^Academy of Management Joumai
1984, Vol. 27, No. 1,95-112.

        A Longitudinal Analysis
              of the Anteced...
96                      Academy of Management Journal                   March

Steers, 1977); (b) attitudinal, affective, ...
1984                          Bateman and Strasser                           97

construct than commitment. However, the ...
98                       Academy of Management Journal                   March

one's organizational superior would also h...
1984                          Bateman and Strasser                           99

   A second administration of the same q...
100                     Academy of Management Journai                   March

reliabilities were .54 and .37 for leader r...
1984                                Bateman and Strasser                               101

102                    Academy of Management Journal                                                                      ...
1984                           Bateman and Strasser                         103

using pairwise rather than listwise dele...
104                              Academy of Management Journal                          March

and reciprocal causation a...
1984                                   Bateman and Strasser                                105

consistently powerful and...
106                      Academy of Management Journai                   March

(/3 = -.22, Ai?^=.O43, ^3.97 = 9.28, p<.01...
1984                           Bateman and Strasser                           107

possible exception of leader punitive ...
108                      Academy of Management Journal                   March

of job satisfaction is that characteristic...
1984                         Bateman and Strasser                         109

much better than they predicted subsequent...
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(Steers, 1977) or ...
1984                                    Bateman and Strasser                                         111

Koch, J. D., & S...
112                            Academy of Management Journal                                March

Steers, R. M. Effects o...
Organizational Behavior
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Organizational Behavior

  1. 1. ^Academy of Management Joumai 1984, Vol. 27, No. 1,95-112. A Longitudinal Analysis of the Antecedents of Organizational Commitment^ THOMAS S. BATEMAN Texas A&M University STEPHEN STRASSER The Ohio State University From longitudinal data from 129 nursing department employees, organizational commitment was found to be antecedent to job satisfaction rather than an outcome of it. Furthermore, several other variables were found to be causally related to satisfaction but not commitment. Im- plications of unsubstantiated assumptions regarding causes of commitment are discussed. ' For over a decade now organizational researchers have been studying organizational commitment in its relationships with various stituational char- acteristics, attitudes, and behaviors of employees. Commitment has been operationally defined in many ways, but one major stream of current re- search (Angle & Perry, 1981; Mowday, Steers, & Porter, 1979) has viewed this construct as multidimensional in nature, involving an employee's loyalty to the organization, willingness to exert effort on behalf of the organiza- tion, degree of goal and value congruency with the organization, and desire to maintain membership (Porter, Crampon, & Smith, 1976; Porter, Steers, Mowday, & Boulian, 1974). The study reported here attempts to add to the knowledge of organizational commitment by providing the first longi- tudinal multivariate analysis aimed at deriving causal inferences regarding a number of its presumed antecedents. Interest in studying organizational commitment has continued for a num- ber of reasons. It consistently has been shown to be related to: (a) employee behaviors, such as job search activities, turnover, absenteeism and, to a lesser extent, performance effectiveness (Abelson & Sheridan, 1981; Angle & Perry, 1981; Bluedorn, 1982; Farrell & Rusbult, 1981; Marsh & Man- nari, 1977; Morris & Sherman, 1981; Porter et al., 1976; Porter et al., 1974; 'The authors wish to thank Michael Abelson and two anonymous reviewers for their time and helpful suggestions on earlier drafts of this paper. This research was supported by research grants from Tulane University's Bio-Medical Research Program and the School of Business Administration. The authors of this paper wish to be considered as equal contributors. 95
  2. 2. 96 Academy of Management Journal March Steers, 1977); (b) attitudinal, affective, and cognitive constructs such as job satisfaction, job involvement, and job tension (Hall & Schneider, 1972; Hrebiniak & Alutto, 1972; Porter et al., 1974; Stevens, Beyer, & Trice, 1978; Stone & Porter, 1976); (c) characteristics of the employee's job and role, including autonomy and responsibility (Koch & Steers, 1978), job variety and task identity (Steers, 1977), and role confiict and ambiguity (Morris & Koch, 1979; Morris & Sherman, 1981); and (d) personal characteristics of the employee, such as age, sex, need for achievement, and job tenure (Angle & Perry, 1981; Hall & Schneider, 1972; Hrebiniak & Alutto, 1972; Koch & Steers, 1978; Sheldon, 1971; Steers, 1977). This range of relation- ships, coupled with the belief that organizational commitment is a relatively stable attitude over time when compared to job satisfaction (Porter et al., 1974), suggests the importance of pursuing a thorough understanding of the operation of this major construct. Research Problems Despite the large number of studies that focus on organizational com- mitment, a number of research issues remain. First, past research has not empirically established the causal relationships between commitment and those situational variables and attitudes presumed to be its antecedents. Second, the relationship of commitment to external environmental factors, such as perceived availability of other jobs, has gone relatively unstudied. Third, there remain a number of internal organizational variables—most notably, job tension and certain leadership behaviors—that need further integration into organizational commitment research. These shortcomings in the extant literature have important theoretical and applied significance, and they form the basis for this investigation. The first research problem, that of the lack of clear causal specification, is due to cross-sectional designs employed by the vast majority of studies. Consequently, data analytic plans have relied primarily on zero-order cor- relations and multiple regression equations that are concurrent rather than predictive in nature. Only Porter and his colleagues (Porter et al., 1974, 1976) have employed multiple measurements in longitudinal designs. How- ever, even in these investigations the number of variables studied was quite limited, and there was no specification of any causal ordering, particular- ly with respect to the antecedents of commitment. Typically, researchers have relied on explanations that derive from, for example, exchange theory (March & Simon, 1958) and the concept of quot;side betsquot; (Becker, 1960) to justify presumed causal linkages from characteristics of the employee and his/her work environment to organizational commit- ment (Marsh & Mannari, 1977; Steers, 1977). Longitudinal research remains to be conducted to confirm the antecedent nature of these variables. Job satisfaction, too, often is considered to be an attitudinal cause of commit- ment (Bluedorn, 1982; Price & Mueller, 1981) on the basis of Porter et al.'s (1974) argument that job satisfaction is a less stable and more rapidly formed
  3. 3. 1984 Bateman and Strasser 97 construct than commitment. However, the validity of this perspective is not altogether clear. In fact, there exists a viable alternative perspective that suggests that commitment to an organization may be a cause rather than a result of job satisfaction. Building on the work of Bem (1967), Salancik and Pfeffer (1978) sug- gested that commitment to a course of action may determine subsequent attitudes. Commitment initiates a rationalizing process through which in- dividuals quot;make sensequot; of their current situation by developing attitudes that are consistent with their commitment. Numerous laboratory and field studies have confirmed this causal sequence. (See Kiesler, 1971, and Salancik, 1977, for reviews.) In the specific case of commitment to an organization, a recent study (O'Reilly & Caldwell, 1981) showed that certain aspects of the initial decision to join an organization were related to subsequent com- mitment and satisfaction. Although these researchers defined commitment as a behavior (i.e., job choice) rather than a cognitive construct, as in Porter et al. (1974), it is not unlikely that a cognitive outlook such as commit- ment is rationalized by subsequent attitudes of job satisfaction. Clearly, longitudinal empirical assessments aimed at establishing causality are requisite. The second research issue alluded to earlier relates to understanding the impact of external environmental factors on organizational commitment. Only recently have researchers begun to look directly at this issue. Blue- dorn (1982) and O'Reilly and Caldwell (1981) found an inverse relation- ship between commitment and environmental job alternatives, and Farrell and Rusbult (1981) found no direct path between these two variables. The potential significance of an environmental alternatives variable should con- tinue to be pursued in any research on organizational commitment. It seems likely that employees' perceptions of potential market alternatives will af- fect the value they place on their current organizational affiliation. Previous writings have invoked market opportunities as a possible explanation for variation in commitment levels (Sheldon, 1971), but few studies have em- pirically assessed the causal impact of this factor. The third issue pertains to the scope of the internal organizational vari- ables previously studied in commitment research. For example, only Hre- biniak and Alutto (1972) have investigated the relationship between job tension and commitment, yet the sustained interest in job tension and stress (Abelson & Sheridan, 1981; Brief, Schuler, & Van Sell, 1981) makes this an important area for further inquiry. In addition, there has been only a minimal amount of integration between organizational commitment and research on leadership. To date the focus has been on the initiating struc- ture and consideration dimensions of leader behavior (Morris & Sherman, 1981) to the exclusion of leader reward and punishment behaviors. Recent research (Podsakoff, Todor, & Skov, 1981; Sims, 1980) suggests that leader reward and punishment behaviors are powerful predictors of other out- come variabies such as job satisfaction and performance. It would seem justifiable to expect that the receipt of rewards and/or punishment from
  4. 4. 98 Academy of Management Journal March one's organizational superior would also have an effect on commitment, and therefore to include these particular leader variables in any predictive model of organizational commitment. The study reported in this paper attempts a resolution of these short- comings in the organizational commitment literature via a multivariate, longitudinal study of the presumed causes of commitment. A set of rele- vant organizational variables, personal characteristics and attitudes of the employee, and perceptions of environmental alternatives were assessed at two separate times in their relationships with commitment. Multiple regres- sion analyses were performed to validate the explanatory power of the total set of predictor variables, as is customarily done in other studies. Subse- quently, in a methodological advance over previous studies, the longitudinal nature of the data was utilized in tests directed towards drawing inferences regarding the presumed causal orderings surrounding the organizational commitment construct. Method Research Setting and Sample This study was originally designed primarily as a predictive study of em- ployee turnover. It included the impact of organizational commitment, job satisfaction, and other predictor variables. It also was originally intended, however, that causal analysis focusing on organizational commitment models would be conducted. Data were collected from nursing department employees from four hospitals located in a large southern city. Two of the hospitals were investor owned, one was a university teaching hospital, and the fourth was a Veterans' Administration hospital. Self-administered ques- tionnaire responses were solicited from all nursing-related jobs, including nurses' aides, licensed practical nurses (LPNs), and registered nurses (RNs), representing all types of nursing units (emergency, pediatrics, surgery, etc.). As such, the total sample was representative across nursing department tasks as well as types of hospitals. Procedure Questionnaires were originally distributed to approximately 900 nursing employees. Included with each questionnaire was a cover letter explaining the importance of the research, the support of hospital administration, and the strict confidentiality of the responses. Participants were asked to com- plete the questionnaire on their own time and return it, with the last four digits of their Social Security numbers as a means by which only the re- searchers would identify them, to a collection box at the sample sites. This box was collected by research assistants on a daily basis over a period of 10 days. A total of 374 identifiable questionnaires were completed at time 1 (^i) for a response rate of 42 percent.
  5. 5. 1984 Bateman and Strasser 99 A second administration of the same questionnaire was conducted ap- proximately five months later (^2). A cover letter explaining that this was the' final stage of the study was again distributed with the questionnaire to all nursing department employees at the four hospitals. Of the approxi- mately 900 questionnaires that were again distributed, 412 were returned for a time 2 response rate of 46 percent. Respondent identification, using the partial Social Security number and other demographic information in several cases in which the numbers were identical, revealed that 129 employees had completed usable questionnaires at both times. The results reported in this paper are based on the responses from only these repeat respondents (Bateman & Strasser, 1983). The average age of the respondents was 35.2 years; the median tenure in nursing and in their current job was 10.83 and 3.85 years, respectively; and 95 percent of the participants were female. In an effort to assess the representativeness of the repeated measures group to the rest of the study sample, /-test comparisons were run on a set of study variables. Here, the repeated measures group (« = 129) was compared to the one-time respondents at ti and ^2 (total /i = 528). No differences across these three groups would indicate that the repeated measures sam- ple, on which causal analyses were to be conducted, would be representa- tive of over 70 percent (129-1-528) of the total study population of 900. Using a two-tailed ^test at a = .05, the repeated measures group and the one time respondents showed no differences in age, career tenure, satis- faction, commitment, centralization/decentralization, stress, or need for achievement at either ti or tz. The only significant difference to emerge was job tenure at ti but not at t2. Although comparisons of the repeated measures group to the nonrespondents was not possible, the available data strongly suggest that the repeated measures group is quite similar to a large proportion of the study population. Measures The questionnaires measured 13 variables. The focal outcome variable was organizational commitment. The other 12 included 4 demographic and 8 nondemographic predictors. Organizational commitment was measured with a 15-item scale developed by Porter et al. (1974). The psychometric properties of this scale have been thoroughly investigated (Mowday et al., 1979). In the present study, the scale demonstrated internal consistency reliabilities of a = .90 at time 1 and a = .89 at time 2, and a test-retest reliability of .65. Leader reward and punishment behaviors were measured with the scales originally developed by Johnson (1973). The psychometric properties and conceptual distinctiveness of these scales have been reported elsewhere (Sims & Szilagyi, 1975). In this study, Cronbach's alpha for leader reward behavior was .96 and .95 for the two waves of data, and the leader punishment behavior scale's alpha was .69 at time 1 and .68 at time 2. The test-retest
  6. 6. 100 Academy of Management Journai March reliabilities were .54 and .37 for leader reward and punishment behavior, respectively. Job characteristics were measured with the Job Diagnostic Survey (Hack- man & Oldham, 1975). The reliability of the motivational potential scale (MPS) was a = .71 at time 1 and a = .71 at time 2, and the test-retest reli- ability was .48. Centralization was measured with a 6-item scale of perceived participa- tion in decision making used by Morris and Steers (1980) as adapted from Vroom (1960). Coefficient alpha for the present study was .81 at time 1 and .81 at time 2; the test-retest reliability was .61. Need for achievement was measured with Steers' (1975) short 5-item scale. Cronbach's alpha at time 1 and time 2 were .43 and .60, respectively. The test-retest reliability was .69. Perceived environmental alternatives were measured with three items as- sessing the chances of finding an acceptable alternative job, the desirabil- ity of another job in another organization, and a comparison of the desirabil- ity of another job to the present job. Internal reliabilities were a = .65 and a = .58 at times 1 and 2; the test-retest reliability was .53. Job tension was assessed via the job related tension scale developed by Kahn, Wolfe, Quinn, Snoek, and Rosenthal (1964). Items from the scale tap role stressors such as confiict, ambiguity, and overload. In this study, the coefficient alphas were .74 at time 1 and .73 at time 2; the test-retest reliability was .68. Job satisfaction was measured with the Job Descriptive Index (JDI) de- veloped by Smith, Kendall, and Hulin (1969). The reliabilities and valid- ities for the several subscales (satisfaction with work, co-workers, supervi- sion, pay, and opportunities for promotion) are extremely well established, and the scale's usefulness for longitudinal research has been recommended (Schneider & Dachler, 1978). In the present study, internal reliabilities on the overall (combined) scale were a = .64 at time 1 and a = .66 at time 2; the test-retest reliability was .68. Age, job tenure, career tenure, and education level were recorded from four single-item self-report responses. Analysis and Results Relationships among the focal variables were assessed in several stages. Table 1 presents the means and standard deviations of the nondemographic variables. These variables all proved to be relatively stable over the five- month time interval. Table 2 displays the static zero-order correlations among all variables at time 1 and time 2, and the test-retest reliabilities. As can be seen, many of the correlations are significant at both time periods. Multiple regression was next employed as a test of the predictive power of the variables presumed to be antecedent to commitment. This basic ap- proach, which indicates the relative importance of individual predictors when the others are statistically controlled for and which yields summary statistics
  7. 7. 1984 Bateman and Strasser 101 Table 1 Means and Standard Deviations of the Study Variabies (A^= 129) Time 1 Time 2 X S.D. X S.D. Focal outcome variable: Organizational commitment 72.4 15.9 71.4 15.9 Nondemographic causal predictors: Leader reward behavior 79.5 20.5 81.3 20.5 Leader punishment behavior <• 30.3 5.7 32.0 6.0 Job characteristics 124.3 72.8 120.4 66.5 Centralization 20.2 6.0 20.8 5.9 Need for achievement 25.4 3.7 26.0 4.5 Environmental alternatives 9.5 2.6 9.2 2.6 Job tension 25.2 6.2, 25.4 5.9 Job satisfaction 31.4 8.7 31.8 8.3 indicating overall explanatory power, typifies the approach taken in the published empirical tests of commitment models (Marsh & Mannari, 1977; Steers, 1977). In the present study several multiple regression analyses were made possible by the collection of two waves of data. An analysis of the time 1 data was followed by a second analysis applied to the time 2 data as a second (replication) test of the power of the set of predictor variables. These static regressions were run for the purpose of comparing the overall predictive power {R^) of the present set of variables to the predictive power of other studies. Additionally, a final multiple regression was per- formed using the time 1 predictor variables as quot;independentquot; variables in a regression equation predicting the time 2 commitment values as the quot;de- pendentquot; variable. The impact of the predictors was assessed hierarchi- cally, after the time 1 value of commitment was controlled for. This time- lagged regression analysis has the effect of removing some method vari- ance inherent to single-administration self-report methodology. Further- more, because of the temporal ordering of the predictor (time 1) variables and the criterion (time 2 commitment) variable, a multivariate test that is more representative of the presumed causal priorities is created. The two regressions on the two separate waves of static data yield multi- ple Rs of .75 {R^=.51) and .79 (i?^=.63), which compare favorably to some studies (Marsh & Mannari, 1977) and rival others (Steers, 1977). There are two significant contributors to the prediction of organizational com- mitment that reliably arise in both regressions—job satisfaction (/i /3 = .24, ;7<.O5; ti 0=.53, pK.OOl) and environmental alternatives (ti i8 = -.29, p<.001; ^2 iS =-.28,/X.OOl). The time-lagged stepwise regression, how- ever, indicates the inability of these variables to predict, longitudinally, subsequent commitment. After entering the ti commitment variable to partial out the test-retest correlation, the entire set of variables did not add significantly to prediction (A/?^= .055, ^9,94= 1.42, p = .20). Marginal sta- tistical significance of leader reward behavior and job satisfaction are re- vealed when stepwise regression is used. When this analysis is repeated
  8. 8. 102 Academy of Management Journal March * !^ 1 1 * • * * * 32* 57* 19* 16* 58* vp m O O 1 1 1 o 1 1 1 hhk 1 1 1 1 '** -.36 •** .63 .03 *** .61 -.11 -.01 -.04 * * * * * * 00 UOISU3X S3 O S <N fn 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 .60*quot; .30*quot; .61*quot; .57*^ .32*' .54*' .15* .14* UOIID2HDJIU3Q 00 00 ON « Q r- I |vi u^ — o 00 quot;^ ^ ^ ' ^ *^ r quot; r ID!tU3Wd * * « * * * * )U3UI3A3m3y r- p- 00 v o l o l — ' 00 f n — * * * • * * « * « f n VO VO I IfS T f i - i v o — - T t r - r - o o » n p ^fs^fs^^—.rNj^^—i a o § orrel ol O s ^ f s r r s m — p p p p p p qof r* r « vo •o-= •§1 I E • « I -g .2 2 « J'ooo8 i a S -2 E I tS VI VI VI fefcI . | | 2 I «^ to M C C -S > i w < Z u a V u A c > o • J .J U H » W 5 U
  9. 9. 1984 Bateman and Strasser 103 using pairwise rather than listwise deletion of missing data to capture more of the study sample, these findings become nonsignificant at/?:< .05. Again, when these predictors are entered as a block after accounting for the effect of t commitment, the result remains nonsignificant (A/?^= .061, ^9,100 = 1.48, p<.l) when the pairwise analysis is used. Despite a high level of concurrent validity, the lack of true (longitudinal) predictive validity casts some doubt on the presumed causal impact of these variables. The next stage of analysis addressed the issue of causal priorities between organizational commitment and each of the variables that are predicted to be causes of commitment. Eight two-variable systems (each separate non- demographic predictor, coupled with commitment) were created and tested via cross-lagged regression analysis (Rogosa, 1980). With this procedure, contextual information surrounding a given two-variable system is initial- ly provided by six correlations—two static correlations for time 1 and time 2 (rx,y, and r^^y^, two autocorrelations (ry_^^^ and Tyjy^) that indicate the test- retest reliabilities or stabilities of the two variables, and two cross-lagged correlations (r^jyj and /quot;yj^j) between the time 1 value of one variable and the subsequent time 2 value of the other variable. Causal analysis and tests of spuriousness typically are conducted by sta- tistical correction and comparisons of the magnitudes of the cross-lagged correlations (Kenny, 1975). Recent criticism of cross-lagged correlations (Rogosa, 1980), however, alternatively suggests the use of structural regres- sion models for the analysis of longitudinal panel data. This approach was applied in the present study. For a given pair of variables, x and y, the causal influence from A: to j ' is represented by the regression parameter of the path from x at time 1 to j at time 2. In like manner, the causal influ- ence from J to X is represented by the regression parameter of the path from prior ^ to a subsequent x. Thus, where: the parameters ^i and 71 represent the time-lagged influence of a variable on itself, and ^2 and 72 represent the time-lagged causal effects between X and y. Under the usual assumptions governing regression analysis Ginear- ity, additivity, etc.) a nonzero value of a relevant parameter is indicative of a significant causal effect. Essentially, then, the time-lagged explanatory power of a potentially causal variable is determined only after the quot;dependentquot; variable's time 1 influence upon quot;itselfquot; is first controlled for. An additional advantage to analyzing the data over two time periods is that some of the method variance of a single collection of self-report data is removed. Finally, the reader should be cautioned that these procedures do not ultimately quot;provequot; causality. However, confidence in making causal inferences is substantial- ly strengthened if one of the pertinent regression parameters is significant.
  10. 10. 104 Academy of Management Journal March and reciprocal causation also can be indicated if both ^2 and 72 are significant. Table 3 indicates the cross-lagged correlations and regression coefficients (static correlations and test-retest reliabilities are found in Table 2). Although the static correlations generally are highly significant, only two of the eight pairs of regression parameters show indication of any causal ordering. Leader punitive behavior is shown to have a negative causal impact on com- mitment, and commitment is indicated to have a positive causal impact on job satisfaction. Furthermore, given the weakness of the leader punitive behavior effect, especially within the context of unstable and nonnegative static correlations and low test-retest reliabilities of the leader punitive be- havior scale, in total there is little to argue for the presumed antecedent nature of this set of predictor variables. Particularly noteworthy, however, is that job satisfaction, most commonly considered a cause of organiza- tional commitment, is shown to result from commitment. Subanalyses on the five facets of satisfaction revealed that only one—satisfaction with pay—did not show at least a trend in this direction. Satisfaction with op- portunities for promotion was significant at/7<.07; and the other three subscales—satisfaction with work, co-workers, and supervision—were all strongly significant resuhs of commitment. Table 3 Cross-Lagged Correlations and Regression Parameters for Commitment and Predictor Variables Time-Lagged Predictor Variables (x) Cross-Lagged Correlations Regression Parameters^ with Commitment (y) 02 72 ''yi'<2 Job satisfaction .39* .54*' 1 . .02 .25** Environmental alternatives -.43* -.39*' > • -.10 -.13 Job tension -.27* -.33*' >• .00 -.04 Need achievement .08 .09 .00 .00 Centralization .22* .25*' 1* -.11 -.03 Motivating potential score .27* .22*' .00 .00 Leader reward behavior .26* >• .33*'> • -.14 .04 Leader punishment behavior .01 .01 -.14* -.08 ^Two-tailed ^tests of statistical significance. */>:S.O5 A final set of cross-lagged regression analyses was performed using sat- isfaction, rather than commitment, as the focal variable. This was done for three a priori reasons and one post hoc reason. First, there are strong arguments for expecting satisfaction to result from many of the variables presumed also to be antecedent, to commitment. Second, the strong rela- tionship between commitment and satisfaction is well established, and the possibility that this may obscure other relationships with commitment was reinforced by the multiple regressions in which satisfaction was such a
  11. 11. 1984 Bateman and Strasser 105 consistently powerful and significant predictor. Third, testing these causal linkages might afford more contextual information within which results from the commitment analyses could be more appropriately viewed. Finally, the results that reveal commitment as a cause of satisfaction suggest the pursuit of satisfaction as a relatively more important outcome variable than commitment in this study. Table 4 shows these results. Five of the eight two-variable analyses sug- gest job satisfaction as an outcome variable. Organizational commitment and the motivating potential of the job have positive causal impacts; and job tension, leader punitive behavior, and environmental alternatives have negative impacts. Thus, the overall pattern of causal conclusions from these results suggests that several variables are antecedent not to commitment but to job satisfaction, and that commitment is one of the several causes of satisfaction. ^ Table 4 Cross-Lagged Correlations and Regression Parameters for Job Satisfaction and Predictor Variables Time-Lagged Predictor Variables (x) Cross-Lagged Correlations Regression Parameters' with Job Satisfaction (y) P2 72 '''iy2 ^''2yi Organizational commitment .54*** .39*** .25** .02 Environmental alternatives -.36*** -.24*** -.14* -.05 Job tension -.43*** -.29*** -.23** -.07 Need achievement .11 .03 .10 .02 Centralization .47*** .36*** .12 .00 Motivating potential score .52*** .33*** .18* -.05 Leader reward behavior .32*** .40*** -.14 .09 Leader punishment behavior -.01 -.04 -.21** -.15 °Two-tailed ^tests of statistical significance. ***p£.OOl In order to assess the possibility of artifactual results in Tables 3 and 4 due to aggregating these data across four hospitals, additional analyses were conducted. For each statistically significant result reported, dummy variables representing each hospital were entered into the regression equa- tion as blocking variables. The results were unaffected except for one minor exception: the gamma for leader punishment behavior in Table 4 changes from -.15 to -.19, now significant a.tp<.05. Finally, the complete set of ti predictor variables were combined in a time-lagged multiple regression with ^2 job satisfaction as the dependent variable. After the initial entry of ti job satisfaction into the equation, the set of other ti variables added significantly to the prediction of subsequent (^2) satisfaction (A/?^ = .158, ^9,9, = 4.627, p<.0001). Significant individ- ual variables included (in order of entry) organizational commitment (j8 = .25, A/?^ = .O44, ^2,98 = 8.64, /7<.O1); leader punishment behavior
  12. 12. 106 Academy of Management Journai March (/3 = -.22, Ai?^=.O43, ^3.97 = 9.28, p<.01); job tension (/3 = -.17, A/?^=.O23, ^4,98 = 5.09, /?<.O5); leader reward behavior (|8 = -.2O, A/?^=.O21, ^5,95 = 4.73, /7<.O5); and motivating potential of the job (j3=.15, A/?^=.O15, F6,94 = 3.55, p<.01). The negative coefficient for leader reward behavior is apparently indicative of a (net) suppression ef- fect that can occur when the correlation among two predictor variables (in this case ti satisfaction and leader reward behavior) and the dependent variable (^2 satisfaction) are all positive (Cohen & Cohen, 1975). Multi- coUinearity among the predictors served to diminish the predictive power of environmental alternatives. However, these results are not contrary to the significant bivariate findings in Table 4; they serve only to indicate the relative power of the causal predictors. Discussion The multiple regression results clearly show that the presumed predic- tors of commitment account for a large proportion of the variance in this construct. The explanatory power of the variables used in this study, as noted earlier, compares quite favorably with previous organizational com- mitment research (Marsh & Mannari, 1977; Morris & Sherman, 1981; Steers, 1977). The stability of this set of predictors over time is also evident. Of the 12 variables investigated, however, only 2 account for most ofthe vari- ance in organizational commitment: overall job satisfaction and environ- mental alternatives. This outcome is reliably demonstrated in both the time 1 and time 2 regressions, and it is consistent with the findings of Farrell and Rusbult (1981) in the survey component of their research. These results differ from previous research, in part, in terms of the minor role played by personal characteristics of the employee in explaining vari- ation in commitment. Age and education, significant predictors in the multi- variate models offered by Morris and Sherman (1981) and Steers (1977), are not significant in this investigation when the other predictors are sta- tistically controlled. Nor is need for achievement, which arises as an im- portant variable in Steer's (1977) study, a significant contributor to the ex- plained variance here. However, this may simply be due to weak psycho- metric properties of the scale. Furthermore, age has significant zero-order correlations with commitment at both time periods. The subsequent lack of significance in the multiple regression analyses probably is due to the strong predictive power of satisfaction and environmental alternatives, which were not in the models of Morris and Sherman (1981) and Steers (1977). The results of the initial time-lagged multiple regression analyses indicate a relative inability to predict organizational commitment with variables other than prior commitment, suggesting that the theoretical causal presumptions behind the set of predictor variables may be invalid. The cross-lagged bi- variate regression results shed additional light on this suspicion of incor- rect causal specification. Two important findings arise. First, with the
  13. 13. 1984 Bateman and Strasser 107 possible exception of leader punitive behavior, none of the predictors emerges as being antecedent to organizational commitment. This finding (nonfmding) runs counter to what previous researchers have believed to be the causal priorities among these variables—theoretical models of or- ganizational commitment validated only by static correlational analysis (Marsh & Mannari, 1977; Steers, 1977) would have predicted otherwise. Second, there is evidence that overall satisfaction is not a cause of com- mitment but rather a result of it. Although the marginal relationship (A/?^) revealed in the stepwise multiple regression of commitment on the predic- tor variables suggests a need for some restraint and further test, the un- equivocal result of the bivariate analysis brings into question arguments made by previous researchers who view commitment as a time-lagged out- come of employee satisfaction (Marsh & Mannari, 1977; Porter et al., 1974). Perhaps employees become committed to the organization before attitudes of satisfaction can meaningfully emerge. This is consistent with previous work that suggests that the employee may come to develop attitudes that are consistent with his or her existing level of commitment to the employ- ing organization (Staw, 1980). In fact, organizational commitment may start quite early, perhaps even as a function of pre-entry experiences (O'Reilly & Caldwell, 1981; Schein, 1968). To the extent that this occurs, the stabil- ity of the commitment construct noted by Porter et al. (1974) also becomes more understandable. When comparing the cross-lagged bivariate regressions surrounding or- ganizational commitment with those surrounding job satisfaction (Tables 3 and 4), at least two primary points surface. First, the comparison of job satisfaction and commitment as dependent variables is useful because it suggests that the lack of causal findings pertaining to commitment is not due to inherent limitations of the methodological and analytical procedures employed. Had a similar pattern of insignificant results emerged with the cross-lagged bivariate analyses surrounding job satisfaction, this possibil- ity would have been more compelling. As it was, though, 5 of the 8 bi- variate regressions (more accurately, 8 of 12—from subanalyses) were sta- tistically significant. Nonetheless, one cannot altogether rule out the possibility that commit- ment may have been shown to be caused by some of the study variables if some different time lag had been used. Perhaps five months is more ap- propriate for uncovering the causes of satisfaction than of commitment. The choice of an quot;appropriatequot; lag is an empirical question, but little has been written about guidelines in choosing the best lag. However, Sims and Wilkerson (1977) found that the cross-lagged test was fairly robust with respect to quot;missingquot; the appropriate lag. This conclusion, coupled with the several significant outcomes (one of which included commitment as a causal variable), helps to provide confidence in the utility of the study design. The second point is based on the conceptual overlap between existing models of job satisfaction and of commitment. A general trend underly- ing past research into the antecedents of organizational commitment and
  14. 14. 108 Academy of Management Journal March of job satisfaction is that characteristics of the job, work setting, and the individual are presumed to be causal to the formation of each of these at- titudes. For example, Hackman and Lawler (1971) report a positive rela- tionship between job characteristics and employee satisfaction for employees with higher need strength. Similarly, Steers (1977), Buchanan (1974), and Koch and Steers (1978) show job characteristics such as task identity and job challenge to be related to organizational commitment. In essence, when the literatures surrounding job satisfaction and commitment are compared, one sees a similar set of (presumed) antecedent factors emerging. Indeed, the conclusion that those factors that cause job satisfaction are similar to those causing commitment is appealing. However, the results of this in- vestigation do not support this assertion. The set of predictor variables gen- erally is shown to be antecedent to job satisfaction but not to commitment. The temporal relationship of environmental alternatives to satisfaction is especially noteworthy because it supports Bluedorn's (1982) placement of this variable in his turnover model. Yet, despite the strong demonstra- tion of the negative relationships between environmental alternatives and commitment and satisfaction, and the causal priority from alternatives to dissatisfaction, questions remain regarding the role of alternatives in the process of attitude formation and in explaining behaviors such as turnover. For example, the existence of job alternatives may provide an explanation for some of the relationships between demographic characteristics of the employee and commitment and turnover (Price, 1977). Table 2 correlations provide possible support for this notion with respect to age, as suggested by Sheldon (1971), and possibly career tenure but not the other demographic variables. Furthermore, the timing of the existence of job alternatives may affect even the direction of the relationships. O'Reilly and Caldwell's (1981) data suggest that the presence of alternatives at the time of job choice (i.e., before entry into the organization) has a positive impact on subsequent com- mitment to the organization; however, the availability of job alternatives after organizational membership has been established may exert a negative impact on commitment (O'Reilly & Caldwell, 1981) and satisfaction (pres- ent study). Without doubt, the recent attention paid to environmental al- ternatives (Farrell & Rusbult, 1981; O'Reilly & Caldwell, 1981; Pfeffer & Lawler, 1980), after a long period of neglect, is worthy of continued pur- suit in uncovering some of these process issues. Conclusions Virtually all of the published articles in the organizational commitment literature have contained static correlational relationships between com- mitment and its presumed antecedents. And, as with so many other streams of organizational literature, researchers appropriately have called for longi- tudinal designs in order to demonstrate causality more clearly. As an ini- tial response to this call, the longitudinal data presented here revealed sig- nificant findings. The study variables causally predicted job satisfaction
  15. 15. 1984 Bateman and Strasser 109 much better than they predicted subsequent commitment. The findings also suggest that commitment may be a construct that is neither simultaneous with nor a consequence of job satisfaction. Rather, organizational com- mitment appears to be one of the many causes of satisfaction. Future commitment research must continue to move away from static correlational studies. More panel or other longitudinal designs are needed to: (1) provide replication and generalization tests of the findings reported here and (2) continue to specify the causes of commitment. More specifi- cally, an important generalization issue emerges when considering the longi- tudinal results of this investigation. The present study focused on the causal antecedents of a psychological measure of organizational commitment. An alternative measure of commitment, based on exchange theory, has a dif- ferent conceptual foundation and set of presumed antecedents (Hrebiniak & Alutto, 1972; Stevens et al., 1978). For example, Stevens et al. (1978) found job involvement, attitude toward change, work overload, and skill levels of subordinates to have significant static relationships with exchange commitment. Hrebiniak and Alutto (1972) also found two of the variables in the present study—job tension and job satisfaction—to be significant static predictors of exchange commitment. In the present investigation, no time-lagged causal impact of these variables on psychological commitment was found. The causal effects of these and other variables on exchange commitment remain to be tested via longitudinal designs. In short, three related avenues for future longitudinal research are suggested: (1) the pur- suit of other causal antecedents of psychological commitment; (2) the test- ing of hypothesized antecedents of exchange commitment; and (3) the si- multaneous investigation of both commitment constructs within the same studies. If such a protocol is followed, the antecedents of both psychologi- cal and exchange commitment can be meaningfully compared for their con- gruence or noncongruence. Appropriate causal specification will improve the models of commitment, which apparently have inadequately and/or erroneously identified its an- tecedents; empirically unsubstantiated causal assumptions presently need to be viewed with more caution. For example, the temporal ordering from commitment to satisfaction suggested by the present data is the reverse of that suggested by others (Marsh & Mannari, 1977; Porter et al., 1974), al- though it is consistent with the theoretical discussions of Bem (1967) and Salancik and Pfeffer (1978). More importantly, until other antecedents of commitment are more reliably established, organizational interventions aimed at increasing commitment and its consequential beneficial employee behaviors may not realize their intended effects. The present findings suggest that the interventions implied by models of commitment—for example, improving the job itself or reducing job ten- sion—may result in higher satisfaction but not commitment. The costs of such interventions thus will not be salvaged through their intended gains. If future research continues to fail to demonstrate longitudinally the causes of commitment other than demographic variables such as age and education
  16. 16. 110 Academy of Management Journal March (Steers, 1977) or the existence of other job alternatives at the time of job choice (O'Reilly & Caldwell, 1981), then it may be that employee commit- ment can be influenced only through job selection techniques. Subsequent interventions may be incapable of increasing commitment levels and there- fore may be a waste of organizational resources. On the other hand, it is known that commitment does decrease prior to turnover (Porter et al., 1974, 1976). If further research can reveal other causes of commitment that the organization can infiuence directly, a number of benefits will accrue. First, the costs associated with misspecified inter- ventions can be reduced. Second, appropriate interventions may have their intended results. Finally, direct improvements in commitment levels may have not only positive behavioral consequences but, according to the pres- ent results, the indirect outcome of increased employee satisfaction as well. References Abelson, M. A., & Sheridan, J. E. Catastrophe model of employee withdrawal leading to job termi- nation among nursing home staff. Paper presented at the National Academy of Management Meet- ings, San Diego, 1981. Angle, H. L., & Perry, J. L. An empirical assessment of organizational commitment and organiza- tional effectiveness. Administrative Science Quarteriy, 1981, 26, 1-13. Bateman, T., & Strasser, S. A cross-lagged regression test of the relationship between job tension and employee satisfaction. Journal of Applied Psychology, 1983, 68, 439-445. Becker, H. S. Notes on the concept of commitment. The American Joumai of Sociology, 1960, 66, 32-42. Bem, D. J. Self-perception: An alternative interpretation of cognitive dissonance. Psychological Review, 1967, 74, 183-200. Bluedorn, A. C. A unified model of turnover from organizations. Human Relations, 1982, 35, 135-153. Brief, A., Schuler, R., & Van Sell, M. Managing job stress. Boston: Little, Brown, 1981. Buchanan, B. Building organizational commitment: The socialization of managers in work organiza- tions. Administrative Science Quarterly, 1974, 22, 533-546. Cohen, J., & Cohen, P. Applied multiple regression/correlation analysis for the behavioral sciences. Hillsdale, N.J.: Lawrence Erlbaum, 1975. Farrell, D., & Rusbult, C. E. Exchange variables as predictors of job satisfaction, job commitment and turnover: The impact of rewards, costs, alternatives, and investments. Organizational Behavior and Human Performance, 1981, 27, 78-95. Hackman, J. R., & Lawler, E. E. Employee reactions to job characteristics. Journal of Applied Psy- chology, 1971, 55, 259-286. Hackman, R., & Oldham, G. Development of the Job Diagnostic Survey. Journal of Applied Psychology, 1975, 60, 159-170. Hall, D. T., & Schneider, B. Correlates of organizational identification as a function of career pattern and organizational type. Administrative Science Quarteriy, 1972, 17, 340-350. Hrebiniak, L. G., & Alutto, J. G. Personal and role-related factors in the development of organiza- tional commitment. Administrative Science Quarterly, 1972, 17, 555-573. Johnson, R. D. An investigation of the interaction effects of ability and motivational properties on task performance. Unpublished dissertation, Indiana University, 1973. Kahn, R. L., Wolfe, D. M., Quinn, R. P., Snoek, J. D., & Rosenthal, R. A. Organizational stress: Studies in role conflict and ambiguity. New York: Wiley, 1964. Kenny, D. A. Cross-lagged panel correlation: A test for spuriousness. Psychological Bulletin, 1975, 82, 887-903. Kiesler, C. A. (Ed.). The psychology of commitment: Experiments linking behavior to belief. New York: Academic Press, 1971.
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  18. 18. 112 Academy of Management Journal March Steers, R. M. Effects of need achievement on the job performance-job attitude relationship. Journal of Applied Psychology, 1975, 60, 678-682. Steers, R. M. Antecedents and outcomes of organizational commitment. Administrative Science Quarter- ly, 1977, 22, 46-56. Stevens, J. M., Beyer, J. M., & Trice, H. M. Assessing personal, role, and organizational predictors of managerial commitment. Academy of Management Journal, 1978, 21, 380-396. Stone, S. F., & Porter, L. W. Job characteristics and job attitudes: A multivariate study. Journal of Applied Psychology, 1976, 60, 57-64. Vroom, V. H. Some personality determinants of the effects of participation. Englewood Cliffs, N.J.: Prentice-Hall, 1960. * Thomas S. Bateman is Assistant Professor, Department of Man- agement at Texas A&M University. Stephen Strasser is Assistant Professor, Hospital and Health Ser- vices Administration Division, Ohio State University.