Non-profit and for-profit workers during organizational innovation: Psychological contract, uncertainty, and communication coping tactics
While many accept the idea of an unwritten psychological contract between organizations and employees, the literature has yet to parse this phenomenon in concrete ways. In this study, seven statements describe the psychological contract for non-profit employees, then robustness of this "contract" is tested for its ability to explain differences between sectors. Because non-profit and for-profit value systems generate profoundly different operating norms, participants were asked to report on their response to innovation. The strain of innovation is presumed to bait the "contract" into overt expression. Data analysis compared non-profit and for-profit response to psychological contract statements, communication tactics used to cope with innovation, and the magnitude of innovation uncertainty. Results indicate 14 differences in psychological contract between non-profit and for-profit participants, 19 coping tactic differences, and nominal differences in innovation uncertainty. No meaningful differences existed between paid staff and volunteers within the non-profit. Generally, non-profit workers were less inclined to share information, advocate, or participate in the innovation than for-profit workers. Support was further demonstrated for the construct validity of a new non-profit Psychological Contract Sector Scale. Several implications are discussed. First, the psychological contract of non-profits is condensed to five statements, and recommendations are made for engaging in "contract-communication" during innovation implementation. Second, because non-profit workers express a particularly different concern over innovation purpose than for-profit participants, recommendations are made on how this might inform communication campaigns during innovation. Finally, because uncertainty levels failed to co-vary with tactic choices, it may be that the psychological contract is a better context from which to solve communication problems during innovation implementation rather than uncertainty. This shifts attention from uncertainty-reduction campaigns during innovation which attempt to "better order communication" and create more messages, and toward demonstrations of congruency between innovation purpose and psychological contract.
|Year of publication:||
|Authors:||Chenoweth, Gregg Arlen|
Wayne State University
|Type of publication:||Other|
ETD Collection for Wayne State University
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