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BOOK REVIEWS                                           301
   The concept of commitment is caretully               Another...
Organizational Behavior
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Organizational Behavior


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Organizational Behavior

  1. 1. 300 INDUSTRIAL AND LABOR RELATIONS REVIEW fair share of the fruits of their laborquot; (p. 6). expressed in the 1973 piece reprinted in the However, the disctission is implicitly within the book.) Some of the articles also show a poor or context of capitalist society, in contrast to Vanek's superficial understanding of labor movement The Participatory Economy (1971). Moreover, the history and operations. discussion focuses more on the workplace than The book evokes the spirit of late 1960s and on society at large, in contrast to Pateman's Par- early 1970s countercultural radicalism brought ticipation and Democratic Theory (1970). into the workplace. Not that the concerns about Without going into particular detail on the workplace hierarchy, authority, and equity are failures of hierarchically-controlled workplaces, passe, it just seems that much ofthis book needs the readings in the book discuss alternative ways updating. As shown by Boyte's The Backyard Rev- to share the control of workplaces. Many of those olution (1981), Carnoy and Shearer's Economic who turn to this book will not need convincing Democracy {198), and Whyteetal.'s Worker Own- of the failures and the need for alternatives. ership and Participation (1983), grass-roots par- Other readers will not be as convinced as the ticipatory economic development and editors and their contributors about the need alternatives to corporate control are not '60s to create alternative structures. Nonetheless, ghosts. They are economic, social, and political even these more skeptical readers may profit realities of the 1980s. Unfortunately, owing per- from the perspectives these examinations of the haps to publishing delays, the articles in this alternatives bring to light concerning legal 1982 book tend to date earlier than 1980. In structures, ownership, hierarchy, power, and fact, the median date of writing seems to have decision making in conventional organizations; been 1977-78. as well as organizational theory, grassroots Despite these flaws, this is overall a fine col- movements, quality-of-working-life(QWL) proj- lection of pieces documenting the plural con- ects, and economic development. temporary strains of workplace democracy. The The selections from other sources and the book's advocacy of a quot;third sectorquot; of self- articles written originally for this book cover managed enterprises may not be to every read- theory, case studies, and essays on the practic- er's liking. Nevertheless, its presentation of the ability of workplace democracy. The theoretical possibilities, particularly through actual exam- pieces are classics in this young field by Roths- ples, should stimulate further understanding of, child-Whitt, Bernstein, Berman, and EUerman if not optimism about, workplace democracy. (a student of Vanek). Even case studies have Arthur Hochner significant theoretical import. For instance, Assistant Professor of Industrial Relations Kanter, Stein, and Brinkerhoff use a QWL pro- and Organizational Behavior gram to develop a theory of co-existing parallel School of Business Administration structures to meet goals of productivity and par- Temple University ticipatory democracy. The case studies are drawn from the widest assortment of organizations. They include worker buyouts of manufacturing facilities, older worker cooperatives (such as San Francisco's Organization refuse collectors and the Pacific northwest's ply- Employee-Organization Linkages: The Psychol- wood cooperatives), an insurance company, ogy of Commitment, Absenteeism tf Turnover. alternative schools, radical legal collectives, worker-owned groceries and small service busi- By Richard T. Mowday, Lyman Porter and nesses, and even a feminist illegal abortion col- R. M. Steers. New York: Academic Press, lective. Some of the articles about these cases 1982. 253 pp. N.p. are academically analytical and dispassionate discussions; others are politically rhetorical and Here is good news and bad news for industrial journalistic narrations; still others are counter- relations users of behavioral research methods. cultural criticism and self-criticism. Despite the The good news is that at a time industrial rela- optimism expressed, the editors and contribu- tions research is being increasingly focused on tors tend to be honest, showing many instances relating industrial relations outcomes to system of how workplace democracy in America has characteristics, Employee-Organization Linkages not worked well. A few articles, however, are provides needed impetus to model the effects too full of dated syndicalist or anti-establishment of industrial relations practices on productivity. rhetoric. Even sympathetic readers may find The bad news is that this book does not fully articles by Benello and Gorz tiresome. (Inci- accomplish the task of bringing greater concep- dentally, Gorz himself has recendy moved away tual clarity to the complex and poorly under- from the faith in workers' control that he stood employee-organization interface.
  2. 2. BOOK REVIEWS 301 The concept of commitment is caretully Another useful feature of the book is a series developed by the authors to a point where it of research agendas developed, at the end of can be used by researchers in fields other than each chapter, for both managers and academics. organizational behavior. Because it sorts out A wide variety of readers will find the book a some of the theoretical confusion surrounding valuable resource for creative consideration of the elusive job satisfaction-performance link, the htmian resotirce management issties. Michael E. concept of organizational commitment could be Gordon etal. (1980), building on previous work useful to many researchers. In contrast to the of the authors, have reported developing a concept of job satisfaction, which is mired in measure of commitment to the union (see controversy over its antecedents, consequences, quot;Commitment to the Union: Development of a and relative stability over time, commitment is Measure and An Examination of Its Corre- more precisely and clearly defined by the authors lates,quot; yownw/ of Applied Psychology, Monograph as a quot;stable attitudequot; that develops over time 65(4), 1980, pp. 479-99). Thus there is evi- (p. 45). Commitment develops when individuals dence that researchers with varied concerns have who have quot;needs, desires, skillsquot; find that the found and will continue to find the concept of organization is able to titilize their skills and organizational commitment useful. satisfy their needs. In contrast to job satisfaction Despite its efforts to bring conceptual clari- that is linked to the job, commitment empha- fication to the person-job or person-organization sizes links to the organization. The authors argue linkage, the book fails to stibstantially improve that although day-to-day events may cause large our understanding of how commitment relates fluctuations in job satisfaction, they may not to behavior. For example, the authors describe cause employees to reassess their over all attach- commitment in terms of the employee's willing- ment to the organization. To the authors, the ness to retain membership in the organization. concept of employee linkages to organizations The case of the employee whose productivity is is the encompassing concept that may be qual- lower than the compensation received from the itatively described as organizational commit- organization will add quot;errorquot; to the commit- ment, or quantified in terms of absenteeism or ment -^ productivity relationship because such turnover. an underperformer will want to stay in the orga- Commitment is defined and described; and nization (i.e., he or she will score high on OCQ) an instrument, the Organizational Commitment but contribute relatively less to output. Of 15 Questionnaire (OCQ), to measure commitment items in OCQ, only two explicitly ask respondents is developed. Painstaking years of research by about effort exerted on the job. The other items the authors and their associates is evident in the stress loyalty and generally describe attachment results reported on tests for internal consistency to the organization. This balance of items may reliability, test-retest reliability, and convergent explain in part why correlations with job per- and discriminant validity of the instrument. The formance are not as high as those relating com- book attempts to develop a model of the process mitment to turnover or absenteeism. The by which commitment develops and affects job authors recognize the negative consequences of outcomes. In longitudinal studies, commitment commitment at the outset but fail to explore this was found to be significantly related to job per- important aspect in research reported later on. formance during early employment, but the link Clearly, commitment as defined by the authors appeared to fade when monitored later comprises two distinct but related dimensions (Chapter 3). Clearly, the authors have not of ef'fort and attachment. The authors do not answered all the questions in this context, but explore the connective conceptual links and their efforts mark a big step forward. possible empirical separation of these two Chapters 2 and 3 provide a comprehensive dimensions. Research efforts in the future may review of the treatment of commitment by other be directed toward further clarification and sep- writers. Useful summaries of individual, struc- aration of effort and attachment within a gen- tural, and situational determinants of commit- eralized conceptual framework of commitment. ment are provided. The book also presents Anil Verma comprehensive reviews of research on turnover Assistant Professor and absenteeism—an excellent resource to Faculty of Commerce and researchers and practitioners alike. Little mate- Business Administration University of British Columbia rial here, however, adds to the literature as sub- stantially as the research on commitment does.