abstract We present findings from three UK studies on the nature and consequences of employees’ multiple commitments in the workplace, with samples drawn from private manufacturing, private services and the public sector. Co-workers, the union, the union representative, customers, and the immediate boss emerge as separate foci of commitment, distinct from ‘global’ commitment to the organization as a whole. Consistent with social exchange theory, attitudinal and behavioural outcomes are predicted by commitment to those foci that might be expected to benefit from the outcome in question. There is evidence that global organizational commitment mediates the relationship between foci-specific commitments and organization-related outcomes, but there is no mediation in the case of those foci and outcomes that are more cognitively distant from the organization. A comparison of the studies suggests that the pattern and outcomes of commitment are influenced by the nature of the job and of the work context.