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Building Commitment among Correctional Staff

NCJ Number
Corrections Compendium Volume: 27 Issue: 3 Dated: March 2002 Pages: 1-5,24-27,28
Eric Lambert; Nancy L. Hogan; Shannon M. Barton
Date Published
10 pages
This study examined the effect of three antecedents -- promotional opportunities, job performance feedback, and organizational fairness -- on the organizational commitment of correctional staff.
Staff is critical to the success or failure of the goals and objectives of correctional facilities. A staff that believes in the correctional organization is willing to make sacrifices to help ensure its success. A staff that is not committed will put forth minimal effort. The question for correctional administrators is how to improve the organizational commitment of their employees. Organizational commitment is defined as being loyal to the employing organization, identifying with the employing organization and its core values, and having a cognitive desire for meaningful involvement in the employing organization. Personal characteristics and work environment factors are the two primary antecedents of organizational commitment. All available staff at a high-security Midwestern State correctional facility were surveyed in 2000. Results showed that perceived promotional opportunities, organizational fairness and job performance feedback all had significant positive effects on the organizational commitment of correctional staff. These three work environment factors accounted for a greater amount of variance in correctional staff organizational commitment than did personal characteristics. Organizational fairness had the largest effect, followed closely by promotional opportunities. Job performance feedback had only one-fourth the impact compared with organizational fairness, probably because it represented more of a job characteristic than organizational structure. If correctional administrators wish to improve the level of staff organizational commitment, they must be aware of the importance of various salient work environment dimensions, particularly organizational fairness, promotional opportunities, and job performance feedback. 6 endnotes, 60 references