The purpose of this study was to examine the effects of perceived
leadership practices on employee organizational commitment in the product
engineering segment of the North American automobile industry.
Surveys were distributed to 170 employees in various
engineering departments of a major North American automobile manufacturer, of
which 127 were usable (75%). In addition to the Leadership Practices Inventory
Observer form about their supervisor, participants supplied demographic
information and completed the Organizational Commitment Questionnaire
(Mowday et al., 1979). The majority of respondents were regular salaried
employees (90%) in a staff or central support role (79%). Seventy-two percent of
the respondents were men, the majority between 40 and 59 years of age (63%),
and nearly 80% had a college or graduate degree.
There was a statistically significant relationship between
organizational commitment and each of the five leadership practices. However,
gender was a moderating variable in this relationship; with significant correlations
for males but not for females found. There was a significant correlation between
all five leadership practices and the commitment of respondents who are in a
support role but not for those with direct product responsibility.
These findings, suggest the researcher, “continued development, by
industry leaders, of the five dimensions of leadership practice will result in
improved employee commitment to the organization with potential benefits in
performance and turnover” (pp. 70-71). Although the researcher goes on to argue
that these leadership practices “do not appear sufficient to assure high levels of
employee commitment to the organization” (p. 72).