Employee Commitment in Times of Radical Change: Further Evidence of a Changing Psychological Contract
journal contributionposted on 05.06.2017, 03:18 by Winter, Richard P., Schmuttermaier, John
This paper explores the changing nature of commitment as reported by professional employees in work environments characterised by radical organisational change. During 1998, interviews were conducted with full-time managers, technicians, and team leaders in five organisations undergoing downsizing and restructuring in the Latrobe Valley, Victoria. To understand and explain the changing nature of employee commitment, findings are situated in the context of job insecurity, work intensification, and perceived organisational support: core dimensions of the psychological contract (Brooks & Harfield, 2000; Cavanaugh & Noe, 1999; Lester, Claire, & Kickul, 2001). Findings reveal clear differences between employees (i.e., change recipients) and managers (i.e., change implementers) with respect to perceived job security, recognition, feedback, and acceptance. Employees referred to their organisations in abstract, impersonal terms signifying a weak relational contract between employee and employer. Managers referred to their organisations in warm, personal terms signifying a strong relational contract at work. These differences translated into low and high levels of affective commitment respectively. To conclude, the paper considers organisational processes that can maintain and/or renew employee commitment in the context of radical change.