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Employee Commitment in Changing Organizations Case Study

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Updated: Nov 19th, 2020

Research Problem

Virtually all scientific researches incorporate a section that presents the problem statement. This section describes in a concrete and precise manner the issues that form the basic tenets of the research. Thus, it describes issues that the main research seeks to resolve. A problem statement is important in the process of study question formulation. Nijhof, De Jong, and Beukhof’s (1998) research set a specific section on the problem statement.

The authors note that the success of organizations is a function of how they utilize their employees’ competencies. In terms of changing organizations, the article insists that the commitment of employees is critical when it comes to ensuring a competitive advantage. Thus, the problem in this research is focused on how to ensure that employees demonstrate organizational commitment. Although the authors recognize that external and internal factors can influence employees’ dedication, their main problem is to investigate how internal factors can influence workers’ commitment since organizations can effectively control such factors.

Research Hypothesis

The research hypothesis serves the purpose of helping to predict any possible relationships between variables. It helps in guiding the research process through responses to various questions (Saunders, Lewis, & Thornhill, 2012).

Although not all researches have a hypothesis, there is the need to include a section of propositions in any scientific study. Nijhof et al.’s (1998) research intend to determine whether the commitment of employees in changing organizations “is affected by internal and external factors” (p.243). To this extent, they hypothesize that organizations that operate under stable conditions are likely to have different forms of employee commitment compared to those that change such as mergers, acquisitions, re-engineering, or downsizing. In response to this hypothesis, the research determines the effects of workforce commitment.

The Need for the Study

Research is designed and conducted to respond to a given need. For example, research can be conducted to help in comprehending a given phenomenon within organizations (Saunders et al., 2012). Research should have a section describing the need and implications of its findings and conclusions. This section ensures a quick assessment of the values of the research in the practical world. Although Nijhof et al.’s (1998) research does not have such a section, the authors note that employees’ commitment is crucial in enhancing a company’s performance.

Considering organizations that change would like to have an optimal performance of their workforce, the research is important since it establishes the potential factors that may influence workforce commitment. It is also argued that dedication relates to workforce job satisfaction. Hence, determining the effects and/or what affects commitment underscores a mechanism through which workforce loyalty can be enhanced in organizations that are experiencing change.

Research Methodology

The selection of the most suitable methodology depends on the available monetary and time resources, research objectives, and the intended goals. It can be qualitative, quantitative, or mixed-method study. Nijhof et al.’s (1998) research use numerical data collected from a random sample involving 4,250 Netherlands-based human resource managers. Hence, the study is quantitative. Researches can use primary or secondary data. Nijhof et al. (1998) use questionnaires as a tool for primary data collection. The authors appreciate the existence of many scales such as organizational commitment questionnaire (OCQ) and organizational commitment scale (ACS), which can be deployed to measure workforce commitment (Nijhof et al., 1998).

However, the article quickly reveals a disadvantage concerning the scales as instruments that have been considered for the research. They only involve the administration of questionnaires to employees. Therefore, the article finds it satisfactory to modify them to measure commitment as perceived by HRM.

Summary of Literature Review

Nijhof et al. (1998) argue that no scholarly consensus has been reached on the acceptable definition of commitment. Nevertheless, the article recognizes the incredible attempts to define the theoretical construct. For example, quoting the work of Mowday et al. published in 1982, the authors define commitment as “the relative strength of an individual’s identification with and involvement in a particular organization” (Nijhof et al., 1998, p.243). Defining commitment this way suggests that it is comprised of several various aspects such as the undying willingness and desire to put a continuous effort in the work of an organization.

The article identifies structural, personal, job, and work experiences as some of the characteristics that affect workers’ commitment. Nevertheless, it reveals that some studies identify deviations in these characteristics by broadly summarizing them into personal and organizational characteristics. Personal traits include age and educational levels. Although the authors argue that these factors play a minimal role in influencing workforce commitment, they add that younger employees tend to be more committed compared to the older ones.

Human resource policies are important organizational aspects that influence workers’ commitment. Nijhof et al. (1998) argue, “Good career prospects and the possibilities of further training and education are found to be related to commitment” (p.243). The authors challenge the position held by past researches on the effects of commitment arguing that such studies mainly focused on turnover. Rather, they note that what employees do in their workstations is more crucial compared to any decision to quit. However, the article reckons how attempts to study the effects of commitment on employees indicate that it guarantees competitiveness, quality, and increased productivity. Ultimately, committed employees are found to be more satisfied.

Assumptions, Limitations, and Potential for Further Research

Since inappropriate assumptions introduce the threat of validity, it is important to ensure that the suppositions are valid within the context coupled with the limits of research. Nijhof et al. (1998) assume that a modified employee-focused instrument for measuring commitment would apply well in gauging the human resource managers’ perceptions of employee commitment. This assumption is an immense limitation of the research since the instrument has not been tested before for efficacy in the measurement of variables selected in the study. The article reveals that a small sample size made it unavoidable to generalize the results.

The research was also dominated by a low response rate, thus prompting the use of survey data to explore any possible correlations. This situation raises the question of the validity of the research findings, especially when applied to the population. The research was conducted in the Netherlands. Therefore, there is an opportunity for further research to validate the Nijhof et al.’s (1998) findings in other geographical regions.

Conclusion and Research Findings

The low response rate prompted the researchers to carry out a correlation analysis instead of validation. The findings of the research indicated that managers have high perceptions of employees’ commitment with a mean score of 4 measured on a scale of 1 to 5. The research did not find any strong relationships between commitment and employee personal traits. To their expectations, the researchers found a positive link between job characteristics and commitment, especially collegiality (Nijhof et al., 1998).

They found leadership as an organizational feature that has a positive correlation with commitment. The managers identified quality, organizational improvement, client–centeredness, and the willingness to embrace change as crucial effects of commitment. In conclusion, the article suggests some of the activities that can help in stimulating commitment, for instance, training/education and the presence of informational contacts between managers and workers.

Student Critique

Nijhof et al.’s (1998) research findings have been replicated in other studies. For example, in an organization that is undergoing a merger, the HR department offers advice to the respective managers of the two merging organizations concerning the appropriate decisions to make in terms of recruitment, including paying attention to the issue of maintaining morale and commitment to the business of the merger (Rehman, 2012).

According to Amara (2014), this observation suggests that organizations, which are experiencing transformation, deploy efforts to maintain employees’ commitment as the most important endeavor for any HRM. Dedication will determine the effectiveness of the merger. Bacea and Bordean (2016) argue that organizations have different cultures that shape the perception and commitment of employees to the aims, goals, objectives, and the established missions, which are communicated from the top-most level of management to the subordinate employees.

Hence, employees who develop perceptions that they are no longer under the control of the leadership, which does not satisfy their needs, are likely to be lowly motivated and less committed. This argument suggests that even though Nijhof et al.’s (1998) research has the limitation of generalization due to the low repose rate and the use of a small sample relative to the population, the role of commitment to organizations is incredible in measuring an institution’s success.

From the arguments raised by Nijhof et al. (1998), employees’ success is a function of their commitment and motivation. Therefore, for organizations that are seeking to build their success in the short and long run, human resource is organized in a manner that it permits all employees to develop skills and knowledge. Highly skilled employees can deliver optimally the expected outcomes of the various tasks allocated to them within the shortest possible time and at the pre-set quality standards. This assertion supports the position held by Nijhof et al. (1998) who insist that commitment has the effect of increasing quality and organizational improvement.

The authors identify training and education as important drivers of workforce commitment. They cost huge investments in any organization (Balta, 2016). Therefore, it is important to consider the mapping of investments in training and education on organizational performance. The authors argue that training and education constitute an important outcome of commitment. Arguably, new competencies are required by organizations during the times of technological changes or periods of increasing industry competition. Such periods often lead to the alteration of operation processes coupled with work systems.

Based on this argument, some organizations such as IBM have developed training and development models, which have proved largely effective in enhancing organizational success. The IPO model of IBM was developed to facilitate the organization to resolve the challenges of ensuring that training and education programs developed by the company deliver results at the global levels. The model distinguishes between outputs or the short-term benefits of training and education programs and the outcomes or the long-term merits of the schemes. The IPO model is an input-output framework for evaluating the effectiveness of organizational training and education strategies that can help to assess the value of the programs in influencing commitment.


Amara, S. (2014). . Web.

Bacea, A., & Bordean, O. (2016). Employee job satisfaction and retention factors in outsourcing companies. Managerial Challenges of the Contemporary Society, 9(2), 97-101.

Balta, H. (2016). “Public Relations Tactics. Web.

Nijhof, W., De Jong, M., & Beukhof, G. (1998). Employee commitment in changing organizations: An exploration. Journal of European Industrial Training, 22(6), 243-248.

Rehman, S. (2012). A study of public sector organizations with respect to recruitment, job satisfaction and retention. Global Business and Management Research: An International Journal, 4(1), 76-76.

Saunders, M., Lewis, P., & Thornhill, A. (2012). Research methods for business students. Harlow, England: Pearson.

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