Exploring the role of employee entitlement in counterproductive work behaviour

Witten, Roslynne (2019-04)

Thesis (MCom)--Stellenbosch University, 2019.

Thesis

ENGLISH SUMMARY : The prevalence and considerable financial costs associated with counterproductive work behaviours warrants a deeper understanding of these behaviours. Counterproductive work behaviours are employee behaviours that deliberately undermine the interests and goals of the organisation. These behaviours manifest in many forms with examples including bullying, sexual harassment, cyberloafing, tardiness, fraud, absenteeism, and substance abuse. These days, human resources practitioners and business leaders often report high levels of entitlement attitudes among employees, which may influence employees’ decision to engage in counterproductive behaviours. Employee entitlement is a relatively new construct in academic literature and therefore lacking consistent conceptualisation and measurement. In this study, employee entitlement is defined as excessive self-regard connected to a belief in the automatic right to privileged or preferential treatment at work regardless of performance. Due to the reported negative consequences of employee entitlement and the lack of empirical work on this topic, an exploration of the construct and its impact on the psychological contract was warranted in the South African context. Therefore, the purpose of this study was to explore the role of employee entitlement in counterproductive work behaviours and its implication on the psychological contract. More specifically, this study explored the inclusion of the employee entitlement construct in the Bordia, Restubog and Tang’s (2008) psychological contract breach, revenge and counterproductive work behaviours model. This study employed an ex-post facto correlation design, and data were collected from the employees of a higher education institution in South Africa. Respondents were invited to complete an online questionnaire. The final sample consisted of 308 employees. Partial least squares structural modelling (PLS) was used as the primary statistical analysis technique to evaluate the relationships between the latent constructs. The findings of this study show that there is a positive and significant relationship between psychological contract breach, revenge and counterproductive work behaviours. In addition, revenge was found to mediate the relationship between employee entitlement and counterproductive work behaviours. However, the validation of the employee entitlement measurement model did return less than acceptable model fit, suggesting the need for further validation of the measure. Moreover, insights are provided on how managers and practitioners can more effectively manage workplace situations which foster perceptions of employee entitlement, the management of the psychological contract and as a result reduce employees’ engagement in counterproductive work behaviours.

AFRIKAANSE OPSOMMING : Die hoë voorkoms en aansienlike finansiële koste van teenproduktiewe werksgedrag vereis ’n deegliker begrip van hierdie verskynsel. Teenproduktiewe werksgedrag is optrede deur werknemers wat die belange en doelwitte van die organisasie opsetlik ondergrawe. Hierdie gedrag neem verskeie vorme aan, byvoorbeeld bullebakkery, seksuele teistering, kuberleeglêery, traagheid, bedrog, afwesigheid en middelmisbruik. Eiegeregtigheid onder personeel, waaroor menslikehulpbronbestuurders en sakeleiers deesdae dikwels kla, kan daartoe bydra dat ’n werknemer besluit om teenproduktiewe gedrag by die werkplek te openbaar. Eiegeregtigheid onder personeel is ’n betreklik nuwe konstruk in die akademiese literatuur en is dus nog nie konsekwent gekonseptualiseer en gemeet nie. Vir die doel van hierdie studie word dit verstaan as oordrewe selfagting onder personeel, tesame met ’n aanspraak op outomatiese bevoorregting of voorkeurbehandeling by die werk, ongeag prestasie. Weens die aangemelde negatiewe gevolge van eiegeregtigheid in die werkerskorps, sowel as die tekort aan empiriese werk oor die onderwerp, was ’n studie van dié konstruk en die impak daarvan op die sielkundige kontrak in Suid-Afrikaanse verband geregverdig. Die doel van hierdie navorsing was dus om ondersoek in te stel na die rol van eiegeregtigheid onder personeel in teenproduktiewe werksgedrag, en die implikasies daarvan vir die sielkundige kontrak. In die besonder het die studie gekonsentreer op die insluiting van die konstruk van eiegeregtigheid onder personeel by Bordia, Restubog en Tang (2008) se model van sielkundigekontrakbreuk, wraak en teenproduktiewe werksgedrag. Die studie het van ’n ex post facto-korrelasieontwerp gebruik gemaak en data is onder die werknemers van ’n Suid-Afrikaanse hoëronderwysinstelling ingesamel. Respondente is genooi om ’n aanlyn vraelys in te vul. Die finale steekproef het uit 308 werknemers bestaan. Gedeeltelike kleinstekwadrate- strukturele modellering (“PLS”) is as primêre statistiese ontledingstegniek gebruik om die verwantskappe tussen die onderliggende konstrukte te bepaal. Die bevindinge van die studie dui op ’n positiewe en beduidende verband tussen sielkundigekontrakbreuk, wraak en teenproduktiewe werksgedrag. Daarbenewens is daar bevind dat wraak die verband tussen eiegeregtigheid onder personeel en teenproduktiewe werksgedrag bemiddel. Tog lewer die maatstaf van eiegeregtigheid onder personeel ’n onaanvaarbare modelpassing op, wat op die behoefte aan verdere stawing dui. Boonop bied die studie insigte oor hoe bestuurders en praktisyns werkplekomstandighede doeltreffender kan hanteer om opvattings van eiegeregtigheid onder personeel teen te werk, die sielkundige kontrak beter te bestuur, en sodoende werknemers se deelname aan teenproduktiewe gedrag te verminder.

Please refer to this item in SUNScholar by using the following persistent URL: http://hdl.handle.net/10019.1/106088
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