The dynamic microstructure of organizational commitment

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In this study, we examine how the classic elements of affect, cognition, and behaviour combine to form within-person trajectories of organizational commitment. We test several key features of this ‘dynamic microstructure’ of commitment in an experience sampling setting (25 weekly measurements) among 72 organizational entrants and 23 exiters. We find support for the idea that within-person change in affect is slower than within-person change in cognition and behaviour. We find no support for the notion that affect would influence cognition and behaviour at the within-person level. In fact, we have strong indications that the episodes of committing (organizational entry) and uncommitting (organizational exit) are mainly cognition driven. We discuss the implications of our study for tripartite attitude theory and commitment theory.

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