Psychological Attachment Instrument


This measure (Psychological Attachment Instrument) was developed by O’Reilly and Chatman (1986). It uses 12 items to describe three dimensions of organizational commitment: (1) inter­nalization, defined as an employee adopting the organization’s mission as the employee’s own; (2) identification, defined as the employee’s belief that the organization’s values are very similar to the employee’s; and (3) compli­ance, defined as continuing to remain an organization member because the costs of changing are too high.


Coefficient alpha values ranged from .86 to .91 (Harris, Hirschfeld,  Field, & Mossholder, 1993; Martin & Bennett, 1996; Pillai, Schriesheim, & Williams, 1999; Sutton & Harrison, 1993).


Sutton and Harrison (1993) examined the items with factor analysis and showed that the 12 items formed two subscales. The first contained eight items and combines identification and internalization as sources of commit­ ment. The second contains four items and corresponds to the compliance source of commitment. The identification/internalization and compliance components of commitment were not correlated. Martin and Bennett (1996) also found that the eight items corresponding to the identification and inter­ nalization sources of commitment formed a single factor.

Organizational commitment correlated positively with perceived job importance, procedural and distribution fairness of performance appraisals, pay, benefits and work conditions, and satisfaction with performance ap­ praisals, pay, benefits, and work conditions (Martin & Bennett, 1996). Inter­ nalization correlated positively with identification and negatively with com­ pliance. Internalization and identification both correlated positively with job level, task autonomy, job involvement, development through manage­ ment exposure, and job satisfaction. Internalization also correlated posi­ tively with tenure. Internalization and identification both correlated nega­ tively with turnover intentions. Compliance correlated positively with turnover intentions. Compliance correlated negatively with job level, job in­ volvement, and development through management exposure (Harris et al., 1993).


Caldwell, D. F., Chatman, J. A., & O’Reilly, C.A., III. (1990). Building organizational commitment: A multi-firm study. Journal of Occupational and Organizational Psychology, 63, 245-261. Items were taken from Table 2, p. 252. Copyright © 1990. Reproduced with permission.


Responses are obtained on a 7-point Likert-type scale where 1 = strongly agree and 7 = strongly disagree.

Identification and internalization subscale:

  1. What this organization stands for is important to me.
  2. I talk up this organization to my friends as a great organization to work for
  3. If the values of the organization were different, I would not be as attached to this organization.
  4. Since joining this organization, my personal values and those of the organization have become more similar.
  5. The reason I prefer this organization to others is because of what it stands for, that is, its values.
  6. My attachment to this organization is primarily based on the similarity of my values and those represented by the organization.
  7. I am proud to tell others that I am a part of this organization.
  8. I feel a sense of “ownership” for this organization rather than just being an employee.

Compliance subscale:

  1. How hard I work for this organization is directly linked to how much I am rewarded.
  2. In order for me to get rewarded around here, it is necessary to express the right attitude.
  3. My private views about this organization are different from those I express publicly.
  4. Unless I am rewarded for it in some way, I see no reason to expend extra effort on behalf of this organization.