Title page for ETD etd-08282003-103618

Document Type Master's Dissertation
Author Dockel, Andreas
URN etd-08282003-103618
Document Title The effect of retention factors on organisational commitment : an investigation of high technology employees
Degree MCom (Human Resources Management)
Department Human Resource Management
Advisor Name Title
Prof J S Basson Committee Chair
  • societal changes
  • individual changes
  • job characteristics
  • work changes
  • Meyer and Allen's three component model
  • south african brain drain
  • job autonomy
  • Organisational Commitment Questionnaire
  • career opportunities
  • supervisor support
  • career opportunities
Date 2003-01-30
Availability unrestricted
There is a revolutionary change in the world of work that impacts on the individual, work and society. The future of work suggests flexibility, boundary less communities and change in work, as we know it today. As the world of work changes from a worker intensive industrial society towards an automated information society, the retention of technological advantages e.g., human, intellect and knowledge capital is no longer assured. Employers struggle to retain their valuable high technology employees due to a general shortage of experienced candidates and aggressive recruitment tactics by others in the high technology arena. The purpose of this study is to investigate specific retention factors that induce organisational commitment and can thus increase the retention of high technology employees.

High technology industries operate in volatile market and experience accelerating growth and rates of change. High technology employees are educated, have a strong preference for independence and hold a large portion of the organisation's intellectual capital.

A core belief in human resources is to retain and develop employees to obtain a competitive advantage. In order to retain these valuable employees it has become necessary for organisations to transform from using an employee controlling to a more employee commitment driven strategy. To gain employees' commitment to the organisation and increase retention, the employer needs to identify which retention factors induce organisational commitment.

Compensation, job characteristics, training and development opportunities, supervisor support, career opportunities and work/life policies were identified as the top six retention factors in the content analysis done on high technology literature.

Organisational commitment has been defined as a mindset, which ties the individual to the organisation. Different forms and foci of organisational commitment are discussed with the approach developed by Meyer and Allen's three component model (1991). The consequences of organisational commitment benefit the organisation in terms of increased job performance, intention to stay, increase in attendance, loyalty, decrease in turnover, greater creativity, more co-operation (particularly across discipline specialities), more volunteerism and more time devoted to productive work on behalf of the organisation.

This study focused on a 100% South African owned telecommunications company based in the Gauteng province. A questionnaire was developed and a population of 94 telecommunications professionals, technicians and associated professionals were selected to investigate the influence of various identified retention factors on organisational commitment. The statistical analysis of the data culminated in a regression analysis that measured the significance and the strength of the relationship between the identified retention factors and organisational commitment. The main conclusions were that compensation, job characteristics, supervisor support and work/life policies were significantly related to organisational commitment. On the other hand, in this study training, development and career opportunities were not related.

High technology organisations are not just interested in the retention of employees but also creating a mutually beneficial interdependence with employees. The identified retention factors might serve as a means to demonstrate the organisation's support for, or commitment to, their employees and in turn cultivate a reciprocal attachment by employees. Employees' organisational commitment is related to their belief that the identified retention factors are motivated by the desire to retain good employees and to be fair in the treatment of employees. Future research needs are discussed.

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