LINKING THE BIG FIVE PERSONALITY DOMAINS TO ORGANIZATIONAL commitment
The objective of this study was to explore the relationships between the personality traits and organizational commitment among non teaching employees in government schools in the Sultanate of Oman. Data was collected by using Big Five Inventory (BFI) and revised Organizational Commitment Scale (Meyer, Allen, & Smith, 1993). Response was received from 95 non teaching employees with a response rate of 47.50%. The findings of this study suggest us the relationships between personality traits and organizational commitment among non teaching staff in the government schools.
Affective commitment, big five-factor model of personality, continuance commitment, normative commitment, organizational commitment.
This study explored the relationship between personality traits and organizational commitment among non teaching employees in the government schools of Sultanate of Oman. Organizational Commitment is being considered as an underlying factor for organizational success. Shepherd and Mathews (2000) suggest that employers view Organizational Commitment with increasing interest and importance. Due to increasing interest of employers and researchers, organizational commitment has become highly researched job attitude. It is evident from the fact that commitment has been the subject of many meta-analyses (Cooper-Hakim & Viswesvaran, 2005; Mathieu & Zajac, 1990; Meyer, Stanley, Herscovitch, & Topolnytsky, 2002) studies. Theoretical reviews by Lawler (1992) and Reichers (1985) have also widely explored this attitude. This job attitude has become important for employers because employees with low levels of commitment are more likely to leave their organizations (Meyer et al., 2002).
Research into Organizational Commitment has focused on the relationships between various antecedents and the components of Organizational Commitment. The primary antecedents to organizational commitment are like age; gender; education level; marital status; position and organization tenure; personality; and role states (Camilleri, 2002). Meyer and Allen, (1984); Grusky, (1966) and Mowday et al (1982) have thoroughly examined various relationships between antecedents and organizational commitment.
This study was designed to contribute to the Organizational Commitment related literature by exploring the relationships between age, tenure, personality traits (using Big Five Model) and organizational commitment.
THE FIVE-FACTOR MODEL OF PERSONALITY
The ‘Big Five’ model of personality implies that personality consists of five relatively independent traits that provide a meaningful explanation for the study of individual differences (Kumar, Bakhshi & Rani, 2009) and their responses. The five dimensions in Big Five model of personality are Extraversion, Conscientiousness, Openness to Experience, Agreeableness and Neuroticism. Each of the Big Five traits is a set of traits that tend to occur together in individuals (Kumar, Bakhshi & Rani, 2009).
Extraversion is the state of being predominantly concerned with and obtaining gratification from what is outside. The behavioral tendencies used to measure this factor are sociable, gregarious, assertive, talkative, and active (Barrick & Mount, 1991).
Conscientiousness refers to the tendency to show self-discipline, act dutifully and be focused on the goals. It includes behavioral tendencies like being hard working, achievement- oriented, persevering, careful, and responsible (Barrick & Mount, 1991).
Openness to experience is a general appreciation for art, emotion, adventure, imagination and variety of experience. The behavioral tendencies associated with Openness to Experience include being imaginative, cultured, curious, original, broad minded, intelligent (Digman, 1990). It also reflects need for variety, aesthetic sensitivity, and unconventional values (McCrae & John, 1992).
Agreeableness refers to a tendency to be compassionate and cooperative. This factor includes behavioral tendencies like being courteous, flexible, trusting, good-natured, cooperative, forgiving, soft-hearted, and tolerant (Barrick & Mount, 1991).
Neuroticism refers to the tendency to experience negative emotions like anger, anxiety, or depression in a person. It is also called emotional instability. Behavioral tendencies associated with this factor include being anxious, depressed, angry, embarrassed, emotional, worried, and insecure (Barrick & Mount, 1991).
Organizational Commitment refers to the degree to which an employee identifies with the goals and values of the organization and is willing to exert effort to help it succeed (Herscovitch & Meyer, 2002).
According to Allen and Meyer (1990) Organizational Commitment is made up of three components or dimensions. First component is affective commitment and it refers to the employee’s emotional attachment to, identification with, and involvement in, the organization. Second component is continuance component and it refers to commitment based on the costs that the employee associates with leaving the organization. Third component of organization commitment is normative component, which refers to the employee’s feeling of obligation to remain with the organization.
DEMOGRAPHIC RELATIONSHIPS WITH ORGANIZATIONAL COMMITMENT
RELATIONSHIP BETWEEN AGE AND ORGANIZATIONAL COMMITMENT
According to meta-analysis by Mathieu and Zajac (1990), age and organizational commitment yielded a medium positive correlation. Older employees tend to have a higher degree of organizational commitment because they view their past years of service to the organization as an investment (Camilleri, 2002). Therefore they would tend to be more committed to the organization. Thus,
H 1: Non teaching employees’ commitment to the organization will positively relate to their age.
RELATIONSHIP BETWEEN TENURE AND ORGANIZATIONAL COMMITMENT
Various studies show a weak positive relationship between tenure and organizational commitment. In these studies, job tenure has been shown to be more positively related to attitudinal commitment, while organizational tenure was more positively related to calculative commitment (Clayton, Petzall, Lynch & Margret, 2007). The given explanation is that years spent in a particular position tend to increase an employee’s psychological attachment to an organization, while extended tenure also increases their stake in terms of benefits such as pension plans (Mathieu and Zajac, 1990, p.8). Thus,
H 2: Non teaching employees’ commitment to the organization will positively relate to their length of tenure.
RELATIONSHIP BETWEEN BIG FIVE PERSONALITY TRAITS AND ORGANIZATIONAL COMMITMENT
Affective commitment refers to an employee’s positive emotional response to the organization. An employee, who is affectively committed, strongly identifies with the goals of the organization and desires to remain in the organization. While extroverts exhibit positive emotionality (Watson & Clark, 1997) and it is reasonable to assume that those high in Extraversion experience higher affective commitment than those who are less extraverted. Many studies have also found significant bivariate correlations between positive emotionality and affective commitment (Williams, Gavin, & Williams, 1996). Thus,
H3: Non teaching employees’ extraversion will positively relate to affective commitment.
Continuance commitment refers to an awareness of the costs (economic and social) associated with leaving the organization. It develops through an employee’s perceptions of employment alternatives. Employees who perceive that they have several viable alternatives will have weaker continuance commitment than those employees who perceive that they have few alternatives (Meyer & Allen, 1997).
Extrovert individuals tend to be more socially active and may develop more social contacts than introverts. More social contacts of extraverts may bring them more job opportunities. Therefore,
H4: Non teaching employees’ extraversion will negatively relate to continuance commitment.
Neuroticism refers to an enduring tendency to experience negative emotional states by an individual. Neurotic individuals tend to experience more negative life events than other individuals (Magnus, Diener, Fujita, & Pavot, 1993). Due to this tendency, person may prefer to stick to same job instead of facing new work environment. Thus,
H5: Non teaching employees’ neuroticism will positively relate to continuance commitment.
Conscientiousness refers to the traits like self-discipline, carefulness, thoroughness, organization, deliberation (the tendency to think carefully before acting), and need for achievement. According to Organ and Lingl (1995), due to conscientiousness nature, employee gets more opportunities to obtain formal (e.g., pay, promotion) and informal work rewards (e.g., recognition, respect). To the extent that a conscientious employee earns such rewards, they should have high level of continuance commitment. Therefore,
H6: Non teaching employees’ Conscientiousness will positively relate to continuance commitment.
Normative commitment refers to employees’ perceptions of their obligation to their organization. It develops from the investments that an organization makes in its employees (Meyer & Allen, 1991). This will make employees feel indebted to his or her organization and want to respond his or her organization’s initiatives favorably. Extraverted employees seek out more social interactions within the workplace and exhibit positive emotions. Therefore extroverts tend to respond favorably towards the organization due to perception of obligation. Thus,
H7: Non teaching employees’ extraversion will positively relate to normative commitment.
A sample of 95 non teaching employees was obtained from government schools in the Sultanate of Oman. Questionnaires were bilingual (English and Arabic). Response rate of 47.50 % (95 filled questionnaires received out of 200) was obtained. The gender composition of the sample was 53.7% male (N=51) and 46.3% female (N=44). The average age of the respondents was 35.85 years (SD=4.3). On an average, the respondents had the present organizational tenure as 7.46 years (SD = 3.2) and total job tenure as 8.21 years (SD = 2.9).
THE BIG FIVE
The Big Five Inventory (BFI) (John et al., 1991) (John et al., 2008) consisting of total 44 items was used to measure personality traits of school laboratory technicians on a five point Likert-type anchoring ranging from strongly disagree (1) to 5 (strongly agree). It contains five dimensions corresponding to big five personality traits (Extraversion, Neuroticism, Agreeableness, Openness and Conscientiousness). The reliabilities (Cronbach’s Alpha) for each facet were Extraversion (0.88), Neuroticism (.94), Agreeableness (.92), Openness (.91) and Conscientiousness (.91).
Affective Commitment was measured by revised version of Affective Commitment Scale (Meyer, Allen, & Smith, 1993). Responses were collected on a seven-point Likert-type anchoring that ranged from strongly disagree (1) to strongly agree (5). The reliability (Cronbach’s Alpha) of this six item scale was 0.82.
Continuance Commitment was measured by revised version of Continuance Commitment Scale (Meyer, Allen, & Smith, 1993). Responses were collected on a seven-point Likert-type anchoring that ranged from strongly disagree (1) to strongly agree (5). The reliability (Cronbach’s Alpha) of this six item scale was 0.88.
Normative Commitment was measured by revised version of Normative Commitment Scale (Meyer, Allen, & Smith, 1993). Responses were collected on a seven-point Likert-type anchoring that ranged from strongly disagree (1) to strongly agree (5). The reliability (Cronbach’s Alpha) of this six item scale was 0.89.
A factor analysis, which is confirmatory in nature, was performed on the different variables such as Extraversion, Neuroticism, Agreeableness, Openness, Conscientiousness, Affective commitment, Continuance commitment, and Normative Commitment. The factor analysis was conducted using principal axis factoring with varimax rotation as an extraction method (see for details, e.g. Nummenmaa et al., 1996, p. 244; Hair et al., 1998, pp. 87-120). The identified factors were selected whose Eigen values are greater than 1.0 from the graph of scree plot.
Graph 01: Scree Plot Showing Eigen Values of Factors
These variables within factors are correlated, is confirmed by the Bartlett’s test of sphericity. The Kaiser-Meyer-Olkin (KMO) measure of sampling adequacy indicated a practical level of common variance (KMO = 0.587), which implies that the results obtained from factor analysis are appropriate. The factors identified with loadings in appendix 01 exhibits 74.22 percent of the variance of the variables.
The table 01 comprises the means, standard deviations, partial correlations, and reliability coefficients for the proposed variables. The partial correlations among proposed variables provided initial support of our hypotheses. In the support of hypothesis 01 age is positively correlated with affective commitment (r = 0.255, p < 0.05), continuance commitment (r = 0.244, p < 0.05), and normative commitment (r = 0.279, p < 0.01). For supporting hypothesis 02, the duration of organizational and job tenure is positively correlated with affective commitment (r = 0.217, p < 0.05), continuance commitment (r = 0.219, p < 0.05), and normative commitment (r = 0.262, p < 0.05). In support of hypothesis 03, Extraversion is positively correlated with affective commitment (r = 0.229, p < 0.05). Extraversion is negatively correlated with continuance commitment (r = -0.224, p < 0.05) supporting hypothesis 04. In support of hypothesis 05, neuroticism is positively associated with continuance commitment (r = 0.375, p < 0.01). Conscientiousness is positively associated with continuance commitment (r = 0.233, p < 0.05) to support hypothesis 06. In support of hypothesis 07, Extraversion is positively associated with normative commitment (r = 0.218, p < 0.05).
Table 01: Means, Standard deviations, partial correlations, and reliability coefficients of variables
1. Age in years
2. Job Tenure in years
3. Organization Tenure in years
9. Affective Commitment
10. Continuance Commitment
11. Normative Commitment
**. Correlation is significant at the 0.01 level (2-tailed).
*. Correlation is significant at the 0.05 level (2-tailed).
The table 02 shows the results obtained after running multiple regressions. It is evident from the table 02 that the correlations among variables are low. The coefficient of determination of three dimensions of organizational commitment such as Affective commitment, Continuance commitment, and normative commitment are 35.8%, 24.6%, and 20% respectively. The coefficient of determination indicates the change in dependent variable is explained from a change in independent variables. It is evident that the relationship in a linear is medium for affective commitment and small for continuance commitment and normative commitment as the value of the coefficients of determination are very weak. The F-ratio for the three dimensions of organizational commitment such as Affective commitment, Continuance commitment, and normative commitment are 5.255 (p < 0.001), 3.08 (p < 0.01), and 2.357 (p < 0.05) respectively. It is evident from the values of F-ratios that the relationship between dependent and independent variables is statistically significant.
When exploring the beta values of three dimensions of organizational commitment, the magnitude of approximately all values is low. The 35.8% explained variance in the coefficient of determination for the affective commitment may be attributed to organization tenure, job tenure, extraversion, and openness to some extent. The 24.6% explained variance in the coefficient of determination for the continuance commitment may be attributed to organization tenure, extraversion, neuroticism, and conscientiousness to some extent. The 20% explained variance in the coefficient of determination for the normative commitment may be attributed to organization tenure, job tenure, and extraversion to some extent.
Table 02: Multiple Regression Analysis:
Age in years
Job Tenure in years
Organization Tenure in years
The findings suggest that the studied model serves as the foundation in the exploration of the various dimensions of organizational commitment. In particular, Age and organizational tenure has played substantial role in all three forms of the organizational commitment. Moreover, Extraversion has played a role of the most consistent independent variable of the all dimensions of the organizational commitment. Extraversion was positively associated with affective commitment because the positive emotionality is important dimension of personality (Watson et al.,1988; J. Erdheim et al. 2006). Secondly, Extraversion was negatively associated with continuance commitment. In general, extraverts have better relations with peers than introverts which may result into better career options (Watson & Clark, 1997). Finally, Extraversion was positively associated with normative commitment. Because extraverts believe that their extraordinary service by providing congenial social environment may enhance the psychological contract with the organization (Watson, 2000; J. Erdheim et al. 2006).
Correlation between Neuroticism and Organizational Commitment varied for three components of organizational commitment. Correlation between Neuroticism and Affective Commitment was found significantly negative and significantly positive with continuance commitment. While with normative commitment it was found negative (nonsignificant). Neurotics tend to be prone to negative experiences and negative affect. This tendency makes them low on affective commitment. Neurotic individuals used to be conscious of the costs associated with leaving the jobs so continuance commitment used to be high among neurotics.
Conscientiousness displayed positive significant relationship with continuance commitment while nonsignificant relations with affective and normative commitments. Since conscientious individuals tend to be highly involved in to their jobs (Organ & Lingl, 1995) and it increases their chances of workplace rewards. These rewards will have impact on the continuity of individuals in the organizations.
THEORETICAL AND MANAGERIAL IMPLICATIONS
The results of the present study reflect that the role of personality is vital in the development of organizational commitment. It gives a scope of relationship between personality job attitudes and organizational commitment. This theoretical implication gives further scope of study pertaining to the factors of other dimensions of the job attitudes such as job involvement, job embeddedness etc.
Managerial implications of the study are primarily in the personnel selection. Since different components of organizational commitment are correlated with personality traits, organizations need to judge personality traits at the time of selection and foresee the impact on the candidates’ commitment. It has been found in meta-analysis that employees with low level of commitment are more likely to leave their organizations (Meyer et al., 2002).
LIMITATIONS AND FUTURE DIRECTIONS
Furthermore, this study suffers from three limitations whereas the results are statistically in most parts. The first limitation is related to the sample size which is relatively small in comparison to similar other studies. The second limitation pertains to the coefficients of regression model which are relatively low and may affect the reliability and validity of findings. The third limitation which is prominent in nature is that the proposed model was tested using correlation and regression analysis among variables. However, this technique can only examine a single relationship at a time (Hair, at el, 1998). An area of upcoming research is to test the proposed model using Structural Equation Modeling (SEM) which may provide better results. SEM is a multivariate statistical technique used to estimate a number of interrelated dependence relationship simultaneously.
The present study will give additions in the literature of the factors pertaining to the organizational commitment in various dimensions. There are evidences of outcomes of the study that the application of the five-factor model of personality assisting the prediction of three forms of the organizational commitment. This model paves the way to a new dimension of the research which may explore the extensive relationship between the unexplored dimensions of personality and organizational commitments. Our findings have various practical implications in the selection procedure of the organization. Further research may be extended to explore the utility of using personality tests to predict organizational citizenship behavior in a selection setting.
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