By Enrique Rojas R.
Thinking about resolutions for 2018, the question may pop out, “Why should it be important for us, language teachers, to be committed to the goals of the organization we work for?” “What’s in for us as individuals?” The answer is that this issue is crucial for our health, physiological, psychological and spiritual. We cannot be happy if we do not believe in what we do.
The MBASkool Business Dictionary, a resource of management terms and concepts, defines Organizational Commitment as “the psychological attachment that an employee has with their organization.” And adds: “This plays a big role in ascertaining the bond that the employee shares with the organization. This also helps in determining the value of an employee to an organization. Employees with higher commitment are more constructive and proactive with their work.” And this certainly applies to teachers who are seen as the personification of the institutions they represent.
It was in the middle of the sixties when the first studies on organizational commitment appeared in the United States ensuing the studies of Lodhal and Kejner. In other western countries these theories gained momentum in the 70s.
Meyer and Allen's (1991) formulated a model of commitment based on components that correspond with different psychological states. They are: Affective commitment, that is, “the employee's emotional attachment to the company, acquired as a result of the satisfaction of the Organization with the needs and expectations that the worker feels,”(1) Commitment to continuation, which has to do with the time and effort that the person has for his permanence in the company and that would be lost if he leaves the job. And, the gratitude that the worker experiences and feels must reciprocate to the company for the benefits they have obtained (personalized treatment, work improvements, etc.).This is known as Regulatory commitment.
This is fine looking at it from the organization’s perspective. But, from the point of view of the teacher, what satisfaction can they obtain from their work if their goals and expectations do not match those objectives of the organization they represent?
AN APOSTLE OR A HUCKSTER?
And this can pose a serious existential problem. It will mark the difference between being a motivated professional educator and a huckster, a mercenary of education.
Unlike other professions, to which people are attracted for more practical or worldly reasons, there is usually a good deal of idealism in the decision to be a teacher, so a learning institution which existence is only destined to produce profits, is not likely to have teachers who are happy and committed.
On the other hand, as with other professionals, organizational commitment for teachers affects other dimensions such as turnover, teacher’s behavior, organizational citizenship, teacher’s productivity and teacher wellbeing.
For certain teachers, such as those in public or private grade and secondary schools there’s a certain degree of job security, at least during the academic year. That does not happen for the teachers of language institutes or language centers where classes are assigned in accordance with registration, which in many cases evolves into job insecurity and fear. When there is higher job security that makes an employee trust the organization more and commitment increases. Otherwise, it is certainly not a factor contributing to organizational commitment. Also the turnover tends to be high in these latter organizations. Low pay rates also have a devastating effect in commitment.
The perquisites and fringe benefits offered to teachers by this type of establishments also differ greatly. While some of them hire their educators formally and grant them the benefits of law, many of them do not, and deal with them as temporary or sporadic workers. It is a well-known fact that a company that provides benefits for its employees demonstrates good will towards them and keeps them happy, which lays the foundations for a solid organizational commitment.
A TWO-WAY STREET
The problem is if organizational commitment is the bond that teachers and other employees experience with their organizations, it is more likely that teachers’ ideals may align with those of many universities, public schools and some private ones, but hardly with those business organizations made solely to produce profit and economic rewards that the owners are not likely to be willing to share with the educators.
In sum, everybody should be faithful to him that pays their salary, but it is evident that commitment is a two way street. It is something that should be gained and not just demanded. It is perhaps not very realistic to expect great loyalty from people who are overworked and underpaid. On the other hand we should work for those institutions whose objectives toward education are similar to ours. And, along with them, give it all to achieve them. And we shall be happier!
MBASkool Business Dictionary, Dictionary of Business Concepts, 2017.
Lodahl, T.M. and Kejner, M.M. (1965) The Definition and Measurement of Job Involvement. Journal of Applied Psychology, 49, 24-33.
Mercurio, Zachary A. (2015-12-01). "Affective Commitment as a Core Essence of Organizational Commitment An Integrative Literature Review". Human Resource Development Review. 14 (4): 389–414.
Meyer, J. P.; Allen, N. J. (1991). "A three-component conceptualization of organizational commitment". Human Resource Management Review. 1: 61. doi:10.1016/1053-4822(91)90011-Z.
Graduated in Journalism at the PUCP, Peru, Enrique Rojas R. holds a MA in Journalism and MA in Inter American History from Southern Illinois University, USA; an MA in Literature from University of the Americas, Puebla, Mexico, all the coursework for a MA in TEFL at Universidad de Piura, Peru and BA in Education from Universidad Federico Villarreal. He has also obtained Certificates of Proficiency in English both from Cambridge University and the University of Michigan and the Diploma for EFL Teachers from Universidad del Pacifico. He is an Oral Examiner for the Cambridge University exams and has been awarded the title Expert in E-Learning from Asociacion Educativa del Mediterraneo and Universidad Marcelino Champagnat. He has worked as a professor in universities in Peru, Mexico and the United States; as a newscaster and a producer in radio and television stations in the United States and Mexico, and as a writer and editor in daily newspapers of the same countries. He has been in the staff of CIDUP for 19 years teaching English and Spanish specializing in International Exams, English for Business, ESP and Teacher Training. He has been a speaker in every Congress of English for Special Purposes organized by Centro de Idiomas de la U.P. He is also a member of its Research Area.