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Title: The relationship between values and commitment : a study of supporters and staff in the charity sector
Author: Stride, Helen
ISNI:       0000 0004 2729 0570
Awarding Body: Henley Business School
Current Institution: University of Reading
Date of Award: 2009
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Frequent reference is made to the importance of values in charitable organisations (Saxton 1994; Bennett 2003). They are said to be an organisation’s raison d'être and should underpin the charity's operations (Handy 1990). Whilst values research is being undertaken in the charity context, it is suggested that further research is required (Elson 2006). This thesis explores the relationship between the individual values of supporters, their perception of organisation values and supporter commitment. In particular it explores the types of values that drive commitment. As values of charitable organisations are communicated to supporters in part via staff behaviour (de Chernatony, Drury et al. 2004), the relationship between staff values, staff perception of organisation values and staff commitment is also explored. Relation to Literature Although it is not the intention of this thesis to measure branding per se, it can usefully inform the discussion. It is argued that supporters derive similar values related psychological benefits from associating with charities as consumers do from engaging with products and services (Schwartz 1967; Sheth, Newman et al. 1991). A match or ‘fit’ between an individual’s own values and those of an organisation provides an opportunity to both reinforce and express one’s sense of self (Belk 1988). This in turn results in committed behaviour and is as applicable for staff as for supporters (O'Reilly, Chatman et al. 1991). The literature review is therefore interdisciplinary in nature. Individual values theory demonstrates how values drive all forms of social behaviour and attitudes (Rokeach 1973). Values are also central to an individual’s identity and self-concept (Rogers 2003). Organisation values are said to be a set of values shared by the group (Deal 1985; Collins and Porras 1996). As values ‘fit’ and commitment have been empirically tested in the organisational behaviour arena, the person/organisation ‘fit’ literature provides the theoretical underpinning for investigating values ‘fit’ of both staff and supporters. Commitment is measured as a relational construct. Adapting the work of Finegan (2000), a research model is created that conceptualises individual and organisational values, and the interaction between them as drivers of staff and supporter commitment. The model is tested empirically with two UK charities. Findings Exploratory factor analysis identifies four robust factors that appear to play an important role in determining the commitment of staff and supporters. The factors are confirmed using confirmatory factor analysis with all but two of the eight data sets. In support of Finegan’s (2000) findings, values ‘fit’ may not be as important in driving commitment as own and organisational values. Multiple regression analysis shows that whilst own and organisation humanity type values are driving commitment in one charity, it is own and organisation vision type values (e.g. initiative, development and creativity) that are driving commitment in the other charity. Multiple hierarchical regression analysis shows that in the case of benevolence values the relationship with commitment is non-linear in some cases. Contribution The research makes a number of contributions. From a methodological perspective, the instrument used by Finegan is extended to include additional items relevant to the charity sector. These produce a separate and distinct factor. Developing Finegan's work, the four factors are confirmed by applying confirmatory factor analysis. The research also makes a number of theoretical contributions. Whilst the importance of benevolence and humanity values is well documented in the charity literature (2006), this study broadens the discussion in terms of these types of values. The suggestion that the relationship between benevolence type values and commitment is non linear has not hitherto been cited. Perhaps of most interest, however, is the suggestion that the staff perception of organisation values may play a key role in determining the extent to which values impact the commitment of supporters or staff. The instrument developed for this research provides the charity sector with an important tool for measuring the values of an organisation as perceived by their staff and supporters. Using a set of robust factors, it provides a manageable mechanism for assessing the values as seen by internal and external stakeholder groups.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available