The voluntary and not‐for‐profit sector accounts for an important and growing proportion of employment in the UK though it remains highly under‐researched. Rates of pay are often relatively low, necessitating forms of human resource management that emphasise non‐financial means of eliciting employee motivation and commitment. This paper examines HRM in a major charity that provides services to adults with learning disabilities. It finds that the intrinsic commitment to the job held by employees – which the organisation is trying to tap – can form a competing commitment towards different entities of the organisation. This competing commitment is difficult to reconcile to organizational objectives because it reflects ambivalences in existing power structures and group dynamics. The results have wider relevance to the management of employee commitment in other service sectors.
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