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Purpose ‐ The purpose of this paper is to examine the effect of organizational commitment to employees (OCE) on organizational performance through two different approaches ‐ a configurative approach and a universalistic approach. The theoretical model formulated
in this paper integrates both propositions with the aim of analyzing which has the most relevant impact on organizational performance. Design/methodology/approach ‐ Structural equation models were applied to test these propositions by means of a survey of a random sample of 230
service firms. Findings ‐ It was found that the configurational hypothesis is more important than the universalist hypothesis. Research limitations/implications ‐ The study only included information from one member of executive management staff. This study is an
initial attempt in the strategic human resource management literature to examine the configurative perspective as a covariation pattern. Practical implications ‐ OCE by itself does not affect organizational performance. It is necessary to consider the context in which it is applied
in order to understand the effect of OCE on performance. This explains why not all employers pursue an OCE model. Originality/value ‐ It is proved that "fit as covariation" can be adequate for studying the configurative theory. A complementary vision of the configurative and
universalistic hypotheses was adopted, according to which these two hypotheses are not contradictory and could be tested simultaneously.