Tuesday, February 19, 2013

Commitment to change construct

Kurt Lewin (1947) described 3 responses to organizational change.
In modern-day research, the Herscovitch & Meyer (2002) 3-component model of commitment to change is the current standard.  These researchers define commitment to change as “a force (mind-set) that binds an individual to a course of action deemed necessary for the successful implementation of a change initiative.” 

According to this model, the 3 components are (1) affective, (2) continuance, and (3) normative.

1.  Affective commitment is a desire to provide support for the change based on a belief in its inherent value.
 2.  Continuance commitment is a recognition that there are costs associated with failure to provide support for the change.
 3.  Normative commitment is a sense of obligation to provide support for the change employees can feel bound to support a change because they want to, have to, and/or ought to.
The Limits of Scholarship
First, I would like to say that John Meyer, from the University of Western Ontario, should be commended with his work on this subject.  Next, my job as a researcher is to look for gaps in his work and make it better.  With that being said, I will refer back to this post frequently as I explain the many facets of my exploration of Meyer's concept.

My first issue is with the explanations.  I do not think that "want to," "have to," and "ought to" describe one concept.  In fact, I think they describe the 3 forms of commitment as contained in this model:

Want to = Affective

Have to = Continuance 

Ought to = Normative

My main line of inquiry will be "which of these forms of commitment result in the highest level of sustainable performance?"

What do you think?

More later.

Herscovitch, L., & Meyer, J. P. (2002). Commitment to organizational change: Extension of a three component model. Journal of Applied Psychology87(3), 474-487.
Lewin, K. (1947). Frontiers in group dynamics: Concept, method, and reality in social science. Human Relations, 1(1), 5-42.


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