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Running head: ORGANIZATIONAL COMMITMENT

Chapter 6: Organizational Commitment: Complication or Clarification?

S. Arzu Wasti

Sabanci University

Faculty of Management

Orhanli 34956 Tuzla

Istanbul, Turkey

Phone: +90 216 4839662                            Fax +90 216 483 9699

E-mail: awasti@sabanciuniv.edu


Dating back to the 1960s, organizational commitment (OC) has become an important topic for organizational research due to its association with employee performance, prosocial behaviors, absenteeism and turnover (Meyer & Allen, 1997). While much of this literature has been primarily relevant to the North American context, there is now an accumulation of more than three decades�� of cross-cultural research. The early stream of research was spurred largely by a concern to explore whether the widening productivity gap between Japan and the United States (US) in the late 1970s might be due to differences in employees�� OC as reflected in their respective turnover rates. In addition to comparing the conceptualization of OC (e.g., Marsh & Mannari, 1977) and mean differences in its level (e.g., Luthans, McCaul, & Dodd, 1985), researchers sought to discern whether structural versus cultural factors had a greater influence in generating employee commitment (Lincoln & Kalleberg, 1985; Near, 1985). While suggesting that some determinants of commitment are universal, the results were counterintuitive as they reported lower levels of commitment among the Japanese. Redding, Norman and Schlander (1994) argued that this inconsistency might have been due to methodological problems like the response bias that stems from Japanese reticence in asserting personal claims. More importantly, they noted that such studies made an undue assumption  that the two essential components –commitment and organization – meant the same across cultures and researchers thus possibly ended up comparing different phenomena. In a broader review, Randall (1993) further concluded that due to the limited number of studies reporting comparable data, the wide reliance on different instruments for measuring commitment, the different nature of samples across countries as well as an insufficient focus on why and how culture would matter, it was very difficult to compare the nature, development and consequences of commitment across contexts.

This chapter takes up from where Randall (1993) left off and critically evaluates the cross-cultural OC literature of the last decade. The term cross-cultural in this review refers to comparative studies as well as to single-nation studies conducted outside the mainstream, where mainstream is defined as research from North America as well as those nations that have high representation in top US journals (Kirkman & Law, 2005). The chapter is organized as follows: In the first section, studies investigating the dimensions of OC are presented. Next, research on the antecedents and outcomes of OC is reviewed. A summary of the studies reviewed is provided in Table 1. Finally, future research directions are discussed.

- Table 1 about here -

Dimensions of OC

The early mainstream conceptualizations of OC were unidimensional, defining it either as a consistent line of activity due to a recognition of costs associated with quitting (Becker, 1960) or more popularly, as an emotional attachment (Mowday, Steers, & Porter, 1979). In the 1980s and early 1990s, several alternative models of commitment, all of which were multidimensional, were developed (e.g., Allen & Meyer, 1990; O��Reilly & Chatman, 1986). Of these, the three-component model by Meyer and Allen (1991) has gained substantial popularity. According to this model, employees with strong affective commitment (AC) remain in the organization because they want to, those with strong continuance commitment (CC) because they need to, those with strong normative commitment (NC) because they feel they ought to do so. As such, the three components are hypothesized to develop from different antecedents and to have different implications for job outcomes other than turnover.

The three-component model has received considerable empirical support in the North American context (Meyer, Stanley, Herscovitch & Topolnytsky, 2002). Studies from Western Europe, Australia or New Zealand also confirm its validity (e.g., Iverson & Buttigieg, 1999). For instance, using two French-speaking Belgian samples, Stinglhamber, Bentein and Vandenberghe (2002) found strong support for the model within and across several foci, namely the organization, the occupation, the supervisor, the work group, and customers. Vandenberghe, Stinglhamber, Bentein and Delhaise (2001) further investigated the validity of this model across employees from 15 European nations, all of whom worked for the European Commission. While for CC and NC, the organizational and occupational foci were indistinguishable empirically, measurement properties were culturally robust and the relationships between commitment components and turnover intentions were consistent across the Western European employees in this study. Additionally, employees from more individualistic European nations displayed higher levels of CC to their organization and occupation, and employees from countries high on masculinity exhibited stronger levels of AC to being a European.

Findings from contexts considerably different than North America have been more mixed. For instance, in contrast to Chen and Francesco (2003), Cheng and Stockdale (2003)��s data from Chinese employees revealed only a modest fit for Meyer and Allen��s (1991) model. Nevertheless, the antecedents of the three dimensions were associated most strongly with their respective scales. Furthermore, AC and NC significantly predicted job satisfaction and all three components predicted turnover intention, although associations between CC and these outcomes were moderated by NC. This effect was attributed to the primacy of norms concerning organizational attachment in the Chinese national culture. NC and AC were significantly higher and CC was significantly lower in the Chinese sample than in samples from Canada and South Korea (hereafter referred to as Korea).

Gautam, van Dick and Wagner (2001) explored the dimensionality of Meyer and Allen��s (1991) model in Nepalese organizations. Interestingly, no demographic or organizational variable was associated with AC. Older employees, those in lower-level positions, and those who perceived their jobs to be more interesting and challenging had higher levels of CC. Those with higher numbers of dependent family members, those with a perception of a more interesting job, and those who perceived more support from their leaders showed more NC. Regarding job search and turnover intentions, only AC was significant.

Ko, Price and Mueller (1997) tested Meyer and Allen��s (1991) model in Korea. The three scales had acceptable reliability and convergent validity, but the AC and the NC scales lacked discriminant validity and the construct validity of NC and CC were questionable.   Likewise, Lee, Allen, Meyer and Rhee (2001) used back-translated versions of Meyer, Allen, and Smith��s (1993) scales in Korea and obtained results similar to Ko et al. (1997). To investigate whether this was due to culturally irrelevant items, Lee et al. (2001) pilot tested a new set of items written by an international team (Meyer, Barak & Vandenberghe, 1996). The authors reran the validity analyses and found support for the three-component model. Similarly, Wasti (2003a) adapted Meyer et al.��s (1993) scales by adding emic (culture-specific) items that she developed through interviews with Turkish employees and validated the three-factor conceptualization.

In addition to testing the validity of North American models, indigenous approaches have been emerging. For example, Wang (2004) cited two Japanese studies which refer to four dimensions of commitment (Takao, 1998; Tao, 1997): affective emotional, value rational, normative and continuance. Wang (2004) also drew on the work of Ling, Zhang and Fang (2001) in Chinese, who proposed a five-factor model including AC, NC, ideal commitment (which reflects communist ideals, arguably corresponding largely to CC), economic commitment and opportunity commitment. They further made a distinction between active CC, associated with an awareness of an opportunity to improve oneself by on-the-job training or promotion, and passive CC, which suggests that employees have to remain due to lack of alternatives. Using Chinese respondents, Wang (2004) empirically confirmed a five-factor model, distinguishing AC, NC, active CC, passive CC and value commitment, which refers to an employee��s feelings of value congruence with their organization. It should be noted however, that value commitment and active CC as defined above are typically considered antecedents of AC in the mainstream research.

Thus, there is substantial evidence in favor of a three dimensional structure of OC. Taken together with Stanley, Meyer, Jackson et al.��s (2007) meta-analytic findings which indicate that the three components are distinguishable across cultures, future investigations can contribute by refining the operationalization of the components, particularly CC and NC. To this end, it is strongly recommended that researchers develop decentered scales, i.e., ones that are composed of items that are applicable both in meaning and choice of expression to many national cultures (van de Vijver & Leung, 1997). Regarding NC, for instance, the rewording of items that refer to ��feelings�� to reflect obligations (Bergman, 2006), or the adding of items that explicitly tap the perceived appropriateness of commitment for the employee��s specific reference groups may improve the construct��s cross-cultural validity. Such undertakings, however, will require the involvement of international collaborators at stages prior to data collection, as well as multi-method designs that incorporate quantitative as well as qualitative tools.

Antecedents of OC

              While in the mainstream literature there are literally hundreds of studies on the antecedents of OC (especially AC), the meta-analysis by Meyer et al. (2002) indicates that AC develops primarily from positive work-related experiences, in particular higher levels of job scope (e.g., autonomy) and perceived organizational support and justice. CC, in contrast, develops from perceived lack of job alternatives and costs associated with leaving. Although there is insufficient empirical evidence to substantiate the claim, NC is theorized to develop by early socialization experiences from family or culture and on the basis of an employee��s psychological contract regarding reciprocal obligations. Interested readers are referred to Meyer and Allen (1997) for the theoretical bases of these antecedents (see also the discussion of psychological contracts by Schalk & Soeters, Chapter 7).

The cross-national generality of these antecedents has been the concern of much research. Three themes dominate this literature: Firstly, researchers have investigated the influence of cultural differences, mostly collectivism and power distance, on the salience of various work-related antecedents, especially those characterized to be more relational or hierarchical, such as leadership and voice. Secondly, studies have explored whether workers from different institutional systems (e.g., former communist countries) are similarly motivated by the antecedents identified in the mainstream literature. Finally, researchers have focused on individual differences. In the next section, studies falling under the first two of these themes are presented as a series of work-related antecedents, followed by a section on the third theme, namely individual-related antecedents.

Work-related Antecedents

Justice. Organizational fairness has been most popular in terms of work-related antecedents. For example, Rahim, Magner, Antonioni and Rahman (2001) examined the relationships between distributive, procedural and interactional justice and AC with faculty members and managers from the US and Bangladesh. Distributive justice did not predict AC across the board, whereas procedural justice was significant in all samples except the Bangladeshi managers (for whom only interactional justice was significant). These authors concluded that culture had little influence on justice-commitment relations.

However, studies which have included culturally salient variables or explicitly measured cultural values suggest otherwise. For instance, Ohbuchi, Suzuki and Hayashi (2001) found that for Japanese employees, attainment of group goals and not individual goals increased perceptions of justice, which in turn was associated with OC. In two experimental studies, Brockner, Ackerman, Greenberg et al. (2001) showed that the tendency for people to respond with lower AC to lower levels of voice was greater in a low power distance national culture (US) than in high power distance national cultures (China and Mexico). In a survey study with Chinese employees, they also found that the predicted interaction between voice and power distance emerged for a host of dependent variables, including AC. More recently, Fischer and Smith (2006), using data from (former East) German and British employees and drawing on Schwartz��s (1992) values framework, showed that openness to change moderated the relationship between procedural justice perceptions and AC such that the relationship was stronger for individuals who endorsed openness to change values to a greater extent. Furthermore, the three-way interactions between values, justice perceptions and national culture were significant suggesting that the strength of the moderation was related to the salience of the values within a society. These latter two studies are notable as the cultural values hypothesized to influence the justice-commitment relationship were measured, thereby providing stronger evidence as to the influence of culture (see also Fischer, Chapter 8).

Going back East and drawing on the concept of collectivism, Kickul, Lester and Belgio (2004) tested the differences between the psychological contracts operating in the US and in Hong Kong. Because of the financial pressure that utilitarian familism places on Hong Kong employees, the authors hypothesized that the Hong Kong Chinese would react more negatively (lower levels of job satisfaction, AC, NC, CC and organizational citizenship behaviors (OCBs)) to breaches of the extrinsic components of the psychological contract. US workers, who derive more of their self-worth from their career, were expected to react more negatively to breaches of the intrinsic components. Their results largely confirmed their expectations.

Organizational Support and Leadership. Yoon and Thye (2002) argued that perceived organizational support (a relational construct) would be a better predictor of AC than job satisfaction (an individual emotion) in Korea but they found that both variables were equally potent in predicting commitment. Comparing US and Singaporean nurses, Lee and Bruvold (2003) found that perceived investment in employee development predicted AC, but was unrelated to CC in both countries. AC was negatively related to turnover intention only in Singapore, but CC did not predict turnover intentions in either sample. These authors argued that investing in employees contributes to a desirable form of employee commitment across both Eastern and Western settings, a conclusion corroborated with Indian (Agarwala, 2003) as well as Korean (Chang, 1999) data.

These conclusions can be more thoroughly tested by studies that have included individual-level measures of individualism-collectivism, also referred to as idiocentrism-allocentrism. In three emerging economies, namely China, India and Kenya, Walumbwa and Lawler (2003), measuring collectivism at the individual level, carried out a sub-group comparison and showed that transformational leadership was more strongly related to satisfaction with coworkers and AC in the high collectivist group compared to the low collectivist group. In a related vein, Wasti (2003b) showed that while satisfaction with work was a significant antecedent of AC and NC both for allocentrics and idiocentrics in a Turkish sample, satisfaction with supervisor was significant only for allocentrics, also with respect to CC. A further study by Walumbwa, Orwa, Wang and Lawler (2005) revealed that transformational leadership predicted AC in Kenyan and US samples. Walumbwa, Lawler, Avolio, Wang and Shi (2005) also found that both collective- and self-efficacy moderated the relationship between transformational leadership and AC and job satisfaction across their Chinese, Indian and American samples. The three-way interactions were insignificant, suggesting country had little influence once the effects of the efficacy measures had been taken into account.

In another study from Kenya, Mulinge (2001) showed that agricultural technicians who were able to transmit information upwards, who had sufficient organizational resources, high job security, vertical occupational mobility, task significance, co-worker support and firm-specific training, low job repetition and low role ambiguity were more satisfied with their jobs. Job satisfaction, in turn, was the strongest predictor of OC. In addition, higher levels of supervisor support, task significance, legitimate promotion standards, lower levels of role ambiguity as well as gender, tenure, sector and kinship responsibilities directly predicted commitment. This study as well as those by Walumbwa and his colleagues are valuable particularly because research from Africa, with the relative exception of South Africa, is very limited. Furthermore, Gbadamosi (2003) argues that while Western management concepts dominate the thinking of academics and managers in Africa, such practices are not widely applicable and despite years of colonization African managers have indigenous practices that are under-investigated (see Smith, Chapter 19).

              Teamwork. Teamwork has also been explored in relation to commitment. For instance, Kirkman and Shapiro (2001) examined whether employee resistance to teams and to self-management mediated the relationships between cultural values and OC. Specifically, they argued that an individual-level measure of collectivism would be negatively related to resistance to teams. They also proposed that power distance and determinism (fatalism) would be positively, but doing-orientation (the extent to which people have a strong work ethic) would be negatively related to resistance to self-management. Higher resistance in turn would lead to lower levels of AC. Their data from self-managing work teams in Belgium, Finland, Philippines and the US largely confirmed their hypotheses but showed that country remained a significant predictor of outcomes even after these cultural values had been entered into the equation (See also Halevy & Sagiv, Chapter 15).

Institutional effects. Drawing not on cultural but on institutional differences, Pearce, Branyiczki and Bigley (2000) argued that neo-traditional political systems, prevalent in ex-communist or economically developing countries, are conducive to the emergence of particularistic organizations, where power holders typically hire or fire on the basis of employees�� personal characteristics (e.g., relatives, personal loyalties). The authors proposed that in particularistic organizations, employees are more likely to trust the ingroup and unlikely to be committed to the organization. In similar vein, Pearce, Bigley and Branyiczki (1998) further argued that employees in all systems would value merit-based organizations and that perceptions of procedural justice would predict greater AC and trust even after controlling for political economy. Their studies comparing the US with Lithuania (Pearce et al., 1998) and Hungary (Pearce et al., 2000) supported their predictions.

Indeed, institutional transitions and their implications have been the main impetus behind the growing literature from Eastern Europe and from China. For example, Gallie, Kostova and Kuchar (1999) compared AC across the Czech Republic, Slovakia, Bulgaria and the UK. Although the authors did not report taking response biases into account, they noted that AC was highest in the UK, followed by Bulgaria, the society closest to state socialist forms of work organization. AC was lowest in the Czech Republic, which suggested that the sharpest alienation from the organization appeared to be a function of the mismatch between heightened aspirations and continuing past practices. The authors�� descriptive comparison of the antecedents suggested that the British employees not only experienced a stronger sense of initiative and responsibility, but also endorsed higher levels of satisfaction with their supervisors, colleagues, pay, promotion opportunities and job security. Across the four countries, satisfaction with work hours and task effort were unrelated to AC, but satisfaction with task initiative, communication with management, work efficiency and promotion opportunities were significant predictors. There were no consistent findings with respect to satisfaction with task variety, colleagues, participation, pay, and job security. In another study, Roe, Zinovieva, Dienes and Horn (2000) studied the antecedents and outcomes of job involvement and AC of workers in Bulgaria, Hungary and the Netherlands. While career opportunities appeared to be a common determinant of AC, pay was a predictor only for the former communist countries. Growth, belongingness needs and organizational climate were significant for Hungarian and Dutch workers but not for Bulgarians, for whom esteem needs were salient. Nevertheless, across the three samples AC was a significant predictor of job satisfaction, effort and turnover intentions. In sum, while the evidence from Eastern Europe does not clearly delineate the effects of cultural, economic or political factors, merit-based systems, do broadly speaking, emerge as a generalizable antecedent of AC. 

Regarding China, considerable research has explored the transition experienced by state-owned enterprises (SOEs), which are increasingly adopting Western HRM procedures to enhance competitiveness. Thus far, the findings have been inconsistent. In one study, Wang (2004) found that SOEs had higher levels of passive CC and lower levels of value commitment than foreign-invested enterprises (FIEs). Surprisingly, SOEs also enjoyed higher levels of active CC, and FIE ownership did not predict AC or NC. Chiu (2003), in his comparison of SOEs, FIEs and private enterprises, found that AC was predicted by perceived organizational prospects and operational effectiveness after the impact of organizational ownership and demographic characteristics were controlled. Organizational ownership was unrelated to workers�� AC but predicted CC. Specifically SOE workers felt a stronger sense of reliance on the organization than workers in private enterprises. In contrast, Yu and Egri (2005) found that FIE employees were more satisfied with their HRM practices and consequently more affectively committed than SOE employees. According to Wang (2004), currently neither SOEs nor FIEs invest highly in their employees, and even when FIEs do invest, better opportunities are offered to only a small portion of employees whereas in SOEs the inferior opportunities are available to more employees. Wang��s (2004) observations may explain these unexpected and conflicting findings.

Institutional differences have also triggered research in West European countries. Arguing that Scandinavian countries differ in their institutionalized commitment to paid labor and employment, Svallfors, Halvorsen and Andersen (2001) investigated OC in Denmark, Norway and Sweden. Using data from the International Social Survey Programme (ISSP, 1997), the authors found that Denmark had the highest and Sweden the lowest levels of commitment, which opposed their expectations. They speculated that because Danish workplaces are smaller, they are also less hierarchical and more rewarding regarding work content. Along the same lines, Hult (2005) predicted divergence between the coordinated market economies of Sweden, Germany and Norway versus the liberal market economies of the US, New Zealand and the UK. Although the ISSP (1997) data indicated unexpected differences in mean levels (with Sweden lowest and the US highest on AC), there were no differences in the extent to which intrinsic, extrinsic or social work values were satisfied. However, there is no indication that response biases were taken into account. Of note, in all countries, interesting work showed the strongest correlation with AC.

Another research focus in West European countries has been labor market changes. For example, Chirumbolo and Hellgren (2003) found that perceived job insecurity was negatively related to AC across Belgian, Italian and Dutch samples, but not in a Swedish sample. Furthermore, in the Belgian, Dutch and Italian samples, AC partially mediated the influence of job insecurity on mental health complaints, and in the Belgian and Dutch samples it fully mediated the influence of job insecurity on turnover intentions. Using the same dataset, De Witte and Naswall (2003) showed that temporary employment did not directly affect AC in any of the countries except Italy, but was associated with lower perceived job security, which in turn predicted lower AC. In Sweden and Belgium, job insecurity predicted lower AC only among permanent employees, suggesting that job insecurity might be perceived as a violation of their psychological contract. The authors speculated that this result might have occurred in these two countries due to the existence of stronger unions.

Individual-Related Antecedents

While most studies have incorporated demographic variables as control variables, some have explicitly investigated their relation to OC in different environments. In the Chinese context, Chen and Francesco (2000) argued that employees with good guanxi would be promoted to higher positions and hypothesized that position would be associated with higher AC. Since guanxi would not necessarily be related to age or tenure, they did not expect these variables to be significant. Indeed, only position (operationalized as hierarchical level) positively influenced employees�� AC. In Jordan, Al-Qarioti and Al-Enezi (2004) found no mean level differences in AC among middle managers in nongovernmental, public and private organizations. In contrast to Western evidence, education, age and marriage were all negatively related to AC. Noting the high unemployment rate in the country, the authors argued that young employees who were lucky enough to find a job were likely to feel more committed. In their comparative study in Denmark, Norway and Sweden, Svallfors et al. (2001) found gender, the presence of children and marriage/cohabitation all had no effect on OC. As predicted, OC increased with age, seniority, higher education and self-employment. In sum, while demographic variables appear to have differential relations with OC across contexts, the variation seems to be a function of macro-economic factors.

              Another antecedent that has received some interest is cultural values measured at the individual level. The findings do not yield a clear picture; however, there is some consistency with respect to collectivism and uncertainty avoidance as predictors of OC. For instance, Robertson, Al-Khatib and Al-Habib (2002) surveyed employees in Saudi Arabia, Oman and Kuwait and found collectivism, uncertainty avoidance and masculinity all related to higher OC beliefs. Similarly, Parkes, Bochner and Schneider��s (2001) results from two matched organizations in Australia and South-East Asia indicated that both individual-level individualism-collectivism and national culture independently explained AC. Furthermore, there was a significant interaction between national and individual-level cultural values. Specifically, collectivists were more committed than individualists in the Asian organizations but not in the Australian organizations. In a more elaborate study using a US sample and measuring commitment to organization, supervisor and workgroup, Clugston, Howell and Dorfman (2000) showed that power distance was positively related to NC and CC; and uncertainty avoidance was positively related to CC across all foci. Collectivism was positively related to workgroup commitment across all commitment dimensions as well as to NC to the organization and supervisor.              

              Drawing on Schwartz��s (1992) framework, Glazer, Daniel and Short (2004) proposed that self-transcendence and conservation values would be positively related to AC, particularly in more communal societies like Hungary and Italy than in more contractual cultures, such as the UK and US. They further proposed that openness to change values would be negatively related to AC, and self-enhancement values would be associated with higher levels of CC, especially in contractual cultures. Using data from nurses, the authors found that the samples did not differ along the value dimensions, suggesting that the occupational culture might be more dominant than the national culture. Conservation values had positive and self-enhancement values had negative relations with AC in Hungary and Italy but not in the UK or the US. Noting that value dimensions explained OC to a greater extent in the Hungarian and the Italian samples, the authors speculated that values might be a stronger predictor of commitment in communal cultures than in contractual cultures, where experiences at work might be better predictors.

              Finally, a few studies have investigated various other individual differences as antecedents to OC. For example, Jamal (2005) found that job stress was negatively correlated with OC both for Chinese and Canadian employees whereas Type A personality, time pressure and competitiveness were significant only in the Canadian sample. In another study, Luthans, Zhu and Avolio (2006) showed that general self-efficacy had a positive relationship with AC and a negative relationship with turnover intentions across employees from the US and Southeast Asia (Indonesia, Malaysia and Thailand combined).

Outcomes of OC

              The relation between OC and employee retention, particularly in terms of withdrawal cognitions is well-established in the mainstream literature (Meyer et al., 2002). The modest association of commitment with in-role performance has been attributed to the moderation of external factors such as access to resources or ability (Meyer & Allen, 1997). Indeed, OC appears to predict extra-role behaviors better, arguably due to fewer situational constraints. Meta-analysis of North American research further suggests that AC has the strongest association with desirable job outcomes, followed by NC while CC is typically either unrelated or negatively related to positive outcomes (Meyer et al., 2002). This conclusion has been challenged by cross-cultural researchers who have explored whether NC is a stronger predictor of job outcomes in more collectivist nations. Evidence on this quest is presented below.

Turnover and Turnover Intentions

Stanley et al.��s (2007) meta-analysis on the cross-cultural generalizability of Meyer and Allen��s (1991) model indicated that turnover cognition correlated negatively with AC (= -.55; K= 176), with NC (= -.42; K = 70) and with CC ( = -.25; K = 92). The values represent true correlations estimated by computing the average of correlations corrected for sampling error and unreliability; K denotes the number of studies in the analysis. They further found that the strong negative correlation between AC and turnover cognition was consistent across nations. In contrast, nation-level values and practices as measured by the GLOBE project (House, Hanges, Javidan, Dorfman, & Gupta, 2004) accounted for a substantial portion of the cross-study variability in correlations involving CC and NC. The correlation between NC and turnover cognition varied from a low of -.34 in the Anglo cluster of nations to a high of -.67 in the Middle East cluster, and the correlation between CC and turnover cognition varied from a low of -.21 in the Anglo cluster to a high of -.55 in Confucian Asia.

The moderation effects that were found were identical for NC and for CC. As expected, the correlation between commitment and turnover cognition was moderated by ingroup collectivism (both values and practices), institutional collectivism (practices) and power distance (practices). The relation between these variables was more negative in nations with strong institutional collectivism values as well as strong ingroup collectivism and power distance practices. However, the relation was less negative in cultures with strong ingroup collectivism values. In addition, the correlation between commitment and turnover cognition was less negative in nations with strong gender egalitarian values and practices, strong performance orientation values, and strong future orientation values.

There has been much less research on actual turnover behavior. In one study, Yao and Wang (2006) argued that idiocentrism would moderate the relationship between AC and job satisfaction, and allocentrism would moderate the relationship between NC and turnover frequency, measured as the number of companies previously worked for. NC was operationalized as a general norm favoring loyalty and in fact, might be viewed as an antecedent to NC (Meyer & Allen, 1997). Nevertheless, AC was positively related to job satisfaction and generalized norms for loyalty predicted low turnover for Chinese employees. Further, where norms were stronger, turnover frequency of individuals higher in allocentrism decreased more strongly. These results are in line with Wasti��s (2003a) study in Turkey, which showed that the relationship between NC and turnover intentions was stronger for allocentrics but weaker for idiocentrics.

Some studies have also investigated the relation between commitment to other foci and turnover. For example, Stinglhamber et al. (2002) showed that although OC remained the primary explanation of turnover intentions, commitment to the occupation, supervisor, workgroup, and customers also contributed unique variance. In a longitudinal multi-study investigation, Vandenberghe, Bentein and Stinglhamber (2004) found that AC had an indirect effect on turnover through intent to quit, partially mediated the effect of affective supervisor commitment on intent to quit and completely mediated the effect of affective workgroup commitment on intent to quit.

In-role and Extra-role Performance (OCB)

Studies on OC outcomes other than turnover have almost all focused on organizational citizenship behavior (see also Farh, Hackett & Chen, Chapter 10). These studies have typically emerged from Asia. For example, Gautam, van Dick, Wagner, Upadhay and Davis (2005) explored the relationship between OC and OCBs in a Nepalese sample. AC and NC correlated significantly with both the altruism and compliance dimensions of OCB, while CC was unrelated to altruism and negatively associated with compliance. NC was more strongly related to the two OCB indicators as might be expected from Nepalese employees, characterized as endorsing high levels of collectivism and power distance. In another study, Chen and Francesco (2003) showed that AC related positively to both in-role and extra-role performance, while CC was not associated with in-role performance but negatively correlated with extra-role performance among Chinese employees. In addition, NC moderated the relationship between AC and in-role as well as extra-role performance. For those employees who were committed to the organization because they felt an obligation, emotional attachment was not related to performance outcomes. With the same data, Francesco and Chen (2004) further showed that there was a weaker positive relationship between commitment and performance among those endorsing an individual-level measure of collectivism to a higher extent. The authors argued that as collectivists were strongly motivated by group norms, a collectivist��s personal commitment to or liking for the organization had less relationship to performance.

In a study comparing Arab and Jewish teachers in Israel, Cohen (2006) failed to find a moderating effect of collectivism on the relationship between AC and in- and extra-role performance. Cohen (2006) did find a moderating effect of power distance on the commitment-performance relationship, however: For individuals high on power distance values, this relationship was stronger. Finally, Jaramillo, Mulki and Marshall (2005)��s meta-analysis, which included 51 studies conducted over the past 25 years across 14 countries, revealed stronger correlations between OC and job performance (subjectively measured, except in one study) in collectivist compared to individualistic nations, as ranked by Hofstede (1980).

Lastly, commitment to one��s supervisor has been a central variable for research emerging from collectivist, high power distant national cultures. For example, Chen, Tsui and Farh (2002) developed and validated a five-dimensional loyalty to supervisor scale in Chinese. The dimensions included identification with the supervisor, internalization of the supervisor��s values, willingness to dedicate oneself to the supervisor, willingness to exert extra effort on behalf of the supervisor, and a desire to follow the supervisor. In a second study, these authors found that loyalty to supervisor was more strongly associated than AC with both in-role and extra-role performance. In particular, both extra- and in-role performance were more strongly associated with the dimensions of dedication and extra effort than the two dimensions that had been previously developed in Western settings, namely identification and internalization of supervisor��s values (Becker, Billings, Eveleth, & Gilbert, 1996). Along the same lines, Cheng, Jiang and Riley (2003) showed that Taiwanese employees�� commitment to their supervisor had a significant impact not only on outcomes evaluated by the supervisor (namely, OCB and job performance) but also those that are more global (i.e., job satisfaction, turnover intentions). Consistent with Vandenberghe et al. (2004), AC did not predict job performance, and only influenced employees�� OCB through employees�� supervisory commitment. Finally, Tierney, Bauer and Potter (2002) showed that in the collectivist and hierarchical Mexican national culture, leaders had strong influence over employees�� willingness to engage in OCBs and that this effect was mediated by OC, but not by job satisfaction.

Discussion

The new millenium has witnessed a considerable and consistent increase in cross-cultural OC studies. Furthermore, while prior to the 1990s researchers typically compared the US and Japan, the current literature encompasses many other countries. Finally, cross-cultural OC research not only enjoys a better established theoretical basis but also benefits from increased statistical sophistication. Indeed, this review made a concerted effort to elaborate on the studies that best reflect this progress in the field.

Nonetheless, it should be mentioned that the bulk of this literature is still rather exploratory and relies primarily on an imposed-etic approach. This approach assumes emic theories, constructs and measures (usually developed in the US or Canada) to be etic (universal) and instruments composed of items reflecting Western conditions are often simply translated and used in other national cultures (Kim, 2000). This assumption is reflected, for instance, in the high number of studies that provided no validation evidence for imported scales or relied on imported validation evidence. The prevalence of convenience sampling with respect to nation also suggests that some cross-cultural studies are simply opportunistic. With insufficient a priori theorizing with respect to the influence of culture and reliance on imported theories and instrumentation, such research can be biased towards finding cultural similarities (Cheung & Leung, 1998). Indeed, coupled with the fact that cultural values were rarely measured directly and macro- or meso-institutional variables (e.g., labor mobility, job security, prevalence of family firms) were infrequently incorporated into research designs, it is not surprising to see researchers concluding that their country was becoming Westernized or that the cultural boundedness of US theories may be overstated. Imposed-etic designs also suffer from errors of omission, as they only deal with constructs found to be important in the North American context. For instance, most researchers only measured AC and few studies investigated NC in collectivistic contexts despite convincing evidence that norms rather than affect or cost-benefit calculations are stronger predictors of behavior in such cultures (Triandis, 1995).

The imported concentration on AC has also limited our understanding of NC and CC, which are arguably more culture-bound than AC. Although North American research has typically conceptualized costs associated with leaving as material or economic, evidence from collectivist contexts underlines the relevance of the normative or social costs of quitting. Such costs emerge out of a concern to meet ingroup expectations regarding appropriate behavior, a concern that becomes especially salient when employment opportunities are procured through these networks, as well as the necessity of maintaining a reputation for loyalty, which is a crucial asset in relationship-oriented societies (Chang, 1999; Wasti, 2002). Interestingly, the meta-analysis by Stanley et al. (2007) found NC and CC to be more highly correlated with low turnover intention in cultures with strong institutional collectivism values. These authors speculated that the emphasis on norms and obligations in collectivist cultures introduces a ��social cost�� that is reflected in both NC and CC scores. Arguably, the nature of CC might have implications for job-related outcomes. Wasti (2002) showed that allocentrics in Turkey, whose CC was associated with higher levels of normative costs compared to idiocentrics, were less likely to engage in withdrawal behaviors. More recently, Meyer and his colleagues (Powell & Meyer, 2004; Gellatly, Meyer & Luchak, 2006), in addition to developing measures of both socio-normative and economic costs, underlined the importance of looking at the influence of norms when they co-occur with a cost-avoidance versus an affective mindset. Given the salience of norms in collectivist contexts, future research can benefit from these theoretical and empirical developments, as well as the arguments put forth regarding the nature of CC in other contexts (Wang, 2004; Wasti, 2002) in an attempt to better conceptualize and operationalize these constructs.

Future Directions

The present review indicates that the available research has been focused on determining the boundary conditions for North American theories and that very few studies have incorporated emic insights. As Berry (2000, p. 197) put it, ��one has to be ��cultural�� before being ��cross����. Investigations in different contexts, without extensive reliance on imported theory or measurement, are essential for the discovery of both etic and emic aspects of OC. Such an endeavor undoubtedly calls for different research strategies, such as qualitative inquiry as well as greater consultation with disciplines like sociology, political economy and history. Qualitative inquiry is crucial also for the validation of imported research instruments, because there is always the possibility that an imported instrument is under-inclusive, even if it yields a structure identical to that found in the original culture (van de Vijver & Leung, 1997). Academic disciplines, such as sociology, history that provide frameworks for the contextualization of organizational phenomena are likely to contribute to indigenous theory development. For instance, based on a historical analysis of the varying socio-economic conditions in several East Asian countries, Redding et al. (1994) proposed differential manifestations of OC in kin- versus non-kin collectivist cultures. However, much research has simply relied on Hofstede��s (1980) classification.

Finally, although AC has been the dominant focus in this field, Ashforth and Mael��s (1989) reconceptualization has triggered a growing interest in organizational identification (OI) in recent years. OI is argued to be contingent on factors such as perceived similarity and fate shared with the organization, which may serve as precursors to self-categorization as a member of the organization. In contrast, antecedents of the more attitudinal construct of AC have more usually been sought in factors that make the job fulfilling. Recent theoretical and empirical work (e.g., Meyer, Becker & van Dick, 2006) has focused on distinguishing and integrating these two constructs, and has formulated OI as an important antecedent to OC. However, with the exception of a few studies, which have explored the discriminant validity of these constructs in various contexts (e.g., Cole & Bruch, 2006, in India; Gautam, van Dick and Wagner., 2004, in Nepal), there is a dearth of cross-cultural research into the meaning, nature, antecedents and outcomes of OI.

Although it is difficult to go beyond speculation at this point, it is pertinent to question whether some puzzling findings from the field, such as the negative correlation between job satisfaction and OC in Egypt (Parnell & Hatem, 1999), and the weaker correlation between OC and performance for the allocentric Chinese (Francesco & Chen, 2004), could be explained if OI and OC had been considered together. Perhaps some collectivist contexts are like situations where OI is high, but AC is low. For instance, Parnell and Hatem (1999) argued that due to the prevalence of ingroup recruitment in the collectivist Egyptian context, most employees are loyal to their organization even if it does not provide for their personal interests. Such a profile of attachment (i.e., high OI and low AC) might have surprising implications such as low turnover and low performance or low in-role but high extra-role performance. Collectivist contexts might be of further interest with respect to the development of OI. Collectivists typically have stronger ingroup identities (Triandis, 1995), and unless working for ingroups (e.g., family firms), the lower permeability of ingroup identity might result in the treatment of the organization as an outgroup. As Meyer et al., (2006) phrase it, ��situated�� identities may prevail. Alternatively, one might reason that the lower permeability of ingroup identity renders collectivists capable of identification at more proximal levels (e.g., to their workgroup), and to the extent that the workgroup and the organization goals conflict, this discrepancy could be more detrimental in collectivist contexts. 

Evidently, there are many more complications to tackle on the road to a clearer understanding of organizational attachment across cultures and contexts. Indeed, the future of the field promises to be at least as exciting as the past.


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Table 1

Summary of Studies Reviewed

Note. OCQ= Organizational Commitment Questionnaire (Mowday, Porter & Steers, 1979). Several studies have used a subset of items of the scales listed.

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