University of Western Ontario - Electronic Thesis and Dissertation Repository

Location of Thesis Examination

Room 9420 Social Science Centre

Degree

Doctor of Philosophy

Program

Psychology

Supervisor

Dr. John P. Meyer

Abstract

Employee commitments have been connected to a multitude of organizationally- relevant variables, including turnover, absenteeism, job performance, and organizational citizenship behaviours (e.g., Meyer, Stanley, Herscovtich, & Topolnytsky, 2002). Research has repeatedly demonstrated that the form these commitments take matters; that is, research has shown that commitment based on a mindset of affective attachment has the strongest positive relations with desired outcomes, while commitment based on mindsets of social or economic costs has much weaker and sometimes even negative relations with these same outcomes.

Far less research exists on the connection between workplace commitments and their implications for employees themselves, although research is beginning to accumulate (see Meyer & Maltin, 2010, for a review). Some meta-analyses of the links between commitment and individual well-being variables (e.g. stress, Mathieu & Zajac, 1990; Dowden & Tellier, 2004; and engagement, Halbesleben, 2010) exist, but these, and the bulk of primary research in this area, focused almost exclusively on affectively-based commitment.

The research presented here aimed to provide a clear picture of what we know about the connection between commitment and well-being operationalized multidimensionally, and provide new information about their relation. Wellness research has often focused not on well-being but on the absence of illness; the studies presented here, in addition to ill-health, include both hedonic well-being (i.e., happiness, pleasure) and eudaimonic well-being (i.e., meaning, energy; Ryan & Deci, 2001). Study 1 provides a meta-analysis of links between organizational commitment and ill health and well-being. Study 2 aims to go beyond what is known about commitment and well-being by taking a person-centered, multidimensional approach. Specifically, Study 2 is a primary study exploring the occupational and organizational commitment of 326 teachers. These teachers were classified into naturally-occurring commitment profile groups through latent profile analysis (Muthén & Muthén, 2000), and the groups were compared with regard to need support, need satisfaction, ill health, hedonic well-being, and eudaimonic well-being. Findings of both studies confirmed that the nature of the commitment does indeed count, and that employees whose commitment is characterized by strong affective attachment report higher levels of well-being. Directions for future research in this area and implications for practice are discussed.