Theoretical Background
Rationale and Hypotheses
The Interactive Model


The Specific Propensity Model
The Interactive Model


The Wild Card Effect and Military Retention:
Latent Social Identities in an
Interactive Organizational Commitment Model


The authors constructed four questionnaires to measure the variables that comprise the specific propensity model and the interactive model. These questionnaires, along with Mowday et al.ís (1979) OCQ survey, will plot an individualís commitment within specific organizations.

H1. General propensity to commit is plotted along an x-axis representing latent social identity.

In addressing hypothesis 1, the authors devised a questionnaire (the LIQ) to measure an individualís latent social identity. Previous measures relied on commitment to specific organizations and occupations. The authors based the LIQ on a broader construct of latent role theory to measure an individualís commitment independent of specific organizations and occupations. Questions were developed based on the latent identity characteristics identified by Merton (1957) and Toonies (1940).

H2. Specific propensity to commit is plotted by adjusting the y axis to represent the organizationís latent identity.

Hypothesis 2 is based on organizational fit theory (Weiner, 1982; Brown, 1969; Kidron, 1978; Steers, 1977). No previous instrument has been devised to measure an organizationís latent social identity. Drawing again from Mertonís (1957) and Tooniesí (1940) latent social identity characteristics, the authors constructed the Organizational Identity Questionnaire (OIQ).

H3. Actual commitment can be roughly plotted from the specific propensity to commit on the x axis with the combined levels of affective and calculative commitment on the y axis.

Mowday et al.ís (1979) OCQ provides a reliable measurement of commitment as a combined effect of affective and calculative commitment. Combining this measurement with an individualís specific propensity to commit provides a rough estimate of the individualís commitment to a specific organization accounting for the wild card effect. However, this does not provide data concerning how affective, calculative, and external commitment, and external opportunities, independently affect the individual.

H4. The interactive model will predict a memberís commitment to a specific organization more precisely than the specific propensity model.

The authors drew on the preponderance of OC theory literature to establish the elements of three of the four variables in the model: affective commitment, calculative commitment, and external opportunities. The fourth variable, external commitment was developed to account for inconsistencies in existing theory concerning such elements as marital status. Previous theories have neglected to consider the ongoing impact of commitments outside an organization on an individualís commitment to the organization.

To measure the impact of each of these variables on an individual, the authors devised the Individual Comprehensive Commitment Questionnaire (ICCQ) based on the elements considered in building the model. The strength of each variable determines an individualís commitment within the interactive model.

The model also provides a means of mapping an organization based on the collective commitment levels its members. The Organizational Comprehensive Commitment Questionnaire (OCCQ) measures the organizationís strengths and weaknesses in establishing commitment based on the same elements used in the ICCQ.

H5. Communication designed to move members into the green zone in accordance with the interactions represented in the model will increase commitment and have a correspondingly positive effect on retention.

This interactive model is untested. While DoD conducts extensive research into the individual factors that contribute to turnover, there have been no concerted efforts to model military organizations based on the commitment perspective. Further research will be necessary to provide support for the model and its possible applications.

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DoD Short Course in Communication
Class 01A
December 7, 2000