Organizational commitment as a predictor variable in nursing turnover research: literature review


C.M. Wagner: e-mail:


Title. Organizational commitment as a predictor variable in nursing turnover research: literature review

Aim.  This paper is a report of a literature review to (1) demonstrate the predictability of organizational commitment as a variable, (2) compare organizational commitment and job satisfaction as predictor variables and (3) determine the usefulness of organizational commitment in nursing turnover research.

Background.  Organizational commitment is not routinely selected as a predictor variable in nursing studies, although the evidence suggests that it is a reliable predictor. Findings from turnover studies can help determine the previous performance of organizational commitment, and be compared to those of studies using the more conventional variable of job satisfaction.

Methods.  Published research studies in English were accessed for the period 1960–2006 using the CINAHL, EBSCOHealthsource Nursing, ERIC, PROQUEST, Journals@OVID, PubMed, PsychINFO, Health and Psychosocial Instruments (HAPI) and COCHRANE library databases and Business Source Premier. The search terms included nursing turnover, organizational commitment or job satisfaction. Only studies reporting mean comparisons, R2 or beta values related to organizational commitment and turnover or turnover antecedents were included in the review.

Results.  There were 25 studies in the final data set, with a subset of 23 studies generated to compare the variables of organizational commitment and job satisfaction. Results indicated robust indirect predictability of organizational commitment overall, with greater predictability by organizational commitment vs job satisfaction.

Conclusion.  Organizational commitment is a useful predictor of turnover in nursing research, and effective as a variable with the most direct impact on antecedents of turnover such as intent to stay. The organizational commitment variable should be routinely employed in nursing turnover research studies.