Date of Award

Winter 2002

Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)


Urban Services - Management

Committee Director

Berhanu Mengistu

Committee Member

William Leavitt

Committee Member

Charles Keating


This qualitative study investigates the relationship between the two constructs: Organizational Climate and Organizational Commitment.

Litwin and Stringer (1968) suggested that a molar model is needed to explain employee behavior and motivation. Climate was proposed as this molar construct. Research concerning Organizational Climate resulted in multiple definitions and little consensus concerning the number and use of multiple dimensions of this construct. The almost exclusive use of survey methods coupled with methodological confusion with Organizational Culture created difficulty with the use of this important construct.

Organizational Commitment research resulted in a number of competing definitions. Research by Meyer and Allen (1997) eventually led to continuance, normative, and affective commitment as a three-component model of Organizational Commitment. Despite suggestions in the literature, little research has been conducted explaining how Organizational Climate and Organizational Commitment constructs relate.

The study is composed of a pencil and paper survey. Indexes of the nine components of Organizational Climate based on McNabb and Sepic's (1995) definitions were correlated with the three components of Organizational Commitment based on Meyer and Allen's (1997) definitions. Focus group meetings and individual interviews were held to investigate worker understandings of both constructs. Open coding was used to identify themes from the interviews. This methodological triangulation within an instrumental case study resulted in findings of relationship between the two constructs by the application of each of the three methodologies. Survey results showed correlations between seven of the nine Organizational Climate dimensions and two of the components of Organizational Commitment. However, continuous commitment showed no correlations with any Organizational Climate dimension. Focus group and individual interviews indicated that workers perceive that a relationship between the two constructs definitely exists.

Findings from this study suggest a more extensive molar model than proposed by Litwin and Stringer (1968). Recommendations for nonprofit policy and practice are suggested. Future research in six areas is identified to expand this case study of an urban private nonprofit organization.