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The Journal of Psychology, 2013, 147(1), 17–48

C 2013 Taylor & Francis Group, LLC

Mindsets of Commitment
and Motivation: Interrelationships
and Contribution to Work Outcomes

Université Paul Valéry Montpellier 3

University of Cagliari

HEC Montréal

ABSTRACT. Two studies are reported that investigate the relationships among commitment
and motivation mindsets and their contribution to work outcomes. Study 1 involved 487
nurses from a hospital in the center of Italy. Results showed that commitment’s facets
were related to parallel dimensions of work motivation. Study 2 involved 593 nurses
from a hospital in the north of Italy. Analyses indicated that commitment and motivation
were important antecedents of working attitudes and behaviors. Moreover, self-determined
motivation played a critical mediating role in positive behaviors. Findings are discussed in
terms of their practical implications for organizations and employees.
Keywords: organizational commitment, work motivation, self-determination theory, mind-
sets, work outcomes

RESEARCH IN THE AREA of human resource management has generally sup-

ported the idea that the implementation of practices encouraging employee’s mo-
tivation and commitment can generate a significant advantage for organizations
(e.g., Becker & Gerhart, 1996; Edralin, 2008; Savaneviciene & Stankeviciute,
2011; Worthley, MacNab, Brislin, Ito, & Rose, 2009). For this reason, understand-
ing the psychological mechanisms underlying work behavior and examining how

Address correspondence to Adalgisa Battistelli, EA 4556 Laboratory Dynamics of Human

Abilities & Health Behaviors, 4 boulevard Henri IV, Université Paul Valéry Montpellier 3,
34000, Montpellier, France; (e-mail).

18 The Journal of Psychology

commitment and motivation combine to influence behavior are important research

objectives (Meyer, Becker, & Vandenberghe, 2004).
Motivation and commitment were largely examined within the work domain
because of the importance to have motivated and committed employees in order
to promote organizational performance. Self-Determination Theory (SDT) (Deci
& Ryan, 1985; Gagné & Deci, 2005), recently applied to organizational contexts,
focuses on indicating the motives, conditions, and motivations encouraging indi-
viduals to behave in certain ways in organizations. The SDT states that human
motivation varies depending on whether it is autonomous (self-determined) or con-
trolled and people must be able to satisfy their needs for autonomy, competence,
and relatedness or affiliation in order to promote the individual self-motivation
With a view toward analysis and intervention, organizations should offer
to their employees the necessary conditions to develop a self-determined work
motivation, by taking into account the importance of individual and organizational
factors. Such factors are capable to increase commitment and positive behaviors
reducing the risk of turnover, and they are essential to work well-being. Meyer
et al. (2004) recently highlighted the importance of commitment mindsets (or
different psychological states) as antecedents of motivation. They developed a
theoretical model integrating both concepts by affirming that commitment can be
seen as a force guiding self-determined behavior. In fact, the need for affiliation,
to feel part of a system and share organizational values and goals, is an aspect
underpinning the main theories of human motivation (e.g., McClelland, 1973).
Thus, commitment could be an important factor associated with promoting self-
determined motivation (Meyer et al., 2004).
The main aim of this study is to empirically examine the link between com-
mitment and motivation, and analyze how these concepts in conjunction play
a fundamental role in relationship with positive work behaviors and turnover

Organizational Commitment
Commitment is one of the most important concepts that has been studied
within the organizational field (Klein, Molloy, & Cooper, 2009), and it is con-
sidered a fundamental factor for the development of the individual–organization
relationship. This is due to the great number of studies supporting its positive im-
pact on both individual and organizational outcomes, such as turnover, motivation,
and in-role and extra-role performance (Mathieu & Zajac, 1990; Meyer & Allen,
1997; Meyer et al., 2004; Mowday, 1998).
Several discussions of commitment can be found in the empirical literature,
each one deriving from different conceptualizations and operationalizations of the
construct. Commitment was defined both as an employee’s attitude and a force
connecting the individual to a course of action of relevance to a target (Meyer &
Battistelli et al. 19

Herscovitch, 2001). With the aim of better understanding the meaning of commit-
ment to work, the concept was approached in two different ways. The first one
regarded the acknowledgment that commitment can take on various mindsets (or
psychological states) such as desire, perceived cost, and the obligation to carry on
a course of action. This would mean that the nature of the relationship between an
employee and the different targets may vary, with different implications on work
behavior. The second one related to acknowledging that employees can establish
an affiliation with different entities (e.g., supervisors, groups, organizations, goals,
etc.) (Meyer & Allen, 1997). In the literature, many theories focused on commit-
ment toward the organization, but an individual may also be faithfully bonded
to his/her profession, a goal, a team, and so on. This is the reason why Meyer
and Herscovitch (2001) defined organizational commitment (OC) as “a force that
binds an individual to a course of action of relevance to one or more targets” (p.
301). Beyond the conceptualization of organizational commitment as a multidi-
mensional concept, Meyer and Allen (1991, 1997) developed a three-component
model that included the concepts of desire (affective), obligation (normative), and
cost (continuance).
Affective commitment (AC) is the involvement and identification with the
organization and its values and goals. Normative commitment (NC) represents
a moral obligation to stay with the organization, out of a deep sense of loyalty.
Continuance commitment (CC) is the perception of the costs involved in leaving the
organization, because of the perceived sacrifice or the lack of job alternatives for
an individual. The organizational commitment concept describes the individual-
organization bond and the possibility of turnover. People with a strong affective
commitment, in fact, choose not to leave the organization because they wish so,
those with a strong normative commitment because they feel obligated to stay, and
those with a strong continuance commitment stay because they need to. Following
studies identified two subcomponents of continuance commitment: High-sacrifice
and Low-alternatives, capturing (a) the sacrifices that would be incurred in case
of leaving the organization and (b) the perceived lack of employment alternatives,
respectively (e.g., Kalbers & Cenker, 2007; McGee & Ford, 1987; Stinglhamber,
Bentein, & Vandenberghe, 2002; Vandenberghe, Panaccio, & Ben Ayed, 2011).

Organizational Commitment and Work Outcomes

Empirical evidence showed that organizational commitment was related to
various organizational behaviors. In their meta-analysis, Meyer, Stanley, Herscov-
itch, and Topolnytsky (2002) examined the contribution of commitment compo-
nents to work behaviors such as attendance, job performance, and organizational
citizenship behaviors. All three forms of commitment were related negatively to
turnover and intention to leave, but they differently were correlated with other
desirable work behaviors. Specifically, affective commitment had the strongest
positive correlation with organizational citizenship behavior (OCB) and job satis-
faction followed by normative commitment.
20 The Journal of Psychology

Work Motivation and Self-Determination Theory

Work motivation is commonly defined as an energizing force originating from
both inside and outside the individual, driving employees toward intentional action
(Pinder, 1998). Such a force determines the direction, intensity, and persistence of
the individual’s behavior within his/her ongoing work experience. Being motivated
means being “driven” to do something. Someone who does not feel inspired
to act toward a specific target is essentially considered as non-motivated. All
intentionally motivated behaviors, internal and external, are behaviors oriented
toward target fulfillment. Perceptions, opinions, decisions, and social interactions
are driven by reasons from which human behaviors originate (Pittman, 1998).
People not only differ in their motivation level (its amount), but also in the different
types of motivational orientations. This highlights the importance of attitudes and
individual goals as sources of influence on intentional behavior.
SDT is a theoretical approach to individual’s motivation that gained increasing
attention in organizational behavior literature. The theory states that individuals
have psychological needs for autonomy, competence, and relatedness which, if
satisfied, may allow them to meet different goals. This model has its own principle
in the dialectic vision between the efforts individuals make to satisfy such needs
and the extent to which the external environment is able to respond to them (sup-
port). Deci and Ryan (2000) defined the self-determined feeling as the perception
of pro-activity, freedom, and autonomy of action. A motivated action may either be
self-determined or controlled. As long as it is self-determined, it is perceived as a
choice without coercion and emerging from the self, that is to say, not driven by an
external force. From this perspective, SDT contributes to overcome the static con-
ceptualization of intrinsic and extrinsic motivation, but it theorizes the existence of
several types of motivation, with differences among them being explained by the
level of autonomy and freedom associated with the behavior. Self-determined be-
havior refers to an intrinsically motivated action involving curiosity, exploration,
impulse and interest toward environment. Intrinsically motivated actions arise ex-
clusively from a spontaneous pleasure to perform them. People are able to reach
high motivation levels when they feel connected to others in a social environment,
when they can act effectively within such an environment, and when they act with
a feeling of personal initiative. Thus, in the organizational environments where
the needs satisfaction is encouraged, it is quite likely that employees experience
intrinsic motivation and engage in self-determined behaviors.

The Regulation of Motivation

As we previously mentioned, SDT does not conceive human motivation as
a unitary concept that focuses on the amount of motivation that individuals have
toward specific behaviors or activities, but it identifies different types of motivation
that would predict many important outcomes, such as well-being and effective
performance (Deci & Ryan, 2008a). These different forms or mindsets of a person’s
motivation are situated along a continuum of self-regulation based on distinction
Battistelli et al. 21

between autonomous motivation and controlled motivation (Deci & Ryan, 1985,
1991; Gagné & Deci, 2005). The SDT states that when motivation is autonomous,
behavior is internally regulated and individuals engage an activity because they
find it interesting per se. The prototype of autonomous motivation is intrinsic
motivation. To be intrinsically motivated means that people engage an activity
because they find it interesting and because they receive internal satisfaction from
doing it.
When motivation is controlled, behavior is regulated by external forces and
individuals act to obtain a desired outcome or avoid an undesired one. A behavior
so externally regulated is initiated and maintained by contingencies external to the
person (Gagné & Deci, 2005). The prototype of controlled motivation is extrinsic
motivation as in contrast with intrinsic motivation. The peculiarity of the contin-
uum postulated by SDT is that extrinsic motivation can vary assuming different
forms (regulations) in the degree to which they are autonomous or controlled.
The highest form of controlled motivation is the external regulation. In that case,
individual’s behavior is a function of external demands of reward or punishment
(Deci & Ryan, 2008a). Introjected regulation is a kind of extrinsic motivation
whose regulation has been internalized but not completely accepted as one’s own.
The individual acts to increase his or her self-esteem or to avoid guilt. This is the
reason why it is still considered a type of controlled motivation.
The autonomous forms of extrinsic motivation result when a behavioral regu-
lation and the value associated with it have been internalized (Deci & Ryan, 2002;
Gagné & Deci, 2005). Gagné and Deci (2005) defined internalization as “people
taking in values, attitudes, or regulatory structures, such that the external regula-
tion of a behavior is transformed into an internal regulation and thus no longer
requires the presence of an external contingency” (p. 334). Therefore, controlled
forms of motivation can become autonomous when the value associated with a
behavior has been internalized in the course of time. Identified regulation is an
autonomous type of extrinsic motivation in which an individual identifies with the
value of his or her behavior and considers it personally important. In doing so,
the individual acts in a relatively autonomous and self-determined way. Integrated
regulation represents the most autonomous form of extrinsic motivation and takes
place when the behavior-guiding values are congruent with the individual’s val-
ues and needs. Both autonomous and controlled motivations stimulate and direct
behavior, and they stand in contrast to amotivation, which refers to a total lack
of motivation and intention to act (Deci & Ryan, 2008a). It is important to note
that autonomy continuum is purely descriptive. An individual does not have to
necessarily advance across each internalization level (Ryan & Deci, 2000).
According to Gagné and Deci (2005), the concepts of identification and in-
ternalization refer to the internal (autonomous) forms of motivation. SDT asserts
that internalization of motivation is stimulated by environment’s ability to sat-
isfy people’s needs. An organization that meets employees’ needs will increase
22 The Journal of Psychology

their affective attachment to the organization and intrinsic motivation and the au-
tonomous forms of motivation, generating outcomes such as performance efficacy,
satisfaction, citizenship behaviors, and well-being (Deci et al., 2001).

Relationship Between Commitment and Motivation

Even though theories of motivation and commitment are associated with dif-
ferent historical traditions, similarities between the two concepts were highlighted
by Meyer et al. (2004): both the constructs are energizing forces with implica-
tions for the behavior. Pinder (1998), in fact, defined motivation as a body of
energizing forces, while Meyer and Herscovitch (2001) defined commitment as
a force connecting the individual to a course of action. This suggests that the
concept of motivation could complement commitment, which represents one of
the energizing forces activating motivated (i.e., intentional – behavior).
We think that motivation can increase or decrease over time dependent on
whether commitment itself increases or decreases. This is the reason why com-
mitment is an important source of motivation that can lead to the continuity and per-
sistence of a course of action (Brickman, 1987; Scholl, 1981). Self-Determination
Theory researchers highlighted that motivation as well as commitment is multidi-
mensional in nature and may present different forms depending on the nature of
the “psychological conditions” which are associated with it. For example, Meyer
and Herscovitch (2001) defined “desire” as the psychological condition for af-
fective commitment: the mechanism underlying it includes involvement, value
sharing, and identification. Thus, the desire at the base of the emotional bond
with an entity or a specific course of action might be the same psychological
condition that foster intrinsic motivation, integrated and identified motivation.
This aspect would lay the foundation for integrating the two concepts. Normative
commitment represents the internalization of the moral rules used to determine
whether a behavior is right. Parallel to this concept is the introjected motivation
mindset, that is, a psychological state through which people adopt a behavior in
order to meet others’ expectations and avoid sense of guilt and anxiety (Meyer
et al., 2004). In the case of continuance commitment, the nature of the regulation
of the behavior differs across its subcomponents. Indeed, recent studies (Bentein,
Vandenberg, Vandenberghe, & Stinglhamber, 2005; Stinglhamber et al., 2002)
suggested that continuance commitment subsumes two subcomponents, one that
reflects the perceived sacrifice (High sacrifice) associated with leaving, and an-
other that refers to the perception of a lack of employment alternatives (Low
alternative). As the high-sacrifice subcomponent reflects a variety of bonds with
the organization, both instrumental and nonmaterial, the motivational basis of a
behavior would reflect a motivation less externally motivated (e.g., introjected mo-
tivation) than in the case of the low-alternative subcomponent, which reflects a pure
external motivation. Thus, this study also will account for potential differences
Battistelli et al. 23

among the two-continuance commitment subcomponents in terms of motivational

Based on the integrative model proposed by Meyer et al. (2004), commitment
is expected to be an antecedent of motivation, and its components could be related
to the motivational regulations. This view is consistent with research showing that
the membership and affiliation need is one of the most important ones for the
development of the motivational forms (Baumeister & Leary, 1995), in particular
intrinsic and autonomous forms. As the feeling of an individual’s organizational
membership is basically captured by organizational commitment components, it
makes sense to consider commitment as an antecedent of motivation. We proposed
the following hypotheses:

Hypothesis 1a: Affective commitment is positively related to intrinsic and iden-

tified motivation.
Hypothesis 1b: Normative commitment is positively related to introjected moti-
Hypothesis 1c: Continuance commitment is positively related to external moti-
vation: specifically, High Sacrifice-Continuance commitment is related to intro-
jected motivation, and Low Alternatives-Continuance commitment is related to
external motivation.

Motivational Model of Organizational Behavior

In both the literature and organizational practice, the topic of motivation

was central to the explanation of why people are driven to engage in certain
courses of action. The SDT was the most widely used theory of motivation in
recent research on work behaviors in organizations (e.g., Greguras & Diefendorff,
2009; Lam & Gurland, 2008; Parker, Jimmieson, Amiot, 2010). According to
SDT, motivation is determined by a dialectic process intervening between the
individual and his or her environment, which can facilitate or restrain personal
growth and well-being. Organizational commitment can be seen as an indicator of
organizational well-being deriving from the aforementioned dialectic process, as it
represents the individual’s level of attachment to the organization, and defines the
organization’s ability to help him/her satisfy his/her needs. The integration between
the concepts of commitment and motivation, as hypothesized by Meyer et al.
(2004), may help explain the individual-organization relationship and stimulate a
better understanding of the process behind organization- and job-related behaviors.

Consequences of Organizational Commitment and Motivation

Several studies examined the effects of commitment (Blau & Boal, 1987;
A. Cohen, 1993; Somers, 1995) and motivation (Otis & Pelletier, 2005; Richer,
Blanchard & Vallerand, 2002) on outcomes such as turnover and turnover inten-
tions (Carmeli & Gefen, 2005), but there is no study that considered these variables
24 The Journal of Psychology

together and examined their simultaneous relationships in connection with em-

ployee attitudes and behaviors. The SDT assumes that, by nature, individuals are
active and interested to success because it is personally satisfying and rewarding,
on the one hand. On the other hand, the theory recognizes that people may be
passive and disaffected (Deci & Ryan, 2008b). These motivational differences
result from an interaction between people and environment and environment’s
ability to satisfy people’s psychological needs. Social environments that promote
satisfaction of the needs will facilitate intrinsic motivation and autonomous types
of motivation, yielding well-being and positive behavioral outcomes (Deci &
Ryan, 2008b; Ryan & Deci, 2000). Since self-determination is associated with
improved psychological functioning (Richer et al., 2002; Ryan, Deci, & Grolnick,
1995) it suppose that autonomous motivation (versus controlled motivation) will
be positively related to work attitudes and behaviors such as job satisfaction and
organizational citizenship behavior (OCB), and negatively related to turnover in-
tention. Empirical research showed that motivated employee is more satisfied and
less inclined to leave (Richer et al., 2002). Moreover, Gagné (2003) highlighted
that autonomous motivation promotes freely chosen prosocial behaviors. Although
there are relatively little studies relating SDT concepts to organizational citizen-
ship, these behaviors reflect an autonomy and deliberateness of action. Thus,
citizenship behaviors could be hardly activated by individuals who are driven by
an external motivation, but they could be more likely activated by individuals who
are intrinsically, or less externally, motivated (Tang & Ibrahim, 1998).
On the other hand, organizational commitment binds an individual to an orga-
nization reducing the likelihood of turnover (Meyer & Allen, 1991). A committed
employee is one who will stay with the organization through thick and thin, will
attend work regularly, and share company goals (Meyer & Allen, 1997). The
different mindsets of commitment (affective, normative, and continuance) result
from the strength of the individual’s involvement and identification with the or-
ganization and have different implications on several work behaviors (Meyer &
Allen, 1991). Affective commitment has the strongest positive correlation with
job satisfaction, organizational citizenship behavior, and turnover, followed by
normative commitment. Continuance commitment tends to be unrelated, or nega-
tively related, to these behaviors (Jahangir & Shokrpour, 2009; Meyer et al., 2002;
Meyer et al., 2004). Since affective commitment represents an individual’s iden-
tification with organizational values, it probably will be related to OCB because
the latter is a behavioral expression of the quality of the employee-organization
bond (Meyer, Stanley, Herscovitch, & Topolnytsky, 2002). In a related vein, re-
search showed that affective commitment was positively related to job satisfaction
(Khowaja, Merchand, & Hirani, 2005; Kinicki, McKee-Ryan, Schriesheim &
Carson, 2002; Moser, 1997) and negatively related to turnover intention (Khatri,
Fern, & Budhwar, 2001; Sjoberg & Sverke, 2000). In fact, happy employees usu-
ally do not leave the organization; their performance is above average and they
give a high value to their work (e.g., Cropanzano & Wright, 2001). Thus, driven
Battistelli et al. 25

on these theoretical assumptions, the mindsets of commitment and motivation can

be differently associated to work outcomes.

Study Overview
Two studies were conducted to examine the relationship between commitment
and motivation, evaluate their relationships to important outcomes, and investigate
whether motivation was a mediator of the relationship between commitment and
outcomes. Study 1 intended to empirically test Meyer et al.’s (2004) theoretical
model by specifically examining the relationships between the different forms
of commitment and the forms of motivation, via Structural Equations Modeling
(SEM). Using SEM, Study 2 aimed at testing commitment-motivation relation-
ships to work outcomes within an integrative model.



Sample and Procedure

This study involved 652 nurses from a hospital in the central-north region of
Italy. Participation was voluntary, in working hours. Thanks to the cooperation
of all departments’ coordinators, participants were given a survey questionnaire.
Missing values were treated using the EM technique (Expectation-Maximization;
Graham & Hofer, 2000) and the final sample was composed of 487 individuals (a
response rate of 74.53%). Most of the sample was female (75.41%). The mean age
of women was 36.24 (SD = 7.40), men was 35.21 (SD = 8.07) (range 23–60 years).
Mean working seniority was 12.0 years (SD = 8.03) (range 1–38 years). Mean
unit tenure was 7.12 years (SD = 6.24) (range 1–32 years).

Organizational Commitment. To measure commitment, we used the Italian
version (Battistelli, Mariani, & Bellò, 2006) of the scale developed by Meyer,
Allen, and Smith (1993). Five items were used to measure AC and NC while
six items captured CC (three items for HS-CC and three items for LA-CC). A
5-point Likert-type scale was used (1 = strongly disagree; 5 = strongly agree).
The reliability of the scales was good: AC (α = .84); NC (α = .83); HS-CC (α =
.79); LA-CC (α = .75).
Motivation. The 12 items (three items per sub-scale) from the Motivation
at Work Scale (MAWS) developed by Gagné et al. (2010) were translated into
Italian using a translation-back translation procedure. Then, this measure was
validated in Italian by Galletta, Battistelli and Portoghese (2011). Typically, the
instrument asks respondents to rate the potential reasons why they are doing
their jobs. Sample items were “Because this job affords me a certain standard
of living” (external motivation, α = .71); “Because my reputation depends on
26 The Journal of Psychology

it” (introjected motivation, α = .71); “Because this job fits my personal values”
(identified motivation, α = .74); “For the moments of pleasure that this job brings
me” (intrinsic motivation, α = .79). The response format was a 5-point Likert-type
scale (1 = “absolutely not”, 2 = “a little”, 3 = “somewhat”, 4 = “a lot” and 5 =
“absolutely yes”).


The analyses were performed using SEM via AMOS 7.0 (Arbuckle, 2006).
For both the measurement and structural models (Bentler, 1990; Bentler & Wu,
2005), we used the following fit indices: the Goodness of Fit Index (GFI), the
Comparative Fit Index (CFI) and the Root-Mean-Square Error of Approximation
(RMSEA: Hu & Bentler, 1998; Steiger, 1990).

Confirmatory Factor Analyses

According to Anderson and Gerbing’s (1988), the two-step approach was
used. First, the factorial structure of measures (commitment and motivation mea-
sures) was examined through a confirmatory factor analysis (CFA). In a second
step, the hypothesized relationships between the variables were examined. An
eight-factor structure was compared to a seven-factor structure (in which the con-
tinuance commitment dimension was considered as one-dimensional) and to a
one-factor structure. The results showed that the eight-factor structure was sup-
ported (see Table 1). All indicators loaded significantly on their corresponding
latent constructs (p < .001) and the model showed a good fit to the data, χ 2(df =
309) = 729.9; GFI = .90; CFI = .93; RMSEA = .05.

Structural Equations Modeling Analyses

Table 2 shows the descriptive statistics and correlations for all variables. The
hypothesized model fitted the data well: χ 2 (df = 323) = 830.7; GFI = .90;

TABLE 1. Indices of Fit Statistics—Confirmatory Factor Analysis of Study 1’s


Model χ2 df χ 2 df RMSEA GFI CFI

Eight-factor model 729.9 309 .05 .90 .93

Seven-factor model 1114.9 316 385.0∗ 7 .07 .85 .86
One-factor model 2674.3 337 1944.4∗ 28 .12 .65 .60

Note. N = 487. RMSEA = Root-Mean-Square Error of Approximation; GFI = Goodness of

Fit Index; CFI = Comparative Fit Index.
∗ p < .001.
Battistelli et al. 27

TABLE 2. Means, Standard Deviation, and Correlations Among Variables of

Study 1

Variables M SD 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8

1. Intrinsic 3.45 0.84 (.79)

2. Identified 2.72 0.83 .46∗∗ (.74)
3. Introjected 2.58 0.88 .30∗∗ .53∗∗ (.71)
4. External 2.30 0.77 −.06 .25∗∗ .26∗∗ (.71)
5. Affective 3.56 0.82 .46∗∗ .39∗∗ .20∗∗ −.02 (.84)
6. Normative 2.46 0.83 .22∗∗ .32∗∗ .29∗∗ .09∗ .48∗∗ (.83)
7. HS Continuance 2.74 0.92 .27∗∗ .25∗∗ .23∗∗ .21∗∗ .49∗∗ .54∗∗ (.79)
8. LA Continuance 2.39 0.92 −.15∗∗ −.21∗∗ .05 .11∗ −.25∗∗ .05 .14∗∗ (.75)

Note. N = 487; Cronbach’s Alpha is shown in the diagonal.

∗ p < .05. ∗∗ p < .01.

CFI = .91; RMSEA = .057. All factor loadings were significant. A look at path
coefficients revealed that all paths were significant (p < .05), yielding support
for Hypotheses 1a-c. More specifically, we noticed that the strongest links were
between AC and intrinsic (SE = .08, t = 7.48, γ std = .527, p < .001) and identified
motivation (SE = .09, t = 7.61, γ std = .524, p < .001). The NC, too, had a strong
relationship to introjected motivation (SE = .05, t = 3.93, γ std = .279, p < .001),
which confirms Hypothesis 1b. HS-CC was significantly related to introjected (SE
= .06, t = 2.17, γ std = .154, p < .050) and external regulation (SE = .05, t =
4.71, γ std = .274, p < .001). Last, LA-CC displayed a significant relationship
with external motivation (SE = .04, t = 2.21, γ std = .120, p < .050). The variance
explained for intrinsic motivation was 28%; for the identified motivation, it was
27%; for introjected motivation 16%; and for external motivation 10% (Figure 1).

Alternative Models
To determine whether our model was parsimonious, the hypothesized model
was compared to alternative models that included additional paths. These models
added the following paths: (a) a path from AC to introjected and external
motivation, χ 2 (2) = 12.6, p < .01; (b) a path from NC to intrinsic, identified
and external motivation, χ 2 (3) = 11.1, ns; (c) a path from HS-CC to intrinsic
and identified motivation, χ 2 (2) = 1.0, ns; (d) a path from LA-CC to intrinsic
28 The Journal of Psychology

Affective .53** motivation

Normative motivation


HS Introjected
Continuance motivation


LA External
Continuance motivation

FIGURE 1. N = 487. Hypothesized model of relationships between commitment

and motivation with standardized path coefficients. ∗ p < .05. ∗∗ p < .001.

and introjected motivation, χ 2 (2) = 0.2, ns; and (e) a path from LA-CC to
identified motivation, χ 2 (1) = 4.6, p < .05.
As can be seen, models (b), (c), and (d) did not improve over the hypothe-
sized model. In contrast, models (a) and (e) did significantly improve fit. When
we added the links between AC and introjected and external motivation, the pre-
viously significant paths from LA-CC to external motivation and from HS-CC to
introjected motivation dropped to nonsignificance (β = –.04, ns, and β = .00,
ns, respectively). The best model thus included those paths added in models (a)
(AC to introjected and external motivation, β = .24, p < .01; β = –.22, p <
.05, respectively) and (e) (LA-CC to identified motivation, β = –.15, p < .01).
Its fit was good, χ 2 (320) = 809.3; GFI = .90; CFI = .92; RMSEA = .056. All
indicators loaded significantly on their reference constructs (i.e., t > |2|; p < .05).
This final alternative model was significantly better than the hypothesized model
(χ 2 (3) = 21.4, p < .001). The variance explained in intrinsic motivation was
30%; for the identified motivation it was 32%; for introjected motivation 17%;
and for external motivation 11% (Table 3).
Battistelli et al. 29

TABLE 3. Statistic Fit’s Indices of Final Model and Alternative Models of

Study 1

Models χ2 df χ 2 df p RMSEA GFI CFI

Hypothesized model 830.7 323 .06 .90 .91

Final Model 809.3 320 21.4 3 < .001 .06 .90 .92
(a) Hypothesized Model + 818.1 321 12.6 2 < .01 .06 .90 .91
AC to Introj & Ext
(b) Hypothesized Model + 819.6 320 11.1 3 ns .06 .90 .91
NC to Intr, Ident, & Ext
(c) Hypothesized Model + 829.7 321 1.0 2 ns .06 .90 .91
HS-CC to Intr & Ident
(d) Hypothesized Model + 830.5 321 0.2 2 ns .06 .90 .91
LA-CC to Intr & Introj
(e) Hypothesized Model + 826.1 322 4.6 1 < .05 .06 .90 .91
LA-CC to Ident

Note. χ 2 = Difference in χ 2 values between models; df = Difference in degree of free-

dom values between models; RMSEA = Root-Mean-Square Error of Approximation; GFI
= Goodness of Fit Index; CFI = Comparative Fit Index; AC = Affective commitment; NC
= Normative commitment; HS-CC = High sacrifice continuance commitment; LA-CC =
Low alternative continuance commitment; Introj = Introjected motivation; Ext = External
motivation; Ident = Identified motivation; Intr = Intrinsic motivation.


This research was conducted to empirically test Meyer et al.’s (2004) propo-
sitions regarding relationships between commitment and motivation mindsets.
Results are in line with the authors’ hypothesis that high levels of emotional bonds
with the organization are related to autonomous forms of motivation (intrinsic and
identified). This makes us think that an emotionally involved employee, in line
with objectives and values of the organization, displays stronger internalization
of the organization’s values and tends to persist longer in his/her behavior. When
the binding force is of the normative type, a higher introjected regulation is acti-
vated. This means that employees with a sense of “obligation” to remain in their
organization because they are worried about betraying the trust they were given,
commit themselves to their job only to avoid negative feelings like guilt or to ob-
tain other people’s recognition. They do not have a real interest in their activities,
but are instead driven by reasons beyond action per se. A strong bond with one’s
organization that is based on the perception that quitting would be a great sacrifice
(HS-CC) determines a form of both introjected and external regulation. In other
words, employees who are tied to their organization due to instrumental factors
(i.e., career opportunities or the fear to lose benefits associated with seniority) or
30 The Journal of Psychology

due to a lack of employment opportunities, are driven by a type of motivation

that is not connected to a work pleasure per se. A strong CC due to a lack of
alternative employment opportunities leads to a stronger external motivation. This
means that the individuals will inevitably show a pure external motivation toward
their job, which leads to lower acceptance and sharing of values, and behaviors
will be exclusively driven by the possibility of obtaining rewards and avoiding
Alternative models indicate that AC is also positively related to introjected
motivation and negatively related to external motivation. Even though the posi-
tive relationship with introjected motivation was not expected, the relationships
with intrinsic and identified motivation were stronger than the relationship with
introjected motivation (ts = –3.318 and –4.205, p < .01, respectively). More-
over, results reveal that employees with strong AC are less motivated to play out
behaviors driven from instrumental needs (i.e., external motivation).
Although the hypothesized model revealed that HS-CC related to introjected
motivation and LA-CC to external motivation, these paths became nonsignificant
in the final model. It is also worth noting that AC related positively to the three
“positive” forms of motivation and related negatively to pure external motiva-
tion. At the same time, only the HS subcomponent of CC related to external
motivation while its LA counterpart related negatively to identified motivation.
The distinct pattern of relationships involving HS and LA confirms recent argu-
ments as to the need to distinguish among the two aspects within CC, as they
express different motivational processes (e.g., Taing, Granger, Groff, Jackson &
Johnson, 2011; Vandenberghe et al., 2007). Future research should further ad-
dress the distinctiveness of HS and LA with regard to motivational processes in


In line with Pinder’s (2008) assertions, Study 1 showed that organizational

commitment is an important factor related to work motivation. In fact, several
studies showed that identification with and internalization of organizational values
and goals were positively related to prosocial behaviors and negatively related to
intention to quit and actual turnover (e.g., O’Reilly & Chatman, 1986; Organ,
1990). Moreover, as SDT affirms, need of affiliation, relation, and to be part at
social environment, is one among important elements to promote autonomous
motivation. Thus, organizational commitment may be an energizing force that
activates motivated behavior than, in turn, is related to outcomes at work.
The aim of Study 2 was to examine the relationship between commitment
and motivation and work outcomes. Previous research exhaustively examined
work consequences of commitment and motivation, but at the moment there
are no studies analyzing relationship between commitment components and
motivational forms on work outcomes, within an integrative model. Following
Battistelli et al. 31

the logic underlying Meyer et al.’s (2004) integrative model, parallel forms of
motivation should mediate the relationships of commitment components to work
outcomes. The following outcomes will be examined: job satisfaction, OCB’s di-
mensions of altruism and civic virtue, professional turnover intention, and hospital
turnover intention. The following hypotheses are proposed:

Hypothesis 1. Affective commitment and autonomous forms of work motivation

(intrinsic and identified) are positively related to altruism, civic virtue, and job
satisfaction, and negatively related to professional and hospital turnover intention.
Hypothesis 2. Normative commitment, High sacrifice-Continuance commitment,
Low Alternatives-Continuance commitment, and controlled forms of work moti-
vation (introjected and external) are positively related to professional and hospital
turnover intention, and negatively related to altruism, civic virtue, and job satis-
Hypothesis 3. Work motivation forms mediate the relationships between com-
mitment components and work outcomes.


Sample and Procedure

In total, 593 nurses from the North-East region of Italy participated in this
study. Participants completed a survey questionnaire including the target measures
during working hours. The response rate, recorded at the end of the Missing Values
Analysis, was of 63.87%. This meant that of the 928 questionnaires initially
distributed, 593 were useful for research. Women represented 83.34% of the
sample. Women’s mean age was 37.03 (SD = 8.29), men’s was 38.41 (SD = 7.83)
(range 23–57 years). Mean working seniority of the sample was 15.06 years (SD =
9.29) (range 1–38 years). Mean unit tenure was 8.13 years (SD = 7.42) (range
1–38 years).

As not all the scales we included had previously been validated in Italian,
we used the translation-back translation procedure described by Brislin (1980)
for those scales. All items were rated on a 5-point scale ranging from 1 (strongly
disagree) to 5 (strongly agree).
Commitment and Motivation. We used the same scales as in Study 1. The
reliability of the scales was good: AC (α = .84); NC (α = .84); HS-CC (α = .80);
LA-CC (α = .75); intrinsic motivation (α = .80), identified motivation (α = .75),
introjected motivation (α = .74), and external motivation (α = .74).
Job Satisfaction. The Questionnaire of Organizational Satisfaction (QSO)
from Cortese (2001) was used. Nine items measured the job meaning aspect of
satisfaction. Sample items were “The personal growth deriving from my job” and
“The learning and training opportunity” (α = .88).
32 The Journal of Psychology

Organizational Citizenship Behavior. We used Podsakoff, Mackenzie,

Moorman, and Fetter’s (1990) OCB scale. The exploratory factor analysis of
data found two significant dimensions: altruism (four items) (α = .80) and civic
virtue (three items) (α = .68). Therefore, to test the model, the sub-scales of al-
truism and civic virtue were used. These dimensions refer to behaviors directed at
other individuals and the organization, respectively, and are largely recognized as
essential aspects of OCB (e.g., Arshad & Sparrow, 2009; Farh, Zhong, & Organ,
Professional and Hospital Turnover Intention. Two items from Hom, Grif-
feth, and Sellaro (1984) were adapted using both the profession and the hospital
as the target of the intention. Sample items included “I’m going to seek for a job
in another hospital next year” and “I intend to leave my occupation and change it
next year.”

Data Analysis
As for the Study 1, we used the two-step approach suggested by Anderson
and Gerbing (1988). First, we examined the factorial structure of all measures
through CFA. In a second step, we examined the hypothesized relationships among
variables. The following fit indices were used: the Goodness of Fit Index (GFI), the
Comparative Fit Index (CFI), and the Root-Mean-Square Error of Approximation


Confirmatory Factor Analyses

The CFA of the Study 1 confirmed a good fit of the eight-factor structure of
commitment and motivation. Thus, this measurement model did not need to be
statistical. We retained the eight constructs adding five outcome variables. The
CFA of the whole model was conducted using a partial disaggregation approach
(Bagozzi & Edwards, 1998) by creating random parcels of items for the outcome
variables. This resulted in a reduced number of parameters to be estimated,
decreasing measurement error in the error of the observed indicators. Specifically,
two parcels composed of two items were created for altruism, and three parcels
of three items were created for job satisfaction. The remainder of constructs was
not subjected to item aggregation. Overall, there were 13 latent constructs and
38 manifest variables. The measurement model showed a good fit to the data
(χ 2(585) = 1315.4, GFI = .90, CFI = .92, RMSEA = .05).

Common Method Variance Issues

The use of perceptual data for both independent and dependent variables in this
study may raise concerns about common method variance. Following Podsakoff,
MacKenzie, Lee, and Podsakoff’s (2003) recommendation, a test for common
method bias was conducted on our data using the unmeasured latent method
Battistelli et al. 33

factor. This procedure separates response variance into three components: trait,
method, and random error. As Richardson, Simmering, and Sturman (2009) argue,
the first estimated model, the trait-only model, is a measurement model of a given
independent–dependent construct pair that includes a null method construct. That
is, the method construct is specified to be uncorrelated with the independent and
dependent constructs, and no path to or from the method construct is estimated.
In the second, or method-only, model the independent and dependent constructs
are null, but the paths from the method construct to all manifest indicators of the
independent and dependent constructs are estimated. The third, or trait method,
model is identical to the trait-only model, but paths from the method construct
to all the independent and dependent construct manifest indicators are added.
Last, the trait method–R model is identical to the trait method model, but the
independent–dependent construct correlation is constrained to the value obtained
from the trait-only model. If the trait-only model fits the data better than the
method-only model, there is evidence that observed variance in the independent
and dependent constructs is not due to method alone. If the trait method model
fits better than the trait-only model, there is evidence that trait-based and method
variance are present in the data. If the trait method–R model fits significantly
worse than the trait method model, there is evidence of bias because of common
method variance.
Inclusion of a latent method factor yielded a well-fitting model, χ 2 (df = 547,
N = 593) = 1051.9, GFI = .91; CFI = .94; RMSEA = .04. When comparing
χ 2 values for the “Trait/Method” and “Trait/Method–R” models, as recommended
by Richardson et al. (2009), there was no evidence of a significant worsening of
model fit indices [χ 2(101.9) (df = 80) = 95.3, ns] (see Table 4). We found that
all significant relationships held after controlling for the latent common method
variance factor, providing evidence that common method variance is not an issue
in this study.
Table 5 shows the correlations among variables. The magnitude and direction
of these correlations were consistent with predictions.

TABLE 4. Common Method Variance Analyses

Model χ2 df RMSEA GFI CFI

1. Trait-only 1315.4 585 .05 .90 .92

2. Method-only 5352.1 660 .11 .60 .48
3. Trait/Method 1051.9 547 .04 .91 .94
4. Trait/Method-R 1147.2 627 .04 .91 .94

Note. N = 593. RMSEA = Root-Mean-Square Error of Approximation; GFI = Goodness of

Fit Index; CFI = Comparative Fit Index.

TABLE 5. Means, Standard Deviation, and Correlations Among Variables of Study 2

Variables M SD 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13
The Journal of Psychology

1. Affective OC 3.42 0.76 (.84)

2. Normative OC 2.34 0.79 .46∗∗ (.84)
3. HS Continuance OC 2.65 0.88 .40∗∗ .50∗∗ (.80)
4. LA Continuance OC 2.43 0.88 −.24∗∗ .04 .24∗∗ (.75)
5. Intrinsic motivation 3.44 0.78 .38∗∗ .25 .20∗∗ −.16∗∗ (.80)
6. Identified motivation 2.70 0.81 .36∗∗ .28∗∗ .28∗∗ −.15∗∗ .52∗∗ (.75)
7. Introjected motivation 2.40 0.83 .21∗∗ .31∗∗ .28∗∗ .05 .26∗∗ .47∗∗ (.74)
8. External motivation 2.36 0.78 −.11∗∗ −.01 .07 .14∗∗ −.05 .14∗∗ .13∗∗ (.74)
9. Job satisfaction 3.31 0.59 .51∗∗ .31∗∗ .27∗∗ −.22∗∗ .40∗∗ .45∗∗ .20∗∗ −.06 (.88)
10. Civic virtue 3.13 0.66 .17∗∗ .04 −.03 −.06 .24∗∗ .16∗∗ .08∗ −.11∗∗ .21∗∗ (.68)
11. Altruism 3.82 0.58 .21∗∗ .06 .02 −.02 .35∗∗ .12∗∗ .05 −.09∗ .24∗∗ .46∗∗ (.80)
12. Hospital turnover 1.49 0.87 −.18∗∗ −.18∗∗ −.19∗∗ .10∗ −.10∗ −.06 −.08∗ .04 −.12∗∗ .00 −.02 —
13. Professional turnover 1.20 0.57 −.22∗∗ −.10∗ −.06 .14∗∗ −.22∗∗ −.17∗∗ −.05 .07 −.18∗∗ −.03 −.07 .25∗∗ —

Note. N = 593. OC = Organizational commitment; HS = High sacrifice; LA = Low alternative; Cronbach’s Alpha is shown in the diagonal.
∗ p < .05. ∗∗ p < .01.
Battistelli et al. 35

Structural Equations Modeling Analyses

The results of structural model revealed a good fit to the data, χ 2 (df =
631) = 1442.7.9; GFI = .90; CFI = .91; RMSEA = .05. To test the significance
of the mediation effects in SEM, we compared the hypothesized model with addi-
tional models including direct paths. If fit indices improve significantly with the
inclusion of direct paths, partial mediation would be supported (Perugini & Con-
ner, 2000). Moreover, we used the bootstrap method to determine the confidence
intervals for mediation effects. Confidence intervals provide a range of plausible
population values for the mediation effect (MacKinnon, Lockwood, & Williams,
2004; Preacher & Hayes, 2008). Through the computation of bootstrapped con-
fidence intervals (CIs), it is possible to avoid some problems due to asymmetric
and other non-normal sampling distributions of an indirect effect (MacKinnon
et al., 2004). As Cheung and Lau (2008) recommend, confidence intervals were
constructed from 1000 bootstrap samples.
We compared our theoretical model to several alternative models that added or
dropped the following paths: (a) added a path from AC to altruism and civic virtue
(χ 2(2) = 1.0, ns); (b) dropped the path from AC to job satisfaction (χ 2(1) = 51.3,
p < .001); (c) dropped the path from AC to professional turnover (χ 2(1) = 5.0, p <
.05); (d) added a path from HS-CC to civic virtue (χ 2(1) = 3.6, ns); and (e) added a
path from LA-CC to civic virtue (χ 2(1) = 0.7, ns). As can be seen, models (a), (d),
and (e) did not improve model fit, and models (b) and (c) resulted in significant
decrements in fit (Table 6). Overall, these results suggested our hypothesized
model was the best representation of the data. Figure 2 reports the standardized
coefficients for the relationships among the variables of the hypothesized model.
The AC was negatively related to intention to leave the hospital (β = –.26,
p < .001) and the profession (β = –.12, p < .05). No relationship was found
between intrinsic motivation and intention to leave the hospital (β = –.02, ns).
Identified regulation was positively related to job satisfaction (β = .22, p < .001)
and negatively related to altruism (β = –.37, p < .001) but unrelated to the other
outcomes (civic virtue: β = –.03, ns; hospital turnover intention: β = .01, ns; and
professional turnover intention: β = .01, ns). Introjected regulation was negatively
related to civic virtue (β = –.17, p < .01) and job satisfaction (β = –.13, p <
.01), but unrelated to altruism (β = .11, ns), hospital turnover intention (β = –.01,
ns) and professional turnover intention (β = .02, ns). External motivation was
negatively related to civic virtue (β = –.13, p < .05) but unrelated to the other
outcomes (altruism: β = .04, ns; job satisfaction: β = –.06, ns; hospital turnover
intention: β = .07, ns; and professional turnover intention: β = .05, ns). Last,
LA-CC had a positive relationship to intention to leave the hospital (β = .18, p <
.001). Exogenous variables explained 33% of the variance of intrinsic motivation,
29% of the variance of identified regulation, 24% of the variance of introjected
motivation, and 4% of the variance of external regulation. Similarly, the model
36 The Journal of Psychology

TABLE 6. Statistic Fit’s Indices of Final Model and Alternative Models of

Study 2

Models χ2 df χ 2 df p RMSEA GFI CFI

Final Model 1442.7 631 .05 .90 .91

(a) Final Model + 1441.7 629 1.0 2 ns .05 .90 .91
AC to Al & Civ
(b) Final Model without 1494.0 632 51.3 1 <.001 .05 .89 .90
AC to JoSat
(c) Final Model without 1447.7 632 5.0 1 <.05 .05 .90 .91
AC to ProfTur
(d) Final Model + 1439.1 630 3.6 1 ns .05 .90 .91
HS-CC to Civ
(e) Final Model + 1442.0 630 0.7 1 ns .05 .90 .91
LA-CC to Civ

Note. χ 2 = Difference in χ 2 values between models; df = Difference in degree of free-

dom values between models; RMSEA = Root-Mean-Square Error of Approximation; GFI =
Goodness of Fit Index; CFI = Comparative Fit Index; AC = Affective commitment; Al = Al-
truism; Civ = Civic virtue; JoSat = Job satisfaction; ProfTur = Professional turnover Intention;
HS-CC = High sacrifice continuance commitment; LA-CC = Low alternative continuance


Affective Intrinsic
commitment .57*** motivation
.53*** Civic

.21** .23*

Normative Identified
commitment motivation
.22*** satisfaction
.36*** -.17**
HS Introjected
Continuance .26** motivation -.26***
.18*** turnover
-.22*** -.13* intention
LA External
Continuance .20*** motivation
-.12* turnover

FIGURE 2. N = 593. Hypothesized model with standardized path coefficients.

p < .05. ∗∗ p < .01. ∗∗∗ p < .001.
Battistelli et al. 37

accounted for 43% of altruism, 30% of civic virtue, 51% of job satisfaction, 7%
of hospital turnover intention, and 7% of professional turnover intention.

Tests of Mediation
Results of simple and multiple mediation tests (Tables 7 and 8) revealed that
intrinsic motivation completely mediated the relationship of AC to altruism and
civic virtue, and partially mediated the relationship of AC to job satisfaction and of
AC to professional turnover intention. There was evidence of a partial mediation
effect through identified motivation for the AC-job satisfaction relationship, and
a total mediation effect for the AC-altruism relationship. Identified motivation
fully mediated the relationship between HS-CC and job satisfaction, while there
was no evidence of mediation effect through introjected motivation. Indeed, from
Table 7, one can see that the bootstrap percentile confidence intervals associated
with introjected motivation include zero, suggesting a nonsignificant mediation
effect. The 95% confidence interval bootstrap estimate for the total indirect effect
of the examined variables did not include zero, suggesting a significant total
indirect effect. Introjected motivation mediated the relationship between NC and
job satisfaction but not the relationship between NC and civic virtue and between

TABLE 7. Multiple Mediation Model: Indirect Effects of OC on Outcomes

Through Different Forms of Work Motivation

Product of Bootstrapping
coefficients bias-corrected 95% CI

Relationship Mediators Estimate SE Z Lower limit Upper limit

AC to Altruism Intrinsic motivation .11 .02 6.17∗ .08 .14

Identified motivation −.03 .01 −2.34∗ −.06 −.01
Total indirect effect .08 .02 4.50∗ .04 .11

AC to JoSat Intrinsic motivation .04 .01 3.15∗ .01 .06

Identified motivation .07 .01 5.32∗ .05 .10
Total indirect effect .11 .01 7.04∗ .08 .15

HS-CC to JoSat Identified motivation .08 .01 5.89∗ .05 .12

Introjected −.01 .01 −1.08 −.02 .01
Total indirect effect .07 .01 5.30∗ .05 .11

Note. N = 593. Bootstrap sample size = 1,000. Coefficients in boldface denote mediation.
CI = Confidence interval. AC = Affective commitment; JoSat = Job satisfaction; HS-CC =
High sacrifice continuance commitment.
∗ p < .05.
38 The Journal of Psychology

TABLE 8. Simple Mediation Model: Indirect Effects of OC on Outcomes

Through Different Forms of Work Motivation

Product of Bootstrapping
coefficients bias-corrected 95% CI

Relationship Mediators Estimate SE Z Lower limit Upper limit

AC to Civ Intrinsic motivation .08 .02 4.38∗ .04 .120

AC to ProfTur Intrinsic motivation −.03 .01 −3.53∗ −.06 −.020
NC to JoSat Introjected motivation .03 .01 2.64∗ .01 .070
NC to Civ Introjected motivation .02 .02 0.92 −.02 .050
HS-CC to Civ Introjected motivation .02 .01 1.45 −.01 .050
LA-CC to Civ External motivation −.01 .01 −2.00∗ −.03 −.003

Note. N = 593. Bootstrap sample size = 1,000. Coefficients in boldface denote mediation. CI
= Confidence interval. AC = Affective commitment; Civ = Civic virtue; NC = Normative
commitment; JoSat = Job satisfaction; HS-CC = High sacrifice continuance commitment;
LA-CC = Low alternative continuance commitment.
∗ p < .05.

HS-CC and civic virtue. Last, there was evidence of a mediation effect by external
motivation for the relationship between LA-CC and civic virtue (Table 8).

General Discussion

Integrative Model of Commitment and Motivation

Based on SDT theory and Meyer et al.’s (2004) integrated model of commit-
ment and motivation, this study provides new insights into relationships among
these constructs and their respective contribution to OCB, job satisfaction, and
turnover intentions—the latter being historically considered as direct antecedents
of actual turnover (Chen, Hui, & Sego, 1998; Richer et al., 2002). Our main pur-
pose was to empirically examine the theoretical model proposed by Meyer et al.,
who have laid the foundation for integration between theories of commitment and
motivation. In line with the hypotheses, Study 1 shows that commitment compo-
nents (affective, normative, and continuance) display distinct relationships with
the forms of motivation regulation. Note that alternative models tested in Study
1 unexpectedly revealed a positive relationship between AC and introjected mo-
tivation, but the relationship was significantly lower than those between AC and
intrinsic and identified motivation. This suggests distinct relationships of AC to
the forms of motivation.
Meyer et al. (2004) stated that stronger integration among commitment and
motivation constructs may enhance our understanding of work behaviors. Fol-
lowing this indication, the second study tested relationships of commitment and
Battistelli et al. 39

motivation to OCB, job satisfaction, and turnover intention. Results from the
structural equation modeling analyses provided support for a hypothesized model
featuring mediation through motivation of commitment components’ relationships
to work outcomes.

Relationship of Commitment and Motivation to OCB

and Turnover Intention
The model shows how AC and autonomous motivation is related to the behav-
iors examined in this study. The commitment-OCB association was already em-
pirically supported (e.g., Meyer et al., 2002), but little research has focused on the
role of motivation in OCB. This study shows that discretionary work performance
(e.g., OCB) rests on free volition, which is typically achieved via autonomous
forms of motivation. Such results are in line with what Tang and Ibrahim observed
(1998) and highlight the negative and direct relationship emerged between AC
and intention to leave the hospital (Meyer & Allen, 1997). This emphasizes that a
strong affective involvement toward the organization leads to the activation of an
“approach motivation” toward the goal, which in turn reduces turnover intentions
(Vandenberghe, 2009).
Furthermore, the relationship between self-determined work motivation and
job satisfaction was supported in this study: the more self-determined the work
motivation, the more satisfied the individual (Ilardi, Leone, Kasser, & Ryan, 1993;
Keaveney & Nelson, 1993). This result supports previous studies. Our analyses
highlight that intrinsic work motivation in particular is strongly related to AC,
contributing to the activation of positive attitudes and behaviors at work (job satis-
faction, altruism, and civic virtue). If on the one hand, AC is specifically related to
intention to quit the hospital, on the other hand a strong self-determined motivation
toward one’s job and activity specifically reduces the desire to change profession.
Such results show that affectively committed employees, who share values and
goals of their organization, do not intent to quit the hospital or their profession.
Furthermore, committed employees determine their behavior by internalizing and
integrating work values and regulations that in turn activate positive attitudes and
behaviors toward job. In fact, the data demonstrate that intrinsic work motivation
has a negative relationship with professional turnover intention but is unrelated to
hospital turnover intention (the latter is negatively related to AC). This could be
explained by the nature of individual motivation, which is purely related to one’s
job, profession and activities.
Other interesting results emerged in Study 2: the relationship between
identified motivation and altruism behavior was negative—and not positive as
expected—and identified motivation was unrelated to turnover intentions. In this
case, intrinsic motivation exhibits a “suppression effect” (e.g., Cheung & Lau,
2008; J. Cohen & Cohen, 1983) due to a problem of collinearity with identified
motivation. In fact, the raw correlation between identified motivation and altruism
40 The Journal of Psychology

was positive (r = .12, p < .05), but once intrinsic motivation was taken into ac-
count in the model, higher identified motivation scores predicted lower altruism
behavior. Therefore, identified motivation had no unique contribution. This result
suggests that identified motivation, although representing an autonomous form
of extrinsic motivation, is not able to regulate behavior in a fully unique way.
Since citizenship behaviors are free and autonomous, they are activated by highly
autonomous employees, with an intrinsic work motivation (cf., Tang & Ibrahim,
1998). These results only partly support Hypothesis 1 and that of mediation.
Results, furthermore, highlight the importance of autonomous motivation
forms (intrinsic motivation especially) in relation with positive work outcomes,
while controlled motivation does not have relationships with negative outcomes
(intention to quit) but shows negative relationships with positive outcomes. The
same trend is observed regarding organizational commitment. Contrary to what
was found in Study 1, HS-CC shows a positive relationship with identified moti-
vation in Study 2. This result means that the perception of sacrifice to leave the
organization results in employees identifying with the goals and values of their
own work which, in turn, transfer to higher job satisfaction. Again, Hypothesis 2
is only partly supported. These findings reveal the importance for organizations to
implement strategies capable of increasing intrinsic and identified motivation.
Last, while recent studies examined the reverse relationship, that is, of mo-
tivation to commitment (e.g., Gagné, Chemolli, Forest, & Koestner, 2008), our
research shows the fundamental mediation role of both autonomous and controlled
motivation in determining the relationships between organizational commitment
and behavioral outcomes, supporting Hypothesis 3.

These studies have several limitations that might be addressed in further
research. First, for both of the studies, we used fully self-report measures without
the integration of objective measures such as absenteeism and real turnover. This
could raise doubts about the validity of the obtained data (Goffin & Gellatly,
2001), in particular for the study 2 where discretional behaviors such as OCBs
were analyzed. Although we showed that common method variance was not a
significant problem in the study, future research should consider the assessment
by supervisors to collect data, in order to avoid potential problems related to
common method bias.
The second limitation concerns the extent to which the findings can be gen-
eralized beyond the participants studied. In fact, both of the studies 1 and 2 have
been carried using a nurses sample, thus, the impossibility to compare our mea-
sures with data obtained in different organizational environments and different
types of employees, reduces the external validity of the research. To obtain greater
support for the examined models, it might be necessary to replicate the studies
with different populations of workers.
Battistelli et al. 41

Third, only altruism and civic virtue sub-scales for OCBs were used in this
study because they were the only two significant measures that emerged from
explorative analysis. This aspect could reduce the general validity of this measure,
as reliability analysis of civic virtue scale also showed an Alpha value below the
limit of reliability (see Nunnally, 1978). This could be probably due to the cultural
and contextual specificities of sample examined, that are different from American
culture. Civic virtue and altruism are recognized to be essential aspects of OCB
(Arshad & Sparrow, 2009; Farh et al., 2004) and the CFA of the overall measures
revealed a good factorial structure.
Another limitation is the lack of an experimental and longitudinal design. One
should be aware that there is no “remedy” for justifying causal sequence (Mathieu
& Taylor, 2006). Commitment and motivation are two dynamic processes by nature
that need longitudinal-type studies to expand the knowledge on these processes
and to investigate their evolution across time. Future studies should consider such
method and test long-term effects over outcomes such as turnover behavior and

Practical Implications
These studies have some implications for human resource management. The
first study showed that organizational commitment is a base for developing work
motivation, supporting the model proposed by Meyer et al. (2004), which suggests
that commitment and motivation follow a continuum reflecting increasing degrees
of internalization. In fact, organizational commitment explained about 11% to
32% of the variance in work motivation. These results emphasize on building
strong affective commitment (Meyer & Allen, 1997) to promote the autonomous
motivation of employees.
The second study supported the premise that internalization of motivation is a
mechanism having its origin from an individual’s identification with and involve-
ment in the organization, and added how these variables combine to affect work
outcomes. These results show that organizations might benefit from fostering in-
dividuals’ affective commitment to organization and autonomous forms of work
motivation (especially intrinsic motivation), since they are positively associated
with positive outcomes and negatively related to turnover intentions. Moreover,
although in this study we analyzed discretionary behavior such as OCBs, the
combination of commitment and motivation could foster others positive outcomes
such as performance (Meyer et al., 2004). Thus, organizations should recognize
their importance and promote them among employees. This study can help focus-
ing organizational efforts identifying some important organizational management
practices to help employees to meet their needs, generate higher satisfaction,
stronger affective affiliation to the organization (lower turnover intention), and
more spontaneous positive citizenship behaviors; all elements that are necessary
to success and general organizational efficacy (e.g., Vandenberghe, 2009). As a
result, the commitment and motivation theories might drive managerial strategies
42 The Journal of Psychology

promoting autonomy support, experiences of responsibility for employees, and

feedback in order to foster the internalization and integration of organizational
values (Greguras & Diefendorff, 2009; Ryan, 1995; Ryan & Deci, 2000). These
factors may increase commitment and an “approach motivation” toward targets,
reinforcing the individual-organization relationship with positive implications on

Future Directions
We wish to highlight some future guidelines that can further contribute to
the understanding of the phenomenon and overcome limitations. First of all, for
the proposed model to guarantee a greater chance of generalizing the results,
it would be useful to focus on different job categories from different organiza-
tions. Future studies could examine the role of commitment to supervisor (e. g.,
Landry, Panaccio, & Vandenberghe, 2010) to better understand the potential rela-
tionship with turnover intention from the unit. In fact, Ribelin (2003) stated that
“nurses do not leave hospitals, they leave managers” (p.18). This assertion could
be to help to understanding the importance of supervisor role in the relationship
with organizational attitudes and behaviors. Moreover, it would be interesting
to expand studies of antecedents of commitment and motivation examining the
individual, professional, and organizational aspects underlying the motivational
processes that activate organizational behaviors. Goal orientation, for example,
could be an individual factor capable of influencing behavior by means of its ef-
fects on self-regulation (cf., Kanfer 1992; VandeWalle, Brown, Cron, & Slocum,
1999), so that individuals activate motivational and cognitive processes (adaptive
or non-adaptive), with consequences on work performance. Also, a learning ori-
entation could influence intention to leave via organizational commitment (e.g.,
D’Amato & Herzfeldt, 2008). Furthermore, SDT states that the extent to which
an organization supports its employees can influence behaviors. This means that
satisfying psychological needs is crucial for organizational well-being. Among
them, the need for job autonomy could determine motivational autonomy as it
assigns responsibility and stimulates personal growth. Yet, this study examined
the commitment and motivation roles on work outcomes, as well as acknowl-
edgment that work engagement should be a positive work-related motivational
state (Schaufeli, Salanova, Gonzalez-Roma, & Bakker, 2002) that receives con-
siderable attention in research and practice (e.g., Babcock-Roberson & Strickland,
2010; Hakanen, Bakker, & Schaufeli, 2006). Then, future research could examine
the motivation-engagement-commitment relationships on work outcomes such as
OCBs, job satisfaction, and turnover intentions. Lastly, since this research has
mainly focused on the examination of commitment-motivation relationships by
assuming that commitment is a predictor of motivation, future research should
examine reciprocal relationships, as suggested by Gagné and Deci (2005).
Battistelli et al. 43


Adalgisa Battistelli is a professor at the Université Paul Valéry Montpel-

lier 3 in Montpellier, France. Her current research interests are work motivation,
employee-organization relations, change, and innovation in organizations. Maura
Galletta is a postdoctoral fellow at the University of Cagliari. Her research in-
terests include workplace commitment and motivation, employee-organization
relationship, employee turnover, organizational well-being, and organizational be-
havior. Igor Portoghese is a postdoctoral fellow at the University of Cagliari. His
current research focuses on organizational change management, diffusion of inno-
vation in healthcare, and organizational commitment. Christian Vandenberghe is
a professor of organizational behavior at HEC Montréal and holder of the Canada
Research Chair in management of employee commitment and performance. His
research interests include organizational commitment, turnover and performance,
employee well-being, and attitude change.

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