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Organizational Commitment: Do Workplace Practices Matter?

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  • Alex Bryson
  • Michael White

Abstract

Using nationally-representative linked employer-employee data for Britain this paper considers whether employers are able to influence the organizational commitment (OC) of their employees through the practices they deploy. We examine the association between OC and two broad groups of HRM practices emphasised in two different strands of the literature, namely "High-Performance Workplace Practices" (HPWPs) and practices associated with "Perceived Organizational Support" (POS). We consider their associations with mean workplace-level OC and individual employees' OC. Although employers may be able to engender greater OC on the part of their employees, the practices that do so are not those emphasized in the HPWP literature, with the exception of consultation and the involvement of employees in decision-taking. POS practices fare a little better but, again, the findings are far from unequivocal. Furthermore, those practices that are 'effective' in engendering higher OC such as tolerance of absence, recruiting on 'values' and allowing employees to make decisions, tend to have a fairly low incidence in British workplaces. There is, however, one finding which chimes with the ideas underpinning the HPWP literature, namely that there are returns to the use of practices in combination. Analyses of both mean workplace-level OC and individual employee OC find an independent positive association between OC and the deployment of multiple practices in combination. This evidence is consistent with practices having synergies, as emphasised in some of the HPWP literature.

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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by Centre for Economic Performance, LSE in its series CEP Discussion Papers with number dp0881.

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Date of creation: Jul 2008
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Handle: RePEc:cep:cepdps:dp0881

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Web page: http://cep.lse.ac.uk/_new/publications/series.asp?prog=CEP

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Keywords: high performance; organizational commitment; perceived organizational support;

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  1. John Godard, 2004. "A Critical Assessment of the High-Performance Paradigm," British Journal of Industrial Relations, London School of Economics, vol. 42(2), pages 349-378, 06.
  2. Michael White & Stephen Hill & Patrick McGovern & Colin Mills & Deborah Smeaton, 2003. "'High-performance' Management Practices, Working Hours and Work-Life Balance," British Journal of Industrial Relations, London School of Economics, vol. 41(2), pages 175-195, 06.
  3. Duncan Gallie, 2001. "Employer Policies and Organizational Commitment in Britain 1992-97," Journal of Management Studies, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 38(8), pages 1081-1101, December.
  4. Harvie Ramsay & Dora Scholarios & Bill Harley, 2000. "Employees and High-Performance Work Systems: Testing inside the Black Box," British Journal of Industrial Relations, London School of Economics, vol. 38(4), pages 501-531, December.
  5. McGovern, Patrick & Hill, Stephen & Mills, Colin & White, Michael, 2007. "Market, Class, and Employment," OUP Catalogue, Oxford University Press, number 9780199213382.
  6. John MacDuffie, 1995. "Human resource bundles and manufacturing performance: Organizational logic and flexible production systems in the world auto industry," Industrial and Labor Relations Review, ILR Review, Cornell University, ILR School, vol. 48(2), pages 197-221, January.
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