Antecedents and Consequences of Organizational Commitment of Teachers: Case of University of the Punjab

Author:LABIBA SHEIKH
 
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Abstract. The current research was conducted to identify the important antecedents and major consequences of organizational commitment and to explain their relationship with the commitment level of the teachers (lecturers and assistant professors) of the Faculty of Economics and Management Sciences of the University of the Punjab (PU). This research was a case study in which teachers of the Faculty of Economics and Management Sciences of the University of the Punjab (PU) were taken as the subject of the case analysis. The case was built by gathering information from teachers by using qualitative research tools. Focus group discussions and in-depth interviews of the teachers were conducted. Several important findings emerged from the study. First was that the determinants of organizational commitment were quite varied in their nature.

Commitment to organization was influenced by a number of personal factors (age, length of service, gender, marital status) and job related factors (role stress, nature of social interaction, extent of participation in decision making and quality of work experiences). It also became evident that developing commitment among faculty members had significant consequences for educational institutions. This study showed that highly committed faculty members were keen to stay with their current organization and perform at higher levels than their uncommitted colleagues. It was also observed that highly committed faculty members showed lower absenteeism rates. In addition to this, highly committed teachers were more enthusiastic and were more inclined to perform organizational citizenship behaviors.

Keywords: Organizational commitment, Role stress, Focus group discussions, Absenteeism, Organizational citizenship behaviors

  1. INTRODUCTION

    Organizational commitment can be regarded as an inner steadying or willing force that directs an individual actions towards the goals of the organization (Bentein et al., 2005; Meyer and Herscovitch, 2001). Organizational commitment has drawn the attention of organizational researchers due to various reasons.

    Over the years, different researches have shown its relationship to employee behaviors, such as turnover, absenteeism and performance efficacy (Shagholi, Zabihi, Atefi and Moayedi, 2011; Marsh and Mannari, 1977; Steers 1977); personal characteristics of the employee, such as age, gender, need for achievement and job tenure (Angle andPerry, 1981; Hall and Schneider, 1972; Hrebiniak and Alutto, 1972; Steers, 1977), attitudinal, emotional and cognitive concepts such as job satisfaction and job involvement (Saxena and Saxena, 2015; Stevens, Beyer, and Trice, 1978; Hall and Schneider, 1972; Hrebiniak and Alutto, 1972; Porter, 1974); job characteristics including autonomy and responsibility (Sisodia and Das, 2013; Koch and Steers, 1978), job variety and task identity (Steers, 1977) and role conflict and role stress (Alipour and Kamaee, 2015;Morris and Koch, 1979).

    The array of relationships emphasizes the need to have detailed understanding of this key construct as it can play a key role in the success or failure of the organization.

    Higher education sector in Pakistan is undergoing frequent changes. A number of new public as well as private sector universities are appearing on the scene which is creating difficulties for the universities to retain their capable and talented teachers with them. Moreover, teachers who are committed to their own institutes are more likely not only to stay with the institution but are also expected to dedicate their energies towards the glory and success of their organization. Teachers also play a pivotal role in the learning process of students. The commitment of teacher towards his or her organization, therefore, becomes very important as it directly affects the students. This scenario calls for understanding the factors that can influence the commitment level of the employees and its possible consequences. This research is an effort to understand the antecedents and consequences of organizational commitment of lecturers and assistant professors of University of the Punjab.

    This study can be utilized by the management of PU and other public sector universities for designing the job and the working environment by taking into consideration the factors that can have effect on the organizational commitment level of the teachers.

    Research Objectives

    The major objectives of this research are:

    • To assess the level of organizational commitment of lecturers and assistant professors of the Faculty of Economics and Management Sciences of the University of the Punjab.

    • To explore the important determinants and major consequences of organizational commitment of lecturers and assistant professors of the Faculty of Economics and Management Sciences of the University of the Punjab and to explain their relationship to their commitment level.

    Research Questions

    Based on the above-mentioned research objectives, the study will try to find answers to the following research questions:

    • How teachers understand and interpret their work experiences at University of the Punjab?

    • What is their perception of organizational commitment?

    • What level of commitment can be inferred from their work experiences?

    • How does the organizational commitment of the teachers vary?

    • What is the role of the personal factors in determining the level of teachers’ commitment?

    • To what extent job related factors influence teachers’ commitment?

    • What are the possible attitudinal and behavioral outcomes of teachers’ commitment?

    Significance of the Study

    The research will help in understanding the perceptions of teachers regarding the organizational commitment. The researcher will help in identifying gap between the ideal commitment as defined in literature and the real commitment. The research may help in filling this gap by identifying the reasons for the gap. Moreover, the use of qualitative research will provide a complete and detailed description of the concepts under study by taking a holistic approach. Qualitative data are gathered through direct meetings with respondents and take into account their views, experiences and emotions in the natural setting. As no effort is made to influence the situation under study, this research will help in understanding the organizational commitment from the point of view of the teachers.

    On the applied side, by pinpointing factors that help to develop organizational commitment among university teachers, the study seeks to provide policy guidelines to the policy makers for attracting and retaining excellent faculty at their respective universities.

  2. LITERATURE REVIEW

    The field of organizational commitment is characterized by an abundance of different theoretical frameworks and models that make it difficult to have one single definition of this concept (Meyer and Herscovitch, 2001). Many authors have defined organizational commitment. Newstrom (2007) gives it the name of employee loyalty. According to Schultz and Schultz (2002) organizational commitment is reflected in the employee’s approval of organizational goals and value and his or her loyalty to the organization exhibited by his or her persistency to stay with the organization.

    The construct most often studied has been attitudinal or affective commitment. It is defined as “… the relative strength of an individual’s identification with and involvement in a particular organization. Conceptually, it can be characterized by at least three factors: a) a strong belief in and acceptance of the organization's goals and values; b) a willingness to exert considerable effort on behalf of the organization; and c) a strong desire to maintain membership in the organization” (Mowday et al.,1982, p.27). Organizational Commitment Questionnaire (OCQ) developed by Porter, Steers, Mowday and Boulian (1974) has been mostly utilized to measure this aspect of commitment. In other words, this is an attitude indicating employees’ allegiance to their organization.

    Another frequently used approach to organizational commitment is referred as behavioral (Salancik, 1977), calculative (Griffan and Bateman, 1986; Hrebiniak and Alutto, 1972) or continuance commitment (Meyer and Allen, 1984). Based on Becker (1960) side bet theory, Hrebiniak and Alutto (1972) defined it as "…a structural phenomenon which occurs as a result of individual-organizational transactions and alterations in side-bets or investments overtime" (p.556). This approach incorporates the costs associated with leaving an organization. This type of commitment has been mostly measured with the scale developed by Hrebiniak and Alluto, (1972). Another form of commitment is normative commitment in which the values of the organization and the employees are compatible and the employees feel obligated to stay with the organization. The employees exhibit committed behavior as “…they believe it is the right and moral thing to do” (Wiener, 1982, p.421).

    Because of multidimensional nature of organizational commitment there has been greater support for the three-component model proposed by Meyer and Allen (1993) which incorporates all the three types of organizational commitment.

    Over the years, research literature has focused on finding significant determinants of organizational commitment. This research has taken different directions. Some researchers have focused on personal factors including age, gender, education, marital status and need strengths as important predictors of organizational commitment (Hall, Schneider and Nygren, 1970; Koch and Steers, 1976; Steers, 1977; Lim, 2003; Lackritz, 2004; Salami, 2008). According to another group of researchers, role related factors such as work or role overload, role conflict, role stress and the number of social and work related roles are important in shaping employee commitment (Hrebiniak and Alutto, 1972; Stevens, Beyer and Trice, 1978; Bhagat and Chasie, 1981; Dey and Kumar...

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