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Understanding quondam commitments to retain employees: insights from the case of flight attendants and pilots

Dominique Peyrat-Guillard (Department of ESTHUA, Université d’Angers, Angers, France)
Gwenaëlle Grefe (Department of ESTHUA, Université d’Angers, Angers, France)
Jeayaram Subramanian (Department of HR and OB, Bharathidasan Institute of Management, Tiruchirappalli, India)

International Journal of Contemporary Hospitality Management

ISSN: 0959-6119

Article publication date: 14 September 2022

Issue publication date: 2 January 2023




This study aims to examine the process model of quondam commitments (commitments employees used to have, but no longer have). It is part of a new perspective aimed at understanding better the concept of commitment, a powerful determinant of employee retention, by looking at gone commitments.


Drawing on a qualitative methodology recommended in the most recent commitment literature, life story interviews (Study 1 – flight attendants) and non-directive interviews (Study 2 – pilots) were conducted.


The authors propose a revised process model of quondam commitments, including the possible transformation of a commitment bond into a different type of psychological bond over time.

Research limitations/implications

The sample sizes are limited because of the qualitative nature of both studies, and the quondam commitment outcomes could only be studied at the individual level. However, the innovative nature of the work offers important contributions and avenues for research.

Practical implications

This study provides concrete perspectives for hospitality professionals to retain employees who question their relationship with work. Its relevance goes beyond the airline sector and can be applied to the hotel or restaurant industry, looking for solutions to deal with massive attrition.


This research contributes to filling three gaps identified in the commitment literature. It is one of the very rare studies considering closely both multiple targets and multiple types of psychological bonds. Moreover, it incorporates their dynamics, beyond the commitment bond, and suggests a refined model.



Peyrat-Guillard, D., Grefe, G. and Subramanian, J. (2023), "Understanding quondam commitments to retain employees: insights from the case of flight attendants and pilots", International Journal of Contemporary Hospitality Management, Vol. 35 No. 1, pp. 274-301.



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