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Since the increased presence of a part-time workforce and the emergence of contingent workers are two of the most common, nonstandard work statuses evidenced in recent U.S. history, their development is worthy of considerable attention" (emphasis added) (p. 16).
White-collar contingent workers, and the human resource departments responsible for their administration, though, are both confronted with some motivational factors that may not be shared by their traditional counterparts, particularly those working in fields where seasonal employment may be the rule rather than the exception. For example, Toutkoushian and Bellas (2003) report that while contingent workers in educational settings are frequently used in ways that are beneficial both to institutions and to the individual faculty member, the increased use of these white-collar contingent workers is a dramatic departure from prevoius conceptions of higher education and in the conditions of employment for faculty. According to these authors, "While part-time faculty are often portrayed as being marginalized contingent workers who are poorly paid and comprise a lower caste of faculty, research shows that this description fits some, but not all part-time faculty" (Toutkoushian & Bellas, p. 172).
Because this portrayal of "marginalized, poorly paid, lower caste "is considered to fit some white-collar contingent workers, it is reasonable to posit that these professionals will have some drastically different motivational issues to be considered compared to their traditional counterparts, and their sense of organizational commitment may suffer as well. As Toutkoushian and Bellas aslo note, "Concern for those who do labor under exploitive conditions has brought criticism from several professional organizations. Indeed, the National Education Association describes the 'misuse and abuse of part-time, temporary, and nontenure track faculty... [as] one of the most serious problems confronting American higher education'" (quoted at p. 173).
Furthermore, Colbert and Kwon (2000) emphasize that while the effective management of contingent workers can add significant value to an organization, it is important to understand the relationship between the job satisfaction levels of nontraditional employees and their sense of organizational commitment. As organizations recognize the competitive advantage that can be gained through human resources, research on organizational commitment has gained importance. According to Colbert and Kwon, "Determining factors related to organizational commitment may be useful on several levels. Organizational commitment has been found to be strongly related to the intention to leave one's job and to the intention to search for job alternatives" (p. 484). In addition, resarchers have identified a positive relationship between organizational commitment and lateness and organizational commitment and turnover (Colbert & Kwon).
Therefore, by identifying the fundamental aspects of organizational commitment for contingent workers can help companies of all types better manage these resources. In this regard, Colbert and Kown conclude that, "The knowledge of the antecedents of organizational commitment will enable organizations to manage these withdrawal behaviors" (p. 484). Unfortunately, as Fiorito and his colleagues point out, "Many issues concerning organizational commitment remain poorly understood. For example, scholars contend that many organizations adopt Human Resources (HR) practices intended to maximize employee commitment, yet, with few exceptions, little systematic research examines the influence of HR practices, including practices intended to promote commitment" (p. 186). In addition, despite the fact that the existing body of knowledge concerning organizational commitment suggests that the organizational structure involved influences commitment, these effects also remain relatively understudied (Fiorito et al.).
The theoretical framework that will be used to guide the proposed study is the concept of organizational commitment. Although definitions of organizational commitment vary in the peer-reviewed and scholarly literature, one commonly used definition provided by Porter and his colleagues early on (1974) contained three factors of organizational commitment: (a) a strong belief in and acceptance of the organization's goals and values, (b) a willingness to exert considerable effort on behalf of the organization, and - a strong desire to remain in the organization. To measure these factors, the authors developed a 15-item organizational commitment questionnaire (OCQ) to measure organizational commitment based on the foregoing definition (Colbert & Kwon, 2000).
Likewise, Allen and Meyer (1990) conceptualized organizational commitment as consisting of three fundamental components: (a) affective (this component refers to the employee's emotional attachment to, identification with, and involvement in the organization); (b) continuance (this component refers to commitment based on the costs that the employee associates with leaving the organization); and, - normative (this component refers to the employee's feelings of obligation to remain with the organization). For their purposes, Allen and Meyer (1990) also developed a 24-item scale in order to measure these three components of organizational commitment. The affective component of organizational commitment conceptualized by Allen and Meyer views workers as identifying with their organization and being committed to retaining their employment in order to achieve their own personal and professional goals (Cohen, 2003). According to Cohen, "The origins of this treatment of [organizational] commitment perhaps lie principally in the work of Porter and his associates and has been termed affective commitment and value commitment" (p. 19).
The growing body of organizational behavior literature (Meyer and Allen, 1991) concerning inter-firm relations also highlights the multifaceted aspects of the construct itself (Meyer & Allen, 1991). According to Meyer, Allen and Smith (1991), organizational commitment has typically been conceptualized as being a cognitive-affective state in the management literature, a state that is comprised of elements of continuance, affective, and normative dimensions. In this regard, Cohen suggests that a comprehensive analytical approach is much more useful in examining organizational commitment, particularly during turbulent employment times. As Cohen points out, "In a dynamic environment employees may be committed to different entities in different settings. Magnitudes of commitments may differ across time, industries, professions, and cultures" (p. 7). These constructs can be elusive and difficult to analyze, though, if they are investigated in isolation of each other. According to Cohen, "All this can be captured if we apply a multiple commitment approach, but we may miss it if we concentrate on one commitment. This probably constitutes one reason for the broadening consensus among commitment theorists and researchers that commitment is a multidimensional construct" (p. 7).
H1: Job satisfaction of contingent workers as measured by the Minnesota Satisfaction Questionnaire and the Organizational Commitment Questionnaire will be less than that recorded for traditional workers by a statistically significant amount.
H2: Organizational commitment of contingent workers as measured by the Minnesota Satisfaction Questionnaire and the Organizational Commitment Questionnaire will be less than that recorded for traditional workers by a statistically significant amount.
H3: Job satisfaction among contingent workers can be improved by a statistically significant amount through the analysis of the results of the Minnesota Satisfaction Questionnaire and the Organizational Commitment Questionnaire.
H4: Organizational commitment among contingent workers can be improved by a statistically significant amount through the analysis of the results of the Minnesota Satisfaction Questionnaire and the Organizational Commitment Questionnaire.
N1: Job satisfaction of contingent workers as measured by the Minnesota Satisfaction Questionnaire and the Organizational Commitment Questionnaire will be comparable to or higher than that recorded for traditional workers by a statistically significant amount.
H2: Organizational commitment of contingent workers as measured by the Minnesota Satisfaction Questionnaire and the Organizational Commitment Questionnaire will be comparable to or higher than that recorded for traditional workers by a statistically significant amount.
N3: Job satisfaction among contingent workers cannot be improved by a statistically significant amount through the analysis of the results of the Minnesota Satisfaction Questionnaire and the Organizational Commitment Questionnaire.
N4: Organizational commitment among contingent workers cannot be improved by a statistically significant amount through the analysis of the results of the Minnesota Satisfaction Questionnaire and the Organizational Commitment Questionnaire.
Significance of the Study
To date, there remains a paucity of timely research concerning white-collar, seasonal contingent workers as part of a wholly seasonal workforce; rather, the majority of studies to date measure these workers against their full-time counterparts. Moreover, an analysis of job satisfaction and organizational commitment among contingent workers has not been the focus of many studies, apparently because such workers are not regarded as being a permanent part of the organization, but as Kraut and Korman (1999) put it, "Rather come and go as needed for specific assignments" (p. 71). As these authors also emphasize, though, "Yet the organization still depends on their performance to achieve its objectives. Because organizations do not have a long-term claim on these workers, the need for effective methods to recruit contingent personnel quickly is increasing" (Kraut & Korman, p. 71).
In addition, there are some significant issues to be taken into account when recruiting contingent workers that can have a significant influence either positively or negatively on the organization. When white-collar contingent workers are hired to temporarily satisfy the seasonal demands of a company, these individuals may be placed in positions of some authority and carry some heavy responsibilities. For example, Kraut and Korman emphasize that, "The importance of accurately assessing potential employees…[continue]
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