Commitment as anchoring: Independent consultants in liminality

Research output: Chapter or section in a book/report/conference proceedingChapter in a published conference proceeding


Recent work on workplace commitment has acknowledged the overtly organisational underpinning of commitment and a changing world of work in which commitment and many other HR concepts may be significantly altered or strained. This research addresses the commitment bonds and targets of independent consultants who are not employees and therefore do not have an employing organisation.  These individuals are constructed here as ‘liminal’; they are betwixt and between organisations, professions and clients, part of many but fully part of none. Semi-structured interviews and the participant drawings of 50 independent consultants were analysed thematically and the results are presented below. We establish the important foci of commitment, how they experience this commitment and then enact it in a liminal context. The main foci include other independent consultants, professional bodies and their clients, relationships with whom can be both dyadic and triadic. The reasons for committing to these foci are discussed as a fundamental understanding of commitment that is sometimes overlooked. Commitment is also discussed as a way in which formal organisations are formed for specific projects, as a way in which offers a substitute for organisational commitment and as a way of anchoring in the absence of an employing organisation in order to cope with the uncertainty and ambiguity inherent in their liminal situation. This is an important qualitative approach that builds up the continuum of bonds offered by Klein et al (2012) and furthers the theoretical and practical development of commitment in the workplace. 

Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationCommitment as anchoring: Independent consultants in liminality
Publication statusPublished - 24 Sept 2016
EventEAWOP Small Group Meeting; 'The Future of Workplace Commitment' - University of Bath, Bath, UK United Kingdom
Duration: 23 Sept 201624 Sept 2016


ConferenceEAWOP Small Group Meeting; 'The Future of Workplace Commitment'
Country/TerritoryUK United Kingdom


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