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Values and organizational Values and


organizational
commitment commitment
Dov Elizur and Meni Koslowsky
Bar-llan University, Ramat Gan, Israel 593
Keywords Values, Work ethic, Commitment, Gender
Received May 1999
Abstract The main objective of the present study was to examine the relationship between work Revised April 2000
values, gender, and organizational commitment. Research on the relationship between work Accepted September 2000
values, in general, and commitment, in particular, has not identified clear trends. As recent work
has shown that gender may be a moderator in predicting outcomes from work values, a model
combining these variables was examined. The 24-item Work Values Questionnaire, constructed
by Elizur in previous research and an abbreviated version of the Porter et al., nine-item
organizational commitment questionnaire were used in the study. Data were collected from 204
students, all of whom work outside school. A moderated regression analysis showed that work
values, especially cognitive ones, are positively related with commitment and the interaction of
values with gender was also found to be a significant predictor of commitment. Some implications
of the results were discussed.

Two parallel areas of research have been of particular interest in industrial/


organizational psychology in recent years: the study of work values and the
analysis of commitment in its various forms. Although the type of data
collected in these research areas are naturally similar, both ask subjects to
respond to questionnaire items which assess either attitudes or values, the
relationship between them has not been clearly defined. Theoretically, they tap
internal concepts that are different from personality in that both are learned
and may change due to outside stimuli. Can we assume that they, regardless of
how they are acquired, are associated? Are both acquired from similar sources?
The purpose of the present study was to see if the concepts can be viewed as
distinct and to examine whether the work value scale can be used to predict
commitment.
Researchers have examined human values, in general (Braithwaite and Law,
1985; Levy, 1996) and work values, specifically (Elizur, 1984). In the latter area,
studies have focused on structural analysis, correlates, and model development
(Elizur and Guttman, 1976; Sagie et al., 1996).

Work values
Various definitions of work values, as a unique concept, have been suggested.
According to Pennings (1970), for instance, work value systems can be defined
as constellations of attitudes and opinions with which an individual evaluates
his/her job and work environment. Herzberg et al. (1956) considered work
values as representing motivational aspects, i.e. motivators and hygiene
factors. Other authors have consider work values as representing the
Protestant work ethic (Furnham, 1984). According to Levy and Guttman's International Journal of Manpower,
Vol. 22 No. 7, 2001, pp. 593-599.
(1976) definition of values, an item belongs to the universe of work values if its # MCB University Press, 0143-7720
International domain asks for an assessment of the importance of a goal or behavior in the
Journal of work context and the range is ordered from very important to very
Manpower unimportant (Elizur, 1984).
In order to analyze work values systematically, two basic facets of the
22,7 domain were distinguished (Elizur, 1984):
(1) modality of outcome (cognitive, affective and instrumental); and
594
(2) system performance contingency.

Modality of outcome
Various work outcomes are of material or instrumental nature, such as pay,
benefits, hours of work, etc. Some other outcomes are more of affective nature,
refering to relations with other people: colleagues, supervisor, clients, including
also items like esteem, recognition, etc.
An additional class of outcomes include items such as achievement,
independence, job interest, responsibility. These items may be classified as
cognitive rather than affective or instrumental. Thus the modality of outcome
facet consists of three elements: instrumental, affective, and cognitive.

System performance contingency


The second classification concerns system performance contingency.
Organizations are interested in motivating candidates to join the organization
and to attend to work. To achieve that they provide various incentives which
are given unrelated to task performance. These include benefit plans, work
conditions, transportation, subsidized meals and similar. Certain other
outcomes, however, are usually provided contingent on the employee's
performance, such as pay, recognition, feedback, and advancement.

Organizational commitment
Generally, organizational commitment refers to the attachment, emotionally
and functionally, to one's place of work and, as shown below in our discussion,
has been examined empirically in several ways. Rokeach (1979) argued that
work values and attitudes were concepts independent of each other. One of the
more commonly used measures of attitudes in organizational psychology is
commitment. Commitment has been analyzed from several perspectives
(Mathieu and Zajac, 1990; Mowday et al., 1979). It has served as both a
dependent variable for antecedents such as age, tenure, and education
(Dunham et al., 1994) and as a predictor of various outcomes such as turnover,
intention to leave, absenteeism, and performance (Weiner and Vardi, 1980). As
to the cause-effect relationship between organizational commitment and job
satisfaction, research has not indicated a particular direction. It is likely that a
reciprocal relationship exits with a change in one of the attitudes affecting the
other one. Thus, an organizational stressor may first affect commitment, but as
commitment continues to decrease, it is difficult to imagine a scenario where
satisfaction will stay at the same level. Similarly, an individual stressor that
elicits dissatisfaction with the job will eventually loosen the individual's ties to Values and
the organization. organizational
According to Werkmeister (1967), commitment is a manifestation of the commitment
individual's own self, and reflects value standards that are basic to the
individual's existence as a person. Some empirical support to this view was
provided in studies relating work values to commitment. Kidron (1978), for
instance, observed that work values show higher correlations with moral 595
commitment to the organization than with calculative commitment.
Other authors considered values in general and work values specifically as
important variables in explaining organizational commitment (Elizur, 1996;
Kidron, 1978; Putti et al., 1989). Elizur (1996) and Kidron (1978) reported that a
moderate relationship exists between work values and organizational
commitment. Putti et al. analyzed the relationships between work values and
organizational commitment based on a sample of workers in Singapore. Their
findings indicated that intrinsic work values relate more closely to
organizational commitment than extrinsic work values. These results are in
line with Herzberg et al.'s (1956) distinction between motivator and hygiene
factors, and with our hypothesis that cognitive values will be more strongly
related to commitment than the other classes of values.

Demographics, work values, and commitment


One additional group of variables that may help in understanding the
relationship between work values and commitment are demographic
indicators. Researchers have considered several such variables as possible
correlates of work values. For example, Cherrington et al. (1979) found that age,
education, and seniority were correlated with several work values including
moral importance of work, pride in one's craftsmanship, and importance of
money. Probably, the most popular demographic variable in work value
studies is gender. A consistent finding in the literature is that men tend to be
more concerned about money and other instrumental and cognitive outcomes,
e.g. independence, mastery, dominance, competitiveness, and long-term career
goals, whereas women have greater affiliative needs, seek more social
approval, and are preoccupied with short-term career goals (Elizur, 1994;
Furnham, 1984). Gender was also found to be important in predicting
commitment. Mellor et al. (1994) found that gender acts as a moderator in the
relationship between structural features of local unions and commitment.
As gender seems to play a role in explaining, independently, work value and
commitment variance, it is hypothesized here that it may also serve as a
moderator by improving the prediction of organizational commitment from
work values.
In summary, the main objective of the present study was to examine the
relationships between various work values and organizational commitment.
According to our expectation, work values and commitment were considered
two distinct concepts. It was hypothesized that commitment would correlate
highest with cognitive work value items such as job interest and independence
International and lowest with instrumental items such as pay, benefits, etc. In predicting
Journal of commitment, it is hypothesized that gender would act as a moderator between
Manpower work values and commitment.
22,7 Method
Subjects
596 The responses of a group of 204 students enrolled in business administration
courses were analyzed. All students were also working at the time of the study;
those who were not were eliminated from the analysis. The sample consisted of
139 men and 65 women. The average age was 31 (SD = 4.64).

Instruments
The study was conducted among students taking business courses at two
universities in Tel Aviv, Israel. Basically, respondents completed a
questionnaire that consisted of three major parts: demographics, work values,
and commitment. The work values questionnaire contains a series of short
phrases scaled from 1 ``very important'' to 6 ``not important''. For each item,
subjects were asked how it affects or influences their good feelings and
satisfaction towards the job. Examples of items are: ``work achievement'', ``work
independence'', and ``good working conditions''.
Probably, the most popular description of the commitment concept is
characterized by three main factors:
(1) A strong belief in and acceptance of the organization's goals and values.
(2) A willingness to exert considerable effort on behalf of the organization.
(3) A definite desire to maintain organizational membership
(Organizational Commitment Scale (OCS); Porter et al., 1974.)
The OCS consists of 15 items such as: ``I am proud to tell others that I work in
this organization'' or ``I think that my values and the organization's values are
very similar''. For each item, respondents must indicate the degree to which it is
true for themselves. Alternatives range from 1 ``very untrue'' to 7 ``very true''.
Internal consistency of the scale is relatively high, indicating that the items
have high overlap even if they are assigned to different categories. An average
score across all items is obtained for each subject A shorter version of nine
items was applied in this study.

Results
The data were analyzed in several ways. To answer the question whether work
values and commitment represent the same domain, a factor analysis
containing 33 items was performed at the first stage. The findings were quite
clear on this issue, showing that work values and commitment are related to
each other, yet they represent two distinct domains. A four-factor solution was
obtained with the first factor explaining 22 per cent of the variance and
containing all the commitment items. The second, third, and fourth factors
accounted for 15 per cent, 6 per cent, and 5 per cent of the variance and were all Values and
made up of work value items. organizational
An independent factor analysis of the work value scale was then performed. commitment
Consistent with other studies (Elizur, 1996), the findings here indicated that
three major factors were identified: cognitive, instrumental, and affective. The
variance explained by these three subscales were 28.5 per cent, 8.5 per cent, and
6.4 per cent respectively. These factors were then correlated with commitment 597
and only factor 1, cognitive values, had a significant correlation with
commitment (r = 0.29; p < 0.01). This finding supports our hypothesis that
cognitive work values will be most strongly related with commitment.
Examination of reliability values for the various scales showed that the lowest
was for factor 3 (0.68) and the highest was for commitment (0.90). The
reliability for factor 1 was 0.73.
Finally, a moderated regression analysis was done using commitment as the
dependent variable and work values as the independent variable. Gender was
the moderator. The analysis in Table I showed that both work values and the
interaction term were highly significant. The latter finding is proof of the
existence of a moderator effect; in our case, gender moderating the relationship
between work values and commitment.

Discussion
The major objectives of the present study were to examine the relationships
between work values and commitment, and second, to see if gender acts as a
moderator in that relationship. The findings were very clear on the first issue:
work values and commitment seem to represent two distinct domains. On the
second issue, it appears that commitment can be predicted significantly from
the combination of work values and gender in the same equation.
The findings have both theoretical and practical implications. By showing
that the work values concept is independent of commitment, it supports our
notion of the two measures assessing different attitudinal constructs. From a
practical perspective, the manager or personnel psychologist may find several
important lessons here. Since work values were found to be related to
commitment, organizations that wish to enhance the commitment of their
employees should strive for a congruence between organizational rewards and
the important work values of their members. Furthermore, attempts to enhance
commitment should focus on the cognitive components.

Variable Beta R2 R2

Work values (WV) 0.72** 0.01 Table I.


Sex 0.11 0.04* 0.03* Moderated regression
WV X sex ±0.58** 0.08** 0.04* analysis of
commitment on work
Notes: * p < 0.05; **
p < 0.01 values and gender
International As for the role of gender, further research is needed before it is possible to
Journal of explain what significance in the present study implies. The problem with such
Manpower demographic analyses is identifying the actual causal factor. Thus, it is likely,
that gender as well as other differences attributed to race or age do not actually
22,7 indicate that the demographic variable directly impacts the outcome variable.
In all likelihood, they are surrogates for societal roles, socialization, and
598 expectations. For this reason, one must be careful in attributing to
demographics, separate from society and culture, any causal impact. The
underlying dimension here was not identified and further research is needed
before this question can be answered. Another explanation related to the above
comments is the possibility that the two sexes respond differently according to
their perceptions of what others expect of them rather than true or real
attitudes. Such a possibility is difficult to tease out from the study design
conducted here.
Several limitations can be identified and are possible clues for the direction
of future research. The design prevented us from making causal statements. In
addition, although the subjects were all working, we do not consider them a
representative sample and one should be careful to make generalizations only
to similar populations.
Recently, a new perspective and measurement approach to commitment was
posited that divides the basic concept into three more general components:
rational, normative, or continuance components of commitment (e.g. Allen and
Meyer, 1990; Dunham et al., 1994). Although the psychometric and validity
evidence concerning the scale is quite interesting, it would be useful to see if the
new concept relates differentially with work values. Researchers can, for the
first time, examine distinctions between the various aspects of commitment
using reliable measures. For example, it may be hypothesized that work values
overlap with continuance and rational more than with normative. It may be
possible to examine workers who are new to an organization with more senior
people to see if the work values as well as different types of commitment are
developing and changing over time.

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