Publication Date


Advisor(s) - Committee Chair

Dr. Ric Keaster (Director), Dr. Kyong Chon, Dr. Robert Reber, Dr. Bud Schlinker

Degree Program

Educational Leadership Doctoral Program

Degree Type

Doctor of Education


Organizational commitment has been linked to important employee behaviors and perceptions, including turnover, intent to turnover, absenteeism, and job satisfaction. In spite of its important outcomes, the formation of commitment is not well documented and research concerning antecedents has provided inconsistent results. Little of this research has involved the postsecondary education field and characteristics unique to it. This study investigated the relationship between employee position and organizational commitment in the postsecondary education setting. The model of organizational commitment utilized was the three-component concept developed by Meyer and Allen (1997) composed of affective, continuance, and normative commitment.

Research participants were 2,914 university employees. Using an online survey, participants responded to personal and position-related items and the organizational commitment assessment. The personal variables included were gender, age, and education level. The position-related variables were position as faculty, staff, or administration; full or part-time employment; tenure status; salaried or hourly pay status; years of employment at the university; retirement plan participation; and campus location. The survey also included a free-response item that asked participants why they responded as they did to the commitment items.

As demonstrated by analysis of variance, position had a significant influence on affective, continuance, and normative commitment. For each commitment component, staff had significantly higher commitment than faculty. A difference was also found between staff and administration for continuance commitment. Hierarchical regression analysis for the personal and position variables yielded significant results for each of the commitment components as well. The block of position variables demonstrated a significant relationship with affective and normative commitment. The blocks of position and personal variables were significantly related to continuance commitment. The study findings concerning the lower organizational commitment of faculty, combined with the body of research demonstrating the outcomes associated with organizational commitment, should indicate to institutional leaders the need to be aware of and focus on organizational commitment as an important employee attitude.


Educational Administration and Supervision | Higher Education Administration | Organizational Behavior and Theory