Organizational Commitment Study of White-Collar, Seasonal Contingent Research Proposal

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Organizational Commitment

Study of White-Collar, Seasonal Contingent Worker's Organizational Commitment within a Wholly (99%) Seasonal EnvironmentDownload full
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TOPIC: Research Proposal on Organizational Commitment Study of White-Collar, Seasonal Contingent Assignment

The past several decades have witnessed a number of fundamental transformations in the American workforce, including an increased number of non-traditional workers such as contingent workers (Mayfield & Mayfield, 2007). These types of nontraditional employment arrangement can provide a number of advantages for companies because they offer more cost-effective and flexible staffing arrangements, and have been shown to improve employee morale and the retention of high quality employees who prefer nonstandard work hours (Mayfield & Mayfield). According to these authors, in spite of the increasing reliance on contingent and other nontraditional workers, there remains a dearth of research concerning relevant best practices in motivating these workers. Consequently, a number of the potential cost and performance benefits that have been associated with nontraditional work may not be realized by many companies (Mayfield & Mayfield). In fact, David (2005) suggests that while contingent workers can provide organizations of all types of with a number of benefits, she also cautions that the improved morale of traditional employees and the cost-effectiveness associated with contingent worker arrangements can easily be lost if a sense of organizational commitment does not exist among these nontraditional employees. As David points out, "Skilled contingent workers provide flexible and competent labor with fewer long-term financial commitments for firms than regular employment, but their potential indirect costs possibly outweigh these benefits. Reactions from regular employees may require action from human resource managers to minimize the negative outcomes for companies" (p. 32). Indeed, these negative outcomes can be difficult to discern because of the temporary nature of the employment arrangements involved with contingent workers and can be even more complicated to measure amongst the company's traditional employees. The impact of these negative outcomes, though, can be dramatic. In this regard, David also notes that, "Skilled contingent workers may introduce feelings of inequity in regular employees and provide information about work opportunities outside the hiring companies. These influences may lower productivity or increase voluntary turnover. Consequently, companies may implement policies to increase their employees' organizational commitment" (p. 32).

In response to the growing numbers of contingent workers being used by American companies each year, researchers are beginning to examine organizational commitment and job satisfaction in more comprehensive ways. For instance, a study by Meyer, Becker and Vandenberghe (2004) found that, "Motivated behavior can be accompanied by different mindsets that have particularly important implications for the explanation and prediction of discretionary work behavior" (p. 991). Likewise, a recent study by Fiorito, Bozeman, Young and Meurs (2007) notes that, "Organizational commitment persists as a primary variable of interest in studies of employment, organizations, and allied fields. Numerous studies have shown that organizational commitment predicts important variables, including absenteeism, organizational citizenship, performance, and turnover" (p. 186). Researchers have also determined that organizational commitment is inversely related to intent to search for job alternatives as well as intent to leave a job; moreover, organizational commitment has also been associated with more positive organizational outcomes, including job satisfaction and attendance motivation (Fiorito et al.). As these authors emphasize, "These studies underscore organizational commitment's importance and thus the need to understand better its antecedents" (Fiorito et al., p. 186). Indeed, when changes in employment practices are introduced in virtually any type of organization, employees may reevaluate their organizational commitment in a different way. According to Cohen (2003), "When a long-term, individual-organizational exchange relationship is disrupted, work ethic endorsement may ultimately become a less central value for the individual concerned. Career commitment may take priority over organizational commitment, particularly in the case of temporary or part-time employees" (p. 5).

The numbers of workers involved in this analysis are not insignificant either. In fact, the U.S. Census Bureau (2005) reports that contingent workers account for 5.7 million or about 5.5% of the total U.S. workforce today. Based on existing trends toward outsourcing and contingent worker use, it is reasonable to assert that the trends will continue to accelerate in the future. This point is made by Chen (n.d.) who emphasizes, "Organizations are facing major challenges, many of them resulting in restructuring, reengineering and downsizing. Work environments have become more complex and sophisticated. The need for leadership and personal commitments has become more critical" (p. 3). Likewise, Allan and Sienko note that while estimates of the number of contingent workers vary, "Clearly contingent workers are a large and important component of the U.S. workforce that is unlikely to lessen in importance in the foreseeable future" (p. 5). Contingent workers therefore represent a fundamentally different set of challenges of human resource services today, and organizations that are able to manage this critical resource effectively will have a competitive advantage over those that do not. As Kraut and Korman (1999) put it, "Organizations need to attract and select [contingent] workers who won't jump ship but who can swim from ship to shore (or ship to ship) as needed, and who can keep their bearings when pushed" (p. 71).

Purpose of the Study

The purpose of this study is to fill a gap in knowledge in the study of contingent workers. There is a gap of knowledge on seasonal in-house-hired, white-collar contingent workers. Most companies either base their constructs of these employees on their "standard" worker, or on the research of general seasonal workers (Gallagher, & Sverke, 2005; Hughes, & Palmer, 2007). This study will reaserch the organizational commitment of only white-collar seasonal contingent workers, who work in a (99%) wholly seasonal workforce. The U.S. Bureau of Labor and Statistics defined these types of positions as being "jobs structured to last for only a limited period of time" (quoted in Prywes, 2000 at p. 19).

This study will anaylize the job satisfaction and organizational commitment of these nontraditinal workers. Studies have shown (Feinstein, 2001) that there is a direct corralation between job satisfaction and organizational commitment. Motivation may be a factor which affects job satisfaction which in turn affects organizational commitment, but the proposed study will focus only on job satisfaction and organizational commitment.

Importance of the Study

The current economic crisis facing the United States has created the need for more effective use of resources that are by definition scarce. Many businesses have resorted to using so-called contingent workers to help them achieve their organizational goals while minimizing their personnel costs. In fact, some industries have come to increasingly rely on their very survival by using contingent workers. According to Allan and Sienko (1999), "Businesses, not-for-profit enterprises, and public jurisdictions have come to rely on the help of workers who are hired on a 'contingent' basis for a period of time that could range from a few days to years. In contrast, permanent or 'core' workers typically have full-time jobs and enjoy privileges not available to contingent workers" (p. 4).

Not surprisingly, then, the respective levels of job satisfaction and organizational commitment among these groups of workers are also different. In this regard, Allan and Sienko emphasize that, "Unlike core workers, contingent workers are considered as having a tenuous relationship with an employer, as lacking a long-term attachment, and are not paid benefits such as vacations, health insurance, and pensions" (p. 5).

Given the primary need to examine organizational commitment in a broad-based fashion and the dearth of relevant studies concerning contingent workers in general and seasonal in-house-hired, white-collar contingent workers in particular, the proposed study is deemed to represent a timely and valuable contribution to the existing body of knowledge.

Rationale of the Study

In 2005, the Bureau of Labor Statistic's data showed 5.7 million workers, or around 4 to 5% of the total workforce in the United States as contingent workers. Freedman (1985) coined the phrase "contingent worker," which means any non-conventional worker: temporary, seasonal, day laborer, or part-time worker. There are now many additional sub-categories of contingent workers: at will, contract, limited contract, and flex workers, (Connelly, C. And Gallagher, D. 2004 et al.). This new worker is still unknown. The contingent worker has just started to be researched, analyzed, and compared to the "standard" worker (Belous, 1989; Connelly, and Gallagher, 2004; Baker and Christensen, 1988; Gallagher and Sverke 2005; Hipple, 2001; Hughes and Palmer, 2007; Negyesi and Szabl, 2005 et al.).

One subcategory of the contingent worker is the seasonal worker. There is also a gap of knowledge on seasonal in-house-hired, white-collar contingent workers. Most companies either base their constructs of these employees on their "standard" worker, or on the research of general seasonal workers (Gallagher, & Sverke, 2005; Hughes, & Palmer, 2007). Contingent workers may or may not work part-time, and there are some distinctions in the literature for these workers as well. For instance, Mayfield and Mayfield note that, "Part-time employees, technically those persons who work less than thirty-five hours per week, are often included in the broader category of contingent work, a classification which the Bureau of Labor Statistics also applies to such workers as the self-employed, contract personnel, on-call hires, leased employees, and temp agency workers" (p. 132) According to… [END OF PREVIEW] . . . READ MORE

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