Participation in Decision Making and Organizational Commitment:
A Comparison of Americans and Nigerians
Joyce U. Elele
This study examined the relationship between the actual levels of participation in decision making and the discrepancy between actual and desired levels of participation in decision making on the organizational commitment of employees from two different cultures: Nigerian and American. Based on a literature review on participation in decision making (Alutto & Belasco, 1971, as cited in Conway, 1976; Locke & Schweiger, 1979), culture (Hofstede, 1980; House, Hanges, Javidan, Dorfman, & Gupta, 2004), and organizational commitment (Allen & Meyer, 1990), this study expected that (a) levels of participation in decision making (PDM) would relate positively to affective and normative commitment for all employee categories, (b) PDM levels would more positively relate to affective and normative commitment for Americans compared to Nigerians, (c) PDM deprivation would more negatively impact the affective and normative commitment of Americans, (d) equilibrium would have a similar impact on affective commitment and a more positive impact on normative commitment for Nigerians, and (e) PDM saturation would have more negative relationship with affective and normative commitment for Nigerians compared to Americans. Findings in this study support PDM levels as positively relating to affective and normative commitment for all employees. Employees who were PDM saturated had higher affective and normative commitment than those who were either PDM deprived or at PDM equilibrium. Unlike hypothesized, employees’ actual levels of participation, PDM deprivation, equilibrium, and saturation did not significantly affect differently the affective and normative commitment of American employees when compared to Nigerian employees. PDM equilibrium affected the affective commitment of employees from the same culture similarly as was hypothesized. However, this study shows practical differences between the two cultures which should be instructive to cross-cultural leaders.
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