Effects of Competition in Public Urban Transport on Organizational Commitment and Behaviour

Effects of Competition in Public Urban Transport on Organizational Commitment and Behaviour


Alena Erke, Trine Hagen, Institute of Transport Economics, NO


A field study of effects of tendering processes shows how competition affects organizational commitment and job related behaviour, and how competitive tendering should be designed so as to achieve positive economic and avoid unwanted social effects.


The aim of the current research is to investigate effects of competition in urban public transport. It is hypothesized that affective organizational commitment among employees is affected negatively by increased work press and reduced experience of organizational support, while continuance commitment is affected positively due to personal investments and lack of alternatives in the labour market. As a consequence, job behaviour as well as attitudes are expected to be influenced. This includes positive and negative aspects of driver behaviour, customer orientation and behaviour towards customers. It is expected that behaviour related to criteria of personnel assessment will be influenced positively, such as traffic behaviour which might lead to fines, or behaviour which might lead to customer complaints. A negative impact is expected from factors related to positive identification with the organization, such as service attitude and positive behaviour towards customers. Driver behaviour and customer-related behaviour are associated with traffic safety and service quality. Therefore, it can be assumed that effects of competition on commitment and behaviour finally contribute to the economic efficiency of competition.
Commitment, job behaviour, and attitudes are studied through surveys and interviews among managers, employees and customers. Studies are carried out in bus companies operating under a competition tendering scheme, before and after tendering processes, and in companies operating in a market without competition. Questionnaires used in the employee surveys are organizational commitment scales (affective, continuance and normative commitment) by Allen & Meyer (1990), the driver behaviour scales by Özkan & Lajunen (2005), the organizational service orientation questionnaire by Schneider, White & Paul (1998), and a questionnaire from an earlier study about job satisfaction in bus companies. Customer satisfaction surveys use instruments developed by the bus companies. Interviews about competition processes and their consequences are conducted with managers who are responsible for the handling of contracts, as well as bus drivers and employee representatives.
Based on the results, we will discuss how tendering processes should be designed in order to enhance commitment and to avoid negative consequences for job related behaviour. One of the challenges is seen in the peculiarity of competition in public transport requiring highly committed employees ? in order to attain high service quality ? at the same time as a large number of staff face a high risk of loosing their jobs.
Possible solutions are seen in formal aspects of contracts, which offer employees the opportunity to get a new job in another company in case of lost competition. Additionally, criteria for economic efficiency and quality should be combined with criteria for job conditions and personnel development. Personnel development should be aimed at increasing commitment towards the profession ?bus driver?, a higher level of customer service, providing incentives for positive behaviours, and feedback between employees and management, both bottom-up and top-down.
The research is conducted at the Institute of Transport Economics in Oslo, and funded by The National Insurance Administration of Norway.


Association for European Transport