An investigation of the impact on operational managers' psychological contracts of moving to Trust status
AbstractContemporary literature on change management suggests that the pace of change is accelerating and that public sector organisations are increasingly introducing change initiatives designed to move their services into the marketplace. As such, organisations must be aware of the likely impact of change on their employees to respond quickly and ensure change initiatives are effective. The impact of change on employees' psychological contracts in general, and specifically in relation to downsizing, is seen to reduce their level of commitment, loyalty and trust which can result in employees withdrawing their services, behaving such that change initiatives are adversely affected or deciding to leave the organisation. In addition, operational managers are seen to hold a unique position within an organisation and, at times of significant organisational change, their level of loyalty, commitment and trust is seen as vital to its effective implementation. Research in this area within the public sector is very limited. More specifically, no published research has looked at the impact of a significant change initiative within the UK Probation Service. This study therefore focuses on Cheshire Probation Area (CPA) and seeks to investigate the impact on operational managers' psychological contracts on moving to Trust status. A conceptual model was developed which drew together the key theoretical elements of both psychological contracts and change management, in which the interpretation of the change was seen as crucial to its effective implementation. A cross sectional design was used to assess the impact using a questionnaire providing both quantitative and qualitative data. Statistical analysis showed the majority of respondents' psychological contracts were unaffected by the move to Trust status. However, for those who were, trust was the main area affected. An interpretive analysis of the data also found that the majority of respondents felt their psychological contract was unaffected, or that it was too soon to appreciate its full impact. However all respondents felt they provided more loyalty to CPA than was reciprocated. It concludes that, in general, operational managers continue to hold a relational psychological contract with CPA that has largely been unaffected by the move to Trust status, and should therefore support the implementation of this change initiative.
PublisherUniversity of Chester
TypeThesis or dissertation
The following license files are associated with this item: