The Multidimensional Nature of Continuance Commitment: Commitment Owing to Economic Exchanges Versus Lack of Employment Alternatives
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The purpose of this investigation was to develop a multidimensional measure of continuance organizational commitment, specifying dimensions for continuance commitment based on the perception of beneficial economic exchanges versus the perception of low job alternatives.
Three studies, which surveyed employees from various organizations, were conducted in order to find support for our conceptualization. Study 1 involved the development of new survey measures. Study 2 examined the ability of two dimensions of continuance commitment to predict related job perceptions, while Study 3 examined the ability of our scales to predict supervisor-reported performance.
We generally found that continuance commitment based on economic exchanges was related favorably to work phenomena, such as task performance and citizenship behaviors, while continuance commitment based on low job alternatives was related unfavorably. Importantly, the two dimensions predicted outcomes incremental to affective and normative commitment.
Our findings suggest both a positive and negative side to continuance commitment. Therefore, continuance commitment based on economic exchanges should be fostered, while continuance commitment based on low job alternatives should be minimized. Organizations may be able to leverage these results by increasing employee awareness of the benefits available to them and by providing support to employees who feel trapped in the organization.
Our study provides a new way of conceptualizing the dimensions of continuance commitment and highlights the practical benefit of doing so. When conceptualized as such, it is clear that continuance commitment aids in the prediction of organizational phenomena incremental to affective and normative commitment.
KeywordsOrganizational commitment Continuance commitment Economic exchange Job performance Job attitudes
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