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Rouet Victoria, Zannad Hédia
Organizational commitment in innovative companies



Victoria ROUET


Innovative firms, like start-ups or high technology industries, and innovative projects attract more and more people looking for exciting places to learn rapidly and make a personal impact, for a low number of hierarchical levels, an informal organization chart a weak role differentiation or cross- functional oriented teams.
The first issue we would like to investigate in this paper refers to the nature of the psychological contract, e.g. the beliefs held by individuals about the terms and conditions of a reciprocal exchange relationship between them and their organization : are they transactional contracts - short term agreements with limited involvement, oriented towards economic and performance based considerations - or relational contracts - agreements based on exchanges of both monetizable and socio-emotional elements (affection, loyalty, support) with an openended duration, longer-term arrangements and a wide range of obligations on the part of both the organization and its employees?
Our second question, closely tied to the first one, refers to the nature of organizational commitment which prevails in innovative firms : affective commitment (attachment and involvement in the work organization), continuance commitment (commitment due to the costs associated with leaving) or morale commitment (feeling of obligation to remain in the organization)?
On the basis of on our literature review and exploratory empirical study, we argue that the psychological contract linking innovative companies to their employees is a “hybrid” contract composed of transactional and relational contract, with a dominance of the first one because the employee’s identity isn’t closely tied with the organization, but rather derived from his skills and competencies and because there isn’t as much room for mutual loyalty, support, training and career development as in large and established firms.
We also support that affective commitment is dominating in innovative structures although a certain lack of loyalty. We also believe that continuance commitment, representing the opportunity to take advantage from an interesting experience for the future, has decreased since the end of the “new economy dream” but is still higher than morale commitment, due to little job security in the new economical environment.