Three Types of Organizational Commitment

Topic(s): organizational commitment
Publication: Journal of Vocational Behavior (2002
Article: Affective, Continuance, and Normative Commitment to the Organization: A Meta-analysis of Antecedents, Correlates, and Consequences
Authors: J.P. Meyer, D.J. Stanley, L. Herscovitch, L. Topolnytsky
Reviewed by: Scott Charles Sitrin

What are the consequences of three types of organizational commitment? Affective commitment is an emotional attachment to, identification with, and involvement in the organization; continuance commitment is the cost of leaving an organization; and normative commitment is the perceived obligation to an organization. To illustrate, you can imagine that one employee spends 80 hours at work because she loves her job (i.e. affective commitment), another stays at her job because she doesn’t have any other options (i.e. continuance commitment), and the last sticks around because she feels like she owes it to her firm (i.e. normative commitment).

In this study, all three types of commitment were negatively related to withdrawal cognition (e.g. intention to search for another job) and turnover. In other words, as levels of commitment increased, the intention to search for another job and quit decreased. Further, both affective and normative commitment was related to organization-relevant and employee-relevant factors – such as job performance and stress, respectively. Affective commitment had the strongest and most beneficial relationship to absenteeism, job performance, organizational citizenship behavior (e.g., taking on roles beyond job description), and stress and work-family conflict. Specifically, those most affectively committed also were seen to have low absentee rates, high levels of job performance, elevated levels of organizational citizenship behavior, and low levels of stress and work-family conflict. These results were found through a meta-analysis (statistical combination of many past research studies) that included over 50,000 employees, thereby making the conclusions strong.