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Knowledge Workers: What Keeps Them Committed; What Turns Them Away

J. Benson, Michelle Brown
Published 2007 · Psychology

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There is a well established literature on the antecedents of organizational commitment, though the relative importance of these antecedents to particular groups of workers remains unclear. Relying on a general set of antecedents for all workers may result in the application of inappropriate HRM policies and practices. Our focus is on knowledge workers as they have been identified as important to organizational success.The literature is, however, divided on what constitutes knowledge work so we develop and apply a measure that focuses on what these workers do.We then use this measure to examine attitudinal and behavioural commitment. We find, using responses from 1969 employees, knowledge workers have higher attitudinal commitment and lower intention to quit than routine-task workers. Further, the antecedents of commitment for knowledge workers and routine-task workers differ in many important respects, creating challenges for organizational decision makers.
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