Mindset of Obligation: Conceptualization and Empirical Validation of a New Measure of Initiation and Perseverance.



Milam, A. C.
Rubino, C
Perry, S. J.
Toribio, R. A.
Johnson, L. U.

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International Association of Applied Psychology


We theoretically develop and empirically validate a measure of mindset of obligation, building on the concept of the form of commitment that receives the least attention from scholars – normative commitment. We define a mindset of obligation as the pervasive tendency to initiate new endeavors and persevere through existing roles and responsibilities out of a sense of obligation. We suggest that this mindset acts as a binding agent that affects strain and withdrawal in and outside the workplace. We find that Initiation is more maladaptive, and Perseverance is more adaptive for favorable work and nonwork outcomes. Individuals with high levels of Initiation tend to commit to tasks out of a sense of obligation, with the potential to overcommit and not deliver on these commitments. Those with high levels of Perseverance may experience a sense of accomplishment from fulfilling their commitments, and may be seen as responsible or reliable by others. We describe theoretical and practical implications of the mindset of obligation construct and measure, which sheds valuable insight on normative commitment, on personality traits, and other mindset constructs. These insights add understanding about the implications of the motives one has for committing to roles and responsibilities across various domains of life.




Milam, A., Rubino, C., Perry, S. (2022). Mindset of obligation: conceptualization and empirical validation of a new measure of initiation and perseverance. Applied Psychology, 2022, 1-34. https://doi.org/10.1111/apps.12413