The main intention of this study is to determine the levels of union commitment, perceived union breach, union participation and pro-union behavioural intentions of different unionised companies. The researcher adopted four (4) survey questionnaires for the study, which measure perceived union breach, union commitment, union participation, and pro-union behavioural intentions. The results of the study indicated that union commitment mediated the effect of perceived union breach and union participation, and pro-union behavioural intentions.
The results of the study show that union members experience slightly low levels of psychological contract breach towards their union; that they have slightly high levels of union commitment; that they have slightly high levels of union participation towards their union; and that they likewise have slightly high levels of pro-union behavioural intentions. 1. 0 Introduction and Problem / Description During the industrial revolution, workers were abused by their employers.
Some employers make their employees work for 12 hours a day and seven days a week. Child labor was exploited and working conditions were dangerous. There was no security of tenure and due process was not practiced. Even if the pay is low and the employment conditions are poor, jobs were taken up as soon as there was a vacancy due to enormous unemployment. Because of these experiences, employees learn to organise labor organisations where their rights and grievances can be heard and protected (Dessler & Huat 2006).
With this, employees turn to unions where they perceive that their benefits will be restored and their rights will be protected against future organisational actions that would negatively affect their relationship with their employers (Turnley, Bolino, Lester & Bloodgood 2004). This study aims to describe the levels of union commitment, perceived union breach, union participation and pro-union behavioural intentions in a unionised company. In answering the main problem, the following sub-problems were drawn: 1. What is the level of union members’ perception of breach? 2.
What is the level of commitment manifested by union members? 3. What is the level of union behaviours exhibited by union members, in terms of: a. Union participation b. Pro-union behavioural intentions 1. 1 Scope and Limitations This study includes the conceptualisation of psychological contract breach in a unionised context. It discusses how formed beliefs affect the attitude of a person that would eventually be manifested in their behaviours. It also talks about the attitudinal and behavioural reactions of union members’ upon forming a belief or perception of breach in psychological contract.
The current research uses a cross-sectional data, meaning that data would be collected at one point and time. Moreover, behaviour data were obtained through self surveys and peer ratings. The study is limited to union members’ in banking and hotel industries. 2. 0 Review of Related Literature A union or labor organisation is a formal association of workers that promotes the interests of its members through collective action. Employees join unions for two primary reasons: higher wages and better working conditions, and job security.
Through collective bargaining, employees believe that they can get higher wages and better working conditions as it is difficult for them to bargain with their employer. Also, employees feel more secured with a collective bargaining agreement knowing that their employer cannot dismiss them without any just or authorised cause. Employees are aware that they can depend on their union to ensure fair treatment at the workplace (Dessler & Huat 2006). An individual’s belief about the terms and conditions of a reciprocal exchange agreement between two parties is defined as a psychological contract.
Similarly, a union and its members constitute an exchange partnership. A union member joins a union with the expectations in mind that his interests and concerns will be heard and addressed by his union. However, when these expectations are not fulfilled by their union, a breach in their psychological contract occurs. This study describes the following variables: perceived union breach, union participation, and pro-union behavioural intentions. The present study builds upon previous studies in two ways. First, psychological contract breach is examined in a union context.
Previous studies on psychological contract breach are organisational focus. For example, previous researches on psychological contract breach have examined the negative impact of breach in the psychological contract on affective and behavioural responses of the employees in the organisation (Cavanaugh & Noe 1999). Past researches examined organisational based constructs to a different construct such as the union context. In particular, Fuller and Hester (2001) conducted a study about organisational justice in a union context.
They extended previous research by providing facts indicating that process-related justice in a union is related to perceived union support. Similar to their study, this study will operationalise psychological contract breach in the context of unions. Furthermore, there is only one study that tackles the influence of psychological contract breach on union related constructs conducted by Turnley et al. (2004). This current study will be an extension of Turnley et al’s (2004) study by contextualising psychological contract breach in a union context.
In particular, it would examine the influence of perceived union breach on union member participation in union activities and investigating the mediating role of union commitment between perceived union breach and union member behaviours. A psychological contract is an individual’s beliefs about the terms and conditions of a reciprocal exchange agreement between two parties. It constitutes the union members’ expectations about the unions. If unions were not able to fulfill its promises and obligations to their members, a breach in the psychological contract occurs.
Past studies have shown that organisation-focused psychological contract breach is negatively related to trust (Deery, Iverson, & Walsh 2006), job satisfaction (Robinson & Rousseau 1994), and positively related to union commitment (Turnley et al. 2004). Union commitment is the extent to which an individual has a desire to retain membership in, exert effort for, and identify with the objectives of his/her union (Gordon et al. 1980). Gordon et al. (1980) identified four dimensions of union commitment and these are union loyalty, responsibility to the union, willingness to work for the union, and beliefs in the union.
Friedman and Harvey (1986) categorised loyalty and belief in unionism as the attitudes toward the union, while responsibility and willingness to work for the union as the behavioural intentions. Certain precursors that lead individuals to be more committed to their union are union instrumentality, early socialisation experiences, and perceived union support. Furthermore, union commitment influences union participation (Fullagar & Barling 1989). Union participation is a behavioural manifestation of union commitment.
It is the involvement in the day-to-day operation and decision-making responsibilities of the union, such as serving on union committees, attending union meetings, and helping to orient new members (Fuller & Hester 2001). Many existing empirical studies discuss the multidimensionality of union participation wherein each of the several behavioural dimensions represents different forms of behaviour. McShane (1986 as cited in Fuller & Hester 2001) found three factors representing conceptually distinct dimensions, namely: administrative participation, supportive participation, and intermittent participation.
A precursor that contributes individuals to participate in union activity is union commitment. Moreover, union commitment is positively related to union participation (Fuller & Hester 2001). Previous empirical studies have examined employee outcomes such as union commitment, intentions to quit, neglect of in-role job duties, organisational citizenship behaviours, civic virtue behaviour, turnover intentions, psychological withdrawal behaviour, and exit, voice, and neglect behaviours. It also used union instrumentality, trust, and situational variables as moderators, and unmet expectations, and job dissatisfaction as mediators.
Turnley, Bolino, Lester, and Bloodgood (2004) conducted a study that investigated the moderating role of union instrumentality to the relationship between psychological contract breach and union commitment. A sample of 109 union employees working for two organisations in the USA participated in this study. Findings of this study suggested that psychological contract breach is positively associated with union commitment. It also suggested that union instrumentality moderated the relationship between psychological contract breach and union commitment.
The relationship between psychological contract breach and union commitment is stronger when individuals perceive that their union is highly instrumental in protecting their rights and benefits. This study suggested that future studies could examine not only whether employees increase their union commitment when their psychological contract has been breached, but also whether their union participation increases as well. A study conducted by Fuller and Hester (2001) examined the relationship between process-related justice and union participation.
They also investigated on the mediating role of perceived union support and union commitment on the relationship between process-related justice and union participation. A sample of 2,149 members of a large steelworker local in the southeastern United States was surveyed for this study. Only 615 usable surveys were returned that represents a 29% of return rate. Process-related justice was operationalized as two distinct variables: procedural and interactional justice. Both procedural and interactional justice was positively related to union participation.
Results of this study indicate a positive relationship between union support and union participation. Results of this research also support and extend previous studies suggesting that both union support and union instrumentality are associated with union commitment. This study indicates the probable value in moving beyond economic change approach to predicting union commitment and participation. Lastly, interactional justice was found to be more strongly related to perceptions of union support than procedural justice.
Turnley and Feldman (1999) conducted a study examining the relationship between psychological contract violation and their exit, loyalty, voice, and neglect behaviors. Second, they investigated on the moderating effects of situational variables (i. e. , employment alternatives) on the relationships between psychological contract violation and managers’ behaviors. Lastly, they examined the differences in the nature of psychological contract violation experienced across three types of workers which are the new managers entering the workforce, expatriates and managers in international business, and managers working in downsizing firms.
A sample of 804 managers participated in this study. This study found that psychological contract violation resulted to increased levels of exit, voice, and neglect behaviors and decreased levels of loyalty behaviors. It also found that situational factors acted as moderators in the relationship between psychological contract breach and exit, but not in the relationship between psychological contract breach and loyalty, voice, and neglect behaviors. Lastly, this study found that psychological contract violation is more intense and frequent among managers working in downsizing firms.
A study conducted by Turnley and Feldman (2000) examined the mediating role of unmet expectations and job dissatisfaction on the relationship between psychological contract violations to the types of employee behavior such as the intentions to quit, neglect of in-role job duties, and organisational citizenship behavior. A sample of 800 managers was used from a wide variety of research sites, using both hierarchical regression analysis and structural equation modeling. This study found that the negative consequences of psychological contract violations are likely to go beyond the hurt feeling and disillusionment felt by employees.
Results of this study also found that psychological contract violation and the types of employee behavior are mediated by unmet expectations and job dissatisfaction. Psychological contract violations may also result in behaviors that are damaging to organisational effectiveness. This study suggests that psychological contract violations are likely to have a pervasive impact on employee attitudes and behaviors. A study conducted by Coyle-Shapiro and Kessler (2000) examined the content and state of the psychological contract from both the employer and employee perspective.
It investigated the consequences of psychological contract fulfillment in an employment relationship. A sample of employees employed on part time or full time basis that is composed of 82. 5% female and 41. 8% union members participated in this study. The research methodology consisted of two surveys conducted in a large local authority directly responsible and accountable for a range of public service which includes education, environmental health and social care to the local population.
The results of the study showed that employees are redressing the balance in the relationship through reducing their commitment and their willingness to engage in organisational citizenship behavior when they perceive their employer as not having fulfilled his/her promises and obligations. Findings also suggested that the extent of perceived employer contract fulfillment has a significant effect on employees’ perceived organisational support, organisational commitment, and organisational citizenship behavior.