Psychological contract breach and the routes to counter-productive work behaviour amongst academics

Chipunza, Crispen (2020-03)

Thesis (MCom)--Stellenbosch University, 2020.

Thesis

ENGLISH SUMMARY : The high prevalence of counter-productive work behaviour among academics in institutions of higher learning in South Africa is widely reported. As such, studying its antecedents is critical. Knowledge of the antecedents of counter-productive work behaviour among academics can empower human resource managers to address it more effectively. The problem, however, is that there is relatively little research into the circumstances that lead to counterproductive work behaviours among academics. Furthermore, previous research does not seem to have adequately addressed one of the most important underlying sources of counterproductive work behaviour, namely psychological contract breach. Using psychological contract breach as a focal point, the objective of the current study was, therefore, to examine the sources and psychological mechanism that could explain why academics engage in counter-productive work behaviour. Specifically, the study examined the influence of academics’ perceptions of psychological contract breach on counter-productive work behaviour; through three routes, namely, the stress reaction route - with variables such as occupational stress and negative emotions; the injustice route - with variables such as justice perceptions and affective commitment and, the retaliation or revenge route – with the variable of feelings of retaliation. Conscientiousness was included as the only personality variable. The study used a non-probability sample of n=188 full-time academic staff members from three selected pubic higher education institutions in the country. An ex post facto design was chosen to test the hypothesised relationships, and data was collected using a questionnaire. Counter-productive work behaviour was measured with the selfreport deviance scale (Robinson & Bennet, 1995). Negative affect was assessed by the Emmons Mood indicator (Dinner & Dimmons, 1984), while occupational stress was measured using the Job Stress Measure (Sakketou et al., 2014). Organisational justice subscales of procedural and distributive justice (Le Roy et al., 2015) were used to measure justice perceptions. Affective commitment used the Allen and Meyer’s (1996) affective commitment scale, while the psychological contract breach used five items developed by Robinson and Morrison (2000). Revenge scale (Wade, 1989) was used to measure feelings of revenge and, lastly, Conscientiousness items were taken from the Big Five Inventory (John et al., 2008). Items, as well as exploratory and confirmatory factor analyses were used to examine the psychometric properties of the instruments. Structural Equation modelling (SEM) was used to test the structural model fit, with good model fit obtained after the model was modified to include three additional pathways. The results indicated that negative affect and feelings of retaliation have a statistically positive effect on counterproductive work behaviour, whereas conscientiousness was negatively related to counter-productive work behaviour. Occupational stress and organisational justice positively showed a positive and negative relationship with negative affect, respectively. The results also show that negative affect and affective commitment have a positive and negative effect on feelings of retribution, respectively. Psychological contract breach emerged as a predictor with a statistically negative relationship with perceived organisational justice, while organisational justice perceptions showed a statistically positive relationship with affective commitment. Support was also found for the influence of negative affect on psychological contract breach. No support was, however, found for the following hypotheses: The statistically negative influence of affective commitment on counter-productive work behaviour, the statistically positive effect of psychological contract breach on occupational stress and, lastly, the statistically positive relationship between psychological contract breach and feelings of retaliation. With the focus on psychological contract breach as an underlying source of various psychological reactions, this study contributes to the literature on the reasons for counter-productive work behaviour among academics in South Africa.

AFRIKAANSE OPSOMMING : Daar word wyd berig oor die hoë voorkoms van teenproduktiewe werksgedrag onder akademici in hoëronderwysinstellings in Suid-Afrika. As sodanig is die bestudering van toonaangewende studies oor die onderwerp van kritieke belang. Kennis oor die determinante van teenproduktiewe werksgedrag onder akademici kan menslike hulpbronbestuurders bemagtig om dit meer effektief aan te spreek. Die probleem egter is dat daar relatief min navorsing bestaan oor die omstandighede wat aanleiding gee tot teenproduktiewe werksgedrag onder akademici. Verder blyk dit dat vorige navorsing nie genoegsame aandag gegee het aan een van die belangrikste onderliggende bronne van teenproduktiewe werksgedrag nie, naamlik sielkundige kontrakbreuk. Met die gebruik van sielkundige kontrakbreuk as fokuspunt, was die doel van die huidige studie dus om die bronne en sielkundige meganismes te ondersoek wat kan verklaar waarom akademici teenproduktiewe werksgedrag toon. Die studie het spesifiek die invloed van akademici se persepsie van sielkundige kontrakbreuk op teenproduktiewe werksgedrag ondersoek. Dit is deur drie roetes ondersoek, naamlik die stresreaksie-roete – met veranderlikes soos beroepstres en negatiewe affek; die onregverdigheidsroete – met veranderlikes soos persepsie van geregtigheid en affektiewe verbintenis, asook die wraakroete – met die veranderlike, gevoelens van vergelding. Pligsgetrouheid is ingesluit as die enigste persoonlikheidsveranderlike. Die studie het gebruik gemaak van 'n nie-waarskynlikheidsteekproef van 188 voltydse akademiese personeellede by drie geselekteerde openbare instellings vir hoër onderwys in die land. 'n Ex post facto-ontwerp is gekies om die gehipotiseerde verwantskappe te toets, en data is met behulp van 'n vraelys versamel. Teenproduktiewe werksgedrag is gemeet deur die selfverslagafwykingskaal (‘selfreport deviance scale’) (Robinson & Bennet, 1995). Negatiewe affek is beoordeel deur die Emmons Mood-aanwyser (Dinner & Dimmons, 1984), terwyl beroepstres gemeet is met behulp van die Werkstresmaatstaf (‘Job Stress Measure') (Sakketou et al., 2014). Die ‘Organisational justice subscales of procedural and distributive justice’ (Le Roy et al., 2015) is gebruik om die persepsies van geregtigheid te meet. Met affektiewe verbintenis is Allen en Meyer (1996) se affektiewe verbintenisskaal gebruik, terwyl sielkundige kontrakbreuk vyf items gebruik het wat deur Robinson en Morrison (2000) ontwikkel is. Wraakskaal (Wade, 1989) is gebruik om gevoelens van vergelding te meet, en laastens is pligsgetrouheid gemeet volgens die Groot Vyf Inventaris ('Big Five Inventory') (John, et al., 2008). Item-, verkennende en bevestigende faktor-analises is gebruik om die psigometriese eienskappe van die instrumente te ondersoek. Strukturele vergelyksmodellering (SVM) is gebruik om die strukturele model te toets, met 'n goeie modelpassing wat verkry is nadat die model gewysig is om drie addisionele bane in te sluit. Die resultate het aangedui dat negatiewe affek en gevoelens van vergelding ʼn statistiese positiewe effek op teenproduktiewe werkgedrag het, terwyl pligsgetrouheid negatief daarmee verband hou. Beroepstres en organisatoriese geregtigheid het onderskeidelik ʼn positiewe en negatiewe verwantskap met negatiewe affek getoon. Die resultate toon ook dat negatiewe affek en affektiewe verbintenis onderskeidelik ʼn positiewe en negatiewe effek op gevoelens van vergelding het. Sielkundige kontrakbreuk het na vore getree as 'n voorspeller met ʼn statistiese negatiewe verwantskap met persepsie van organisatoriese geregtigheid, terwyl persepsie van organisatoriese geregtigheid ʼn statistiese positiewe verwantskap met affektiewe verbintenis getoon het. Bevestiging is ook gevind vir die invloed van negatiewe affek op sielkundige kontrakbreuk. Geen ondersteuning is egter vir volgende hipotesis gevind nie: Die statistiese negatiewe invloed van affektiewe verbintenis op teenproduktiewe werksgedrag; die statistiese positiewe effek van sielkundige kontrakbreuk op beroepsstres; en laastens die statistiese positiewe verwantskap tussen sielkundige kontrakbreuk en gevoelens van vergelding. Met die fokus op sielkundige kontrakbreuk as 'n onderliggende bron van verskillende sielkundige reaksies, dra hierdie studie by tot die literatuur oor die redes vir teenproduktiewe werkgedrag onder akademici in Suid-Afrika.

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