A comparative study of organizational commitment among korean public and business sector employees: why and to whom are they committed?
Yoon, Jong In
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Although organizational commitment (OC) has been a popular topic during the past three decades, there still remains confusion over its definitions and measurements. And research on public employees’ OC is relatively small in quantity, limited in quality, and has yielded mixed results. This dissertation adopts a multi-base and multi-focus OC approach — the existence of 15 commitments (3 bases X 5 foci) suggested by Meyer and Allen (1997) — and investigates how differently individual employees’ commitment are manifested in Korean public and business organizations. Analyzing 508 questionnaires collected from five organizations (response rate = 70.6), this dissertation found that Korean respondents could distinguish affective commitments (AC) to four foci — organization and top management, supervisor, coworkers, and citizens/customers. Normative Commitment (NC) items loaded on three factors — (1) organization, (2) top management and supervisor, and (3) coworkers and citizens/customers — in the public employee sample, while two–factor solution — (1) organization, top management, and supervisor, and (2) coworkers and citizens/customers — emerged in the business employee sample. However, the distinction between AC and NC to individual focus was weak. And the inclusion of multiple foci and bases increased marginally variances of such variables as withdrawal intention from organization, search behavior, and extra-efforts for organization after considering the variances explained by the OCQ. This dissertation also found that public employees show higher level of AC and NC to organization, top management, and citizens/customers than business sector employees. However, there were no differences in terms of commitment to supervisor and coworkers. These suggest that, although not psychometrically solid, the multi-base and multi-focus approach may be a useful tool in comparing public and private employees’ OC patterns. Both the Public Service Motivation and the collectivistic tendency had considerable effects on commitment of Korean public employees. The applicability of the PSM was affirmed in Korean settings.
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