WORK-ROLE COMMITMENT OF INDUSTRIAL EMPLOYEES: A PROCESS MODEL P....
WORK-ROLE COMMITMENT OF INDUSTRIAL EMPLOYEES:
A PROCESS MODEL
P. AMSA AND VIJAYA PUNEKAR
This paper presents a model of the work-role commitment process of Industrial em-
ployees. The model is based oh a conceptual frame-work of 'Commitment to Work' as a
value-orientation of the employee in terms of his work-performance and discipline. The
paper has briefly examined, the current conceptual ambiguity about the term 'commitment'
and then, presented the model. It is also shown how the model helps to differentiate the
concept of 'commitment' from certain other synonymously used concepts like Job-Satisfac-
tion, Job-Involvement, and Morale.
Mr. P. Amsa is Research Scholar and Dr. (Mrs.) Vijaya Punekar is Asstt. Professor
in the Department of Humanities and Social Sciences, Indian Institute of Technology,
Bombay 400076.
Introduction
worker's attitude towards employer and
organization, worker's happiness with the
The term commitment has been tradi-
job, worker's devotion to his job and so
tionally used by social scientists in the on. (Seth and Patel, 1979). However, the
analysis of both individual and organiza-
character and credentials of the meanings
tional behaviour. However, no clear con-
are rarely examined. According to some
sensus exists, as to the meaning and defini-
researchers (No. 1 in Table I) commitment
tion of the concept. The term has been used to work is merely employee's continuance
to express a varied assortment of ideas at in a work-role; but it is not clear whether
the convenience of the authors and this the employee's continuance on the job is
arbitrary usage has considerably plagued because of his positive attitude towards the
the objectivity and reliability of the com-
job or the non-availability of better jobs.
mitment studies.
The second type of definition in the Table
The term 'commitment' has been used in provides an answer to this question by
a wide variety of contexts like work (Kerr, defining commitment as maintenance of
1960; Lambert, 1963; Singh, 1973) religion membership coupled with a positive atti-
(Schoenherr, 1974) and Power (Kanter, tude towards the job /organization. The
1968). However, literature on commitment third definition was advanced by the
to work itself is considerable and it mostly authors on the basis of their belief that
deals with the commitment of industrial the Indian industrial workers, in the early
labour. Therefore, the review of literature years of India's industrialization, were
in this paper is mostly restricted to the mainly illiterate rural migrants who could
commitment of industrial labour.
not easily adjust to the conditions of indus-
In the context of industrial employment, trial employment or to the industrial way
the concept has been normally used in the of life in general. These definitions find a
analysis of the relationship of the worker
place even in recent studies, as is evident
1 to
his job. As pointed out earlier, different from the Table. This belief is also reflected
studies have used the term to refer to a in 4 and 5 which look upon commitment
wide range of meanings and aspects of the as stability and availability respectively, of
worker-job relationship like continuing in work force. It is therefore evident that the
the work-role, stability of the work-force, belief has considerably influenced the con-
1. The term 'Worker' here refers to all categories of people working in the industry.

TABLE I
Sl. No.
Definition / Description
Source
1
The decision to continue participating in a system-
March & Simon, 1958,
role.
Schoenherr, 1974.
2
The willingness to maintain membership with a strong
Alan, Fox, 1971,
positive attitude towards the organization.
Sharma, 1974,
Steers, 1977.
3
Adjustment to the industrial employment /industrial
Moore & Feldman (Eds.) 1960,
way of life.
Ornati, 1955, Kerr, 1960.
Myers and Kannappan, 1970.
4
Stability of the work-force.
Lambert, 1963,
Seth, 1971.
5
Availability of the work-force when needed.
Morris, 1960.
6
Individual and organizational goal-integration.
Argyris, 1964,
Singh & Das. 1978,
7
Commitment as an "explanation of consistent human
behaviour in a sociological way".
Becker, 1960.
8
Positive 'Involvement'.
Etzioni, 1969.
ceptual thinking of many social scientists ment', 'morale' etc.2 These concepts have
about the term 'commitment'. Certain other been defined or explained in terms of
studies (No. 6) describe commitment in 'Work Values'.3 Job satisfaction has very
terms of individual and organizational often been conceptualized as a function of
goal-integration; the higher the integration both work values and job rewards
between the two goals, the greater would be (Locke, 1969; Kalleberg, 1977). There are
the commitment of the individual to the studies indicating that persons who believe
organization. Becker (No. 7), in his eager-
in 'Protestant Ethic' would be more satisfi-
ness to integrate the concept of commit-
ed with their jobs (Blood, 1969). On the
ment with the sociological theory, defines other hand, Robinowitz and Hall (1977)
it as an 'explanation of consistent human point out that a work-involved individual
behaviour in a sociological way'. Etzioni is a believer in 'Protestant work Ethic'
(No. 8) equates commitment to 'positive which emphasizes the importance of work
involvement' when the term 'Involvement' in order to get ahead. Similarly commit-
itself does not have a consistent definition/ ment has also been explained in terms of
description (Misra, 1979).
work values (Morris, D. Morris, 1968.
Shoenherr, 1974). This poses many pro-
The table is by no means comprehensive; blems in classifying and clarifying the
the term commitment has also been inter-
whole family of images involved in the
changeably used with a variety of other idea of commitment as used by various
terms like 'Job-satisfaction', 'Job involve-
studies.
2. The term 'Job Involvement' has been used interchangeably with a variety of other terms,
namely 'attachment to work', 'central life interest', 'Commitment to work', 'intrinsic
motivation', 'ego-involvement', 'morale' etc. (Misra, 1979).
3. "The concept of 'Work Value' may be regarded as a special usage of the general con-
cept of 'Value' and may be defined as the conceptions of what is desirable that indivi-
duals hold with respect to their 'work activity' (Kalleberg, 1977).

WORK-ROLE COMMITMENT OF INDUSTRIAL EMPLOYEES
275
Factors in Commitment
mitted worker is one who possesses in him
the two values, namely, the 'value of per-
Studies on 'commitment' have identified formance' and the 'value of Discipline',
different factors (correlates) which are sup-
which are explained as follows.
posed to be responsible for generating com-
mitment among the industrial workers. It The Value of Performance
was thought that these factors influenced
the entire work-force, but the effect of these
A person is said to have 'the value of
correlates on the individual worker was performance' if he finds satisfaction in per-
largely overlooked. For example, the earlier forming his role-responsibilities well.5 He
Indian studies attributed the lack of com-
does his best in the occupation he enters
mitment among the Indian industrial not because some one wants him to per-
workers to the low state of industrial deve-
form well or not even for monetary incen-
lopment of the country, characterized By tives; he does his best in his job out of his
the presence of illiterate, low caste, rural-
own volition, that is, as a result of the
migrant labour-force (Ornati, 1955; Moore values inculcated in him and not merely
and Feldman, 1960; Kerr, 1960). Similarly because he is satisfied with the objective
the recent studies, like their western coun-
rewards of the job.
terparts, have identified certain job organi-
zational factors like job-satisfaction, orga-
The Value of Discipline
nizational culture, supervisory styles, job
technology etc., which are supposed to in-
A person who has the 'value of disci-
culcate commitment in workers as a whole pline' in him, abides by the rules and
(Sharma, 1974; Prabhu, Singh et al, 1975; norms of the organization out of his own
Singh and Das, 1978). However, the indi-
free will and finds satisfaction in doing so.6
vidual differences, especially in terms of He conforms to the expectations of his role
their value-orientations4, seem to have been without any external pressures, though he
overlooked by the researchers, though may find that the rules and regulations of
values are considered to be highly instru-
his organization are too harsh.
mental in shaping one's attitudes and be-
The 'Value of Performance' and the
haviour.
'Value of Discipline' form the two compo-
An approach which seeks to define 'com-
nents of commitment and these values are
mitment' in terms of the value-orientation inculcated in a person through the process
of the individual and which also helps to of socialization in his family, school and
differentiate the concept of 'commitment' peer group. It is to be noted that these
from certain other synonymously used con-
values are personal character values which
cepts, has been attempted by Punekar and are different from the work values dis-
Haribabu (1976). According to them a com-
cussed earlier.
4. The term, 'Values' is used here in the sense of 'personal-character' values which are differ-
ent from the 'Work Values' described in note 3.
5. Recent research tends to support the view that where a positive association between
Job-satisfaction and Job-performance exists, it is due to good performance giving satis-
faction to the worker rather than satisfaction leading to work performance (Lawler &
Porter, 1967; Locke, 1970; Slocum, 1970).
6. Morris D. Morris (1960) strikes a similar note when he says that "a committed worker
requires less of supervision and his identification with the work and the values associated
with it, results in better job performance."

276
P. AMSA AND VUAYA PUNEKAR
The Conceptual Model
of his socialization, get expressed in the
form of good work-performance and self-
Based on the conceptualization of com-
discipline at one's job.
mitment in terms of the values of perform-
In the figure, block 1 shows the socializa-
ance and discipline, a process model for tion process of the individual in his family,
the work-role commitment of Industrial school and peer group, through which is
employees is proposed (Figure 1). The inculcated 'commitment' (Block 2). When
fundamental premise of the model is that the person enters a job, 'commitment' gets
the values of performance and discipline, manifested in the form of good work-per-
which comprise commitment and are formance and self-discipline7 (Block 3). The
inculcated in a person through the process expression of 'commitment' as work-perfor-
FIGURE 1
'COMMITMENT — A PROCESS MODEL
7. Since self-discipline, an employee's conforming to the rules and norms of the job out
of his own free will, is conducive to good performance, it suffices to say that the two
values get expressed in the form of good work-performance.

WORK-ROLE COMMITMENT OF INDUSTRIAL EMPLOYEES
277
mance is, however, influenced by certain Commitment and Other Related Concepts
contextual factors. A major influence on
the transformation of the values into good
This model can be advantageously used
work-performance is that of the extent of to differentiate the concept of 'commitment'
fulfilment of the employee's expectations from some other concepts like 'job satis-
from his job. A person comes to work with faction', 'job-involvement' and 'morale',
certain expectations based on his socio-per-
which are often used more or less synony-.
sonal background and work-values and it is mously.
desirable that these expectations are reason-
ably fulfilled by the job/organization for Commitment and Job Satisfaction
the commitment to be manifested in the
form of good work-performance (Block 4).
An individual's positive attitudes towards
The model also gives certain other salient his job can be treated as conceptually
influences on work-performance. They are equivalent to Job Satisfaction. Vroom
(a) employee's satisfaction with the job-
(1964 : 99) defines Job satisfaction as "affec-
situation
tive orientations on the part of the indi-
8 (Block 6) which is a function of
his expectations from the job (Block 4) and viduals towards work roles which they are
the actual conditions of the job situation presently occupying"10 and according to him
(Block 5) and (b) various organizational when a person is satisfied with a job, the
pressures on the employee to perform well job has a positive 'Valence' for the person.
on the job. But according to the premise Similarly, a 'Committed' person can be
of the model, only those employees, who said to have a positive 'Valence', though
show good work-performance on their jobs not in the sense of affective orientations,
because of the values of performance and for his work. Moreover, commitment, con-
discipline in them, can be called 'commit-
ceptually has a positive relation to work-
ted' to their work and not others who may performance while there is a strong indica-
show good work-performance because of tion that job satisfaction does not lead to
their satisfaction with the job situation and/ performance (Brayfield and Crocket, 1955;
or the pressures on them to perform well. Vroom, 1964).
It is, therefore shown that the core of the Commitment and Job Involvement
commitment process is represented by the
diagram comprising the blocks 1, 2. 3 and
'Job-involvement' is usually conceptua-
4 only.9 Even though, the model of com-
lized as the degree to which a person iden-
mitment process has been discussed only in tifies himself psychologically with his work
the context of industrial employment, it can (Ladahl and Kejner, 1965) and according
imaginatively be extrapolated in non-indus-
to Robinowitz and Hall (1977), it is related
trial work situations as well.
to a set of three variables; personal
8. According to Punekar and Haribabu (1976), an employee's satisfaction with the job-
situation promotes his adjustment to the industrial employment which is one of the
'correlates' of commitment.
9. The authors are presently engaged in the empirical verification of this model.
10. Three main approaches viz. (1) Attitudinal approach (2) Factorial approach, and (3)
Need satisfaction approach are discernible in the theoretical and empirical studies on
job-satisfaction (Singhal, Sushila, 1973). Out of these, only the attitudinal approach,
which interprets job-satisfaction as individual's affective orientation to his job resulting
from the job conditions, is considered here, since the studies of this approach have
often been confused with commitment studies.


WORK-ROLE COMMITMENT OF INDUSTRIAL EMPLOYEES
279
characteristics, situational characteristics group phenomenon, unlike 'commitment'
and work outcomes. Job-involvement is and is generated by an individual's group
therefore a more complex variable than membership. It is usually assumed that
commitment which is only a personal high morale is positively related to high
character value. But as in the case of job-
performance. However, "the available
satisfaction, there is an indication that job evidence does not substantiate the general
involvement is not related to job perfor-
assumption that high morale and high pro-
mance (Saal, 1978).
ductivity (performance) go hand in hand"
(Dwivedi, 1979; 224).
Commitment and Morale
Table II summarizes the above points
which differentiate the concept of commit-
Morale is yet another concept which is ment from other concepts.
synonymously used with commitment.
Parker and Kleemier (1951), as cited by
The conceptual perspective of the term
Pestonjee and Singh (1977), define morale 'commitment' explained in this paper would
as "the attitude held by the individual help in clearing the prevailing ambiguity in
members of a group which makes them put the usage of the term and some other terms
the achievement of group goals ahead of used in the study of worker-job relation-
their personal goals". It is therefore, a ships.
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