What is commitment?

In human resources management, commitment refers to an employee’s attitude toward and identification with a company.

Commitment means something like “obligation” or “bond”. In human resources management, this term is best described as “loyalty”. The bond between a person and an organization, a company, is referred to as organizational commitment. As commitment increases, so does job satisfaction and the willingness to make a proactive contribution to the company.

Types of commitment

According to Meyer and Allen’s (1990) three-component model, there are three types of commitment:

  • Affective commitment

Affective commitment is the emotional connection to a company. The company is of great value to the individual employees. This is mostly based on positive experiences with the respective company. Employees like being here and would like to be here in the future.

  • Normative commitment

Normative commitment refers to the moral obligation of employees toward a company. This type of commitment is a kind of feeling of guilt that the employee has toward the company – for example, due to previous training and development, because of which he feels obligated to remain with the company.

  • Calculative Commitment

This is primarily a matter of rational, calculative consideration. The personal costs incurred by leaving the company would be too high for the person concerned.

What all three types of commitment have in common is that attachment to the company is very pronounced – but with major differences in their effects.

  • While both affective and normative commitment lead to an increase in employee satisfaction, work performance and willingness to contribute to the company, a higher calculative commitment also means less work performance. This is logical, since the company’s success also depends on employees taking on responsibility of their own free will.
  • In addition, affective and normative commitment generally ensure a less stressful workday, or at least the stress is not perceived as such. The situation is different with calculative commitment – employees perceive stress more and also take it home with them.

For work performance, high levels of effectiveness, employee satisfaction and loyalty, affective commitment is most important. Emotional commitment ensures that employees remain loyal to their company even in crisis situations. It is up to the manager to be in constant exchange with the employees, to create trust and thus to bind employees to the company in the long term. It is therefore up to the company itself to show commitment to its employees.