American Journal of Criminal Justice

, Volume 24, Issue 1, pp 95–116 | Cite as

The missing link between job satisfaction and correctional staff behavior: The issue of organizational commitment

  • Eric G. Lambert
  • Shannon M. Barton
  • Nancy Lynne Hogan


Over the past twenty years, several empirical studies have examined the consequences of job satisfaction among correctional staff. When looking at worker behavior in other disciplines, though, it is commonplace to include both job satisfaction and organizational commitment. However, very few studies about correctional staff behavior include both concepts. This paper discusses job satisfaction and organizational commitment, and addresses the link between these concepts as it relates to correctional staff attitudes and behaviors. Further, a discussion of measurement issues and recommendations for future research is presented.


Organizational Commitment Correctional Officer Continuance Commitment Attitudinal Commitment Calculative Commitment 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.


Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.


  1. Allen, N., & Meyer, J. (1990). The measurement and antecedents of affective continuance and normative commitment.Journal of Occupational Psychology, 63, 1–18.Google Scholar
  2. Archambeault, W., & Archambeault, B. (1982).Correctional supervisory management: Principles of organization, policy, and law. Englewood Cliffs, NJ: Prentice-Hall.Google Scholar
  3. Balzer, W., Kihm, J., Smith, P., Irwin, J., Bachiochi, P., Robie, C., Sinar, E., & Parra, L. (1997).User’s manual for the job descriptive index (JDI: 1997 Revision) and the job in general (JIG) scales. Bowling Green, OH: Bowling Green State University.Google Scholar
  4. Becker, H. (1960). Notes on the concept of commitment.American Journal of Sociology, 66, 32–42.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  5. Bedeian, A., Ferris, G., & Kacmar, K. (1992). Age, tenure, and job satisfaction: A tale of two perspectives.Journal of Vocational Behavior, 40, 33–48.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  6. Bentler, P. (1995).EQS structural equations program manual. Encino, CA: Multivariate Software.Google Scholar
  7. Blau, J., Light, S., & Chamlin, M. (1986). Individual and contextual effects on stress and job satisfaction: A study of prison staff.Work and Occupations, 13, 131–156.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  8. Bluedorn, A. (1982). A unified model of turnover from organizations.Human Relations, 35, 135–153.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  9. Bollen, K. (1989).Structural equations with latent variables. New York: John Wiley.Google Scholar
  10. Brayfield, A., & Rothe, H. (1951). An index of job satisfaction.Journal of Applied Psychology, 35, 307–311.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  11. Brief, A., Munro, J., & Aldag, R. (1976). Correctional employees’ reactions to job characteristics: A data based argument for job enlargement.Journal of Criminal Justice, 4, 223–230.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  12. Britton, D. (1995).Sex, violence, and supervision: A study of the prison as a gendered organization. Unpublished doctoral dissertation, The University of Texas at Austin.Google Scholar
  13. Britton, D. (1997). Perceptions of the work environment among correctional officers: Do race and sex matter?Criminology, 35, 85–105.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  14. Brooke, P., Russell, D., & Price, J. (1988). Discriminant validation of measures of job satisfaction, job involvement, and organizational commitment.Journal of Applied Psychology, 73, 139–145.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  15. Brown, S., & Peterson, R. (1993). Antecedents and consequences of Salesperson job satisfaction: Meta-analysis and assessment of causal effects.Journal of Marketing Research, 30, 63–77.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  16. Byrne, B. (1994).Structural equation modeling with EQS and EQS/windows: Basic concepts, applications, and programming. Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage Publications.Google Scholar
  17. Byrne, B. (1998).Structural equation modeling with LISREL, PRELIS, and SIMPLIS: Basic concepts, applications, and programming. Mahwah, NJ: Lawrence Erlbaum.Google Scholar
  18. Cammann, C., Fichman, M., Jenkins, G., & Klesh, J. (1983). Assessing the attitudes and perceptions of organizational members. In S. Seashore, E. Lawler, P. Mirvis, & C. Cammann (Eds.),Assessing organizational change: A guide to methods, measures, and practices (pp. 71–138). New York: John Wiley.Google Scholar
  19. Camp, S. (1994). Assessing the effects of organizational commitment and job satisfaction on turnover: An event history approach.The Prison Journal, 74, 279–305.Google Scholar
  20. Camp, S., & Steiger, T. (1995). Gender and racial differences in perceptions of career opportunities and the work environment in a traditionally white, male occupation. In N. Jackson (Ed.),Contemporary issues in criminal justice: Shaping tomorrow’s system (pp. 258–290). New York: McGraw-Hill.Google Scholar
  21. Clegg, S., & Dunkerley, D. (1980).Organization, class, and control. London: Routledge and Kegan Paul.Google Scholar
  22. Cook, J., Hepworth, S., Wall, T., & Warr, P. (1981).The experience of work: A compendium and review of 249 measures and their use. New York: Academic Press.Google Scholar
  23. Cook, J., & Wall, T. (1980). New work attitude measures of trust, organizational commitment and personal need non-fulfilment.Journal of Occupational Psychology, 53, 39–52.Google Scholar
  24. Cranny, C., Smith, P., & Stone, E. (Eds.). (1992).Job satisfaction: How people feel about their jobs and how it affects their performance. New York: Lexington Books.Google Scholar
  25. Cullen, F., Latessa, E., Kopache, R., Lombardo, L., & Burton, V. (1993). Prison wardens job satisfaction.The Prison Journal, 73, 141–161.Google Scholar
  26. Cullen, F., Link, B., Cullen, J., & Wolfe, N. (1989). How satisfying is prison work? A comparative occupational approach.Journal of Offender Counseling, Services and Rehabilitation, 14, 89–108.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  27. Culliver, C., Sigler, R., & McNeely, B. (1991). Examining prosocial organizational behavior among correctional officers.International Journal of Comparative and Applied Criminal Justice, 15, 277–284.Google Scholar
  28. DeCotiis, T., & Summers, T. (1987). A path analysis of a model of the antecedents and consequences of organizational commitment.Humans Relations, 40, 445–470.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  29. Dennis, G. (1998). Here today, gone tomorrow: How management style affects job satisfaction and, in turn, employee turnover.Corrections Today, 60, 96–102.Google Scholar
  30. Dougherty, T., Bluedorn, A., & Keon, T. (1985). Precursors of employee turnover: A multiple-sample causal analysis.Journal of Occupational Behavior, 6, 259–271.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  31. Etzioni, A. (1975).A comparative analysis of complex organizations. New York: Free Press.Google Scholar
  32. Farkas, A., & Tetrick, L. (1989). A three-wave longitudinal analysis of the causal ordering of satisfaction and commitment on turnover decisions.Journal of Applied Psychology, 74, 855–868.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  33. Flanagan, T., Johnson, W., & Bennett, K. (1996). Job satisfaction among correctional executives: A contemporary portrait of wardens of state prisons for adults.The Prison Journal, 76, 385–397.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  34. Franklin, J. (1975). Power and commitment: An empirical assessment.Human Relations, 28, 737–753.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  35. Glisson, C., & Durick, M. (1988). Predictors of job satisfaction and organizational commitment in human service organizations.Administrative Quarterly, 33, 61–91.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  36. Goodstein, L., & MacKenzie, D. (Eds). (1989).The American prison: Issues in research and policy. New York: Plenum Press.Google Scholar
  37. Guion, R. (1992). Agenda for research and action. In C. Cranny, P. Smith, & E. Stone (Eds.),Job satisfaction: How people feel about their jobs and how it affects their performance. New York: Lexington Books.Google Scholar
  38. Grossi, E., Keil, T., & Vito, G. (1996). Surviving “the joint:” Mitigating factors of correctional officer stress.Journal of Crime and Justice, 19, 103–120.Google Scholar
  39. Hackman, J., & Oldham, G. (1974).The job diagnostic survey: An instrument for the diagnosis of jobs and the evaluation of job redesign project. Technical report number 4. New Haven, CT: Yale University, Department of Administrative Sciences.Google Scholar
  40. Hackman, J., & Oldham, G. (1975). Development of the job diagnostic survey.Journal of Applied Psychology, 60, 159–170.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  41. Hall, D. (1988).Burnout and job satisfaction among public defense attorneys. Unpublished doctoral dissertation, State University of New York at Albany.Google Scholar
  42. Hayduk, L., Medsker, G., Williams, L., & Holahan, P. (1994). A review of current practices for evaluating causal models in organizational behavior and human resources management research.Journal of Management, 20, 439–464.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  43. Heffron, F. (1989).Organizational theory and public organizations: The political connection. Englewood Cliffs, NJ: Prentice Hall.Google Scholar
  44. Hendrix, W., & Spencer, B. (1989). Development and test of a multivariate model of absenteeism.Psychological Reports, 64, 923–938.Google Scholar
  45. Hepburn, J. (1987). The prison control structure and its effects on work attitudes: The perceptions and attitudes of prison guards.Journal of Criminal Justice, 15, 49–64.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  46. Hepburn, J., & Knepper, P. (1993). Correctional officers as human service workers: The effect of job satisfaction.Justice Quarterly, 10, 315–335.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  47. Hopkins, A. (1983).Work and job satisfaction in the public sectors. Totowa, NJ: Rowman and Allonheld.Google Scholar
  48. Hoppock, R. (1935).Job satisfaction. New York: Harper and Brothers. Reprinted in 1977 by Arno Press, New York.Google Scholar
  49. Hrebiniak, L., & Alutto, J. (1972). Personal and role related factors in development of organizational commitment.Administrative Science Quarterly, 17, 649–662.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  50. Hulin, C., Roznowski, M., & Hachiya, D. (1985). Alternative opportunities and withdrawal decisions: Empirical and theoretical discrepancies and an integration.Psychological Bulletin, 97, 233–250.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  51. Ironson, G., Smith, P., Brannick, M., Gibson, W., & Paul, K. (1989). Construction of a job in general scale: A comparison of global composite and specific measures.Journal of Applied Psychology, 74, 193–200.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  52. Jaros, S., Jermier, J., Koehler, J., & Sincich, T. (1993). Effects of continuance, affective, and moral commitment on the withdrawal process: An evaluation of eight structural equation models.Academy of Management Journal, 36, 951–995.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  53. Jauch, L., Glueck, W., & Osborn, R. (1978). Organizational loyalty, professional commitment and academic research productivity.Academy of Management Journal, 21, 84–92.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  54. Jennings, K. (1973). Employee loyalty: Relationships between theory and practice.Personnel Journal, 52, 864–871.Google Scholar
  55. Joreskog, K., & Sorbom, D. (1996).Lisrel 8: Users’ reference guide. Chicago: Scientific Software International.Google Scholar
  56. Jurik, N., & Winn, R. (1987). Describing correctional security dropouts and rejects: An individual or organizational profile?Criminal Justice and Behavior, 24, 5–25.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  57. Kane, T., Saylor, W., & Nacci, P. (no date).Management strategies, morale, and staff turnover. U.S. Department of Justice, Federal Bureau of Prisons, Washington, D.C.NCJ Document Number: 089613.Google Scholar
  58. Kanter, R. (1968). Commitment and social organization: A study of commitment mechanisms in Utopian communities.American Sociological Review, 33, 499–517.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  59. Kerce, E., Magnusson, P., & Rudolph, A. (1994).The attitudes of navy corrections staff members: What they think about confinees and their jobs. San Diego, CA: Navy Personnel Research and Development Center.Google Scholar
  60. Koracki, L. (1991). An era of change: Evolving strategies of control in the bureau of prisons.Federal Prisons Journal, Summer, 24–31.Google Scholar
  61. Lance, C. (1991). Evaluation of a structural model relating job satisfaction, organizational commitment, and precursors to voluntary turnover.Multivariate Behavioral Research, 26, 137–162.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  62. Lawler, E. (1983). Satisfaction and behavior. In J. Hackman, E. Lawler, & L. Porter (Eds.),Perspectives on behavior in organizations (pp. 78–87). New York: McGraw-Hill.Google Scholar
  63. Lee, T., & Mowday, R. (1987). Voluntary leaving an organization: An empirical investigation of steers and Mowday’s model of turnover.Academy of Management Journal, 30, 721–743.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  64. Lichtman, C., & Hunt, R. (1971). Personality and organizational theory: A review of conceptual literature.Psychological Bulletin, 76, 271–294.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  65. Lincoln, J., & Kalleberg, A. (1985). Work organization and workforce commitment: A study of plants and employees in the U.S. and Japan.American Sociological Review, 50, 738–760.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  66. Lincoln, J., & Kalleberg, A. (1990).Culture, control and commitment: A study of work organization and work attitudes in the United States and Japan. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.Google Scholar
  67. Lindquist, C., & Whitehead, J. (1986). Burnout, job stress, and job satisfaction among southern correctional officers: Perceptions and causal factors.Journal of Offender Counseling, Services, and Rehabilitation, 10, 5–26.Google Scholar
  68. Locke, E. (1976). The nature and causes of job satisfaction. In M. Dunnell (Ed.),Handbook of industrial and organizational psychology (pp. 1297–1349). Chicago: Rand-McNally.Google Scholar
  69. Mathieu, J. (1988). A causal model of organizational commitment in a military training environment.Journal of Vocational Behavior, 32, 321–335.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  70. Mathieu, J. (1991). A cross-level nonrecursive model of antecedents of organizational commitment and job satisfaction.Journal of Applied Psychology, 76, 607–618.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  71. Mathieu, J., & Farr, J. (1991). Further evidence for the discriminant validity of measures of organizational commitment, job involvement, and job satisfaction.Journal of Applied Psychology, 76, 127–133.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  72. Mathieu, J., & Zajac, D. (1990). A review and meta-analysis of the antecedents, correlates, and consequences of organizational commitment.Psychological Bulletin, 108, 171–194.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  73. McCaul, H., Hinsz, V., & McCaul, K. (1995). Assessing organizational commitment: An employee’s global attitude toward the organization.Journal of Applied Behavioral Science, 31, 80–90.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  74. Meyer, J., & Allen, N. (1984). Testing the side-bet theory of organizational commitment: Some methodological considerations.Journal of Applied Psychology, 69, 372–378.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  75. Miller, D., & Droge, C. (1986). Psychological and traditional determinants of structure.Administrative Science Quarterly, 31, 539–560.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  76. Miller, K., & Monge, P. (1986). Participation, satisfaction, and productivity: A meta-analytic review.Academy of Management Journal, 29, 727–753.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  77. Mowday, R., Porter, L., & Steers, R. (1982).Employee-organization linkages: The psychology of commitment, absenteeism and turnover. New York: Academic Press.Google Scholar
  78. Mowday, R., Steers, R., & Porter, L. (1979). The measurement of organizational commitment.Journal of Vocational Behavior, 14, 224–247.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  79. Mueller, C., Boyer, E., Price, J., & Iverson, R. (1994). Employee attachment and noncoercive conditions of work.Work and Occupations, 21, 179–212.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  80. Mueller, R. (1996).Basic principles of structural equation modeling: An introduction to Lisrel and EQS. New York: Springer.Google Scholar
  81. Nacci, P., & Kane, T. (1984). Sex and sexual aggression in federal prisons: Inmate involvement and employee impact.Federal Probation, 48, 46–53.Google Scholar
  82. Oldham, G., & Hackman, J. (1981). Relationships between organizational structure and employee reactions: Comparing alternative frameworks.Administrative Science Quarterly, 26, 66–83.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  83. O’Reilly, C., & Chatman, J. (1986). Organizational commitment and psychological attachment: The effects of compliance, identification and internalization on prosocial behavior.Journal of Applied Psychology, 71, 492–499.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  84. Ostroff, C. (1992). The relationship between satisfaction, attitudes, and performance: An organizational level analysis.Journal of Applied Psychology, 77, 963–974.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  85. Quinn, R., & Staines, G. (1979).The 1977 quality of employment survey. Ann Arbor, MI: Institute for Social Research, University of Michigan.Google Scholar
  86. Randall, D. (1990). The consequences of organizational commitment: Methodological investigation.Journal of Organizational Behavior, 11, 361–378.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  87. Reichers, A. (1985). A review and reconceptualization of organizational commitment.Academy of Management Review, 10, 465–476.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  88. Rindskopf, D., & Rose, T. (1988). Some theory and applications of confirmatory second-order factor analysis.Multivariate Behavioral Research, 23, 51–67.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  89. Robinson, D., Porporino, F., & Simourd, L. (1996). Do different occupational groups vary on attitudes and work adjustment in corrections?Federal Probation, 60, 45–53.Google Scholar
  90. Robinson, D., Porporino, F., & Simourd, L. (1997). The influence of educational attainment on the attitudes and job performance of correctional officers.Crime and Delinquency, 43, 60–77.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  91. Rogers, R. (1991). The effect of educational level on correctional officer job satisfaction.Journal of Criminal Justice, 19, 123–137.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  92. Rotondi, T., Jr. (1975). Organizational identification: Issues and implications.Organizational Behavior and Human Performance, 16, 95–109.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  93. Sager, J. (1994). A structural model depicting salespeople’s job stress.Journal of Academy of Marketing Science, 22, 74–84.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  94. Salancik, G. (1982). Commitment and the control of organizational behavior and belief. In B. Staw & G. Salancik (Eds.),New directions in organizational behavior (pp. 1–54). Millibar, FL: Robert Krieger Publishing Company.Google Scholar
  95. Sigband, N. (1974). What’s happened to employee commitment?Personnel Journal, 53, 131–135.Google Scholar
  96. Smith, P., Kendall, L., & Hulin, C. (1969).The measurement of satisfaction in work and retirement. Chicago, IL: Rand-McNally.Google Scholar
  97. Somers, M. (1995). Organizational commitment, turnover, and absenteeism: An examination of direct and interaction effects.Journal of Organizational Behavior, 16, 49–58.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  98. Spector, P. (1985). Development of the job satisfaction survey: A scale to measure job satisfaction in human service organizations.American Journal of Community Psychology, 13, 693–713.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  99. Spector, P. (1996).Industrial and organizational psychology: Research and practice. New York: John Wiley.Google Scholar
  100. Steers, R. (1977). Antecedents and outcome of organizational commitment.Administrative Science Quarterly, 22, 45–56.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  101. Stewart, N. (1961). A realistic look at organizational loyalty.Management Review, 50, (January), 19–24, 80–84.Google Scholar
  102. Stohr, M., Lovrich, N., Monke, B., & Zupan, L. (1994). Staff management in correctional institutions: Comparing DiIulio’s “control model” and “employee investment model” outcomes in five jails.Justice Quarterly, 11, 471–497.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  103. Stohr, M., Self, R., & Lovrich, N. (1992). Staff turnover in new generation jails: An investigation of its causes and preventions.Journal of Criminal Justice, 20, 455–478.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  104. Styles, S. (1991). Conditions of confinement suits: What has the bureau of prisons learned?Federal Prisons Journal, Summer, 41–47.Google Scholar
  105. Turner, C., & Johnson, N. (1980). A survey of job attitudes of federal prison employees.Journal of Employment Counseling, 17, 69–74.Google Scholar
  106. Vandenberg, R., & Lance, C. (1992). Examining the causal order of job satisfaction and organizational commitment.Journal of Management, 18, 152–167.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  107. Wallace, J. (1997). Becker’s side-bet theory of commitment revisited: Is it time for a moratorium or a resurrection?Human Relations, 50, 727–749.Google Scholar
  108. Walters, S. (1995). The custody orientation of correctional officers: An international comparison.International Journal of Comparative and Applied Criminal Justice, 19, 61–71.Google Scholar
  109. Weiner, Y. (1982). Commitment in organizations: A normative view.Academy of Management Review, 7, 418–428.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  110. Whitehead, J., & Lindquist, C. (1986). Correctional officer burnout: A path model.Journal of Research in Crime and Delinquency, 23, 23–42.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  111. Williams, L., & Hazer, J. (1986). Antecedents and consequences of satisfaction and commitment in turnover models: A re-analysis using latent variable structural equation models.Journal of Applied Psychology, 71, 219 231.Google Scholar
  112. Wright, K., & Saylor, W. (1992). Comparison of perceptions of the environment between minority and nonminority employees of the federal prison system.Journal of Criminal Justice, 20, 63–71.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  113. Wright, K., Saylor, W., Gilman, E. & Camp, S. (1997). Job control and occupational out-comes among prison workers.Justice Quarterly, 14, 524–546.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  114. Wright, T. (1993). Correctional employee turnover: A longitudinal study.Journal of Criminal Justice, 21, 131–142.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  115. Wycoff, M., & Skogan, W. (1994). The effect of a community policing management style on officers’ attitudes.Crime and Delinquency, 40, 371–383.CrossRefGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© Southern Criminal Justice Association 1999

Authors and Affiliations

  • Eric G. Lambert
    • 1
  • Shannon M. Barton
    • 1
  • Nancy Lynne Hogan
    • 1
  1. 1.School of Criminal JusticeFerris State University

Personalised recommendations