Commitment or entrenchment? Convergent and discriminant validation of affective and continuance dimensions of the three-component model
Keywords:Organizational commitment, Organizational entrenchment, Continuance commitment
Purpose – Is it possible to consider organizational entrenchment (OE) and continued commitment (CC) as the same phenomenon? Are there enough differences between CC and affective commitment (AC) to defend that they cannot be part of the same construct? The objective of this study was to examine the convergence of validated measures between OE and CC and their discrimination to AC. The authors’ aim was to compare two models of antecedents and their consequences: the model that includes OE and AC, and the one that includes CC and AC. Design/methodology/approach – An extensive cross-sectional study was conducted with a sample of 1,648 respondents (the majority lived in the Northeast region of Brazil, worked in private services companies, were female, single, under 35 years old, had, at least, begun college studies and received up to five times the minimum wage). A six-point Likert scale was used in this study. To measure OE, CC and AC, the authors used reduced versions of validated measures. To test the hypotheses, first, the authors used Pearson’s correlation analysis and then, structural equation modeling, comparing two models of antecedents and consequences (one including OE and AC, and the other, including CC and AC). Findings – As expected, affective commitment had a positive impact on the desired behavior (intention for commitment, defense, staying), whereas entrenchment and continuance commitment had a negative or nonsignificant impact on these behaviors. Results show the existence of a conceptual and empirical overlap between organizational entrenchment and continuance commitment and indicate that the continuance dimension is not part of commitment but rather part of organizational entrenchment. Research limitations/implications – The fact that this is a cross-sectional study sets a limitation on the results, for not allowing greater understanding of the dynamics and the causal direction of relationships. Additionally, it follows the trend of studies in the organizational behavior field of utilizing self-reported data, which results in problems related to perceptual bias (Morrow, 2011). Practical implications – The practical implications of this study regard a greater clarification on which behaviors are expected from either committed and entrenched workers, and which drivers may lead to each of these bonds. Therefore, a better understanding of the phenomenon contributes to the training of managers and to the design of organizational policies and practices. Social implications – The clarity of bonds also allows its application to different contexts beyond business organizations, as a step to reach better understanding of commitment and entrenchment in different settings, economical and national realities. Originality/value – It is expected that these findings add a higher precision to the research on commitment, thus contributing to the validity of the measures. Given these results and confirmation that OE and CC represent the same bond, it is considered appropriate to designate this type of bond simply as OE. Additionally, the results of this study represent a further argument in favor of prioritizing the AC than CC in research and in management of organizational commitment.