Original Research

The configural approach to organisational commitment: An application in Ghana

Edward O. Akoto, Eunice V. Akoto
SA Journal of Industrial Psychology | Vol 40, No 2 | a1207 | DOI: https://doi.org/10.4102/sajip.v40i2.1207 | © 2014 Edward O. Akoto, Eunice V. Akoto | This work is licensed under CC Attribution 4.0
Submitted: 13 March 2014 | Published: 10 December 2014

About the author(s)

Edward O. Akoto, School of Business, Henderson State University, United States
Eunice V. Akoto, Department of Public Administration, North Carolina Central University, United States


Orientation: An emerging stream of research employs a configural or profile approach to the study of organisational commitment, by focusing on and placing individuals at the centre of data analysis. This approach signals the importance of taking a holistic view of individuals’commitment mind-set, unlike the variable-centred approach.

Research purpose: To test the theory on profiles of commitment in an African context (Ghana).

Motivation for the study: Although the three-component model of organisational commitment has been extended to several regions of Africa, there is a paucity of research on profiles of commitment on the continent.

Research approach, design and method: Cross-sectional data from two studies, with samples of 187 and 218, were analysed using k-means clusters. Multivariate analysis of variance (MANOVA) was then used to test the differences amongst profiles in their association with contextual variables, such as pay satisfaction, job security, strike propensity and two demographic factors.

Main findings: In the k-means cluster analysis, a six-cluster solution emerged in both studies;the profiles include the highly committed and the uncommitted groups, as well as the profiles based on normative commitment and continuance commitment. Overall, the MANOVA post hoc outcome shows that the highly committed group reports higher mean scores on the positive outcome variables (e.g. job security) than the uncommitted group. Conversely, the uncommitted group scored relatively higher on the negative organisational outcome (propensity to strike). Other mean differences were found in the respective studies on pay satisfaction, collectivism and the demographic factors.

Practical/managerial implications: Employing the configural approach to the study of commitment in this region should increase our understanding of the patterns of attachment and their influence on behaviour. Different patterns of attachment exist within the organisation that may be beneficial or detrimental to behaviour on the job. It is, therefore, important for managers to identify these patterns and target organisational policy and resources appropriately.

Contribution/value-add: This study applies the concept of commitment profiles to an untested region: an African context. It, therefore, adds to the literature on the generalisability of the typology of commitment profiles.


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