Mind Tools -  Essential skills for an excellent career
About Mind Tools Membership Corporate Services Tool Explorer Contact Us
Newsletter 251
August 14, 2012

In This Issue...
Three-Component Model
Understanding Developmental Needs
Rebuilding Morale
Leadership Isn't for Cowards
Building Trust in Your Team
Facebook Find us on
Twitter Follow us
on Twitter
  Build a Committed Team

Losing key team members costs you time and money, and can lead you to miss your targets. So, how can you build a committed team?

Find out how to boost engagement in your team with our featured article, looking at the Three-Component Model of Commitment.

Then, learn how to understand people's developmental needs better, so that you can help them thrive.

We also look at how you can re-engage people and boost commitment when team morale has taken a hit.

Enjoy building a more committed team!

  James & Rachel

  James Manktelow and Rachel Thompson
MindTools.com - Essential skills for an excellent career!
Featured Resources at Mind Tools
The Three Component Model of Commitment
Improving Commitment and Engagement

Discover three common types of commitment, and learn how to help your team commit to your organization in a positive way.
All Readers' Skill-Builder
The Three Component Model of Commitment
Understanding Developmental Needs
Helping Your People Reach Peak Performance

Use this process to understand your people's training and development needs. All Readers' Skill-Builder
Understanding Developmental Needs
Rebuilding Morale
Creating a Happy, Committed Workforce

Team morale can take a knock due to downsizing, restructuring, or other problems. Learn how to rebuild your team's morale, and encourage a positive outlook. All Readers' Skill-Builder
Rebuilding Morale
... And From the Mind Tools Club
Leadership Isn't for Cowards, With Mike Staver Speaker

In this interview, Mike Staver explains the importance of courage in leadership and tells us how it can help create more productive teams and organizations. Premium Members' Expert Interview
Leadership Isn't for Cowards
Building Trust Inside Your Team
Creating a Strong, Cohesive Group

Learn how to help your team members trust one another.
All Members' Skill-Builder
Building Trust Inside Your Team
Remember the Milk
A Powerful Task Management Tool

Remember the Milk is a task management and To-Do List app. Find out how it can help boost your productivity.
All Members' App Reviews
Remember the Milk
Use Mind Tools in Your Organization!

Find out more, and arrange a free corporate trial for your organization.

1,000+ expert resources to discover and use.

Click here to find out more >>
Mind Tools Corporate Site
Editors' Choice Article
The Three Component Model of Commitment
Improving Commitment and Engagement

Have you ever thought about why people might become emotionally committed to your organization?

Some people are committed to their jobs because they love what they do, or because their goals align with those of the organization. Others might stay because they fear what they could lose if they leave. Still others might stay because they feel obligated to the company, or to their manager.
Team Commitment
Encourage positive commitment from your team.
© iStockphoto/Jasmina007
Clearly, some of these types of commitment can have a negative effect on a person's well-being, self-respect, and job satisfaction. So, how can you avoid this, but still help team members feel committed to your team, or organization, in a positive way?

In this article we'll explore three common types of commitment, and we'll look at how you can make changes to improve team member engagement and loyalty in an effective and positive way.

About the Model

John Meyer and Natalie Allen published their Three Component Model of Commitment in 1991. The model explains that commitment to an organization is a psychological state, and that there are three distinct components that affect how employees feel about the organization that they work for.

The three components are:
  1. Affection for your job ("affective commitment").
  2. Fear of loss ("continuance commitment").
  3. Sense of obligation to stay ("normative commitment").
You can use this model to increase commitment and engagement in your team, while also helping people to experience a greater feeling of well-being and job satisfaction.

Let's look at each of Meyer and Allen's three types of commitment in greater detail.

Affection For Your Job (Affective Commitment)

You feel affection for your job when you have a strong emotional attachment to your organization, and to the work that you do. You'll most likely identify with the organization's goals and values, and you genuinely want to be there.

If you're enjoying your work, you're likely to feel good and be satisfied with your job. This reinforces your sense of affective commitment towards your team and your organization.

Fear of Loss (Continuance Commitment)

This type of commitment occurs when you weigh up the pros and cons of leaving your organization. You may feel that you need to stay at your company, because the loss you'd experience by leaving it is greater than the benefit you think you might gain in a new role.

These perceived losses can be monetary (you'd lose salary and benefits); professional (you might lose seniority or role-related skills that you've spent years acquiring); or social (you'd lose friendships or allies).

The severity of these losses often increases with age and experience. You're more likely to experience continuance commitment if you're in an established, successful role, or if you've had several promotions within one organization.

Sense of Obligation to Stay (Normative Commitment)

This type of commitment occurs when you feel a sense of obligation to your organization, even if you're unhappy in your role, or even if you want to pursue better opportunities. You feel that you should stay with your organization, because it's the right thing to do.

This sense of obligation can stem from several factors. You might feel that you should remain with your organization because it has invested money or time in your training. Or perhaps it provided a reward in advance, such as paying for your college tuition.

This obligation can also result from your upbringing. For instance, your family might have stressed that you should stay loyal to your organization.

These three types of commitment are not mutually exclusive. You can experience all three, or two of the three, in varying degrees.

Applying the Model

By applying the Three Component Model, you can help your team develop strong affective commitment. When you do, your people are likely to feel an increased commitment to the team and organization. What's more, they'll feel more positive and more motivated, and they'll be happier in their jobs.

Boosting Affective Commitment

It's important to do your best to grow affective commitment, and to reduce your team's reliance on continuance and normative commitment, so that you're leading a team of people who feel passionate for their roles.

Team members with only continuance and normative commitment may feel bored and unmotivated, and no leader wants a team with those attitudes! These team members might also block the promotion of more enthusiastic employees, or even lower the morale of the group.

To encourage positive changes, make sure that you're linking people's goals with those of the team or organization, using an approach like Management by Objectives. If appropriate, see whether you can better align your team's roles with their skills and interests, using techniques such as Job Crafting. It's also important to help people find purpose in their work.

Remember that people are more likely to develop affective commitment if they experience positive emotions at work. Do what you can to help people flourish. Make sure that you give praise regularly, and create a healthy workplace, so that people are happy and productive.

Managing Continuance and Normative Commitment

As well as helping people experience greater affective commitment, you can also use the model to manage the amount of continuance and normative commitment that people may feel.

You can reduce the dependency on continuance and normative commitments by being a better leader, by working on your general team management skills, and by thinking carefully about how your actions might influence your team members.

Clearly, it doesn't make sense to try to reduce continuance or normative commitment, however, you should try not to rely on it, even if you're unable to achieve affective commitment at first. You should work on ways to ensure that team members become happy and enjoy their work, without making them feel uncomfortable during the process.

Bear in mind, though, that people will likely experience continuance commitment at some point in their careers, because they'll feel that they need to stay in their job to receive pay and benefits. And some people will likely feel a sense of normative commitment if their organization has invested a lot in their training and development, for example.

It's nice to have these types of commitment, however, they're a bonus, and not something you should rely on!

Key Points

John Meyer and Natalie Allen developed the Three Component Model of Commitment, and published it in the 1991 "Human Resource Management Review." The model defines the three types of commitment as follows:

  1. Affection for your job (affective commitment).
  2. Fear of loss (continuance commitment).
  3. Sense of obligation to stay (normative commitment).
You can use the model to help your people experience greater affective commitment, while making sure that you don't misuse continuance and normative commitment to keep people tied to your team or organization. Your team will function best, and thrive, if you use your energy to inspire people, and help them feel excited about their work.
Share this article:   LinkedIn  Facebook  Twitter  Google+1
A Final Note

Next week's newsletter looks at how you can use the Johari Window model to build trust, and create long-lasting relationships in the workplace.

Until then, have a great week!

James Manktelow

Email us
Mind Tools
Essential Skills for an Excellent Career!
Mind Tools will treat your email address with complete respect and will not circulate it to any third party. (Click here to view our Privacy Policy.)

If you have enjoyed this issue, please do email it on to your friends and co-workers.

To find out about new resources on the Mind Tools site as soon as they're uploaded, click here to subscribe to the Mind Tools RSS feed (you'll need an RSS newsreader installed).

You can also use Mind Tools in your organization. Our corporate division provides solutions from 25 to 10,000+ users and we connect seamlessly with leading LMS/Portals, so you can put our unique toolkit directly into the hands of your workforce. Find out more here.

We welcome appropriate reprinting and reuse of Mind Tools material, but you must get our permission first! To do this, please visit our Permissions Center.

© Mind Tools Ltd, 2012.

This newsletter is published by Mind Tools Ltd of 2nd Floor, 145-157 St John Street, London, EC1V 4PY, UK.

Mind Tools Ltd (Company Number 04829074, VAT Number: GB 840 1273 62) and Mind Tools (North America) Ltd (Company Number 05610859) are companies registered in England and Wales. Registered office: Hardwick House, Prospect Place, Swindon, Wiltshire, SN1 3LJ, United Kingdom.