Humanity & Social Sciences JournalS (1): 25-34, 2010 ISSN 1818-4960

© mOSI Publications, 2010

The Five-factor Model of Personality and Organizational Commitment:

Is There Any Relationship?

Kuldeep Kumar and Arti Bakhshi

P.G. Department of Psychology, University of Jammu, Jammu-lS0006

Abstract: The present study explored the relationship between five-factor model of personality and three component model of organizational commitment proposed by Meyer and Allen [1] using a sample of employees working in hospital setting. A hierarchical regression analysis was performed for each of the three components of commitment to test our hypotheses. Results indicated that Openness to experience negatively predicted continuance and normative commitment. Conscientiousness positively predicted affective and continuance commitment. Extraversion emerged as the most consistent predictor, significantly relating (positively) to all three forms of organizational commitment. Normative commitment was found to be positively predicted by agreeableness. Neuroticism was found to have negative (non significant) relationship with affective commitment, positive relationship with continuance commitment and positive (non significant) relationship with normative commitment. Theoretical and practical implications of the results are also discussed.

Key words: Five-factor model of personality . Opeuness to experience . Conscientiousness . Extraversion· Agreeableness· Neuroticism' Organizational Commitment

INTRODUCTION

Over the past two decades, there has been a tremendous increase in the research efforts trying to explore and understand the nature, antecedents and consequences of organizational commitment [2-4]. A large number of research reviews and meta-analysis have concluded that organizational commitment plays an important role in predicting work behavior. Research has also shown that organizational commitment significantly correlates with job satisfaction, organizational citizenship behavior, turnover intentions, work performance, employee motivation and thus appears to be a crucial factor in understanding and enhancing work effectiveness [5-7]. Commitment has been the subject of various theoretical reviews [8, 9] and overview books [10-l3], largely because of its relationship with turnover intentions as employees with low level of commitment are more likely to leave their organizations whereas highly committed employees wish to remain with their employing organizations [14-16].

Althongh the studies trying to identify the antecedents of organizational commitment have increased tremendously over the past few years, environmental rather than dispositional sources are typically considered, despite a surge in research looking at the dispositional sources of other job attitudes, such as job satisfaction [17]. Althongh organizational commitment, like job satisfaction, is a job attitude, so far a little attention has been paid to understand the role of dispositions in shaping organizational commitment of the employees.

Within the last two decades, there has been a consensus within the organization behavior scientist that five-factor model of personality, often termed as the Big Five [18, 19], is one of the most prominent models in contemporary psychology to describe the most salient aspects of personality. Although the five-factor model of personality has been

Corresponding Auhtor: Kuldeep Kumar, P.G. Department of Psychology, University of Jammu, Jammu-180006 25

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researched in several areas of organizational psychology, but particularly it has been studied with respect to job performance [20]. However, the relationship of the five-factor model to organizational commitment is much less studied. A few studies have investigated relations between isolated facets of the five-factor model (especially Neuroticism and Extraversion) and organizational commitment [21-23]. However, the literature in organizational commitment lacks the research studies that have linked the complete taxonomy of five- factor model of personality to organizational commitment [24]. This is unfortunate because organizational commitment, like job satisfaction, is a job attitude, the five-factor model of personality may include traits not covered by the PA-NA typology and will provide an in-depth understanding of the dispositional antecedents of organizational commitment and may provide needed integration to this literature. Accordingly, the present study aims to fill this research gap and propose to assess the relationship between the Big Five personality constructs and organizational commitment.

The Ffve-factor Model of Personality: The five-factor model of personality is a hierarchical organization of personality traits in terms of five basic dimensions: Opeuness to Experience, Conscientiousness, Extraversion, Agreeableness and Neuroticism [25, 26]. These five relatively independent constructs altogether provide a meaningful classification for the study of individual differences in work attitudes.

Opeuness to Experience is related to scientific and artistic creativity [27], divergent thinking and political liberalism [17, 28]. The behavioral tendencies typically associated with Openness to Experience include being cultured, curious, foresighted, original, imaginative, broad-minded, intelligent [29] and having a need for variety, aesthetic sensitivity and unconventional values [24, 25]. Conscientiousness is a tendency to show self-discipline and act dutifully. The typical behavioral tendencies associated with include organized, persevering, hard-working, achievement- oriented, careful and responsible [20, 24]. Extraversion refers to the predisposition to experience positive emotions [30]; they have more friends and spend more time in social situations than do introverts [17]. The behavioral tendencies associated with this factor include being sociable, assertive, gregarious, active and talkative [20]. Individuals high on Agreeableness tend to be compassionate, cooperative and value getting along with others. They are generally considerate, friendly, trusting, generous, forgiving, helpful and willing to compromise their interests with others [20]. Neuroticism refers to the individual differences in the tendency to experience chronic negative emotions, such as anger, anxiety, or depression. Individual high on this trait are generally anxious, depressed, angry, embarrassed, emotional, worried and insecure [20, 25].

Organizational Commitment: Organizational commitment has been defined as "the relative strength of an individual's identification with and involvement in a particular organization" [31] and a ''psychological link between an employee and his or her organization that makes it less likely that the employee will voluntarily leave the organization" [32]. There are many other definitions of organizational commitment but almost all the definitions describe the construct in terms of a psychological state that characterizes an employee's relationship with his or her organization and has implications for that employee continuing membership in the organization [12,31,32]. Meyer and Allen [1] referred to these psychological states as components of organizational commitment. Thus, Meyer and Allen [12] proposed three-component model of commitment that conceives organizational commitment as consisting of three components: affective commitment (AC), continuance commitment (CC) and normative commitment (NC). Affective commitment (AC) refers to employees' emotional attachment to and involvement in an organization [1]; continuance commitment (CC) is related to the perceived costs associated with leaving the organization and normative commitment (N C) is the perceived obligation to remain with the organization [16].

Hypothesized Relationships Between the Big Five and Organizational Commitment

Openness to Experience: None of the psychological traits associated with openness to experience such as divergent thinking, low religiosity and political liberalism [28] seems to be correlated with affective or continuance organizational commitment. Divergent thinking is associated with opeuness to experience [28] suggesting that those high on Openness

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to experience may not value things that are often valued, such as organizational investments, formal and informal rewards that generally bind employees to their organizations may not apply to those high on this personality dimension [24]. Moreover, such individuals are low on religiosity and will have low moral obligation to remain with the organization leading to decrease in the level of normative commitment. Thus,

Hypothesis 1: Openness to experience would be negatively related to normative commitment.

Conscientiousness: Conscientiousness is related with self-discipline and dutifulness and these traits do not relate to affective organization commitment because it involves emotional attachment to and involvement in an organization [1] as Organ and Lingl [33] also argued that conscientiousness relate to generalized work-involvement tendency but not an organizational involvement tendency. A generalized work-involvement tendency will provides increased opportunity for an employee to obtain formal (e.g., pay, promotion) and informal work rewards (e.g., recognition, respect) leading to increase in the costs associated with leaving the organization and heightened level of continuance commitment [24]. Therefore,

Hypothesis 2: Conscientiousness will be positively related to continuance commitment.

Normative commitment refers to obligation to remain with the organization because organization has invested in them and they ought to reciprocate it by staying with the organization. Conscientiousness is a manifestation of a strong sense of purpose, obligation and persistence and it would relate to normative commitment because individual high on this dimension of personality would continue to work hard irrespective of what their organization has invested in them. Therefore,

Hypothesis 3: Conscientiousness will be positively related to nonnative commitment.

Extraversion: Given that positive emotionality is at the core of Extraversion [34]. Extraverts tend to experience more positive emotions than other [30] and affective commitment is positive emotional reaction towards his or her organization, it is logical to assume that extravert would experience high affective commitment than introvert. Thus,

Hypothesis 4: Extraversion will be positively related to affective commitment.

There are evidences that the core feature of Extraversion is reward sensitivity, rather than sociability [35]. Extraverts highly value certain extrinsic aspects in a job, such as opportunities to interact with others and rewards in the form of pay rises and benefits [36, 37]. On the basis of these rationales, we assume that highly extravert would perceive more costs associated with leaving the organization leading to increase in the level of continuance commitment. Thus,

Hypothesis 5: Extraversion will be positively related to continuance commitment.

Agreeableness: Agreeableness involves "getting along with others in pleasant, satisfying relationships" [33]. Although, Individuals high on this dimension are more emotionally responsive in social situations [38] but a meta-analysis [17] found that previous research has shown negative correlation between agreeableness and positive reactions such as job satisfaction. Thus we expect that agreeableness will not relate to affective commitment - a positive emotional response. Agreeableness directly relates to emotional warmth and such emotion may increase an employee's identity with his or her work environment, thereby increasing his or her need to reciprocate the organization for providing a supportive social enviroument [24] leading to increase in the level of normative commitment. Based on previous assumptions,

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Hypothesis 6: Agreeableness will be positively related to normative commitment.

Neuroticism: Individuals high on neuroticism have the tendency to experience more negative emotions than others [39, 40] They choose to put themselves into situations that foster negative affect [41]. Thus, it would not relate to affective commitment because it will decrease their likelihood of developing a positive emotional response towards their organization. However, these feeling would lead to increase in continuance commitment as due to their tendency to experience chronic negative affects [40] would be more worried of the costs associated with leaving the organization and about facing a new work environment [24]. Thus,

Hypothesis 7: Neuroticism will positively relate to continuance commitment.

MATERIALS AND METHOD

Sample: This study included 187 doctors working in medical college in north India. The sample was defined as permanent staff members who have been working in the present organization for more than two years. The gender composition of the sample was 53.47% male (N = 100) and 46.52 % female (N = 87). The age of the employees ranges between 32 and 50 with mean age of38.47 years (SD= 5.42). Respondents have been in their present organization for an average of 10.06 years (SD= 3.37). A total of 200 questionnaires were filled but 13 were rejected as they were found incomplete. Thus, the analysis of this research was based on 187 complete questionnaires.

Procedure: Permission was secured from the Principal of the medical college and associate hospitals to collect data from its employees. The questiounaire was then distributed to each employee explaining the purpose of the survey. A cover letter was also enclosed, assuring them that their responses would be kept confidential and that participation was voluntary. The questionnaires were distributed personally during working hours and collected later by the researcher.

Variables and Measurements

Control Variables - Age, Gender and Organizational Tenure: Age and tenure can function as predictors of continuance commitment, primarily because of their roles as surrogate measures of investment in the organization [1,42]. Age and tenure are thought to be positively related to organizational commitment [43, 44]. Previous research has also indicated that gender correlates negatively with affective and normative commitment [16]. Kacmar et al. [45] found that gender was not related to affective commitment, although other studies have found gender to be significant, with women demonstrating more commitment then men [4,46]. Thus, to control for potential demographic effects, we included age, gender and organizational tenure as control variables.

Predictor Variables - Big Five Personality Factors: We used the 50 items scale (10 items for each facet) from International Personality Item Pool (IPIP) to assess the five-factor model of personality. This fifty-item scale is measured on a Likert-type anchoring ranging from very inaccurate (1) to very accurate (5) and contains five dimensions corresponding to the five factors of personality: Extraversion, Neuroticism, Agreeableness, Openness and Conscientiousness. Sample items for each of the dimensions are as follows: "I make friends easily" (for Extraversion), "I have frequent mood swings" (for Neuroticism), "I accept people as they are" (for Agreeableness), "I enjoy hearing new ideas" (for Openness) and "I make plans and stick to them" (for Conscientiousness). The reliabilities for each facet were as follows: Extraversion (.86), Neuroticism (.83), Agreeableness (.77), Openness (.82) and Conscientiousness (.81).

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Criterion Variable - Affective Commihnent, Continuance Commihnent and Normative Commitment:

Organizational conunitment was measured by using the measures developed by Meyer and Allen [12]. Three types of measures were used to measure each of the three components of organizational commitment: Affective commitment, Continuance commitment and Normative commitment. Affective Commitment Scale (ACS) measures an employees' emotional attachment to, identification with and involvement with the organization. A sample item states, "I really feel as if this organization's problems are my own." Continuance Commitment Scale (CCS) measures the level of commitment due to the costs that employees perceive is related to leaving the organization. A sample item states, "It would be very hard for me to leave my organization right now, even if! wanted to". Normative Commitment Scale (N CS) measures pressures on an employee to remain with an organization resulting from organizational socialization. A sample item states, "I would feel guilty if! left my organization now". Response for all the three scales were obtained on a 7-point Likert-type scale where 1 = Strongly disagree and 7 = Strongly agree. Coefficient alpha values ranged from.77 to.88 for Affective Commitment Scale (ACS), from.69 to.88 for Continuance Conunitment Scale (CCS) and from.65 to.89 for Normative Conunitment Scale (N CS) [47-49].

RESULTS

Table 1 lists the means, standard deviations, partial correlations and reliabilities for the variables. The partial correlations provided some initial support for our hypotheses. In support of Hypothesis 1, Openness to experience was negatively correlated with normative commitment (r = -.18, p <.05). Conscientiousness was found to be positively correlated with continuance conunitment (r=.22, p <.01), supporting Hypothesis 2. Conscientiousness was positively correlated with normative commitment (r =.06,), but the correlation was found to be insignificant at both the levels of significance, thus providing no support for the Hypothesis 3. In support of Hypothesis 4, Extraversion was positively correlated with affective commitment (r =.22, p <.01). Extraversion was positively correlated with continuance commitment (r =.26, p <.01), providing initial support for Hypothesis 5.

In support of Hypothesis 6, Agreeableness was positively correlated with normative commitment (r =.23, p <.01).

Finally Hypothesis 7 was supported as Neuroticism was found to be positively correlated with continuance conunitment (r =.27, p <.01). Although not hypothesized, we found significant correlations between Openness to experience and continuance commitment (r = -.26, p <.01), Conscientiousness and affective commitment (r =.17, p <.05) and Extraversion and normative conunitment (r =.l8, p <.05).

Table 1: Means, standard deviations, partial correlations and coefficient alphas of study variables
Variables Mean SD 2 3 4 5 6 7 8
Age 38.47 5.42
Gender 0.53 0.50
Job Tenure 10.06 3.37
1. Openness to Experience 32.41 5.06 (0.85)
2. Conscientiousness 35.19 6.32 0.07 (0.88)
3. Extraversion 28.47 4.85 0.22" 0.28" (0.85)
4. Agreeableness 29.84 3.56 0.09 0.25" 0.21" (0.80)
5. Neuroticism 26.54 2.15 0.10 _0.23" _0.30" -0.32" (0.82)
6. Affective Commitment 34.48 4.36 -0.07 0.17' 0.22" 0.07 -0.14 (0.83)
7. Continuance Commitment 38.45 5.89 -0.26" 0.22" 0.26" 0.09 0.2r -0.08 (0.85)
8. Nonnative Commitment 32.05 4.57 -0.18' 0.06 0.18' 0.23" 0.04 0.52" 0.18' (0.82)
Note: N = 187 .
• P <.05. •• P <.01 (two-tailed) 29

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A hierarchical regression analysis was performed for each component of commitment to test our hypotheses. Our aim was to determine if the hypothesized personality dimensions added a unique contribution in the prediction of the criterion above and beyond the control variables and other personality dimensions. As such, we first entered the control variables Cage, gender and organizational tenure) into the equation. Next, we added the personality dimensions not hypothesized to have relationships with the criterion. Last, we entered the hypothesized personality dimension. In the discussion of our results all reported coefficients are standardized.

In testing Openness to experience-normative commitment relationship, of the control variables, only age was significant when included in the first step CP =.14, P <.05). Although the nnhypothesized personality dimensions did not account for variance above and beyond the control variables in step 2, when Openness to experience was added at step 3, it explained an additional 3% of variance C",F = 6.78, P <.05). As expected, there was a negative relationship between Openness to experience and normative commitment CP = -.16, p <.05), supporting Hypothesis 1. Although not hypothesized, we also found that Openness to experience was negatively related to continuance commitment CP = -.19, p <.01) and explained an additional 2% of variance in the final step of the analysis C",F = 4.20, P <.05).

In testing Conscientiousness-continuance commitment relationship, only organizational tenure was significant when included in the first step CP =.13, P <.05). The nnhypothesized personality dimensions explained an additional 14% of variance C",F = 7.32, P <.05) at step 2. When Conscientiousness was added in the third step, it explained an additional 5% of variance C",F = 10.47, P <.01). Conscientiousness was found to be positively related to continuance commitment CP =.19, P <.01), providing further support for Hypothesis 2. Conscientiousness was also found to be positively related to affective commitment CP =.l4, P <.05) and explained an additional 3% of variance in the final step of the analysis C",F = 6.49, P <.05).

For the Conscientiousness-normative commitment analysis, none of the control variables were significant when included in the first step. The nnhypothesized personality dimensions explained an additional 7% of variance C",F = 3.13, P <.05) at step 2. When Conscientiousness was added in the third step, it explained an additional 1 % of variance C",F = 2.74, ns). Conscientiousness was found to be positively related to continuance commitment CP =.07, ns), but the relationship was statistically insignificant, providing no support for Hypothesis 3.

In testing Extraversion- affective commitment relationship, of the control variables, only organizational tenure was significant when included in the first step CP =.ll, P <.05). Although the nnhypothesized personality dimensions did not account for variance above and beyond the control variables in step 2, when Extraversion was added at step 3, it explained an additional 4% of variance C",F = 8.72, P <.05). As expected, there was a positive relationship between Extraversion and affective commitment CP =.20, P <.01), supporting Hypothesis 4. Although not hypothesized, we also found that Extraversion was positively related to normative commitment CP =.15, P <.05) and explained an additional 4% of variance in the final step of the analysis C",F = 8.27, P <.05).

In analyzing Extraversion- continuance commitment relationship, the nnhypothesized personality dimensions accounted for an additional 20% of variance C",F = 10.25, P <.05) above and beyond the control variables in step 2, when Extraversion was added at step 3, it explained an additional 6% of variance C",F = 11.79, P <.05). As expected, there was a positive relationship between Extraversion and affective commitment CP =.23, P <.01), providing further support for Hypothesis 5.

In testing Agreeableness- normative commitment relationship, at step 2, the nnhypothesized personality dimensions explained an additional 17% of variance C",F = 8.52, P <.01) and Agreeableness accounted for 7% more variance in the third step C",F = 14.52, P <.01). In support of Hypothesis 6, Agreeableness was positively related to normative commitment CP =.22, P <.01).

In testing Neuroticism - continuance commitment relationship, the unhypothesized personality dimensions accounted for an additional 18% of variance C",F = 9.35, P <.01) above and beyond the control variables in step 2, when Neuroticism was added at step 3, it explained an additional 8% of variance C",F = 16.43, P <.05). As expected, there was a positive relationship between Neuroticism and continuance commitment CP =.24, P <.01), providing further support for Hypothesis 7.

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DISCUSSION

The present results support the notion that the five factor model serve as an important framework in examining the dispositional sources of organizational commitment [24]. As Bilgrami and Raj a [50] argue that personality would be related to organizational commitment and extend arguments how the Big Five traits would map differentially on the three dimensions of commitment suggested by Meyer and Allen [1]. The present research supports their propositions with empirical evidence and suggests that future research should pay attention to further test these propositions with large samples in various types of organizations.

We found a negative relationship between Openness to experience and normative commitment as well as continuance commitment. Divergent thinking is associated with openness to experience [28], we speculate that those high on Openness to experience may not value things that are often valued, such as organizational investments, formal and informal rewards that generally bind employees to their organizations may not apply to those high on this personality dimension [24]. Moreover, such individuals are low on religiosity and will have low moral obligation to remain with the organization leading to decrease in the level of normative commitment.

Conscientiousness was found to be positively related with continuance and normative commitment but the Conscientiousness-normative commitment was statistically insignificant. Thus, Conscientiousness emerged as significant predictor of continuance commitment only. Conscientiousness is related with self-discipline, dutifulness and generalized work-involvement tendency which provides increased opportunity for an employee to obtain formal (e.g., pay, promotion) and informal work rewards (e.g., recognition, respect) leading to increase in the costs associated with leaving the organization and heightened level of continuance commitment.

Consistent with previous findings, Extraversion emerged as the most consistent predictor, significantly relating to all three forms of organizatioual commitment [24]. Extraversion was found to have a significant positive relationship with all the three components of organizational commitment.

As expected, of the three components of organizational commitment, agreeableness positively predicted only normative commitment. Agreeableness has been related to getting along with others in pleasant and satisfying ways [33], which directly relates to emotional warmth. Such emotion may increase an employee's social identity with his or her work environment, thereby increasing his or her need to reciprocate the organization for providing a supportive social environment.

Neuroticism was found to have negative (non significant) relationship with affective commitment, positive relationship with continuance commitment and positive (non significant) relationship with normative commitment. These findings are also consistent with previous research that has shown Neuroticism to be inversely related to important work outcomes such as job performance andjob satisfaction [17, 20,51,52]. Neuroticism has been described as the primary source ofNA and the link between NA and organizational commitment has already been established in the previous research [53, 54].

Theoretical and Practical Implications: The present study attempts to explore the relationship between personality and organization commitment. Theoretically, the current results suggest that personality plays an important role in the development of organizational commitment. The results also suggest that like other work attitudes, organizational commitment can also be added in to the list of work variables having dispositional predictors. The current study will provide the administrators and policy makers with insights into the role of individnal differences in the development of organizational commitment and with insights into how to manage employees using dispositional approach to draw positive attitudinal and behavioral reactions from employees. The present study will help them better understand how to retain valnable employees, increase employees' commitment to and satisfaction with their work, reduce employee turnover and improve the performance of the employees. Even though organizations cannot directly influence employee personality traits, the use of valid selection tools and a good person-job fit will ensure people are selected and placed into jobs most appropriate for them, which, in turn, will lead to an increase in favorable work outcomes.

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Limitations: Like all research, there are limitations to this study that must be taken into consideration. First, the data were cross-sectional in nature and this restriction prevents the inference of causality. At a minimum, a longitudinal design is required to infer any causality that may exist among these variables. Second, the results may have been affected by common method variance because all of our data were collected from self-report measures. Because measures come from same source, any defect in that source contaminates measures, presumably in the same fashion and in the same direction. Finally, the effect sizes for the relationships of interest were relatively small. This snggests the possibility of unknown moderator or mediator variables on personality-commitment relationship. Organizational variables such as job characteristics, perceived organizational justice, rewards and other contextual variables may be of particular relevance because each of these variables is a potential antecedent of organization commitment. Unfortunately, data were not collected in regard to possible moderators or mediators because such hypotheses were beyond the scope of this study. Moreover, the effects of personality, the general categories tapped by the five factor model might conceal the unique contribution of the specific facets. Further studies are suggested to test for the relationships between salient facets of each personality type and different components of organizational commitment.

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