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Essay: What is the relationship between organizational change and commitment within an organization?

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1. Introduction

1.1. Problem indication

The last century there have been a lot of changes in the world of work. Processes are more complex and business models change rapidly. Because of this, organizational changes are a major trend in modern economic times. Organizational changes are a well-studied subject in a variety of disciplines (Organization, Science, Sociology and Psychology), and could take in several forms. For example, reorganizations, mergers, spinoffs or liquidation (Jensen C, 1988). Changes within an organization have a big impact on the future of the organization.

Organizational changes can be interpreted in various ways. To prevent misconception, a clear definition is described. According to Barnett and Carrol (1995) organizational changes can be defined as transformations of an organization in time. Analysts frequently compare an organization before and after an organizational change is introduced. Similar is the definition that organizational changes are ideas or behavior that is new in an organization (it does not matter whether it is a system, process, policy or program) which has been used by Austin and Ciaassen (2008).

Nowadays organizations notice that organizational changes not only have a big impact on the organization itself and the processes of the organization but also on the people working for the organization. One factor which has been an increased point of attention of several researchers is ‘Organizational commitment’. Several authors studied the impact of changes on the people directly working at the organization, and the impact of the change to their commitment towards the organization (Bernard, 2004). Unfortunately, ‘commitment’ is a very vague and subjective variable which results in a lot of different meanings. Organizational commitment can be split into multiple factors which all affect employees in a positive or negative way. These factors consist of: their health, job satisfaction, intention to leave, search for job alternatives, attendance and lateness. (Leong, Furnham, & Cooper, 1996; Mathieu & Zajac, 1990).

Several authors suggest that there is a relationship between organizational changes and the commitment of people working for the organization (Herscovitch & Meyer, 2002). This relationship has been investigated in several studies and it is getting more important. This thesis will give a short overview of there is a relationship between organizational changes and organizational commitment by gathering the literature and research that has been done over the past years about these two variables to eventually help further studies to expand the knowledge about the effect of organizational change on people organizational commitment.

1.2. Problem statement

 ‘What is the relationship between organizational change and commitment within an organization?’

1.3. Research questions:

  • Which stages and dimensions can be formed related to organizational change?
  • Which forms of organizational commitment can be formed
  • What is the effect of organizational changes on organizational commitment
  • Which variables of organizational change have effect on organizational commitment?
  • What is the relationship between organizational commitment and organizational commitment?

1.4. Relevance:

This paper contains the potential relationship between organizational change and the effect of which this relation affects the commitment of people or employees. These variables have been a well-studied topic by important academic authors for several years. In this paper, correlational research has been conducted (Sekaran & Bougie, 2016). There have been a lot of investigation about the two topics and in this research, those different research articles have been integrated into one theoretical overview. Besides the academic relevance, this research is meant to solve a managerial perspective. This paper will give a short overview of the impact of organizational changes and the commitment of people, which possible could help an organization to manage and control an organizational change more fluently. As a result of which the management of the organization take the effect that organizational change has on the employees more into account.

1.5. Methodology:

The method of research which have been used in this research paper is ‘literature research’ from academic journals that are often cited by others  (Sekaran & Bougie, 2016), whereby the problem statement has been divided into three chapters. This paper mostly contains qualitative data by gathering and comparing existing information about organizational change and organizational commitment. After comparing and analysing different papers from different researchers the researchers have visualized an own vision about the topic and described this in the different sections. Eventually, the information of those sections has been analysed and formed into one conclusion. The articles that have been used are found from reliable sources such as the library of Tilburg university and Google Scholar.

1.6. Structure

The first chapter describes a brief introduction of the reason behind this study. This contains the problem statement and the research questions. Also, the relevance of the study is mentioned in the chapter. In chapter two and three the information about the independent, ‘organizational change’, and dependent variable ‘commitment’  are gathered, analysed and documented.  By analysing the different theories and models found in the literature research, the researchers try to find a relationship between the stage of organizational change and the degree of commitment. In chapter four the possible relationship between the two variables will be explained and visualised in a model to answer the problem statement ‘What is the relationship between organizational change and commitment within an organization?’ In chapter five a conclusion about the outcomes of the study will be given and the last chapter will contain a recap of the overall research and his limitations which have occurred during the research, and what could be done in the future to extend the research.

2. Organizational change

In this paragraph, the independent variable ‘Organizational change’ is described. The section is a systematic research of different papers about the topic, which is defined by several academic authors. It will contain a broad description of the different dimensions and effects which are related to organizational change.

2.1. Dimensions of organizational changes

Despite that organizations seem stable, they are changing all the time. Organizational changes are frequently caused by changes in the environment of a company. When environmental changes are large, stable company are forced to take drastic measures (March, 1981).

According to Austin and Ciaassen (2008) organizational changes consist of two dimensions. These dimensions can be divided into two separate groups;

  • Administrative changes
  • Technical changes

Administrative changes refer to administrative and organizational structure changes on a management level. Technical changes refer to changes in products, services, production and technological process. This affects the activities of an organization.

Alternatively, a group of researchers provides (Bordia, Hobman, Jones, Gallios, & Callan, 2004) that organizational changes can be categorized as follow;

  • Strategic changes
  • Structural changes
  • Job-related changes

In this case, strategic changes refer to adjustments in the future direction of an organization. Structural changes include the reporting-, function- and work-unit structures. Ultimately, job-related changes contain aspects such as job security, job promotion opportunities and changes in job description.

Similar to other studies are the cycles of organizational change. In this model, Mintzberg and Westley (1992) distinguish conceptual as well as concrete organizational changes. The levels are;

  • Change in organization
  • Change in strategy

Change in an organization is extended with changes in culture, structure, system and people. In this case, culture is the most conceptual thought and people the most concrete action. Change in strategy is extended with vision, positions, programs and facilities. In this case, vision is the most conceptual thought and facilities the most concrete action.

Finally, much research has been done to the major types of organizational changes. Worrall, Parkes and Cooper (2004) identifies the most common types as follows: cultural change, cost reduction, mergers, outsourcing, redundancy and job replacement. Smith (2002) proposes a model that contains more categories, he adds strategic deployment, re-engineering and re-structure as other important types. Furthermore, Smith (2002) suggests that the above-named changes are difficult to implement and have a low success rate. Minor types of changes are more common and have higher success rates. The impact of a minor change is easier to embrace for employees.

2.2. Effects of organizational changes

Effects of organizational changes can be categorized is different groups. Hence, in order to capture several effects, subgroups of organization changes are taken into account. The effects of organizational change on people has been a well-studied subject. Many authors have done investigation about the consequences and stages of changes on people.

First, Parker and Lewis described the process of change (Parker & Lewis, 1981). The transition curve contains seven steps which most individuals will go through when adopting organizational changes.

The first two steps (immobilization and denial of change) occur when the change is first introduced. People’s initial reaction may be shock or denial. When people realize, the change is real the denial usually turns into frustration and people are going to bargain to find a way out of the situation. Similar is that Bernard (2004) described in a re-appraisal of a well-known author Lewin this as unfreezing and it is one of three stages which an organization will undergo to accomplish organizational change. It can be suggested that this leads to the following effects: Job-related changes have a negative influence on the well-being of organizational employees. When employees feel job-related changes as a threat this will negatively relate to job satisfaction, employee stress and absenteeism increases. However, if employees find changes challenging this will have a positive effect on job satisfaction and no effect on stress and absenteeism (Verhaeghe, Vlerick, Gemmel, van Maele, & de Backer, 2006). Furthermore, a side issue of organizational changes is that the organization frequently forget the focus on the work environment. This is the main reason why conflicts arise as normal part of structural changes. In order to prevent difficulties when a structural change happens, managers and employees have to be aware of the effect changing structural processes might have (Andersen, 2006).

The third step of Parker and Lewis (1981) occurs right after the change is introduced. A stakeholder might be frustrated and it is important they become aware why the change is necessary. Equally is that Bernard (2004) describes the second stage in a re-appraisal of Lewin as change and mentioned that when people realize that the change really happens and they become aware of the losses associated with the change. In this stage, this will affect the commitment of those people who are involved with the movement. It is important to show the attractiveness of the change and make people involved in the change (Appelbaum, Habashy, Jean-Luc, & Shafiq, 2012). It might be possible to argue that if this is done properly it reduces uncertainty if the change. The level of uncertainty has a positive or negative effect on the acceptance of people to change. By communicating the need to change and to be open about the consequences, people are more willing to accept and involved into the change. They are getting more committed to the change. At this moment people are going to try new ideas and approaches but often need help to get rid of obstacles (Nelissen, 2008; Frahm & Brown, 2007). Other research proves changes often collapse because of resistance of staff. Reasons, why changes fail, can be ascribed to low levels of self-confidence and self-efficacy, loss of experience and it can be a threat of professional capacity. Changes in work environment and responsibilities can be challenging (Austin & Ciaassen, 2008).

Eventually, the last four steps (acceptance, testing, search for meaning and integration) occur when the change is introduced and stakeholders are aware of the intention of a change. In addition, Bernard (2004) describes the third stage of his re-appraisal of Lewin work that when people realize that fighting does not change anything they move into the stage of acceptance. This step is called refreezing and is the moment for organizations to encourage people to look for new opportunities and possibilities to increase their commitment and to anchor the new changes. Researchers of Tilburg University investigated the impact of organizational changes in different areas (Freese, Schalk, & Croon, 2011). Their most salient findings were that organization changes decrease fulfilment of organizational policy and rewards. Furthermore, organizational changes have no negative effect on employee obligations. Another important finding is that organizational changes did not affect organizational commitment directly. Low level of organizational policy goes together with lower levels of affective commitment. Last the researchers did a test of significance of the influence of organizational changes to turnover. It can be suggested that changes increase the intention to turnover.

2.3. Conclusion

In summary, the definitions for organizational changes match. Although there are multiple researchers that developed different subgroups of organizational changes, all the subgroups are similar. It does not matter which subset is used, due to the fact that the sets are covered by the definition of organizational changes. Furthermore, research has been done to different major types of organizational change (Worral, Parkes, & Cooper, 2004; Smith, 2002). It is feasible that the impact of major changes in the organization are large and often fail. Most changes within an organization are smaller in size and easier to accept for employees. Moreover, research has been done to the different stages of changes (Bernard, 2004; Parker & Lewis, 1981). It could be suggested that the results are similar. Over time the actions and reactions stakeholders could undertake differs. This helps to explain their behavior during a change. Many authors investigated the effects of organizational change. Important findings are that job-related changes have a negative influence on the well-being, job satisfaction, employee stress and absenteeism of organizational employees. However, it will have a positive effect if employees experience changes challenging (Verhaeghe, Vlerick, Gemmel, van Maele, & de Backer, 2006).

Furthermore, general findings of research to conflicts during organizational changes were that conflicts arise as a normal part of structural changes (Andersen, 2006).  It might be possible to argue that organizational changes lead to uncertainty. But the level of uncertainty has a positive or negative effect on the acceptance of people to change (Nelissen, 2008; Frahm & Brown, 2007). Other research proves that reasons why changes fail, can be ascribed to low levels of self-confidence and self-efficacy, loss of experience and it can be a threat of professional capacity (Austin & Ciaassen, 2008). Finally, the most salient findings of researchers of Tilburg University were that organization changes decrease fulfilment of organizational policy and rewards, have no negative effect on employee obligations, no effect to organizational commitment directly and increases the intention to turnover (Freese, Schalk, & Croon, 2011).

3. Commitment

Commitment can be looked at various ways and levels. Since the research is focused on organizational changes, commitment will also be focused on an organizational level. During this chapter, a broad definition will be formulated about organizational commitment. This will be elaborated later to give a clear definition. Eventually, the consequences of organizational commitment will be explained, to show the relevance of this concept.

3.1. Organizational Commitment

Although it has been a commonly covered subject in the early 80’s, there is still not a single definition of ‘organizational commitment’ (Meyer & Allen, 1991). Several researchers have formulated their own vision about organizational commitment, resulting in a wide variety of meanings. One empirical study about organization commitment of Angle & Perry (1981) made use of the definition of organizational commitment formulated by Porter et al (1974). Porter mentioned that organizational commitment contained three components;

  1. “a strong belief in and acceptance of the organization’s goals”
  2. “willingness to exert considerable effort on behalf of the organization”
  3. “a definite desire to maintain organizational membership”

These components have both an attitudinal and behavioral aspect. Porter also created a questionnaire which measures organizational commitment. In this “Organizational Commitment Questionnaire” (OCQ), 15 question have to been answered in order to measure how high the degree of commitment is. In appendix 1, the list of

In later researcher, organizational commitment has been defined as “the relative strength of an individual’s identification with and involvement in a particular organization” (Mowday & Steers, 1979) or “a bond or linking of the individual to the organization” (Mathieu & Zajac, 1990). All these definitions are formulated differently, however, they often share similarities. As noticed in the research of Meyer & Herscovitch (2001), a lot of the definitions make references to the fact that organizational commitment gives direction to the behavior and that it is a steady and helpful force. This is a summary that fits organizational commitment due to the common elements used by the several authors. Thereby has to be added that there always has to be the link with an organization.

There are several reasons that could make organizational commitment beneficial to organizations. Research done on organizational commitment has brought forth that organizational commitment is an important factor considering certain behavior, and especially turnover. Employees which are more engaged within the organization are likely to have a more aligned personal strategy with the organizational strategy. Secondly, commitment is an appealing subject to managers and scientist and goes back to earlier studies about “loyalty” which was very desirable by managers. Thirdly, an understanding of organizational commitment may help us understand what drives employees within their organization and what can be done to improve these factors. (Mowday, Porter, & Steers, 1982)

3.2. Unidimensional vs. Multidimensional

There has been done a lot of research to organizational commitment, and there seems to be a distinction between different dimensional views towards the subject. As concluded by Meyer & Herscovitch (2001), there seems to be some disagreement whether organizational commitment needs a unidimensional view or a multidimensional view.

Because of the definition of organizational commitment mentioned in the previous paragraph, a multidimensional view fits better to the research. Several elements tell what organizational commitment is. In the next paragraph, some of the dimensional views by several authors will be elaborated to provide a clear view to the possible dimension’s organizational commitment can have.

3.3. Dimensions of organizational commitment

One of the most used multidimensional views on organizational commitment is the three-dimensional framework of Meyer and Allen. This has been the leading theory for organizational commitment for several decades (Cohen, 2007).

According to the research of Meyer & Allen (1991), organizational commitment can be separated into three factors. These factors are elaborated in their three-dimensional framework;

• Affective commitment

• Normative commitment

• Continuance commitment

Affective commitment embodies the identification, attachment and involvements towards the organization where the employee is active. Normative commitment can be seen in the sense of general obligation an employee has towards the organization and the continuation of the organization.

At last continuance commitment, which can be explained as the need to stay with the current organization.

According to later research done, by Bentein et al (2005), this dimension of organizational commitment can be split into two components; high sacrifice, which means the emotional sacrifice an employee has to take when they leave their current organization and the lack of employment alternatives.

Later research done in South Korea by Ko, Price and Mueller (1997) has shown that there are some disadvantages while using this framework to determine organizational commitment. The first point of criticism towards this framework is that it seem to focus more on the behavioral aspects, rather than the attitudinal approach of Porter and his colleagues (1974). The second problem considering this model is the relation between affective- and normative commitment. Based on the findings of Ko, Price and Mueller (1997), it is shown that there is a considerable overlap between affective commitment and normative commitment. These complications were addressed by inventing new scales. These scales did improve some of the psychometric factors in the three-dimensional framework but it still was not clear which exact scale to use. (Powell & Meyer, 2004)

However, there is another model which tackles some of the weak points of the three-dimensional framework. This is Cohen’s four component commitment model (2007). This model contains 4 factors which are separated by commitment before entering the organization and commitment after entering the organization. This model also takes different attachments into account. These attachments consist the instrumental attachment and the psychological attachments.

The factors within this model are:

  • instrumental commitment propensity, which is the exchange within an organization and the expected benefits and rewards gained by the employees before entering the organization.
  • normative commitment propensity, which can be defined as the general moral obligation an employee has towards the organization.
  • instrumental commitment, which involves the perception between the input and output an employee has delivered and gathered within the organization.
  • affective commitment can be seen as the psychological attachment towards the organization by identifying and emotional involving with the organization.

This model has some advantages over the conventional model by Meyer and Allen (1991). The first advantage is the difference between organizational commitment developed before entry and organizational commitment developed after entry. This way the individual differences towards the propensity of organizational commitment will be noticed. The second advantage is that a separation of focus between instrumental- and affective commitment will lead to a different point of view. Instead of the attention towards the costs of leaving the organization, the aim will be towards the perceptions of the benefits of staying in the organization. These differences between the conventional model of Meyer & Allen (1991) and the four component model of Cohen (2007) will solve the problem towards the high correlation between normative commitment and affective commitment noticed in the conventional model by examining the normative factor before entry in the organization, and not after entry. The second problem which can be solved by using this model is the ambiguities that have been linked with the definition and measurements of the continuance commitment factor.

Four component commitment model

Figure 1: Four Component Commitment Model (Cohen, 2007)

Other research considering organizational commitment, done by O’Reilly and Chatman (1986), approaches the subject differently. They saw organizational commitment differently. They approached it via;

  • Compliance
  • Identification
  • Internalization

Compliance aimed at extrinsic rewards, identification about the connection with the organization and internalization is about the relationship between organizational and individual values.

Even though the elements of organizational commitment have been formulated differently compared to Meyer & Allen (1991) and Cohen (2007), there is still a lot of similarity between these theories. All these theories are also very similar with the three definitions formulated by Penley and Gould (1988), who were inspired by earlier research done by Etizoni in 1961 and 1975, namely;

  • Moral
  • Calculative
  • Alienative

These theories shown here, are just a small selection out of the organizational commitment theory. All these differences show a high amount of similarities that makes it questionable why there are so many different points of views.

3.4. Effects of organizational commitment

This paragraph describes how organizations formulate consequences while taking organizational commitment into account.

Research has been done to cover the effects of organizational commitment. These effects can be either positive or negative, considering the level of organizational commitment. In the study of Leong, Furnham & Cooper (1996), it appeared that organizational commitment has a correlation with 4 different factors. The results of the study show prove that organizational commitment is positively correlated with job satisfaction, but that it is negatively correlated with physical & mental health, and the intent to quit.

In another research (Mathieu & Zajac, 1990), attention has also been given to the links of organizational commitment and sort of these factors. They focused on the intention to leave as well, but also on searching for job alternatives, attendance, and lateness.

(Leong, Furnham, & Cooper, 1996)

(Mathieu & Zajac, 1990)

  • Job satisfaction  0.59
  • Physical health – 0.25
  • Mental health – 0.27
  • Intention to leave – 0.53 – 0.46
  • Search for job alternatives – 0.60
  • Attendance  0.10
  • Lateness – 0.12

Table 1: Effects of organizational commitment according to previous research

Although there is not much overlap in these researches, several conclusions can still be drawn. Looking at these results, organizational commitment has a strong positive correlation with job satisfaction and a strong negative correlation on the intention to leave and searching for job alternatives.

An aspect that is barely covered in these articles, is the work outcomes of an individual. In the research of Randall (1990), a lot of attention has been given to the relationship between organizational commitment and work outcomes. Results of this research tell that there is barely any connection between the two. Randall covers the likes of performance, effort, attendance and coming to work on time. The correlation between these variables and organizational commitment is close to zero. From this research, it can be concluded that work outcomes are not influenced by organizational commitment.

As mentioned by  (Mathieu & Zajac, 1990), higher organizational commitment levels will have a more positive consequence while lower organizational commitment levels will have a more negative consequence for employees within an organization. As can be seen, higher commitment leads to higher job satisfaction and a lower intention to leave.

However, an increased organizational commitment is not always as possible as people might think. According to Mowday and his colleagues (1982), a high level of organizational commitment can lead to negative consequences for an individual, in his career as well as in his family strains.

3.5. Conclusion

Comparing the several views of authors (Mowday & Steers, 1979; O’Reilly & Chatman, 1986; Porter, Steers, Mowday, & Boulian, 1974) general elements were discovered to make a more specific conclusion. The common elements also pointed out by Meyer & Herscovitch (2001), make the organizational commitment a supportive force and an element that steers behavior.

Organizational commitment can be called multidimensional if it contains several elements. Elements of organizational commitment have been formulated by a lot of authors with the likes of Meyer & Allen (1991), Cohen (2007) and Porter and his colleagues (1974). By these researchers, the foundation of the organizational commitment models has been developed. The model which is widely used when organizational commitment is researched is the ‘three-dimensional model’ from Meyer & Allen (1991). This model has also been criticized by other researchers. Due to these critics Cohen has developed another model which is called the ‘Four Component Model’ (2007) which tackles some of the critical points of the ‘three-dimensional model’. A combination of these models will clearly describe the several dimensions of organizational commitment.

According to research (Leong, Furnham, & Cooper, 1996; Mathieu & Zajac, 1990) several factors are influenced by organizational commitment. These researchers have shown a correlation between the different factors and organizational commitment. The most notable factors influenced were:

  • Job satisfaction: ‘positive correlation’
  • Intention to leave: ‘negative correlation’
  • Search for job alternatives: ‘negative correlation’

A striking outcome was the low correlation of organizational commitment with work outcomes (Randall, 1990). For example, job performance and coming to work on time were barely influenced by organizational commitment.

4. Relationship between organizational change and commitment

Organizational changes can be interpreted in various ways. Different dimensions can be distinguished. Furthermore, types of organizational changes can be characterized. It does not matter in which dimension or type effects occur, due to the fact that organizational changes will be viewed as a unidimensional variable. Organizational commitment is a concept that can be seen as very broad. Comparing the several views general elements were discovered. Organizational commitment can be called multidimensional if it contains several elements. During this research, effects that lead to changes in organizational commitment are viewed from a unidimensional perspective.

It can be suggested that organizational changes lead to different effects. First, when employees feel job-related changes as a threat this will have a negative influence on the well-being, job satisfaction, employee stress and absenteeism of organizational employees (Verhaeghe, Vlerick, Gemmel, van Maele, & de Backer, 2006). Second, conflicts arise as normal part of structural changes. In order to prevent difficulties managers and employees have to be aware of the effect changing structural processes might have (Andersen, 2006).  Third, organizational changes cause uncertainty. The level of uncertainty has a positive or negative effect depends on the personality of the employee (Nelissen, 2008; Frahm & Brown, 2007). Fourth, changes in work environment and responsibilities can be a threat of professional capacity (Austin & Ciaassen, 2008). Fifth, organization changes decrease fulfilment of organizational policy and rewards, have no negative effect on employee obligations, have no effect on organizational commitment directly and changes increase the intention to turnover (Freese, Schalk, & Croon, 2011).

It can be concluded that different causes affect organizational commitment. First, organizational commitment is positively correlated with job satisfaction and is negatively correlated with physical and mental health, and the intent to quit (Leong, Furnham, & Cooper, 1996). Second, organizational commitment is positively correlated with job satisfaction and attendance and negatively correlated with the intention to leave and search for job alternatives (Mathieu & Zajac, 1990). Third, there is barely any connection between organizational commitment and work outcomes (Randall, 1990).

When searching for a link between organizational changes and organizational commitment several effects can be connected. The relationship between organizational change and organizational commitment can be found in well-being, job satisfaction, absenteeism and attendance. First of all, the well-being/health of an employee. As mentioned before organizational changes have a negative effect on the well-being of employees (Verhaeghe, Vlerick, Gemmel, van Maele, & de Backer, 2006). When the well-being of employee decreases, this will have a negative effect on organizational commitment (Leong, Furnham, & Cooper, 1996). Secondly, job satisfaction. According to Verhaeghe, Vlerick, Gemmel. Van Maele and Backer (2006) organizational changes have a negative effect on the job satisfaction of employees. As reported by serval researchers (Leong, Furnham, & Cooper, 1996; Mathieu & Zajac, 1990) job satisfaction is positively correlated with organizational commitment. It can be stated that when job satisfaction decreases this negatively effects organizational commitment. Thirdly, when employees feel job-related changes as a threat this will have a negative influence on absenteeism (Verhaeghe, Vlerick, Gemmel, van Maele, & de Backer, 2006). Research from Mathieu and Zajac (1990) shows that attendance is positively correlated with organizational commitment. It can be suggested that a negative influence increases absenteeism than attendance will decrease. This means that organizational changes have a negative effect on absenteeism and this is equal to a decrease in organizational commitment. All these arguments imply that organizational change and organizational commitment have a negative relationship. However, it is not possible to suggest there is a negative relationship due to researchers that claim when employees experience changes challenging this will have a positive effect on job satisfaction. Furthermore, when employees feel the change as an opportunity this will have a positive influence on absenteeism and well-being (Verhaeghe, Vlerick, Gemmel, van Maele, & de Backer, 2006). It can be concluded that there is a relation between organizational changes and organizational commitment, but the way employees perceive change determines the relationship is positive or negative. Figure … is a schematic view of all effects between organizational changes and commitment.

Comparing the effect of both variables has found several matching effects. Depending on how employees conceive changes the effect between the variables can be positive of negative. Independent of the way employees conceive changes, it can be concluded that the actually is a relationship. Furthermore, it is not clear to what extent the organizational changes influence organizational commitment. Synthesizing this point, it is reasonably assumed that organizational changes slightly increase or decrease organizational commitment depending on different employees.

5. Conclusion

6. Discussion

6.1. Limitations

A limitation of this paper is the broad possible statements of organizational change. There are a lot of different forms of organizational change which have their own variables and outcomes. This study does not contain the specific effects of different types of organizational changes on the organizational commitment, because of the many possibilities of organizational change. Therefore, a broad perspective or organizational change have been defined by the interpretation of multiple definitions of multiple researchers.

Another limitation of the research paper is the subjectivity of the parameter organizational commitment. Therefore, it is hard to define organizational commitment to hard scientific data. In this paper, several definitions of commitment have been compared and the researchers have chosen to limit organizational commitment to the commitment of people who are directly influenced by organizational change.

6.2. Future recommendations

Current research mainly focusses on the effect of organizational changes on the commitment of people who are directly related to the organizational change. As mentioned in chapter 2, there are a lot of other subjects who are influenced by organizational changes. Further research may investigate the consequences of the indirectly long-term effects of organizational change on the organizational commitment.

As briefly described in chapter 3 there are different variables which influence organizational commitment. An important factor is a Human factor. This paper only consists a literature research of the already studied effects of organizational change on commitment. To extend this paper it is recommended to include a field-study where the human factors of organizational changes are investigated by asking people directly how they personally experience the change.

Finally, this research does not consist the relationship between organizational change, commitment and the long-term economic profit of the organization. A possible research could be a study to investigate the trade-off between the possible decrease of organizational commitment and the long-term profits. This because this study shows that organizational changes could lead to a decrease of organizational commitment.

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