Employee Responsibilities and Rights Journal

, Volume 5, Issue 3, pp 231-240

First online:

What's loyalty?

  • Michael J. WitheyAffiliated withFaculty of Business Administration, Memorial University of Newfoundland
  • , William H. CooperAffiliated withSchool of Business, Queen's University

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Loyalty in organizations has proved difficult to predict. One reason is that loyalty is complex and poorly understood. We report two studies that attempt to understand and predict loyalty by focusing on two components of the construct: active-constructive loyalty and passive-constructive loyalty. In the first study, we found that active acts of loyalty were predicted by variables quite different from those that predicted passive loyalty. The second study found that people identified by peers as high-loyalty employees performed many more active sets of loyalty than did those who were identified as low-loyalty employees. We conclude that loyalty consists of both active-constructive and passive-constructive behavior.

Key Words

loyalty commitment active passive