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Title: The relationship between managerial authoritarianism and the transactional psychological contract : a study of call centre workers
Author: Crossman, Alfred V.
Awarding Body: University of Surrey
Current Institution: University of Surrey
Date of Award: 2007
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The purpose of this research is threefold; first, to investigate the relationship between the level of authoritarianism practised by management, as perceived by employees, and the way this might impact on the transactional element in an individual's psychological contract; secondly, to explore the composition of the transactional psychological contract and identify if it can be sub-divided; thirdly to investigate if pay satisfaction acts as a mediating or moderating variable between authoritarian management and the transactional psychological contract. The data research follows a two-stage process; the first is a qualitative stage comprising two exploratory studies in the same organisation utilising a self-complete diary and follow-up in-depth interview; the second is a quantitative (main) study involving call centre workers in eight organisations. In the second stage perceptions of authoritarianism is measured using Ashkanasy and Nicholson's (2003) 'climate of fear' scale, the transactional psychological contract by the scale adopted by Millward and Hopkins (1998) and pay satisfaction is measured by a derivative of the Heneman and Schwab (1985) Pay Satisfaction Questionnaire. The data analysis utilises SPSS v12. The findings of tests for correlation, for the total sample and by individual organisation, indicate that the higher the perceived level of managerial authoritarianism the higher will be the transactional element of the psychological contract. The results of a series of factor analyses suggest the transactional element in the psychological contact is made up of three smaller components, these are labelled Individual Disengagement, Organisational Disengagement and Legal Contract, but further research is required as the factor loadings are not as strong as is desirable. The results of a series of regressions confirm that satisfaction with pay can act as a mediating variable between managerial authoritarianism and the level of the individual's transactional psychological contract. However, further research is required as the results are inconsistent between the total sample and by individual organisation. Further analysis revealed that employee expectations act consistently as a moderating variable in between authoritarianism and the relational psychological contract, but inconsistently in relation to the transactional psychological contract. There are a number of limitations in the research. The first is the sample size, whilst the total sample (n=256) lends itself to an extensive analysis, at the individual organisational level it is not sufficiently large to allow full analysis. The second is the research context, restricting the data collection to call centres limits the ability to generalise the results to other sectors. The third is the lack of extreme perceptions of high or low authoritarianism in a particular organisation; most organisations were clustered around the scale mid-point. The fourth limitation lies in the restriction of the focus to the transactional element of the psychological contract, in retrospect it might have proved beneficial to look at the relational element also. The research makes a number of small contributions in terms of the process and findings. The first is the specific focus on a single organisational climate element, management style, and a single element in the psychological contract, the transactional, which differs from previous research approaches. Secondly, the exploration of the transactional element identified a number of smaller factors, making further investigation worthwhile. Thirdly, the identification of the inconsistent mediating effect of pay satisfaction between perceived authoritarianism and the transactional element in the psychological contract makes further research desirable.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available