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Current Editor: Dr. Robert T. Howell  bhowell@fhsu.edu
Volume 32, Number 1
Fall 1994


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Predicting the Organizational Commitment of Marketing Education and Health Occupations Education Teachers by Work Related Rewards

Beverly Richards
North Carolina State University
Terrance O'Brien
North Carolina State University
Duane Akroyd
North Carolina State University

The Metropolitan Life Survey of the American Teacher (Metropolitan Life Insurance Company, 1984) identified a number of problems facing teachers and the teaching profession. This report indicated that low salaries, poor working conditions, lack of prestige, and limited input into school decisions have caused dissatisfaction and excessive turnover in the teaching profession. Today, Total Quality Management, School Restructuring, and Teacher and Student Empowerment are just a few of the buzz words being used to suggest reforms in the current crisis in education.

Cetron and Gayle (1991), in their book Educational Renaissance, discuss many of these educational reforms, and they devote an entire chapter to examining the teaching profession-a profession in chaos. In 1987, they found the annual salary for beginning teachers averaged $17,500; by comparison, beginning accountants earned approximately $21,200; computer specialists earned $26,170; and engineers earned $28,500. The pay scale has improved little since then. Because of low starting salaries, teachers' colleges are unable to recruit the best students. Teacher educators point out that there are too few teachers to go around and predict that this shortage will continue well into the 21st century. According to Cetron and Gayle, by the time a teacher has been teaching in the classroom for five years, there is a 50% chance that he or she will leave the profession; if the teacher is employed in an urban area, the likelihood increases to 75%.

Why this high dropout rate among teachers? Lack of commitment, stress, burnout, poor salaries, and lack of power in the school have all been suggested as possible precursors of teachers leaving the profession. To counteract the high dropout rate, the profession needs to seek answers to these and other related questions concerning the work related rewards for teachers. Teaching does not occur within a vacuum. Schools, school administrative personnel, resources, coworkers, salaries, and other variables impact the work related rewards of teachers and their attitudes toward the organizations in which they work. O'Brien, Akroyd, and Richards (1993) noted that

some teachers report being extremely pleased with their schools and school systems, and appear to be quite dedicated to the overall success of those organizations. Often, such teachers are more involved in general school activities and usually enjoy pleasant longevity in their positions. Other teachers, however, report being very displeased with their schools and consequently are disinterested in the overall success of their schools. These teachers tend to be involved in the general activities of their schools as little as possible and may actively seek reassignment or relocation. In many ways, the organizational commitment of teachers is vital to the overall effectiveness of schools. (p. 4)

The purpose of this study was to explore the ability of extrinsic and intrinsic work rewards to predict the organizational commitment of teachers. This study was limited to teachers in two vocational areas, marketing education and health occupations education, who were employed in three southeastern states. Work related rewards were studied in reference to their relative importance as determinants of work satisfaction.

Review of Literature

Only two studies have focused on the work related rewards of vocational teachers. One study (Akroyd, Richards, & O'Brien, 1992) reported the predictive value of work related rewards as determinants of health occupations education teachers' work satisfaction. Another study (Berns, 1989) identified the work related rewards of marketing education teachers. Organizational commitment studies have focused on the relationship between organizational commitment and turnover. No research studies have addressed the organizational commitment of health occupations education or marketing education teachers.

Work Related Rewards

The literature revealed many studies that looked at the importance of work related rewards as determinants of work satisfaction. Herzberg, Mausner, Peterson, and Capwell (1957) proposed two basic classes of work rewards: (a) intrinsic factors such as achievement, recognition, and advancement; and (b) extrinsic factors such as pay, working conditions, and job security. Work satisfaction is defined as the level and direction of an emotional state, or affective orientation, resulting from the appraisal of one's work and work experience and, in part, is a function of the individual's work rewards (Kallenberg, 1977; Locke, 1976; Ronen, 1978). Most theorists have argued that the overall level of work satisfaction is determined by some combination of the various facets of work rewards such as satisfaction with salary, coworkers, and supervisors. They have agreed that a two-factor model appears to explain the general trends reflected in the data (Campbell & Pritchard, 1976; Dyer & Parker, 1976). Mottaz and Potts (1986) found the perceived reward model to be the most appropriate procedure for predicting overall work satisfaction. The model consisted of five extrinsic rewards: supervisors, coworkers, working conditions, salary, and promotional opportunities.

General working conditions were defined as the extent to which there were adequate resources to support teaching and addressed physical facilities, equipment, workload, and work hours. The second reward, supervision, was defined as the degree to which supervisors were perceived as supportive and helpful to teachers and included such traits as competence, fairness, and friendliness. Coworkers, the third reward, were defined by the degree to which colleagues were perceived as being supportive and helpful and included such traits as competence, helpfulness, and friendliness. The fourth reward, promotion, was defined as the extent to which the job provided opportunity for advancement and included both opportunity and fairness. Salary, the fifth reward, was defined as the extent to which teachers believed their salary to be comparable to other teachers performing a similar function and included amount, fairness, and adequacy.

In addition, the model consisted of three intrinsic rewards: task autonomy, task significance, and task involvement. Task autonomy was defined as the degree of self-direction in task performance or teaching. Task significance was defined as the degree to which the task was perceived as a significant contribution to the work process or teaching. Task involvement was defined as the degree to which the task was considered interesting and rewarding in itself. Akroyd et al. (1992) found that selected intrinsic and extrinsic rewards were predictive of health occupations education (HOE) teachers' work satisfaction. Task involvement, an intrinsic reward, contributed more to HOE teachers' perceptions of their work satisfaction than the extrinsic rewards of general working conditions and salary, but all three were significant at the .01 level.

Organizational Commitment

Mowday, Porter, and Steers (1982) offered a definition of organizational commitment which has three components: (a) a strong belief in and acceptance of organizational goals and values, (b) a willingness to exert considerable effort on behalf of the organization, and (c) a strong desire to maintain membership in the organization. Research on organizational commitment has been examined primarily in relation to turnover (Ferris & Aranya, 1983; Hom, Katerberg, & Hulin, 1979; Huselid & Day, 1991; Mowday, Steers, & Porter, 1979; O'Reilly & Caldwell, 1980; Steers, 1977; Stumpf & Hartman, 1984; Wiener & Vardi, 1980). Other research has established a relationship between job satisfaction and turnover intentions (Angle & Perry, 1981; Bedeian & Armenakis, 1981) and organizational commitment and job performance (Meyer, Paunonen, Gellatly, Goffin, & Jackson, 1989). Individuals who are committed to the organization are less likely to leave their jobs than those who are uncommitted (Porter, Steers, Mowday, & Boulian, 1974). Individuals who are committed to the organization tend to perform at a higher level and also tend to stay with the organization, thus decreasing turnover and increasing organizational effectiveness. As this nation's schools face a shortage of vocational teachers, more research on organizational commitment is required.

Porter, Crampon, and Smith (1976) investigated the relationship between organizational commitment and turnover. Using a 15 month longitudinal design with a sample of managerial trainees in a large merchandising company, they found that trainees who voluntarily left the company during the initial 15 month employment period had begun to show a definite decline in commitment prior to termination.

Shaw and Reyes (1992) examined elementary and high school teachers' organizational commitment and workplace value orientation. The values orientation included two underlying value systems. The normative orientation emphasized the cultural values of the organization. Schools with a normative value orientation stress shared behavior norms developed through common group experiences, and are less reliant on formal written policy and pay and time schedules. The utilitarian orientation emphasized the materialistic aspects of organizational control. Schools with a utilitarian value orientation stress scheduling and written policies to regulate teacher work load, teaching, and extra duty assignments. The authors found that elementary school teachers had significantly higher levels of normative orientation and organizational commitment than high school teachers. In another study, Reyes (1990) reported similar findings:

First, it is clear that in those organizations holding a stronger normative orientation, employees are more satisfied with their jobs and are more committed to the organization than employees in organizations holding a stronger utilitarian orientation. (p. 20)

Purpose of the Study

The purpose of this study was to explore the ability of extrinsic and intrinsic work rewards to predict the organizational commitment of teachers in two vocational areas: marketing education and health occupations education. The study was limited to three southeastern states: North Carolina, Georgia, and Tennessee. The following research questions were addressed in the study:

  1. Which intrinsic and extrinsic work related rewards significantly contribute to marketing education teachers' perceptions of organizational commitment?
  2. Which intrinsic and extrinsic work related rewards significantly contribute to health occupations education teachers' perceptions of organizational commitment?
  3. Are there differences in the magnitude of work related rewards which contribute to teachers' perceptions of organizational commitment by program area-marketing education and health occupations education?

Methodology

Subjects

The subjects consisted of vocational teachers in two program areas: marketing and health occupations education. The two program areas were chosen because they represent different approaches to teacher preparation, traditional and non-traditional. Most marketing education teachers follow a traditional approach to teacher certification, a four year baccalaureate degree; whereas most health occupations education (HOE) teachers follow a non-traditional approach. HOE teachers usually are employed as teachers because of their health specialties, with nursing being the dominant specialty. These teachers may have a diploma, an associate degree, or a baccalaureate degree. They usually receive a provisional teaching certificate and must take courses in pedagogy to meet the state certification standards. All subjects were employed as marketing and HOE teachers in Georgia, North Carolina, or Tennessee. Educational consultants from the state departments of education provided lists of teachers in the two program areas.

Instrumentation

The instrument consisted of four parts: sample demographic characteristics, extrinsic work related rewards, intrinsic work related rewards, and organizational commitment. The extrinsic and intrinsic work related rewards and organizational commitment were rated on a four point Likert-type scale: strongly agree (4), agree (3), disagree (2), and strongly disagree (1). The extrinsic and intrinsic work related rewards were measured using an instrument developed by Mottaz (1981). Organizational commitment was measured using the Organizational Commitment Questionnaire (OCQ) developed by Mowday et al. (1979).

The five extrinsic work related rewards included general working conditions, supervision, coworkers, promotion, and salary. Mottaz (1985) reported the reliability of these measures as assessed by Cronbach's alpha, which yielded a reliability coefficient of .71 for general working conditions, .82 for supervision, .82 for coworkers, .82 for promotion, and .83 for salary. Mottaz (1985) evaluated the construct validity of these scales by factor analysis. Principal components factor analysis with varimax rotation confirmed distinct factors which defined each of the scales.

The three intrinsic factors of work related rewards involved facets associated with one's job, and included task autonomy, task significance, and task involvement. Mottaz (1985) reported the reliability of these measures to be .92 for the autonomy scale, .79 for the significance scale, and .88 for the involvement scale (p. 369). Principal components factor analysis with varimax rotation confirmed distinct factors which defined each of the three scales.

The organizational commitment questionnaire consisted of 15 statements. Mowday et al. (1979) reported a median coefficient alpha of .90 with a range of .82 to .93 for 2563 employees in nine different public and private work organizations. The authors examined the construct validity through factor analyses. The analyses resulted in a single-factor solution and supported the conclusion that the items are measuring a single common underlying construct.

Data Collection

A cover letter, questionnaire, and a pre-addressed stamped envelope were mailed to 580 marketing education teachers and 348 health occupations education teachers. The questionnaire could be completed within 10 to 20 minutes. A follow-up letter was sent to all teachers who did not respond within two weeks. Questionnaires were returned by 475 (51%) teachers: 282 (49%) from marketing education teachers and 193 (55%) from health occupations education teachers. The low rate of return may have been due to the mailing within six weeks of the end of the term. Since the school year was over, it was not possible to conduct any additional follow-up activities. Analysis of non-respondents was not performed.

Data Analyses

Data from the questionnaires were entered into a database and analyzed using Version 6.4 of PC-SAS (SAS Institute, 1987). Frequency distributions and cross tabulations were used to confirm statistical assumptions. Correlation analyses identified the Cronbach coefficient alpha for the dependent variable and each independent variable. Two stepwise multiple regression analyses were run to identify which independent variables (extrinsic and intrinsic factors) were predictors of the dependent variable, organizational commitment for teachers by program area. The magnitude of contribution of each significant variable was determined by its standardized beta weight. A standardized beta weight close to 1.0 indicates a substantial contribution, while a weight close to 0.0 denotes little or no contribution (Pedhazur, 1982). A conservative significance level of .01 was used in all statistical interpretations due to the amount of variance not accounted for by the model.

According to Tabachnick and Fidell (1983), stepwise regression is used to answer the question regarding the best linear combination of independent variables to predict the dependent variable in the sample. Specific to this study, the question could be stated as, "Which extrinsic and intrinsic (independent variables) work related rewards were predictive of organizational commitment (dependent variable)?" In stepwise regression, the sample data, not the researcher, control the order of entry into the model for independent variables. Each independent variable is entered separately into the regression equation according to the explained amount of unique variance it explains after the other variables' effects are taken into account. Thus, stepwise regression analyses are seen as model-building rather than model-testing procedures.

Results

Analysis of the two multiple regression models yielded significant results. Six of the eight independent variables entered the stepwise procedure for marketing education teachers with five of the six significant at the .01 level. Five of the eight independent variables entered the stepwise procedure for health occupations education teachers with three of the five significant at the .01 level. In this section, reliability scores are reported for the dependent and independent variables. Then, the results are organized and reported as they relate to the three research questions.

Reliability

Cronbach coefficient alpha for the dependent variable, organizational commitment, was .88, well within the range of .82 to .93 reported by Mowday et al. (1979). The scales measuring the intrinsic factors of work related rewards yielded alphas of .80 for autonomy, .85 for significance, and .85 for involvement; alphas for the extrinsic factors of work related rewards were .69 for general working conditions, .90 for supervision, .82 for coworkers, .92 for promotion, and .71 for salary. In comparing Mottaz's (1985) reliability findings for the intrinsic factors, two scales (autonomy and involvement) yielded smaller reliabilities, while one scale (significance) yielded a slightly higher reliability from this study. In comparing the extrinsic factors of job satisfaction, two scales had smaller reliabilities: general working conditions and salary; two scales had higher reliabilities: supervision and promotion; while one scale had the same reliability: coworkers from this study. Nevertheless, all reliability scores fell within an acceptable range.

Which intrinsic and extrinsic work related rewards significantly contributed to the marketing education teachers' perceptions of organizational commitment? Table 1 reports the standardized beta weights for those variables which the stepwise procedure incorporated into the model to explain the predictive ability of the independent variables upon the organizational commitment of marketing education teachers. Two intrinsic and three extrinsic work related rewards were significant at the .01 level. The factors, in order of their standardized beta weights, included supervision (.2188), significance (.2158), involvement (.2137), promotion (.1592), and coworkers (.1258). Although the factor, general working conditions, was included in the stepwise procedure, it was not significant at the .01 level.

Which intrinsic and extrinsic work related rewards significantly contributed to the health occupations education teachers' perceptions of organizational commitment? Table 2 reports the standardized beta weights for those variables which the stepwise procedure incorporated into the model to explain the predictive ability of the independent variables upon organizational commitment of health occupations education teachers. Two intrinsic and one extrinsic work related rewards were significant at the .01 level. The factors, in order of their standardized beta weights, included significance (.2411), involvement (.2135), and general working conditions (.1591). Although supervision and coworkers were included in the stepwise procedure, neither factor was significant at the .01 level.

Table 1
Standardized Beta Weights on Organizational Commitment for Marketing Education Teachers

Variable Standardized Beta Weights

Supervision .2188*
Significance .2158*
Involvement .2137*
Promotion .1592*
Coworkers .1258*
General Working Conditions .0985
Model Statistics: R-Square = .44 F = 37.52 p = .0001

Note: *p < .01

Are there differences in the magnitude of work related rewards which contribute to teachers' perceptions of organizational commitment by program area-marketing education and health occupations education? The stepwise procedures revealed notable differences between the model for marketing education teachers and the model for health occupations education teachers. Six of the eight independent variables entered the stepwise procedure for marketing education teachers with five of the six significant at the .01 level. Five of the eight independent variables entered the stepwise procedure for health occupations education teachers with three of the five significant at the .01 level. Task autonomy, an intrinsic reward, and salary, an extrinsic reward, did not enter for either group. Together, the independent variables accounted for a significant percentage (44%) of the variance in the dependent variable for the marketing education model. This percentage (34%) was lower in the health occupations education model. In the marketing education model, supervision (extrinsic reward) entered first, followed closely by significance and involvement (intrinsic rewards). Promotion and coworkers also entered into the model. In the health occupations education model, significance (intrinsic reward) entered first, followed by involvement (intrinsic reward) and general working conditions (extrinsic reward).

Table 2
Standardized Beta Weights of Independent Variables on Organizational Commitment for Health Occupations Education Teachers

Variable Standardized Beta Weights

Significance .2411*
Involvement .2135*
General Working Conditions .1591*
Supervision .1539
Coworkers .1169
Model Statistics: R-Square = .34 F = 21.21 p = .0001

Note: *p < .01

In comparing the two models, two intrinsic work related rewards with similar weights are found in both models. Both marketing education and health occupations education teachers perceive that significance (e. g., work is worthwhile and makes an important contribution to teaching), and involvement (e. g., work is interesting and challenging and provides a sense of personal fulfillment from helping students reach their potential), are predictors of organizational commitment.

Four extrinsic rewards also were significant: supervision, promotion, and coworkers for marketing education teachers, and general working conditions for health occupations education teachers. The extrinsic rewards in one model were not significant in the other model. In the marketing education teacher model, supervision, with a standardized beta weight of .2188, entered the model first. Promotion (.1592) and coworkers (.1258) were fourth and fifth, respectively. General working conditions (.1591) entered the health occupations education teacher model in third place and was the last significant variable to enter the model.

These findings are limited to those who responded to the survey and cannot be generalized to vocational education or to health occupations education and marketing education teachers. They serve only as a starting point to examine work satisfaction and organizational commitment of vocational teachers.

Discussion

To explain the differences between the marketing education and health occupations education models, the authors looked at the paths to teacher certification that are available for secondary school teachers. As previously noted, marketing education teachers usually follow the traditional path to teacher certification. They are graduates of four year baccalaureate programs in teacher education. Socialization of the students into the teaching profession occurs through courses which provide interactions and experiences with schools, their principals, and teachers. These courses include both observational and actual hands-on teaching experiences under the close supervision of cooperating teachers employed by the secondary schools. Thus, these graduates have many opportunities to explore and experience the actual job performance of teachers and become familiar with the customs of the schools in which they expect to be employed as future teachers.

The same does not hold true for health occupations education teachers. These teachers do not follow the traditional path to teacher certification; they are employed as teachers based on their health specialties (usually nursing) and years of experience in the specialty. They may come directly from the industry without prior experiences in the school system. Courses in pedagogy are taken only after they are employed as secondary teachers. Therefore, health occupations education teachers have no opportunities to explore and experience the actual job performance of teachers or the customs of the schools.

These two paths to teacher certification may explain the differences in the perceptions of the respondents. Marketing education teachers perceived supervision as the most important variable in their organizational commitment. Through their previous school experiences, they have had more opportunities to interact with, and recognize the importance of, school administrators who are supportive and helpful in their roles as teachers. Health occupations education teachers have had no such previous school experiences. In their previous roles in industry, they served as independent health care practitioners requiring little or no supervision. They were considered the experts in their respective fields. Although supervision entered the health occupations education model, it was not significant at the .01 level.

Two intrinsic rewards, significance and involvement, were significant to the organizational commitment of both groups of respondents. Both groups perceived their work as worthwhile, really important, and making an important contribution to teaching (significance). Both groups also viewed their work as interesting and challenging and derived a sense of personal fulfillment from helping students reach their potential (involvement). Typically, teachers work in isolation within their classrooms. The feelings of isolation can be counteracted (a) by school administrators who are perceived as helpful and supportive, (b) by coworkers who are friendly and willing to share their expertise, (c) through promotional practices which promote equal opportunity for advancement and recognize teachers' strengths; and (d) through general working conditions which provide adequate resources, supplies, and equipment for effective classroom teaching.

There was no similarity between extrinsic rewards in the two groups of respondents. Marketing education teachers perceived supervision, promotion, and coworkers as significant to their organizational commitment. Their within school experiences as undergraduates may have contributed to those perceptions. Health occupations education teachers perceived general working conditions as significant to their organizational commitment. This perception may reflect their industry experiences. They were concerned with having adequate equipment, supplies, and resources for effectiveness in the classroom.

This study yielded important information on what factors contributed to the organizational commitment of the marketing education and health occupations education respondents. It should be noted that this pilot study serves as a starting point for future research. Additional research should assess the organizational commitment of the two groups of teachers nationally. Other research should construct program models by sampling teachers from all program areas in vocational education. In addition, further research is needed to explain the differences in organizational commitment found in this study.

School administrators from the three states could use the findings from this pilot study to increase satisfaction and reduce turnover of teachers in the secondary schools. Although administrators are unable to affect teachers' intrinsic values directly, Akroyd et al. (1992) noted that administrators can modify extrinsic factors in the environment to maximize the effect of such intrinsic values. Administrators can provide a supportive environment for teachers by providing (a) equal and fair promotional opportunities for all teachers, (b) opportunities for teachers to interact and be supportive of one another, (c) supervision which is perceived as helpful and supportive by the teachers, (d) resources and equipment that teachers need to be effective in their classrooms, and (e) public information on the need to improve teacher salaries. Effective schools require effective administrators and effective teachers. These contributions are paramount to increasing the work satisfaction and organizational commitment of teachers.

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