Rethinking organizational commitment in relation to perceived organizational power and perceived employment alternatives

Aviad Bar-Haim

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


The detachment of moral and affective motives from the actual behavior of loyalty and active commitment is recognized and expected in cross cultural research into organizational commitment. However, this separation is almost impossible to make from the perspective of western and managerially biased mainstream research into organizational commitment. Following the cross cultural perspective, the thesis of this article is that organizational commitment is not a state of mind but a behavior of choice. It is the unequivocal behavior of being obligated, regardless of individual goals, sentiments or moral values, particularly in the worst conditions, when organizations are unable to reward it. In a study of 361 respondents from four organized systems into the impact of perceived organizational power (POP) and perceived employment alternatives (PEA) on behavior of organizational commitment (OCb), it was found that OCb was dependent partially and in a non-linear manner on POP and PEA. However, the part that was not explained by these independent variables leaves ample room for a different possible explanation of OCb. For example, many people in this study chose active modes of positive commitment, in spite of having perceived employment alternatives and possessing only a small amount of perceived organizational power. This suggests that even during bad times for their employing organization, employees may not automatically rush to take advantage of their employment alternatives, but, on the contrary, may continue to contribute their knowledge, skills and abilities voluntarily, and not as tactics designed to protect their organizational assets. After all, pure commitment is an obligation to do something that is not necessarily agreeable or gainful. This lesson is well known in non-western cultures.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)203-217
Number of pages15
JournalInternational Journal of Cross Cultural Management
Issue number2
StatePublished - 2007


  • Cross cultural research
  • Managerial bias
  • Organizational commitment
  • Organizational power
  • Work motivation


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