constructed especially for
this study. Items were worded to determine whether the sub-
ject perceived himself to have undergone a particular
class of
experience, rather
than being affected by a specific, substan-
tive event. In the case of the personal importance scale, for
example, subjects indicated the general extent to which their
experience made them feel important
to the organization.
They were not asked about specific events which may have
given rise to such feelings. Thus, each scale was designed to
elicit a perceptual summary of a certain class of experience.
Thirteen experience scales were constructed, each containing
four or five items. These are labeled below, along with one-
sentence characterizations of the substance of each scale.
Cronbach's alpha estimates of reliability
appear in parentheses
beside each scale title.
(11) Role clarity (.794). Has the organization
made it clear
to me what
I am expected to do?
(2) Peer group cohesion1 (.800). Are the people with whom I work
friendly
and close-knit or aloof and distant?
(3) Group
attitudes
toward organization
(.909). Do the people I work
with express mostly positive or mostly negative attitudes
toward
the organization?
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1
Stage two and three managers received
two versions of the group scale in this and
the following scale. One tapped first-year
experience, the other current experience.
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(4) Expectations
realization
(.823). Have I found what I expected to
find since coming to work for this organization?
(5) Reality shock (.796). Am I disappointed
as a result
of the contrast
between what I expected and what I found?
(6) First-year
job challenge (.927). Was the work I was given to do
during
my first
year challenging and interesting
or routine
and dull?
(7) Loyalty
conflicts (.797). Has the organization
tried
to influence me
to adopt values or practices I find personally
repugnant?
(8) Personal
importance
(.881). Is it generally
accepted by those who
matter
that my work is important to the organization?
(9) Self-image reinforcement
(.846). Do people accept me for what I
am here? Do I feel free to be myself?
(10) Fear
of failure (.540). How often am I reminded
that my job and
chances for promotion
depend on how well I perform?
(1 1
) Organizational
commitment
norms (.734). Are managers
like myself
expected to be personally
committed
to this organization?
(12) Work
commitment
norms (.688). Are managers
like myself expected
to have a strong personal
commitment
to the work they do?
(13) Organizational
dependability
(.897). Has this organization
always
done the things it said it would do for me?
Table 4 contains interscale correlations for the 1 3 experience
scales.
Table 4
Experience Scale Intercorrelations
Group First- Organi-
Peer attitudes Expecta- year Per- Self- zational Work Organi-
group toward tions job Loyalty sonal image Fear commit- commit- zational
Role Co- organi- Realiza- Reality chal- con- impor- reinforce- of ment ment dependa-
clarity hesion zation tion shock lenge flicts tance ment failure norms norms bility
Role clarity .38 .32 .53 .53 .41 .38 .38 .32 .1
8 .23 .32 .43
Peer group cohesion .52 .78 .45 .1 3 .30 .54 .58 .39 .46 .49 .54
Group attitudes
toward organization .57 .56 .23 .35 .78 .63 .42 .37 .59 .72
Expectations
realization .78 .60 .51 .41 .40 .26 .28 .28 .52
Reality shock .58 .57 .41 .42 .23 .27 .33 .42
First-year job
challenge .38 .32 .21 .18 .23 .27 .23
Loyalty conflicts .40 .46 .32 .11 .25 .43
Personal importance .65 .35 .45 .69 .70
Self-image
reinforcement .58 .34 .52 .75
Fear of failure .02 .1
8 .49
Organizational com-
mitment norms .71 .30
Work commitment
norms .52
Organizational
dependability
N =279.
Of the 78 correlation coefficients, only 24, or roughly one-
third, are .50 or higher. Thus, in more than two-thirds of the
cases, intrascale reliability
estimates (Cronbach's alpha) are
of greater magnitude than the interscale Pearson correlations.
This suggests at least a tolerable level of discriminant validity
between these experience scales. Such a claim is bolstered
by the fact that a number of these scales-for example,
expectations realization and reality shock or expectations
realization and first-year job challenge-would be expected
to be highly correlated on the basis of their substantive
content. Moreover, the strength of these interscale correla-
tions is at least in part a result of common method variance.
The latter is a predictable consequence of a lengthy ques-
tionnaire instrument where most of the scales employ common
response formats, as was the case in this study.
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Organizational Commitment
SITES, SUBJECTS, AND DESIGN
Eight organizations participated in the study. Five were
domestic agencies of the federal government, located in
Washington, D.C. Three were Fortune 500 manufacturing
concerns located in the northeastern United States.2 All are
among the largest bureaucratic work organizations in American
society and were chosen to typify such organizations.
Access was arranged through personnel officers in the
organizations. Each organization listed its managers in groups
corresponding to the three tenure categories. Only those
managers whose total years of service were with the organi-
zation that currently employed them were listed. Managers
were randomly selected from these lists and invited to partici-
pate in the study. In three of the eight cases, the inclusion
criteria reduced the numbers to the point where all managers
listed were invited to participate. In both the public and the
private organizations, a manager was a person to whom one
or more others reported and who personnel officers certified
was slated for or possessed significant administrative respon-
sibility. In the public agencies, all subjects had GS-7 ratings
or higher.
The research objectives dictated a cross-sectional design.
Five hundred questionnaires were distributed and 279 were
returned, for a response rate of slightly under 56 percent.
Questionnaires were completed privately and returned directly
to the researcher by mail. Sixty-six respondents were first-
year managers, 71 were in years two through four, and 142
were in years five and beyond.
RESULTS
The results are considered in the light of two basic questions.
First, are the 1 3 experiences among those with the greatest
capacity to stimulate the commitment attitude? Second, are
the predictions concerning the importance of particular ex-
periences in each of the three tenure stages borne out by
the data?
Table 5 presents the results of a multiple regression in which
the commitment scale was designated as the dependent
variable and the 1 3 experience scales the independent vari-
ables. The experiences entered the regression equation com-
petitively, according to the best criterion. Only those experi-
ence scales contributing at least .01 to explained commitment
Table 5
Multiple Regression Depicting Impact of Experiences on
Organizational Commitment
Orga
nizational Standardized
experience coefficient
Personal importance .21
First-year group attitudes toward organization .12
Organizational dependability .1 5*
Organizational commitment norms .12
First-year job challenge .19
Current group attitudes toward organization .23
Peer group cohesion .08
N=279
F= 85.42, p<.0001, R2=.68, df = 269
p<.o1
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2
For an assessment of and differences
between business and government man-
agers see Buchanan (1974).
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variance (R2) entered the equation. As shown, 7 experiences
entered the equation and collectively explained 68 percent
of the commitment variance. These data pertain to the first
question and suggest that the experiences selected for
measurement are among the important predictors of commit-
ment. Further,
the relatively high proportion of variance ex-
plained suggests that comparatively few experiences of
importance were omitted.
The next body of data provides a check on the accuracy of
the predictions concerning the significance of experiences
within tenure groups. Three multiple regressions were com-
puted, one within each group. In every instance, all 1 3 ex-
periences were allowed to enter the equation competitively.
The results are given in Table 6.
Table 6
Three Multiple Regressions Depicting Impact of Experiences on
Organizational Commitment
Organizational Standardized
experience coefficient
Stage 1
N=66
Group attitudes toward organization .56
First-year job challenge .31
Loyalty conflicts .11
F= 67.27, p<.0001
R2=
.78
df=56
Stage 2
N=71
Self-image reinforcement .34
Personal importance .250
First-year job challenge .1 5
Organizational commitment norms .11
Group attitudes toward organization .1 5
F=33.81, p<.0001
R2=
.73
df=61
Stage 3
N=142
Group attitudes toward organization .62
Expectations realization .21
Work commitment norms .17
Fear of failure -.09
F=47.53, p<.0001
R2
=.58
df= 134
p<.01
p<.05
How accurate were the stage one predictions? Three ex-
periences explained 78 percent of the commitment scale
variance in the stage one regression. This was the largest
proportion of variance explained among the three tenure re-
gressions and suggests that most of the experiences relevant
to first-year managers were included. Each of the three enter-
ing experiences was predicted. The importance of the work
group's attitudes is consistent with the observation that first-
year managers are ready for their roles and sensitive to ex-
pectations. The suggested importance of the initial work
assignment is also supported. The strength of the loyalty
conflicts experience suggests that there are limits to the
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Organizational Commitment
malleability of new managers. Guidance is sought and ac-
cepted, but recruits apparently are skeptical of and sensitive
to the organization's efforts to influence their attitudes and
values. Influence attempts exceeding an individual's threshold
of tolerance may well be counterproductive.
The major deviation from stage one predictions was the
failure of the reality shock variable to enter the regression
equation. This seems significant because many believe a
discrepancy between expectations and reality to be the major
cause of turnover among junior managers. One likely explana-
tion is that the effects of this experience cannot be accurately
assayed precisely because of turnover. Those most dissatisfied
have probably departed, while those remaining to complete
questionnaires found things sufficiently to their liking to
stay with their organizations. Another likelihood is that
feelings of unfulfilled expectations were absorbed by more
substantively specific scales such as first-year job challenge,
rather than the more general and unspecifically worded
reality shock scale.
The stage two regression, given in Table 6, illustrates how
sharply the importance of particular
experiences may vary
with tenure. Most noteworthy here is the strong emergence
of self-image and personal importance as determinants of
organizational commitment. These two experiences together
explained 70 percent of the commitment variance among
stage two managers. The other three experiences combined
elevated R2 only an additional .03, a miniscule impact. None-
theless, two of the three, job challenge and organizational
commitment norms, were important among the first-year
group. Their entry here attests to their enduring significance
despite their comparatively slight impact.
These findings square with the projections for managers in
the second stage quite well. The appearance of the self-
image reinforcement and personal importance experiences is
consistent with the suggestion that intermediate managers
need personal confirmation and reinforcement of the career
choice, as well as evidence of increasing personal impact
on the organizational affairs that concern them. The most
prominent deviation from expectations was the apparent
insignificance of the fear of failure experience. It was sus-
pected that by increasing sensitivity to evaluations and
heightening the satisfaction associated with success, such a
feeling might enhance the commitment attitude. For this
sample of managers, such was not the case.
Of the three tenure regressions, that which computed across
the responses of stage three managers provides the least
support for the predictions discussed in the previous section.
Organizational dependability, the experience believed most
likely to sustain the commitment of senior managers, did not
even enter the regression equation. Even more surprising was
the particular
collection of experiences which did explain
58 percent of the commitment variance among this group
(Table 6).
Especially noteworthy is the resurgence of the reference
group following an apparent decline in significance among
stage two managers. The group attitudes toward organization
experience alone explained 52 percent of the commitment
variance among stage three managers. An explanation might
be that senior managers tend to draw closer together as time
brings more unfamiliar
faces into the organization. There is
additional evidence which lends credence to this speculation.
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On the measure of peer group cohesion, senior managers
reported significantly more cohesion than stage two managers
(p<.05) and approximately the same cohesion as stage one
managers. This increased cohesion may be a defensive reac-
tion to the new ideas and new competencies young managers
bring into the organization. The mild anxiety this might
stimulate could reenergize the affiliative tendency, thus
increasing the group's influence over the attitudes of indi-
vidual members.
The most curious result was the impact of expectations
realization. While it did not make a large contribution to
explained variance, its entry seems unusual and deserves
comment. The items comprising this scale deal solely with
comparisons of the manager's expectations before joining
his organization with his experiences the first year after
joining. That this variable, which did not even enter the first
two regression equations, would suddenly emerge in the
third stage is perplexing. The most plausible explanation is
that senior managers responded to these items in terms of
their current experience or their experience of the recent past,
rather
than in terms of their first-year experience. This seems
reasonable in light of the fact that many of these people have
been employed by the organization for more than ten years,
which would understandably dim recollections of the initial
year.
Why is there a discrepancy between reality and expectations
influential at mature career stages and not in earlier stages
as expected? One possibility stems from the defensive reac-
tion to young managers suggested above. Sensitivity to the
competitive threat they pose might lead senior managers to
reflect on their own beginnings and to conclude that they
didn't have it so easy. This, in turn, could stimulate satisfac-
tion or disappointment, depending on whether the dreams
and aspirations of those early years have been realized. A
related possibility has to do with the midcareer crisis iden-
tified by Sofer (1 970) and Levinson (1 969). These authors
noted that managers in midcareer often undergo an identity
crisis, during which they pause to reassess the evolution
of their lives and careers. Have I come as far as I wanted?
Do things have the meaning for me now that they once had?
Such self-scrutiny would quite naturally
focus on the contrast
between youthful aspirations and the reality of experience in
the course of a career. Further,
it is conceivable that some of
the blame for any dissatisfaction with the contrast would be
transferred to the organization in the form of diminished
commitment or general disenchantment. Certainly satisfaction
with the comparison would be likely to bolster commitment.
The accuracy of these suggestions is at best uncertain, but
little else could logically account for the pronounced im-
portance of expectations realization among senior managers.
Finally, the commitment variance explained in the stage three
regression is the lowest of the three tenure groups. Fifty-
eight percent is a respectable proportion of variance to ex-
plain, but it is clear that many significant experiences were
not included among those measured.
CONCLUSIONS
The results of this study are generally consistent with the
common themes found in the review of similar research early
in this article. Collectively, these studies identified years of
organizational service, social interaction with organizational
peers and superiors, job achievement, and hierarchical ad-
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Organizational Commitment
vancement as determinants of various aspects of commit-
ment. The present study found measures of similar experiences
to be significantly related to commitment. Thus, social inter-
action with peers and superiors corresponds to the two
group experiences, peer group cohesion and group attitudes
toward organization. Years of organizational service squares
with the present finding that raw commitment scores in-
creased significantly from tenure stage one to two and two
to three, holding experiences constant (p<.01). Job achieve-
ment plus hierarchical advancement can be subsumed under
the broad personal importance experience.
The results of the present study seem significant in two areas.
First is the identification and comparative weighting of ex-
periences which collectively explained 68 percent of the
variance on the commitment scale (Table 5). Second, and
most important, was the attempt to assess variations in the
significance of experience within the three tenure stages.
The major interest was in the development or inculcation of
the commitment attitude and most of the predictions ac-
cordingly centered on stages one and two. The stage three
results, coupled with the wide variety of possible managerial
orientations mentioned earlier, indicate that much additional
research is needed to understand how commitment is main-
tained at mature career stages. The results at all three stages
represent little more than preliminary
indications, but the
sharp variations in commitment-relevant experience revealed
by the regressions suggest clearly that this is a fruitful area
for investigation.
Bruce Buchanan 11
is assistant professor of government at
the University of Texas at Austin.
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... Organizational commitment dimensions which are generally accepted in research can be defined as follow. Affective commitment has been defined as person's connecting to organization's aims and targets, his/her roles in organization's targets and aims, organization's values for the sake of organization (Buchanan, 1974); member's interiorization of organizational commitment with pleasure ; a member's emotional tie to a group (Kanter, 1968); a person's desire to existence in a particular organization and identification to that organization (Mowday, Steers & Porter, 1979;Porter, Crampon & Smith, 1976;Porter, Steers, Mowday & Boulian, 1974) and a tool which increases understanding of employees' interests in ideal and reinforced organizations (King, 1996). Continuance commitment has been defined as employees' continuing to the organization as a necessity and paying attention to negativeness in other words the cost of leaving from organization for employees' ; perceived costs of employees' which has encountered because they have left the organization (Cetin, Basim & Aydogan, 2011); being aware of the costs of separation from the organization (Ince & Gul 2005); person's continuing to the organization membership because he/she thinks the costs of separation from organization will be high (Deliveli & Kiral, 2020). ...
... When literature has been analyzed, it is possible to reach such many research on organizational commitment as the level of organizational commitment, Meyer and Allen (1991), Allen and Meyer (1990); affective and continuance commitment Wasti (2002); measuring organizational commitment, Cook and Wall (1980) and Swailes (2002); teachers' organizational commitment, Celep (2000); the relationship between school managers' socialization and organizational commitment, Buchanan (1974); the relationship between job satisfaction and organizational commitment, Porter, Steers, Mowday and Boulian (1974); the relationship between organizational commitment and burnout, Cetin, Basim and Aydogan (2011); the relationship between organizational commitment and organizational support, Ozdevecioglu (2013); the relationship between school culture and teachers' school commitment, Kiral and Kacar (2016); the relationship between teachers' perception of school principals' instructional leadership and organizational commitment level, Kiral and Sucicegi (2017). When research on tendency to gossip has been analyzed in literature; it is possible to reach such many research on tendency to gossip as the dimensions of gossip, Nevo, Nevo and Derech-Zehavi (1993); teachers' views regarding gossip and rumor mechanism, Arabaci, Sungur and Simsek (2012); employees' perceptions of gossip, Akgeyik (2017); workplace gossip and rumor, Dodig and Anokhima (2008); gossip in organizations, Ellwardt (2011); individual differences in attitudes towards gossip, Litman and Pezzo (2005). ...
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The study was figured in the form of relational survey model on the purpose of putting forth the relationship between the tendency to gossip of the teachers at public secondary schools and their organizational commitment levels. It was conducted with randomly selected 159 volunteer teachers. The data were collected by the Tendency to Gossip scale developed by Nevo, Nevo and Derech-Zehavi (1994), and the Organizational Commitment Scale adapted to Turkish by Baysal and Paksoy (1999). The data were analyzed via descriptive and inferential statistical techniques. The results revealed that teachers mostly display achievement in tendency to gossip and affective commitment. It was found out that there was a significant difference according to teachers' age and seniority in tendency to gossip and seniority and teachers' numbers in organizational commitment. There was a low and medium relationship between tendency to gossip and organizational commitment, there was the highest relationship between physical appearance in tendency to gossip and continuance commitment in organizational commitment. "Physical appearance" and "sublimated gossip" dimensions had affected teachers' continuance commitment.
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1 968Adult socialization
  • Orville G Brim
Brim, Orville G. 1 968 "Adult socialization." In John Clausen (ed.), Socialization and Society: 1 82- 226. Boston: Little, Brown. Brown, J. A. C.