Organizational Commitment Questionnaire (OCQ)

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The Organizational Commitment Questionnaire was developed to measure employee commitment to work organizations. Organizational commitment was defined as the relative strength of an individual's identification with and involvement in a particular organization. It can be characterized by at least 3 related factors: (1) a strong belief in and acceptance of the organization's goals and values, (2) a willingness to exert considerable effort on behalf of the organization, and (3) a strong desire to maintain membership in the organization.

Fifteen items were developed that appeared to tap these 3 aspects of organizational commitment. The response format employed a 7-point Likert scale with the following anchors: Strongly agree, moderately agree, slightly agree, neither agree nor disagree, slightly disagree, moderately disagree, and strongly disagree. Factor analyses were performed on 6 samples (N = 2,563 employees) and yielded a single-factor solution. Reasonably strong evidence was found for the internal consistency and test-retest reliability of the OCQ. Evidence was also found for acceptable levels of convergent, discriminant, and predictive validity, particularly when compared against other similar attitude measures.

The 15-item OCQ was developed by Porter et al. (1974) and codified by Mowday et al. (1979). They interviewed 2,563 employees in nine widely diverse work organizations over a nine-year period. Job classifications of those interviewed included public employees, classified university employees, hospital personnel, bank, and telephone company employees, scientists and engineers, auto company managers, psychiatric technicians, and retail management trainees. Cook and Wall interviewed 650 United Kingdom blue-collar workers in two separate studies. The samples were composed of full-time skilled, semi-skilled, and unskilled male workers in manufacturing industries. Cook and Wall (1980) developed a shorter nine-item version scale, adapted from the longer OCQ, designed for a working-class population. It was supposed to capture three of the following interrelated dimensions: (a) acceptance of the organization’s values (identification), (b) willingness to exert effort on behalf of the organization (involvement), and (c) a desire to remain an employee of the organization (loyalty).

The following items make up Cook and Wall’s questionnaire of OC. Responses are on a seven-point range (R is for reversal items) as given in the following:

  1. I am quite proud to be able to tell people who it is I work for.
  2. I sometimes feel like leaving this employment for good (R).
  3. I am not willing to put myself out just to help the organization (R).
  4. Even if the firm were not doing too well financially, I would be reluctant to change to another employer.
  5. I feel myself to be part of the organization.
  6. In my work I like to feel I am making some effort, not just for myself but for the organization as well.
  7. I would not recommend a close friend to join our staff (R).
  8. To know that my own work had made a contribution to the good of the organization would please me.

Nowadays, the most accepted tool to measure OC is that of Alan and Meyer (1990). This questionnaire is composed, in its full length, of 24 items, eight items in each of the following claimed dimensions: affective commitment scale (ACS), continuance commitment scale (CCS), and normative commitment scale (NCS). It also has a shortened version with six items per dimension:

  • Affective Commitment Scale Items:
    1. I would be very happy to spend the rest of my career in this organization.
    2. I really feel as if this organization’s problems are my own.
    3. I do not feel like a “part of my family” at this organization (R).
    4. I do not feel “emotionally attached” to this organization (R).
    5. This organization has a great deal of personal meaning for me.
    6. I do not feel a strong sense of belonging to this organization (R).
  • Continuance Commitment Scale Items:
    1. It would be very hard for me to leave my job at this organization right now even if I wanted to.
    2. Too much of my life would be disrupted if I leave my organization.
    3. Right now, staying with my job at this organization is a matter of necessity as much as desire.
    4. I believe I have too few options to consider leaving this organization.
    5. One of the few negative consequences of leaving my job at this organization would be the scarcity of available alternatives elsewhere.
    6. One of the major reasons I continue to work for this organization is that leaving would require considerable personal sacrifice.
  • Normative Commitment Scale Items:
    1. I do not feel any obligation to remain with my organization (R).
    2. Even if it were to my advantage, I do not feel it would be right to leave.
    3. I would feel guilty if I left this organization now.
    4. This organization deserves my loyalty.
    5. I would not leave my organization right now because of my sense of obligation to it.
    6. I owe a great deal to this organization

Although a great deal of what we know about organizational commitment comes from research using the OCQ, the OCQ is not without faults. Many of the criticisms of the OCQ are based on the underlying definition used when developing the scale (Morrow, 1983; Osigweh, 1989). Using these criticisms as an impetus, Balfour and Wechsler (1996) developed a new scale, the Organizational Commitment Scale (OCS), which was designed to measure three components of organizational commitment: identification, exchange, and affiliation.

Balfour and Wechsler’s (1996) scale development procedures included three steps. First, they interviewed 19 individuals about their attachment to their organization. Applying the repertory grid (RG) technique (AdamsWebber, 1979; Bannister & Fransella, 1971; Kelly, 1955), they were able to elicit constructs that defined individuals’ attachment to the organization. In the second step, Balfour and Wechsler content analyzed the interviews and used the results to develop a cognitive map of the organizational commitment process (Axelrod, 1976; Bougon, 1983; Gioia, 1986; Weick & Bougon, 1986). Finally, items that measured the components of the cognitive maps were developed and tested. The items included in the scale were a combination of items from other commitment scales and new items that used the actual words of the interviewees (e.g., “I am quite proud to be able to tell people who it is I work for”).

See Also