Introduction 2000 public agency employees (Morrow & McElroy,

Introduction

Commitment
is an essential aspect in every organization, especially schools. Teachers are
valuable assets of the school. Every school wants to improve its efficiency in
order to survive and compete. Teachers’ commitment is one of the most important
factors that must be considered in evaluating schools’ efficiency (Aydin,
Sarier, & Uysal, 2013). Teachers’ commitment
is not only a vital issue for teachers, but also for schools and students. It
is directly related to issues concerning teaching and learning, school success,
and well-being (Day C. , 2008). On one hand, the
interpersonal relationship among teachers is one of the important factors that influences
commitment. According to Sias (2005), the two main social relationships in the
workplace are leader-member relationships and colleague relationships. In fact,
the most important source of emotional and instrumental support for employees is
Colleagues (Sias, 2005).

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One of the
effective factors that affect the colleagues’ relationships is age. Several
studies showed that there is a strong relationship between age and
organizational commitment. In fact, the organizational commitment and age have
the strongest relationship at the earliest employment stage (Cohen, 1993). Additionally, there
is also a change in commitment across career stages of a group of over 2000
public agency employees (Morrow & McElroy, 1987). They showed a
positive relationship between commitment and age.

Although a lot of research has revealed that
greater teacher commitment can be predicted by collegial relationship, more
research is necessary to expand understanding of the factors that influence the
collegial relationship in this area. The present study aims to explore the
effect of age on teachers’ interpersonal relationship and organizational
commitment.

Literature Review

Commitment is an essential aspect in every
organization, especially schools. Teachers are valuable assets of the school.
Every school wants to improve its efficiency in order to survive and compete.
Teachers’ commitment is one of the most important factors that must be
considered in evaluating of schools’ efficiency (Aydin,
Sarier, & Uysal, 2013). Teachers’
commitment is not only a vital issue for teachers, but also for schools and
students. It is directly related to issues concerning about teaching and
learning, school success, and well-being (Day C. , 2008).

On one hand, the interpersonal relationship
among teachers is one of the important factors that influences commitment.
According to Sias (2005), the two main social relationships in the workplace
are leader-member relationships and colleague relationships. In fact, the most
important, source of emotional and instrumental support for employees are
Colleagues (Sias, 2005).
Also, HR practices highlighting that employee commitment were positively
associated with climates for trust, cooperation, and knowledge sharing (Collins &
Smith, 2006).
Moreover, when employees do not perceived support from their superiors,
communicating with colleagues made them feel a sense of membership that, in
turn, strengthened commitment (Allen, 1992).

On the other hand, one of the effective
factors that affect the colleagues’ interpersonal relationships is the age
difference. Several studies showed that there is a strong relationship between
age and organizational commitment. In fact, the organizational commitment and
age have the strongest relationship at the earliest employment stage (Cohen, 1993). Also Meyer and
Allen (1984) indicated that levels of organizational commitment vary across
different age groups as a result of factors such as alternative job
opportunities. Moreover, there is a tendency for higher level of commitment
with increasing age and tenure (Mathieu & Zajac, 1990). Additionally, there
is also a change in commitment across career stages of a group of over 2000
public agency employees (Morrow & McElroy, 1987). They showed a
positive relationship between commitment and age. The results of both the
correlational and cross-sectional studies also indicate that there is a
developmental component to affective organizational commitment with results
depicting increases in affective organizational commitment with age and tenure.
(Karen & Carlene, 2000). Additionally, the
result of a survey on 3,053 workers in 53 manufacturing companies in the United
States showed that older employees pay more attention to the moral importance
of work and pride in craftsmanship. Younger employees pay greater attention to
the importance of money, friends over work, and the appropriateness of welfare
as an alternative to work (Cherrington, Condie, &
England, 1979)

Although a lot of research has revealed that
greater teacher commitment can be predicted by collegial relationship, more
research is necessary to expand understanding of the factors that influence the
collegial relationship in this area. The present study aims to explore the
effect of age differences on teachers’ interpersonal relationship and
organizational commitment.

 

Commitment

According to
Firestone (1996), there is a common characteristic in all definitions
which is the existence of a psychological connection between the person and the
object to which he or she is committed. Commitment is often considered as being
expressed through attitudes (Mowday, Steers, & Porter,
1979)
and behaviors (Meyer & Allen, 1991); (Weiner, 1982).

 

Antecedents of Commitment

Personal characteristics: regarding
the fact that commitment refers to attitudes and behaviors that link persons
and their contexts, it is common that psychological models focus on the effect
of personal and social psychological antecedents (Reyes, 1990 as cited in Riehl
& Sipple, 1996).

Organizational characteristics: Other
theories focus on sociological in nature, considering commitment as a social
phenomenon created as individuals respond to structures and processes within
social organizations (Reyes, 1990, as cited in Riehl & Sipple, 1996).

Task characteristics: this
approach relates commitment to work itself. Job design theory (Hackman
& Lawler, 1971; Hackman & Oldham, 1980, as cited in Riehl & Sipple,
1996) posits that the key characteristics of work tasks are essential for
creating, responsibility, and efficacy toward high job performance and commitment (Riel &
Sipple, 1996).

Commitment to an organization and/or a relationship
has several dimensions and has been conceptualized through a different interrelated
constructs that probably influence employee satisfaction, retention, and
performance:

1. Affective Commitment: It refers to
employees’ emotional connection to the organization and the degree to which
they identify with that organization (Johnson et al., 2006, as cited in
Peltier, Pointer, & Schibrowsky, 2014). Emotional factors are the basis of
affective commitment which hold parties together (Peltier,
Pointer, & Schibrowsky, 2014).

2. Normative Commitment: it is related to the extent
in which an employee feels obliged to maintain the relationship (Malhotra &
Mukherjee, 2003, as cited in Peltier, J. W., Pointer L., & Schibrowsky J. A.,
2014)

3. Calculated or Continuance Commitment: it
refers to the desire to keep the relationship based on the costs-benefits
analysis of maintaining the relationship (Fullerton 2003, as cited in Peltier,
J. W., Pointer L., & Schibrowsky J. A., 2014).

 

Teacher Commitment

In accordance to the definition by
Mowday, Steers, and Porter (1979), Reyes (1990) defined teacher commitment as
the strength of an individual’s identification with and engagement in a specific
organization. It has three major features: (a) a strong attitude toward and
acceptance of the organization’s goals and values, (b) a desire to make
considerable effort on behalf of the organization, and (c) a strong intention
or willingness to stay with the organization (Chan, Lau, Nie, Lim, & Hogan,
2008).

In the numerous studies reviewed by Firestone
and Pennell (1993, as cited in Riehl & Sipple, 1996), organizational
conditions such as independence regarding classroom decisions, contribution to
school decision making, opportunities to cooperate with other teachers,
opportunities to learn, and sufficient resources were constantly shown to be
strongly related to teacher commitment, especially they result in reducing
uncertainty, promoting independence, and providing opportunities for teachers
to learn how to be successful (Riel & Sipple, 1996).

There are two key forms of teacher commitment:
commitment to the profession—professional commitment—and commitment to the
school—organizational commitment. On one hand, Professional commitment
generally means the degree of psychological attachment that a teacher has
toward the teaching profession (Coladarci, 1992). On the other hand, organizational
commitment means the level of identification and participation that an
individual has with an organization (Mowday, et al., 1979). According to Mowday,
et al. (1979), organizational commitment depends on the individual’s support of
the organization’s goals and values, his or her motivation to care about the
organization, and the desire to continue as a member of the organization.

Although different forms of teacher
commitment, including commitment to students (Firestone & Rosenblum, 1988)and commitment to the
academic goals of a school (Louis, 1998),
have also been recognized in previous research, It is essential to make the
distinction between professional and organizational commitment because they
have different effects on a teacher’s work (Firestone W. A., 1993). It is revealed that
teachers’ professional commitment, predicted organizational citizenship behavior
toward students. However, organizational commitment, predicted organizational
citizenship behavior toward the organization. The results of differential
relations propose that these two types of commitments represent separate
constructs (Somech & Bogler, 2002)

Teacher commitment in all forms is a
significant element in determining outcomes for teachers. It has been indicated
to be a predictor of teacher attrition, turnover, and absenteeism (Day C. ,
2008); (Day, Elliot,
& Kington, 2005), teaching performance (Day, 2008) and
teacher burnout (Firestone, 1996).

Several studies have shown positive
consequences of teacher commitment. For instance, one study showed that teacher
commitment was positively predicted by job satisfaction for both Black and
White teachers (Culver, Wolfe, & Cross, 1990). Moreover,
another study depicted a positive relation between teachers’ organizational
commitment and reading achievement, controlling for students’ socioeconomic
status (Kushman, 1992). Additionally,
it is also reported a positive association between commitment and achievement (Rosenholtz,
1989). A
positive
relation between teaching experience and teacher commitment has been observed. The negative relation
between perceived organizational politics and teacher commitment was observed
in a school setting. This finding suggests that schools as organizations may
not be immune to the impact of perceived organizational politics (Chan, Lau, Nie, et al., 2008).

Correlation analysis revealed that
age, teaching experience, and service in school were highly correlated to
teacher commitment (Tsui & Cheng, 1999).

 

Organizational Climate

The concept of organizational climate
invented in the late 1950s and was firstly used as a general notion to express
the long-term quality of organizational life (Halpin, 1966; Hoy & Tarter,
1997 as cited in Tsui & Cheng, 1999).

School climate, also known as organizational
health, has been defined as the atmosphere, culture, resources, and social
networks of a school (Loukas & Murphy, Middle school student perceptions of school
climate: Examining protective functionson subsequent adjustment problems,
2007).

The organizational health of a school
is a valuable concept that defines the interpersonal relations of students,
teachers and administrators in a school (Hart, Conn, & Carter, 1992; Hoy &
Tarter, 1997, as cited in Tsui & Cheng, 1999).

The concept of school organizational health possibly
is constructed on two considerations. First, the school is a social system, in
which people take the roles of administrators, teachers, students, etc. thus,
social interactions among these important players in school should be reflected
in school organizational health (Cheng, 1987; Hart et al., 1992; Tsui, Leung,
Cheung, Mok, & Ho, 1994, as cited in Tsui & Cheng, 1999). Second, a healthy school should perform its
several school functions effectively. According to Parsons’s views of
organization (1967, as
cited in Tsui & Cheng, 1999), the technical, managerial, and
institutional levels in a healthy school are in harmony and therefore, it can satisfy
both its instrumental and expressive needs through coping with disturbing
external forces and guiding its energies towards its mission.  

According to Moos
(1979), school climate includes three dimensions: (1) the relationships
between members of the organization, (2) the personal development of the
members, and (3) the maintenance and change of the organization.  Hoy and Miskel (1991) using Parsonian
perspective developed a new Organizational Health Inventory (OHI) in order to
measure and describe school organizational health. Seven dimensions of school
organizational health are identified to characterize each of the basic needs of
social systems as well as the three levels of control found in most organizations:
(Hoy et al., 1991, as
cited in Tsui & Cheng, 1999).  

• Institutional Integrity (II) refers to a
school that has integrity in its educational program and has the ability to deal
with destructive outside forces successfully;

• Initiating Structure (IS) describes the
principal’s task- and achievement oriented behavior;

• Consideration (CO) means the principal
behavior that is friendly, supportive, and collegial. The principal takes care
about the welfare of faculty members and welcomes their recommendations;

• Principal Influence (PI) refers to the
principal’s ability to influence the actions of superiors;

• Resource Support (RS) describes a school
where sufficient classroom supplies and instructional materials are accessible
and extra materials are obtained easily;

• Morale (MO) refers to the sense of trust,
confidence, enthusiasm, and friendliness among teachers; and  

• Academic Emphasis (AC) describes the school’s
media for achievement including high but achievable goals set for students, organized
and serious learning environment, and hardworking atmosphere among students. Briefly,
a healthy school is one that has strong performance in the above seven dimensions.

According to another study by Loukas (2007), school
climate is a multidimensional construct that includes physical, social, and
academic dimensions.

The physical dimension includes:

·        
Appearance
of the school construction and its classrooms;

·        
Size
of the School and students to teachers ratio in the classroom;

·        
Organization
and order of classrooms in the school;

·        
Availability
of resources; and

·        
Security
and well-being.

The social dimension includes:

·        
Quality
of interpersonal relationships between and among students, teachers, and staff;

·        
Equitable
and unbiased treatment of students by teachers and staff;

·        
level
of competition and social contrast between students; and

·        
Degree
of students, teachers, and staff participation in decision-making at the school.

The academic dimension includes:

·        
Quality
of instruction;

·        
Teacher
expectations for student achievement; and

·        
Monitoring
student improvement and punctually reporting results to students and parents.

 

The relationship between school climate and
teacher commitment and the role of age in this relationship

A lot of research has determined a significant
relationship between school climate and teacher commitment (Firestone &
Pennell, 1993). Coladarci (1992) studied two dimensions of school
climate—principal leadership and teacher collegiality—as predictors of
professional commitment. In contrast, teacher collegiality was not a predictor
of professional commitment. In more recent research, Huang and Waxman, (2009) indicated that gender equity, teaching
resources, and work pressure were significant predictors of professional
commitment, although the only significant predictor of organizational
commitment was collegiality.

Dumay and Galand (2012) revealed that age,
gender and employment status have a significant effect on organizational
commitment. It is also showed that after controlling for their age, work
experience and employment status, the level of commitment in men is lower than
women. Finally, using multilevel analysis, it is suggested that controlling for
age, gender, and experience, teacher employment status significantly influences
organizational commitment. In other words, the level of commitment to school in
teachers who have a non-fixed-term employment contract is more than those who have
a fixed-term employment contract. Additionally, age and employment status remain
major predictors of teacher commitment. Moreover, higher organizational
commitment is reported in teachers who are more confident in their ability to
help their students learn (Dumay & Galand, 2012).

Through organizational studies, commitment has
been positively associated with both age and experience (Angle & Perry,
1981; Dornstein & Matalon, 1989; Hrebiniak, 1974; Mowday et al, 1982, as
cited in Billingsley & Cross, 1992). Commitment
increases as individuals become older and pile up experience. The constant
relationship found among age, experience, and commitment proposes that
commitment possibly is the result of accumulated investments over time (Parasuraman
8c Nachman, 1987, as cited in Billingsley &
Cross, 1992).

On one side, a lot of studies showed a
positive relation between Organizational commitment and age (Allen and Meyer,
1993; Salami, 2008; Suliman and Lies, 2000 as cited in Ilhami & Cetin,
2012). On the other side, several studies
have not found such relationship between the two (Chugtai & Zafar, 2006;
Iqbal, 2010; Kwon & Banks, 2004, as cited in Ilhami & Cetin, 2012).

According to Ilhami and Cetin (2012) found that the level of job satisfaction
and organizational commitment is different between younger and older teachers. Specifically,
teacher age moderated relationship between teacher job satisfaction and
organizational commitment. Additionally, for younger teachers, there is a
U-shaped relationship between teacher job satisfaction and organizational commitment.
Moreover, Younger teachers tend to feel emotionally involved, consider the
organization’s problems as their own, and like to stay with the organization for
the rest of their career, when their job satisfaction level are either low or
high but not moderate. In contrast, moderate levels of job satisfaction in
fact, are applicable for older teachers, self-reliant teachers who prefer more
independence and are equipped with the necessary skills in order to success in
more uncertain circumstances. However, they are not well-suited for the needs
of younger teachers. In fact, at moderate levels of job satisfaction, older
teachers indicate high levels of organizational commitment in which they only
remain with the organization because it would be difficult for them to find
employment opportunities, lack of available options, or disturbance of their
life (Ilhami & Cetin, 2012).