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Predictors and outcomes of occupational commitment profiles among nurses

Dissertation
Author: Lindsay Sears
Abstract:
Occupational turnover is a costly problem afflicting much of the nursing industry, and occupational commitment is a strong predictor of withdrawal from one's profession. Traditional organizational research examines most commitment-behavior relationships from a variable-centered perspective, focusing on the relationships between constructs. The present study adopts a configural, or person-centered approach aimed at identifying and describing clusters of individuals who share a similar set of occupational commitment mindsets. The present study extends current literature by (a) investigating the existence of several occupational commitment profiles and describing their characteristics; (b) examining situational and demographic predictors of profile membership; and (c) testing differences in occupational withdrawal intentions across the occupational commitment profiles. I examined these questions longitudinally using Latent Profile Analysis (LPA) in an archival data set of Registered Nurses from different organizations in the Northwestern United States. Five distinct profiles of occupational commitment among nurses emerged - free agent, allied, complacent, attached, and devoted - each differing with respect to their predictors, outcomes, and degree of stability over time. While there were few demographic differences across profiles, the frequency of successes, supports, and demands on the job appear to play an important role in the development of occupational commitment mindsets. Profiles were also characterized by their varying effects on withdrawal from the occupation. The findings supplemented results gleaned from more traditional hierarchical regression techniques. Additional implications and future directions for research are discussed.

TABLE OF CONTENTS

Page

TITLE PAGE .................................................................................................................... i

ABSTRACT ..................................................................................................................... ii

DEDICATION ................................................................................................................ iii

ACKNOWLEDGMENTS .............................................................................................. iv

LIST OF TABLES ......................................................................................................... vii

LIST OF FIGURES ........................................................................................................ ix

CHAPTERS

I. OCCUPATIONAL TURNOVER AND NURSING ..................................... 1

II. COMMITMENT IN THE WORKPLACE .................................................... 4

The Construct of Commitment ................................................................ 4 Commitment Targets ........................................................................ 6 Commitment Mindsets ...................................................................... 7 Commitment Mechanisms ....................................................................... 9 Development of Commitment .......................................................... 9 Commitment Outcomes .................................................................. 11 Summary ................................................................................................ 14

III. OCCUPATIONAL COMMITMENT .......................................................... 15

Predictors of Occupational Commitment............................................... 16 Outcomes of Occupational Commitment............................................... 20 Summary ................................................................................................ 21

IV. CAPTURING COMPLEXITY OF COMMITMENT ................................. 22

Interactive Approaches .......................................................................... 22 Configural Approaches .......................................................................... 25 Cluster Analysis Approach ............................................................. 27 Latent Profile Analysis Approach .................................................. 29 Summary ................................................................................................ 32

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Table of Contents (Continued) Page

V. HYPOTHESIS DEVELOPMENT............................................................... 33

Profiles of Occupational Commitment .................................................. 33 Profiling Nurses Displaying Devoted Pattern ........................................ 37 Profiling Nurses Displaying Free Agent Pattern ................................... 40 Profiling Nurses Displaying Complacent and Allied Patterns ............... 41

VI. METHOD .................................................................................................... 45

Participants ............................................................................................. 45 Measures ................................................................................................ 45 Analyses ................................................................................................. 49

VII. RESULTS .................................................................................................... 59

Deciding Parameters .............................................................................. 59 Exploratory LPA .................................................................................... 60 Confirmatory LPA ................................................................................. 62 Profile Change over Time ...................................................................... 64 Demographic Description of Profiles .................................................... 66 Predictors of Profile Membership .......................................................... 67 Outcomes of Profile Membership .......................................................... 69 Complementary Regression Analysis .................................................... 71

VIII. DISCUSSION .............................................................................................. 73

Findings.................................................................................................. 73 Implications............................................................................................ 82 Strengths and Weaknesses ..................................................................... 85 Conclusion ............................................................................................. 88

APPENDICES ............................................................................................................... 89

A: Tables ........................................................................................................... 90 B: Figures........................................................................................................ 120 C: Hypotheses ................................................................................................. 127 D: Survey Measures ........................................................................................ 131

REFERENCES ............................................................................................................ 138

vii

LIST OF TABLES

Table Page

1 Meta-analytic effect sizes of predictors of generalized occupational commitment sorted by effect size from Lee et al. (2000) ........................ 90

2 Meta-analytic effect sizes of predictors of affective occupational commitment sorted by effect size from Cooper-Hakim & Viswesvaran (2005) ......... 91

3 Meta-analytic effect sizes of predictors of continuance occupational commitment sorted by effect size from Cooper-Hakim & Viswesvaran (2005) ..................................................................................................... 92

4 Means, Standard Deviations, Correlations, and Chronbach’s Alpha for Study Variables ................................................................................................ 93

5 Illustration of Tradeoff between Model Fit and Constraints to Increase Number of Testable Profile Models ..................................................... 100

6 Comparing Different Constraints in 1-, 2-, and 3-Profile Models ............ 101

7 Model Comparison for T1 Exploratory Profile Models ............................ 102

8 Composition of Time 1 Profiles from Exploratory LPA ............................ 103

9 Correlations of average latent class probabilities by latent class for Five- Profile Model at Time 1 ....................................................................... 105

10 Model Comparison for T2 Confirmatory Profile Models .......................... 106

11 Intercept Changes from Fixed to Free Models at Time 2 .......................... 107

12 Correlations of Average Latent Class Probabilities by Latent Class for Constrained Five-Profile Model at Time 2 .......................................... 108

13 Correlations between Posterior Probabilities at Time 1 and Time 2 ........ 109

14 Categorical Profile Change from Time 1 to Time 2 .................................. 110

15 ANOVA of Demographic Differences across Time 1 and Time 2 Profile Membership.......................................................................................... 111

viii

16 Standardized Path Coefficients for Two Path Models Time 1 Predictors and Posterior Probabilities at Time 1 and Time 2 ..................................... 112

17 ANOVA of Predictor Differences across Time 1 and Time 2 Profile Membership.......................................................................................... 113

18 Standardized Path Coefficients for Posterior Probabilities at Time 1 and Time 2 Predicting Occupational Turnover Intentions at Time 2 .................. 115

19 Standardized Path Coefficients for Posterior Probabilities at Time 1 and Time 2 Predicting Retirement Intentions at Time 2 ...................................... 116

20 ANOVA of Time 2 Outcome Differences across Time 1 and Time 2 Profile Membership.......................................................................................... 117

21 Results from Hierarchical Moderated Regression Analysis ...................... 118

ix

LIST OF FIGURES

Figure Page

1 Illustration of multivariate latent profiles within a heterogeneous population ............................................................................................ 120

2 Potential occupational commitment profiles. Hypothesized profiles are emboldened. ......................................................................................... 121

3 Pattern of Intercepts for Hypothesized Commitment Profiles ................... 122

4 Illustration of Outcomes Hypothesized for Occupational Commitment Profiles. ................................................................................................ 123

5 Three-Profile Model from Exploratory LPA at Time 1 ............................. 124

6 Five-Profile Model from Exploratory LPA at Time 1 ................................ 125

7 Summary of Posterior Probability Findings by Profile ............................. 126

1 CHAPTER ONE OCCUPATIONAL TURNOVER AND NURSING Currently in the United States, nurses are needed more than ever. The population of the United States is aging, creating a greater demand for nursing care and a corresponding shorter supply of workers to fill nursing roles. The O*NET projects that the U.S. will need 1,039,000 new Registered Nurses (RNs) between 2008 and 2018, and that the profession is growing at a “much faster than average” rate of 20% or more (Bureau of Labor and Statistics, 2008). Given this expected nursing shortage, the healthcare industry must concentrate on attracting, engaging, and retaining quality nurses. Researchers have identified several reasons for the anticipated nurse shortage. These areas of concern could be categorized into “supply” issues, “demand” issues, and retention issues. Supply issues concerns bringing sufficient numbers of new RNs into the field, while demand issues deal with the growing need for RNs to care for the large proportion of aging individuals in the US (Rosseter, 2009). The third set of potential reasons for the nursing shortage deals with retaining and engaging existing nurses. RNs may choose to leave nursing in one of two ways: retirement or occupational transition. Like the aging US population, many nurses are also approaching retirement and may use retirement as a way to withdraw from the industry (Rosseter, 2009). Other nurses who may not be ready or able to retire might choose to simply leave the field for another profession. The nursing literature has acknowledged that a key component to resolving the nurse shortage is to focus efforts on preventing nurses from leaving (e.g., Ellis & Miller,

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1994). This raises the two critical questions, “Why do nurses leave the industry?” and of equal importance, “Why do they stay?” To answer these questions, it is first important to understand the context in which nurses work. Studies have shown that the stressful nature of nurse work contributes to nurses‟ inclinations to leave their job or the industry altogether (e.g., Burton, Morris, & Campbell, 2005; Lucas, Atwood, & Hagman, 1993). To provide a snapshot of nurse work, here is a brief list of some of the hassles and stressors RNs face regularly: dealing with death and dying (e.g., Foxall, Zimmerman, Standley, & Bene, 1990); rotating shifts (e.g., Robinson & Lewis, 1990); work overload due to understaffing; performing with insufficient information and resources (e.g., Snape & Cavanagh, 1993); violence and bullying from patients and coworkers; sexual harassment (e.g., Jackson, Clare, & Mannix, 2002); lacking managerial support (e.g., Lally & Pierce, 1996); having little control over one‟s job (e.g., Hatcher & Laschinger, 1996); and concern for unsafe patient care delivery (e.g., Scalzi, 1990). Stressors and demands such as these likely contribute to nurses‟ lack of attachment to their profession; if RNs quit nursing altogether, they reduce the already insufficient supply of nurses (Rosseter, 2009). On a brighter note, nursing has its rewarding aspects. These are the positive factors that enhance nurses‟ affection and attachment toward their practice. Recent studies suggest that positive experiences such as personal accomplishments, acts of support, personal growth, and receiving recognition predict retention outcomes and may even buffer the negative effects stressors have on these retention outcomes (e.g., Deese, Sears, Sinclair, Wright, Cadiz, Jacobs, et al., 2009; Sinclair, Mohr, Davidson, Sears,

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Deese, Wright, et al., 2009; Schaufeli & Bakker, 2004). While there is a clear need to better understand the positive aspects of nurse work, it is evident that some nurses find aspects of their jobs rewarding enough to stay in the field. Before researchers can make real progress in preventing nurses from leaving the nursing occupation, it is important to understand the predictors of retention (withdrawal), as well as the psychological processes by which nurses attach themselves to (detach from) their profession. Accordingly, the present study adopts a configural, or person- centered approach aimed at identifying and describing clusters of individuals who share similar commitment to the occupation of nursing. Focusing on the characteristics of individuals within each cluster or profile as well as differences in withdrawal across profiles, this paper extends current literature by a) proposing and confirming the existence of several theory-driven occupational commitment profiles and describing member characteristics within each profile; b) examining situational and personal predictors of profile membership; and c) investigating differences in occupational withdrawal intentions across the occupational commitment profiles. I examined these questions longitudinally using Latent Profile Analysis (LPA; or latent mixture modeling) in a set of archival survey data from Registered Nurses in different organizations in the Northwestern United States. The findings from this study provide support for configural approaches to commitment research and guide future research aimed at improving nursing shortage.

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CHAPTER TWO COMMITMENT IN THE WORKPLACE When tackling the problem of occupational turnover, researchers have investigated the thought processes of individuals who make the decision to leave their profession. Researchers have identified several forms or mindsets of commitment and studied them in relation to various targets, finding that commitment mindsets are core antecedents to withdrawal from those targets (Cooper-Hakim, & Viswesvaran, 2005; Lee, Carswell, & Allen, 2000). Accordingly, the present paper adopts the following definition of commitment: “the force that binds an individual to a course of action relevant to a particular target” (Meyer & Herscovitch, 2001; p. 301). As described later, commitment is distinct from motivation or other target-relevant attitudes in that commitment can influence behavior even in the absence of extrinsic motivation or positive attitudes. This chapter provides a summary of commitment as a construct, including a review of commitment mindsets and targets that have been studied, as well as an overview of commitment theory relevant to the present study. The Construct of Commitment The construct of commitment began to receive attention from organizational researchers in the 1960‟s and 1970‟s. Becker (1960) viewed commitment as a type of “loyalty” to employers and studied the role that prior decisions and possible alternatives play in determining an individual‟s future actions. Another example comes from Grusky‟s work (1966) in which he examined the ways in which rewards influence attachment to the organization. Other researchers at the time worked on identifying

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certain profiles (e.g., Gouldner, 1960) and typologies of commitment (e.g., Etzioni, 1961). Later, an attitudinal perspective on commitment emerged, focusing on how individuals identify with a given target. This attitudinal approach to commitment contrasted with prior work that had viewed commitment as a behavior, investment, or exchange (Klein, Molloy, & Cooper, 2009). This new attitudinal research investigated the underlying dimensions of attitudinal commitment (e.g., Porter, Steers, Mowday, & Boulian, 1974) as well as connections between organizational commitment and turnover (e.g., Buchanan, 1974). Subsequent research continued efforts to better understand the multiple mindsets and targets of commitment. Clearly, commitment has been defined in many ways throughout its history. Klein and colleagues (2009) identified eight distinct ways commitment has been conceptualized in the literature. They argue that definitions that define commitment as an investment/exchange, identification, congruence, or retention are confounded with other constructs. On the other hand, definitions of commitment as an attitude, force, or bond are not confounded with other constructs in the literature. The researchers argue that defining commitment as an attitude, however, fails to effectively capture the construct of commitment (Becker, Klein, & Meyer, 2009; Klein et al., 2009; Meyer & Herscovich, 2001). Consider the following definition of an attitude provided by Ajzen (2001): “there is general agreement that an attitude represents a summary evaluation of the psychological object that is captured in such attribute dimensions as good-bad, harmful- beneficial, pleasant-unpleasant, and likable-dislikable” (p. 28). This is problematic in that

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commitment to a target may not depend on the summary judgment of that target. For instance, an individual with a pleasant summary evaluation of a target may not necessarily be committed to that target. Meyer and Herscovich (2001) reinforce that, “commitment is distinguishable from exchange-based forms of motivation and from target-relevant attitudes, and can influence behavior even in the absence of extrinsic motivation or positive attitudes.” (p. 301). Thus, commitment is neither an attitude nor an exchange. The present paper views commitment as a binding force in which predictors of commitment create pressure that ties an individual to the target (e.g., Meyer & Allen, 1991; Meyer & Herscovitch, 2001). Meyer and Herscovitch (2001) defined commitment as “the force that binds an individual to a course of action relevant to a particular target” (p. 301). This distinguishes commitment from exchange-based mindsets or other attitudes. For instance, some people might choose to stay in a relationship they are highly committed to, even if there are no external rewards or other positive outcomes. In this sense, commitment is truly regarded as a force in and of itself. Commitment Targets Morrow (1983), Reichers (1985), and Becker (1992) laid the foundation for studying multiple commitment foci or targets. Commitment targets are the objects to which an individual is committed. Researchers have studied employee commitment to the employing organization, occupation, career, union, client organization, organizational subentities, and actions or goals (for complete reviews, see Cohen, 2003; and Vandenberghe, 2009).

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Vandenberghe (2009) points out that the predictors of each target will theoretically differ because the nature of the person-target relationship and attributions are qualitatively different. For instance, predictors of organizational commitment as compared to predictors of occupational commitment may differ because organizations have clearer boundaries and may be more easily personified than occupations (Vandenberghe, 2009). Also, behavior from agents of organizations (e.g., leadership) is more likely to be attributed to organizations and influence organizational commitment, whereas such behaviors may not be as easily attributed to occupations. Regarding outcomes, commitment toward a given target is negatively related to withdrawal from that target (e.g., Cooper-Hakim, & Viswesvaran, 2005; Meyer & Herscovitch, 2001). One trend in commitment research is the move toward the study of how multiple commitment targets are interrelated and interact to predict outcomes (e.g., Cohen, 2003; Morin, Morizot, Boudrais, & Madore, in press). This type of research accounts for the possibility that an individual may hold varying degrees of commitment toward multiple targets at any one point in time. Commitment Mindsets In the 1970‟s and 1980‟s, many commitment researchers focused on questions about the dimensionality of commitment. Buchanan (1974) proposed three core dimensions of commitment (identification, involvement, loyalty), followed by work from O‟Reilly and Chatman (1986) who suggested that commitment to the organization is made up of three similar dimensions (compliance, identification, and internalization). Mayer and Schoorman (1992, 1998) posited that commitment was made up of one‟s

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commitment to stay and willingness to participate in the organization. Later, Meyer and Allen (Allen & Meyer, 1990; Meyer & Allen, 1991, 1997) proposed their three component model (affective, continuance, normative) which is now the dominant typology in commitment research. According to Meyer and Allen, workplace commitment consists of components related to desire, cost, and obligation, the three mindsets that make up the core binding force of commitment (Meyer & Herscovitch, 2001). Each of these core mindsets corresponds to an aspect of human motivation: affect (desire), cognition (cost), and social influence (obligation). Affective commitment represents the shared values, identification with, and emotional attachment to a particular focus. Cognition-based commitment, also referred to as continuance commitment, represents the acknowledged costs of leaving the target and includes the evaluative, decision-making processes involved in commitment. Lastly, commitment driven by a felt obligation toward a target, referred to as normative commitment, involves feelings that one should stay because of social norms. Individuals may have different levels of affective, continuance, and normative commitment mindsets toward multiple targets simultaneously. The present study chose to focus only on affective and continuance mindsets for several reasons. First, commitment researchers have argued that the high correlation between normative and affective commitment dimensions suggests that they capture the same construct (Meyer & Herscovich, 2001). Second, in a study by Wasti (2005) reviewed more thoroughly later, outcomes for the commitment profile consisting of high affective commitment were not significantly different than outcomes for the profile

9

characterized by high affective and normative commitment. Because normative commitment levels within these profiles did not differentiate outcomes, its contribution is questionable. Lastly, commitment profiles that involve low, medium, and high levels of three commitment mindsets allows for the possibility of 27 profiles. Weighing the relative empirical and theoretical contribution of normative commitment with the increased complexity associated with adding another dimension in commitment profiles, I decided to omit normative commitment from the model. Commitment Mechanisms Many theoretical perspectives and models have been applied in the commitment literature. Researchers have developed commitment theory to explain the development of commitment, commitment outcomes, and the moderators of these relationships. Some theoretical rationales pertain to specific commitment mindsets. For instance, decision- making and side bet theories have been used to explain how processes related to perceived investments, costs and alternatives influence continuance commitment specifically (e.g., Becker, 1960). While mindset-specific perspectives are useful in explaining relevant phenomena, some work has integrated perspectives to understand how multiple mindsets of commitment work together (e.g., Vandenberghe, 2009). Here, I link relevant theory and mechanisms that explain some of the processes underlying commitment development and outcomes. Development of Commitment Commitment theory suggests two primary mechanisms by which affective commitment develops: personal fulfillment and retrospective rationality (Meyer & Allen,

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1997). With regards to personal fulfillment, the extent to which expectations are met, personal characteristics fit with the work, and work experiences are generally rewarding each contribute to affective commitment. Meyer and Allen (1997) highlight the role of conscious awareness of these events and processes, as well as the role of the ways in which events and experiences are causally attributed. Application of this idea to nursing would suggest that for affective commitment to develop toward an occupation, say nursing, rewarding events must be consciously perceived and attributed, at least in part, to the field of nursing. To further explain the mechanism by which rewarding experiences lead to the development of affective commitment, Social Exchange Theory (SET; Blau, 1964) suggests that individuals are motivated to reciprocate positive treatment from a target with commitment to that target as a form of reciprocity. The SET framework views relationships between an individual and a target as social interactions that are interdependent and evolve over time (Blau, 1964). For this evolution to result in a loyal, trusting exchange relationship, the rule of reciprocity must be followed. Reciprocity is the mechanism by which an individual experiences a positive exchange relationship and depends on the balance between what is given and what is received (Gouldner, 1960). Applications of this theory suggest that employees personify their organization and perhaps their occupation (e.g., Vandenberghe, 2009), and perceive there to be a social exchange between themselves and the target. Researchers have argued that affective commitment is one way employees reciprocate positive treatment from a given target (Cropanzano & Mitchell, 2005; Rhoades, Eisenberger, & Armeli, 2001).

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The second primary mechanism by which affective commitment develops is through behavioral commitment and justification processes. According to this perspective, employees who choose a particular occupation and make their decision public cannot easily change their minds without experiencing some level of cognitive dissonance. Therefore, employees will justify their actions retrospectively and develop affective attachment to the occupation. This idea has received support in the literature, and especially in a study by Somers (1995) that I review later in Chapter 4. While personal fulfillment and rationalizations are involved in forming affective commitment, investments, “side bets”, and alternatives play a role in the development of continuance commitment (Meyer & Allen, 1997). Becker‟s (1960) side bet theory was applied to the idea of organizational commitment but was also presented as the basis for occupational commitment. “Side bets” are thought to be the accumulation of investments people would lose if they left their occupation. Becker argues that commitment is strengthened as these investments increase. For instance, employees who have invested considerable resources time, energy, and money in their education and development within an occupation have accumulated a substantial amount of sunk costs. These investments would be perceived as lost if they decided to change careers. On the other hand, employees who have made few sacrifices for their career should be less likely to perceive such high costs of leaving. Commitment Outcomes Just as research has examined constructs involved in the development of commitment, studies have also examined the ways in which commitment mindsets relate

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to outcomes. Meta-analyses examining commitment mindsets suggest that affective and continuance commitment differ in how strongly they relate to outcomes (Meyer & Herscovitch, 2001). Compared to other commitment mindsets, affective commitment has the strongest relationship with withdrawal from the target, performance, organizational citizenship behavior, and absenteeism (Allen & Meyer, 1990; Cooper-Hakim & Viswesvaran, 2005; Meyer & Allen, 1984; Meyer, Allen, & Smith., 1993). Interestingly, continuance commitment has a weak and sometimes positive correlation with turnover in some instances (e.g., Stinglhamber, Bentein, & Vandenberge, 2002), which contradicts the idea of commitment as a binding force. To help explain this finding, recent commitment research has turned to approach- avoidance theory. Vandenberghe (2009) proposed a model that integrates approach- avoidance perspective (e.g., Carver & White, 1994; Sutton & Davidson, 1997) with state goal orientation theory (e.g., Dweck, 1986) to explain the mechanisms by which commitment mindsets are related to withdrawal, health, and performance outcomes. Of particular relevance to this study, the approach-avoidance mechanism explains how experiences and perceptions shape commitment mindsets and, in turn, influence engagement or withdrawal behaviors. Approach-avoidance mechanisms are thought to be core to human behavior and personality and operate through two functionally independent behavioral systems: BAS and BIS. The Behavioral Activation System (BAS) is triggered in reaction to non- punishment or reward, activating positive emotions and approach behaviors. The Behavioral Inhibition System (BIS) is triggered by punishment or non-reward, activating

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negative emotions and avoidance behaviors (Diefendorff & Mehta, 2007; Gable, Reis, & Elliot, 2000; Gray, 1990). While personality researchers acknowledge that individuals express tendencies toward either approach or avoidance orientations (e.g., James & Mazerolle, 2002), it is also acknowledged that the activation of these two motivational systems are partly triggered by daily affective experience (Gable et al., 2000). It is also important to note that there is potential for both BIS and BAS activation, and in other cases, neither system may become activated. Vandenberghe (2009) explains that commitment mindsets determine the extent to which approach versus avoidance motivation will be activated. The researcher alludes to the possibility that having high affective commitment may trigger the approach mechanism, while continuance commitment may trigger the avoidance system. For instance, employees who have developed high affective occupational commitment experience positive emotions toward their field. They will probably remain in their occupation and engage in discretionary citizenship behaviors as this has likely activated the approach system. On the other hand, employees who have remained in their field primarily because they lack alternatives or have high costs of leaving may feel trapped, helpless, or frustrated. Such negative emotions are likely to trigger the avoidance system and motivate employees to withdraw from the situation. Vandenberghe (2009) argues that this avoidance system may explain why aspects of continuance commitment have correlated positively with turnover in some cases. This then raises an important research question related to the nature of the commitment mindsets that trigger either approach or avoidance systems, both, or neither.

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Several studies, more thoroughly reviewed in Chapter 4, have found support for the general idea that one mindset at high levels may diminish the effects of other mindsets (e.g., Jaros, 1997; Somers, 1995). This idea suggests that when affective commitment levels are high and continuance commitment levels are low, the positive emotions drive approach related behaviors and continuance commitment has little effect. Conversely, when behavior is primarily driven out of an attempt to avoid costs of leaving and there is a lack of emotional attachment, the negative emotions associated with cost-avoidance trigger the avoidance system. Employees may do only what is required until they can find a way to withdraw from the target. Given these relatively new developments, theory in this specific area is in its infancy, providing an opportunity for research that builds upon and empirically tests these ideas. Summary Commitment is a force that binds individuals to a particular focus or object. It differs in terms of the psychological mindset it takes (e.g., affective, continuance) and in terms of target (e.g., supervisor, organization, occupation). The three-factor model of commitment is most comprehensive and well-supported conceptualization of commitment. Founded on basic motivational principles, the model accounts for desire, costs, and obligation to remain attached, taking the form of affective, continuance, and normative commitment, respectively. While many studies have examined organizational commitment, much less work has investigated the processes by which occupational commitment develops and leads to outcomes.

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CHAPTER THREE OCCUPATIONAL COMMITMENT An individual‟s attachment to a particular line of work has been referred to as professional commitment, occupational commitment, and career commitment (Meyer et al., 1993; Vandenberghe, 2009). Occupational commitment has been defined in many ways: one‟s motivation to work in a given career (Hall, 1971); the salience of career values in one‟s total life (Greenhaus, 1971, 1973); the degree of centrality of the career for one‟s self-identity (Carson & Bedeian, 1994; Gould, 1979); “devotion to a craft, occupation, or profession apart from any specific work environment, over an extended period of time” (Morrow, 1983, p. 490); and attitudes regarding one‟s profession or vocation (Blau, 1985). While some research has approached the study of occupational commitment by looking at variables reflecting career involvement (e.g., career salience; Greenhaus, 1971), others have based their study on attachment to the profession itself (Cohen, 2003). The current study takes the latter approach in order to better understand withdrawal from the nursing profession,. Despite some debate around the appropriate operationalization of occupational commitment, Meyer and colleagues (1993) integrated the idea of occupational commitment with their 3-component model of organizational commitment, resulting in a 3-component model of occupational commitment. Affective occupational commitment (AC) refers to the desire to stay in a profession. Continuance occupational commitment (CC) refers to the need to stay in a given profession because of the costs associated with leaving. Lastly, normative occupational commitment refers to the obligation to stay in a

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profession because of social influences. Researchers have found support for this three- component model of occupational commitment in samples of Canadian nurses (Meyer et al., 1993), Canadian government employees (Irving, Coleman, & Cooper, 1997), British human resource specialists (Snape & Redman, 2003), and Chinese and British accountants (Snape, Lo, & Redman, 2008). While some researchers conceptualize occupational commitment as a general bond to one‟s profession, exploring occupational commitment mindsets allows researchers to understand the different mechanisms involved in the development of commitment, which may have different implications for interventions. Because so little work has been done in this area, I review the theoretical and empirically supported antecedents and consequences of occupational commitment operationalized both unidimensionally and as multiple mindsets. Predictors of Occupational Commitment In summarizing the research on commitment in general, Becker and colleagues (2009) note that predictors of commitment fall into several broad categories: target characteristics, individual differences, and situational characteristics (i.e., social, organizational, and cultural predictors). More specifically, Vandenberghe (2009) proposes that the following variables are theoretically relevant in predicting occupational commitment: occupational value congruence, job characteristics, investments, alternatives, and individual differences. Because the present paper seeks to inform research on potential occupational commitment interventions, I focus primarily on examining job characteristics that may be changed. To account for differences between nurses, I also examine individual differences in professional investments and alternatives.

Full document contains 156 pages
Abstract: Occupational turnover is a costly problem afflicting much of the nursing industry, and occupational commitment is a strong predictor of withdrawal from one's profession. Traditional organizational research examines most commitment-behavior relationships from a variable-centered perspective, focusing on the relationships between constructs. The present study adopts a configural, or person-centered approach aimed at identifying and describing clusters of individuals who share a similar set of occupational commitment mindsets. The present study extends current literature by (a) investigating the existence of several occupational commitment profiles and describing their characteristics; (b) examining situational and demographic predictors of profile membership; and (c) testing differences in occupational withdrawal intentions across the occupational commitment profiles. I examined these questions longitudinally using Latent Profile Analysis (LPA) in an archival data set of Registered Nurses from different organizations in the Northwestern United States. Five distinct profiles of occupational commitment among nurses emerged - free agent, allied, complacent, attached, and devoted - each differing with respect to their predictors, outcomes, and degree of stability over time. While there were few demographic differences across profiles, the frequency of successes, supports, and demands on the job appear to play an important role in the development of occupational commitment mindsets. Profiles were also characterized by their varying effects on withdrawal from the occupation. The findings supplemented results gleaned from more traditional hierarchical regression techniques. Additional implications and future directions for research are discussed.