The Influence of Cultural Values on Antecedents of Organisational Commitment

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    APPLIED PSYCHOLOGY: AN INTERNATIONAL REVIEW, 2003, 52   (4), 533   −   554 © International Association for Applied Psychology, 2003. Published by Blackwell Publishing,9600 Garsington Road, Oxford OX4 2DQ, UK and 350 Main Street, Malden, MA 02148, USA.  Blackwell Publishing LtdOxford, UKAPPSApplied Psychology:an International Review0269-994X © International Association for Applied Psychology, 2003October 20035241000Original ArticleANTECEDENTS OF ORGANISATIONAL COMMITMENTWasti  The Influence of Cultural Values on Antecedents of Organisational Commitment: An Individual-Level Analysis  S. Arzu Wasti*  Sabancı University, ˆ   stanbul, Turkey  On s’est demandé dans cette recherche si les valeurs culturelles que sontl’individualisme et le collectivisme évaluées au niveau individuel avaient unimpact sur le poids des différents facteurs de l’implication organisationnelle.Il est apparu que la satisfaction due au travail et à l’avancement était ledéterminant primaire de l’implication affective et normative des salariés quiadhèrent à l’individualisme. Pour ceux qui s’orientent ver des valeurs collec-tivistes, être satisfait du supérieur était le facteur essentiel de l’implication,devant la satisfaction relative au travail et à la   promotion. Des résultatsanalogues ont été obtenus pour l’implication à long terme. Bien que certainsdes antécédents de l’implication organisationnelle soient commun aux deuxgroupes, l’orientation vers la tâche ou vers les relations varie avec les individusrelevant d’orientations culturelles différentes. This study investigated whether cultural values of individualism and collec-tivism measured at the individual level influence the salience of differentantecedents of organisational commitment. The findings indicated that satis-faction with work and promotion are the primary determinants of affectiveand normative commitment for employees who endorse individualist values.For employees with collectivist values, satisfaction with supervisor was foundto be an important commitment antecedent over and above satisfactionwith work and promotion. Similar results were obtained for continuancecommitment. The results indicate that although some antecedents of organ-isational commitment are common across the two groups, the emphasis placedon task versus relationships differs across individuals with varying culturalorientations.  *Address for correspondence: S. Arzu Wasti, Sabancı University, The Graduate School of Management, Orhanlı 34956 Tuzla, I  stanbul, Turkey. Email: data collection for this study was greatly facilitated by the travel grants of Instituteof Labor and Industrial Relations and the Office of International Studies, University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign. The author also wishes to thank Chris Robert for his helpfulcomments.An earlier draft of this manuscript was presented at the Sixth International Western Academyof Management Conference, Shizuoka, Japan, 2000.  534   WASTI  © International Association for Applied Psychology, 2003.  INTRODUCTION  There has been a growing interest in cross-cultural organisational commit-ment in recent decades. In this stream of research, several studies haveprimarily sought to test the generalisability of the measures, antecedents,and outcomes of commitment identified in the North American context (e.g.Ko, Price, & Muller, 1997; Luthans, McCaul, & Dodd, 1985; Vandenberghe,1996). Other studies have investigated the influence of culture more explicitlyand have proposed culture-specific (emic) antecedents as well as culturallysalient antecedents of commitment (e.g. Boyacigiller & Adler, 1991; Palich,Hom, & Griffeth, 1995; Redding, Norman, & Schlander, 1994). In one of the empirical studies in the latter group, Palich et al. (1995) investigatedwhether culture moderated the relationship between affective commitmentand a number of well-documented antecedents, namely, role clarity, jobscope, participative management, and extrinsic rewards. Their resultsshowed that not only were the antecedents strong predictors of affectivecommitment for each cultural group, but also there were no significantcultural moderation effects. While the authors concluded that Americantheories and practices might not be as culture-bound as cultural relativistsclaim them to be, they pointed out a number of limitations with their inves-tigation. For one thing, the authors used a unidimensional operationalisa-tion of the commitment construct (affective commitment). Perhaps moreimportantly, Palich et al. (1995) noted that their data were analysed at thenational level and suggested that future validations might use individualscores as it has been shown that individuals’ cultural values differ withinnational cultures (Triandis, Bontempo, Villareal, Asai, & Lucca, 1988).The purpose of the present investigation is to contribute to a betterunderstanding of the influence of culture on the antecedents of organisationcommitment. First, the current study investigates the relative importance of various sources of commitment in predicting organisational commitmentfor individualistic and collectivistic individuals. Earley and Mosakowski(1995) argued that individual-level analysis has the advantage of directlyconnecting the hypothesised aspect of culture to other constructs in thenomological network as it measures the relative degree of value endorse-ment (extent of sharedness) rather than aggregation according to nationality,which presumes that all cultural members are sharing a given perspectiveequally and identically. The present individual-level study was conducted ina single country, namely Turkey. Turkey, poised between Europe and theMiddle East with a population of 65 million, can best be characterised as intransition from a rural, agricultural, patriarchal society to an increasinglyurbanised, industrialised, egalitarian one. However, these dramatic changesare not experienced equally momentously in every segment of the societyor in every aspect of social functioning and it is common to find a duality    ANTECEDENTS OF ORGANISATIONAL COMMITMENT  535  © International Association for Applied Psychology, 2003.  of both traditional and modern values and attitudes within and amongindividuals. Second, in this study organisational commitment is treated as a multi-dimensional construct and in addition to affective commitment, normativeand continuance commitment are also investigated. Although affectivecommitment is the most investigated and undisputed form of commitment,recent studies have validated other forms of commitment (e.g. Allen &Meyer, 1990; Mayer & Schoorman, 1992; O’Reilly & Chatman, 1986). Forexample, in one of the more comprehensive and recent conceptualisationsof organisational commitment, Allen and Meyer (1990) have proposed athree-component model of organisational commitment. The affectivecomponent of organisational commitment refers to employees’ emotionalattachment to, identification with, and involvement in the organisation.Employees with a strong affective commitment continue employment withthe organisation because they want to do so. The continuance componentrefers to commitment based on the costs that employees associate withleaving the organisation. Employees whose primary link to the organisationis based on continuance commitment remain because they need to do so.Finally, the normative component refers to employees’ feelings of obligationto remain with the organisation. Employees with a high level of normativecommitment feel they ought to remain with the organisation. Meyer andAllen (1991) argued that it is more appropriate to consider affective, con-tinuance, and normative commitment to be components, rather than types,of commitment as an employee’s relationship with an organisation mightreflect varying degrees of all three. Thus, one of the aims of this study is toexplore the influence of cultural values on these other types of commitmentas well. Although the Palich et al. (1995) study investigated all four culturaldimensions proposed by Hofstede (1980), the current study will test onlyhypotheses regarding the effect of individualism and collectivism. Indeed,this dimension has been considered to be most relevant to organisationalcommitment (Allen, Miller, & Nath, 1988; Hofstede, 1980; Redding et al.,1994). In the following section, these cultural dimensions are presentedbriefly and the hypotheses of the study are presented.  INDIVIDUALISM AND COLLECTIVISM: IMPLICATIONS FOR ANTECEDENTS OF ORGANISATIONAL COMMITMENT  Of Hofstede’s four dimensions, individualism and collectivism are un-doubtedly the most investigated cultural syndromes (see Triandis, 1995).The essential difference between individualism and collectivism is withrespect to the concept of self. In individualist cultures, the definition of theself is independent whereas in collectivist cultures, the definition of the self isinterdependent (Markus & Kitayama, 1991; Triandis, 1995). What follows   536   WASTI  © International Association for Applied Psychology, 2003.  is that, in collectivist societies, personal and ingroup goals are usuallyclosely aligned. In individualistic cultures, on the other hand, the pursuit of individual goals may or may not be consistent with ingroup goals, and incases of incompatibility, personal goals have priority (Triandis et al., 1988).Individuals will often drop out of groups if membership becomes a burdenor inhibits the attainment of individual goals. Though most work has been cross-cultural, there is considerable evidenceto suggest that a distinction between collectivists and individualists mayexist within cultures in the form of an individual difference (Hui & Triandis,1986; Triandis, 1995; Wagner, 1995) and that the above outlined definingattributes of individualism and collectivism exist at the individual level(Triandis, Chan, Bhawuk, Iwao, & Sinha, 1995). At the individual level,individualism and collectivism are manifest in the degree to which indi-viduals endorse values, attitudes, or norms consistent with notions such asindependence and uniqueness versus those suggestive of interdependenceand subservience to the wishes of the group. When individualism andcollectivism are measured at the individual level, they are called allocentrismand idiocentrism, respectively (Triandis, Leung, Villareal, & Clack, 1985;Smith & Bond, 1999). Hence, cultures which are labeled collectivist orindividualistic are simply cultures in which the majority of individualshave the corresponding collectivistic or individualistic difference (Hui &Triandis, 1986). This suggests that even though overall trends may existwithin cultures towards one dimension or the other, there still may bevariance within a culture, which could predict changes in dependent variablesof interest. The differing emphasis on self versus group goals manifested in the cul-tural syndromes of individualism and collectivism arguably has implicationsfor the nature of the employee attachment to the organisation. In fact,Hofstede (1980) proposed that whereas members of collectivist cultures arepeople-oriented in organisational settings, individualists are task-oriented.Hofstede further argued that in individualist cultures, employees mightestablish an exchange or a calculative relationship with their organisationwhile people in collectivist societies might view their relationship to havemoral elements. Along the same lines, Boyacigiller and Adler (1991) post-ulated that employees from collectivist cultures commit to firms due to theirties with colleagues or supervisors whereas employees from individualistcultures may be attracted to the job content or the promotion plan. More-over, since members of individualist societies value competition and rely onmaterial gains to track personal success (Triandis et al., 1988), Palich et al.(1995) argued that extrinsic personal rewards will generate more commit-ment in employees who embrace individualist values to a greater extent.Similar arguments were set forth by Pelled and Xin (1997) who proposedthat collectivist employees would differ from individualist employees in their

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