Employee commitment has been extensively researched by academics. Theories about commitment towards the organisation have enjoyed much interest. The concept is a central part of HR models. Research to date, however, has not examined the extent to which such “academic” perspectives are compatible with the views of practitioners. Hence, this research establishes practitioner’s understanding of employee commitment in a variety of UK private sector organisations. The findings of a national survey, distributed to 300 HRM managers (response rate 32 per cent), indicate a wide recognition of the desirability and benefits of commitment, but clear disparity between the way academics and practitioners conceptualise and measure it. Despite the variety of formal measuring tools available, organisational monitoring of commitment can be described as ad hoc and subjective. We conclude that the subjective approach adopted by practitioners could inform the approaches of academics just as the structured “objective” approaches of academics should inform practitioners.
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