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  • Commitment defined
  • The significance of commitment
  • Commitment and mutuality
  • Six ways in which HR can contribute to the enhancement of commitment
 
COMMITMENT DEFINED
 
Commitment refers to attachment and loyalty. It has three components:
  • Identification with the goals and values of the organization.
  • A desire to belong to the organization.
  • A willingness to display effort on behalf of the organization.
 
THE SIGNIFICANCE OF COMMITMENT
 
Two schools:
  • The ‘control to commitment’ school –Walton argued that the traditional control-orientated approach to management should be replaced by a commitment strategy. This involves giving people broader responsibilities, encouraging them to contribute and helping them to obtain satisfaction in their work. He suggested that in the commitment-based approach: ‘Jobs are designed to be broader than before, to combine planning and implementation and to include efforts to upgrade operations, not just to maintain them’.
  • The ‘excellence’ school - one of the leading exponents of this school was Tom Peters who argued that the best way to motivate people is to get their full commitment to the values of the organization by leadership and involvement. This is the ‘hearts and mind’ approach to motivation. Peters and Austin wrote ‘Trust people and treat them like adults, enthuse them by lively and imaginative leadership, develop and demonstrate an obsession with quality, make them feel they own the business, and your workforce will respond with total commitment’.
 
COMMITMENT AND MUTUALITY
 
Mutuality exists in organizations where it is perceived that the interests of management and employees coincide. It is therefore a ‘unitarist’ concept. A mutual commitment strategy is based on a philosophy that recognizes employees as valued stakeholders in the organization. Walton emphasized the importance of mutual goals and mutual responsibilities. The principles guiding mutual commitment firms set out by Kochan and Dyer are:
  • Strategic level:–
    • supportive business strategies
    • top management values commitment
    • Effective voice for HR in strategy making and governance.
  • Functional (human resource policy level): –
    • staffing based on employment stabilization
    • investment in training and development
    • Contingent pay that reinforces co-operation, participation and contribution.
  • Workplace level:– which
    • selection based on high standards
    • broad task design and teamwork
    • employee involvement in problem solving
    • Climate of co-operation and trust.
 
SIX WAYS IN WHICH HR CAN CONTRIBUTE TO THE ENHANCEMENT OF COMMITMENT
 
  • Advise on how information on the mission, values, goals and achievements of the organization can be conveyed to employees so that they can identify with it and believe it to be ‘a great place in which to work’.
  • Emphasize to management that commitment is a two-way process – employees cannot be expected to be committed to the organization unless the organization demonstrates that it is committed to them and recognizes that they are stakeholders.
  • Ensure that employees have a voice in matters that concern them and enter into ‘partnership’ agreements with any trade unions.
  • Impress on management the need to build a climate of trust by being honest with people, keeping its word (‘delivering the deal) and treating them fairly and consistently.
  • Develop a positive psychological contract (see section 9).
  • Persuade management, if necessary, to provide single status for all employees, thus avoiding an ‘us and them’ culture.