Organization Commitment and Organization Effectiveness

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Organization Culture has always been an important area of research and is considered as a major strength for driving organization’s performance. With increasing competition, complexities, and uncertainties in the business environment, organization’s culture can play an important role along with an effective business strategy in the success of the organization.

Organizations aspire to build values driven culture as it plays a crucial role in business performance. Values also play an important part in our lives. Whether its personal values or organizational values, they help shape individuals and organizations. Further they drive the desired goals for both individuals and organizations. Since organizations are made of people and they have their own values and thus living values of organization may be a challenge for them.

The construct of values has always interested researchers and it becomes even more important in today’s world where environment is dynamic and lot of uncertainty exists. Organizations should thus look forward to drive behaviours reflecting the values they believe in and thus I am interested to take up this as an area of research. The aim of this study is to examine the relationship among congruence or gap between espoused and enacted values, organization commitment and organization effectiveness. Let me now explain each of these concepts in brief.

Culture is the soul of an organization and its core values are a conforming influence which take lot of effort and consensus to change (Gallagher, 2003). According to Schein (2004) right kind of culture will influence effectiveness of an organization and having a culture is necessary for effective performance. The culture manifests itself at the level of observable artifacts and shared espoused beliefs and values. He also mentioned that the organisation will be more effective if the culture is stronger.

Culture is the pattern of artefacts, norms, values, and basic assumptions shared by organization members. Furthermore, it is postulated that a detailed approach to describe and diagnose culture focuses on artefacts, norms and values, as well as tacit and shared assumptions which guide member behaviour and often have a powerful impact on organization effectiveness (Cummings & Worley, 2015).

While there are different definitions of culture by various scholars and experts in the area of organization’s psychology, “values” remain an important cultural component.

Rokeach (1973) defines value as “an enduring belief that a specific mode of conduct or end-state of existence is personally or socially preferable to an opposite or converse mode of conduct or end-state”.

Values are nothing but the importance or preferences which an individual or organization attach to certain objects, ideas or actions. They can also reflect the demands of society and culture which have co-evolved with human beings (Sinha, 2008).

Further, values in an organization can be categorized as espoused values and values-in-use or enacted values. Espoused values are beliefs of the organizations which are declared publicly, for e.g., on its website or displayed in office or public. Values-in-use are those beliefs which actually make things happen or not happen in the organization i.e., they drive behaviours. These tell the members what is important in the organization and inform the true nature of the firms (Cummings & Worley, 2015). This categorization of values is related to another concept called value enactment.

Gruys et al. (2008) defined the concept of values enactment as alignment between espoused core values and workplace behaviours. They mentioned that when employee and managerial behaviour reflect the values of the organization, these behaviours shall help the organization achieve its broad strategic goals.

According to Franz (2012), Brunsson (1989) discussed the differences between espoused values and enacted values. Enacted Values are better indicators of organization culture as they depict what organization actually values in the actions of its people and what people actually follow in the organization rather than what is stated. The discrepancy between espoused values and enacted values can provide further information about the culture of the organization (Franz, 2012).

Let’s now look at the concept of Organizational Commitment. What keeps employees committed and loyal to the organization?

Organizational commitment is beyond loyalty to the organization. It involves an active relationship where an individual is willing to give something of themselves for the purpose of contributing to organization’s well-being. It denotes the strength about how much an individual is able to identify with the organization and how much an individual is involved in it. Individuals having high degree of organization commitment will demonstrate a strong belief in and acceptance of the organization’s goals and values. They shall have a willingness to exert considerable effort on behalf of the organization and shall want to maintain organization’s membership. (Mowday, Porter, Steers, 1982).

According to Meyer and Allen (1990), organizational commitment is demonstrated by three component model which has below mentioned three dimensions:

  1. Affective commitment: It refers to the positive emotional attachment which an employee has with the organisation. The employee strongly recognizes with the organization’s goals and wants to maintain his membership with the organization.
  2. Continuance commitment: It refers to an employee’s commitment to an organisation because they believe that the costs like economic costs, social costs of losing one’s organizational membership shall be very high.
  3. Normative commitment: It refers to an employee’s commitment to an organisation because of the feelings of obligation as employee may derive from the investment of resources like training etc. which organization has made in the employee.

I have discussed about culture and effectiveness in the introduction that organizations want to build a culture which increases its performance or effectiveness, let us now look at what effectiveness actually means.

Organization effectiveness is always a desired outcome of any firm. Organizations hold different definitions of effectiveness with respect to their organization considering their internal and external environments.

The study of organizational effectiveness may be complicated due to several variables involved in it. Some of the factors involved in determining the effectiveness of the organization are leadership, group relations, systems and structures, economic environment, physical environment, technological environment, ability and role of the individuals (Handy, 1999).

Gold et al. (2001) mention that organization effectiveness is more complex in terms of scope than financial ratios. It can be measured when considering the improvement in organization’s ability to innovate, coordination of efforts, rapid commercialization of new products, ability to anticipate surprises, responsiveness to market change and reduced redundancy of information and knowledge.

Gallagher (2003) mentions that while no organization is insusceptible to changes in internal and external environment and no corporate culture can guarantee success in future, however, no organization can afford to stop listening to both employees and its marketplace. He expands further by mentioning that it is clearly the values and not business processes that determine how successful an organization would be and it will be right core values which remain the biggest factors in organization’s success.

Organization effectiveness comprises of three dimensions. First, an effective organization is able to solve its own problems and continually improve itself. This is part of organization development process where the team members gain the required skills and knowledge during the change process. Second, an effective organization has high financial and technical performance, including sales growth, profits, quality products and services, and high productivity. Finally, an engaged, satisfied and learning work-force as well as satisfied and loyal customers or other external stakeholders depict the last dimension of an effective organization (Cummings & Worley, 2015).

Usually, organization has various departments, teams, and/or groups, these entities display behaviour which is sometimes in line with the desired organization’s behaviour and sometimes different, as they may have their own underlying values and beliefs. Since, these departments, teams or groups comprise of people, it is important to consider the values being held by them.

People sometimes espouse values that have little do with the ones they really hold and follow as individuals, however, they are hesitant to admit this discrepancy (Cummings & Worley, 2015). Most of the time, people tend to display socially desirable behaviour. In my experience of working more than ten years in corporate, I have experienced and seen this behaviour in different organizations. Despite this discrepancy, being exhibited by individuals and groups, they are identified or at least shown as performing successfully on the defined tasks most of the times. This at times, develops an internal conflict and stress within individuals and groups for whom espoused and values-in-use are same.

It is clearly evident that the values are given lot of importance behind the decision making which may lead to success or failure of an organization. According to (Porter, Crampton & Smit 1976) organizational commitment could be defined as the beliefs and feelings formed internally or as a set of intentions that enriches an employee’s desire to remain with an organization and to accept its major goals and values. (Mowday et al 1982) refers employee commitment to congruence between the goals of an individual and the organization whereby the individual identifies with and extends effort on behalf of the general goals of the organization.

According to (Porter, Crampton & Smit 1976) organizational commitment could be defined as the beliefs and feelings formed internally or as a set of intentions that enriches an employee’s desire to remain with an organization and to accept its major goals and values. (Mowday et al 1982) refers employee commitment to congruence between the goals of an individual and the organization whereby the individual identifies with and extends effort on behalf of the general goals of the organization.

Review of Literature

A considerable amount of research has been done in each of these areas: organization culture, values, organizational commitment and organization effectiveness. However, limited research has been conducted to understand the relationship between these critical constructs, especially, the factors responsible for the gap or congruence between espoused and enacted values and how this congruence or gap impacts the organization commitment and organization effectiveness. I will be providing a brief review of literature under the following headings:

  1. Espoused Values and Enacted Values
  2. Organization Culture, Values and Organization Effectiveness
  3. Values and Affective Commitment
  4. Organization Commitment and Organization Effectiveness
  5. Gender, Tenure and Values
  6. Gender, Tenure and Organization Commitment

Espoused Values and Enacted Values

Espoused and enacted values are important elements in an organization’s culture. Often, there exists a gap between espoused and enacted values and organizations strive to build congruence between the two. Below are few research studies which provide more details on these.

Jain (2002) presented a study based on data from value clarification workshops which shows that there exists a gap between the values people believe they hold, they want others to practice and the values seen as being practiced. Value clarification workshop involved 15-20 people where participants went through several steps of individual value clarification. The results of this study showed that there exists a gap between the values people think they hold, practice and what others view them practicing. Jain (2002) also found the similar result for groups where huge gap exist between the values wanted and seen as practiced. The reasons for the gap are mainly attributed to the circumstances, constraints and pressures in work organizations. The researcher further mentions some other reasons of value erosion which include lack of clarity about the concept of values, one’s own values, inability to prioritize and the lack of courage and willingness to pay the price for one’s values.

I applaud the learnings from the research carried out by Jain (2002), however, the same have come from the value clarification workshops whose aim is to help people clarify their values and organizations build desired culture, rather than carrying out scientific and systematic research process for understanding the gaps between espoused and enacted values. Thus, the reasons for the gap mentioned in the study may not be fully reliable. Participants in such workshops usually find themselves uncomfortable speaking what they actually think and feel as there are other participants in the workshop including their supervisors and senior leaders. Hence the data collected from such workshops may have socially desirable responses or some inbuilt biases like respondent bias. There is also a high possibility of researcher bias, especially, confirmation bias as the prime objective of such workshops was to help people clarity values, however, researcher continued to validate the same patterns over years. Thus, there is a need for carrying out a systematic research to understand the factors responsible for gap between espoused and enacted values.

Gruys et al. (2008) carried out a longitudinal data study on 2,622 employees to study value enactment and they collected the ratings from a performance evaluation system for how well employees and managers enacted the core values in a hospital. According to them, Lencioni (2002) mentioned that the consequences of values publicly espoused and not backed up by tangible actions or fully integrated into the processes and structures of the organizations are troubling. In this study, Gruys et al. (2008) found that tenure and departmental values were significant predictors of individual values enactment.

The main limitation of this study is that the value enactment is the measured basis the ratings given by the supervisors as part of performance evaluation rather than the employees’ perception of their top management and organization as a whole as it is generally believed that top management act as a role model and lead by example and enacting core values should encourage the employees in the organization to live the espoused values. The behaviour of an employee is also influenced by other members working in the organization. Further, I believe that we need to look at a holistic level of the organization for the value enactment rather than just at individual and departmental level which was scope of this study. This study by Gruys et al. (2008) also suggested that future research can be taken to understand relationship between values enactment and other organization variables like organization commitment.

A study conducted by Khandelwal and Mohendra (2010) on 90 executives in one of India’s largest automobile company, Maruti Suzuki India Limited shows gap between espoused and practised values and the researchers claim that the results were in line with various other studies in past (Singh and Das (1977), Anthony (1989), Swales and Rogers (1995), Knights and McCabe (1999)). According to Khandelwal and Mohendra (2010), Kujula and Ahola, (2005) mentioned that organization sometimes consciously goes with the demonstrated values rather than the espoused values when there is a dissonance between stated values of the organization and how those values have been demonstrated.

In an another study conducted by Gopinath, Nair and Thangaraj (2018) on 149 employees of 130 companies, the results concluded that, (1) there is a significant gap between espoused and enacted values within the sample organisations and (2) when behavioural integrity (what is being said and what is being done) is boosted, then commitment to the espoused values of the organisation is enhanced.

Bourne et al. (2019) mentions that understanding espoused values of an organization is a relatively neglected area and still much is required to do in order to understand organizational values and their relationship to organizational behaviour.

Organization Culture, Values and Organization Effectiveness

Jain (2002) from her study through value clarification workshops mentions that generally the relationship of values with organizational effectiveness and performance is not clearly seen or believed. Further it is mentioned that the process of culture building is perceived as an image building exercise receiving peripheral and low priority attention in many organizations which often starts and ends with creating a statement of organizational values. Thus, it creates a need to carry out a scientific research which can study values and effectiveness concept in the organizations.

Gregory et al. (2009) carried out a research study on organization culture and effectiveness focusing on study of values, attitudes, and organizational outcomes. This was conducted in 99 healthcare facilities across the US and mentioned that employee attitudes mediate the culture–effectiveness relationship.

In another study done by Bourne, Jenkins and Parry (2019), Jonsen et al. (2015) found espoused values to have linkage with the organizational performance. The researchers also mentioned that espoused values are group of values which have to work together in order to provide sense and effectiveness in the organization. While this study is related to espoused values, I think that there is high possibility that congruence or gap between espoused and enacted values may be related to organization effectiveness.

Values and Affective Commitment

Now, the question is if the concept of values is related to commitment or not? There are studies which have tried to studied values and affective commitment which I will mention in this section.

According to Bass (2008, p. 260), a study done by Furst, Cable and Edwards (2001) suggests that “enacted values resulted in greater organizational commitment of 135 assistant managers”.

Zhang and Bloemer (2008) conducted a related study based on survey of 1,037 consumers of clothing stores and banks in the Netherlands where they found that value congruence (similarity between a consumer’s own personal values and perceptions of service brand values) has significant direct and positive effects on satisfaction, trust, affective commitment and loyalty of the consumers. While this study is from the consumer’s perspective, it still indicates the concept of values and commitment underlying it.

According to another study conducted by Howell, Kirk-Brown and Cooper (2012) through a survey of 343 employees in Australian organizations, the results show that sensitivity to the distinction between espoused and enacted organizational values provides a more comprehensive account of the values construct and a better understanding of the relationship between values and organizational commitment. It also revealed that affective commitment is higher when espoused and enacted organizational values are congruent. The researchers also affirmed that organization’s integrity (what organization stands for and what it is perceived to do) can have positive impact on individual level outcomes and commitment to the organization.

Cite this paper

Organization Commitment and Organization Effectiveness. (2021, Oct 08). Retrieved from https://samploon.com/organization-commitment-and-organization-effectiveness/

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