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John P. Meyer and Brittney K. Anderson

The majority of research on workplace commitments has focused on commitment to an entity, most often the organization but also including occupation, union, supervisor, team, customer, and so on. This interest in entity commitments is due in large part to their implications for action, or behavior, but in this case the behavior is viewed as an outcome, or as a means to a more distal outcome (for example, organizational effectiveness). Here the authors treat the action itself, or at least a more proximal impetus for action (for example, goal, change initiative), as the focus of the commitment. They argue that action commitments are particularly important when it is difficult to establish long-term commitment with employees, yet organizations need assurances that employees will perform effectively and behave in a manner consistent with organizational norms, values, and policies. The authors provide a conceptual framework to guide their review of the action commitment literature, with emphasis on goal and change commitment, and for future research. Finally, they discuss some of the practical implications of what they know and what they hope to learn about the nature, development, and consequences of action commitments.