ONE BIG HAPPY FAMILY: WORKPLACE FAMJLISM AND PSYCHOLOGICAL CONTRACT BREACH IN THE PHILIPPINES
Simon Lloyd David Restubog, Ph.D.
A dissertation submitted in partial fulfilment of the requirements for the degree of Doctor of Philosophy
The University of Queensland, 2005
Principal Research Supervisor : Prashant Bordia, Ph.D.
Senior Lecturer of Organisational Psychology
School of Psychology, The University of Queensland
Associate Research Supervisor: Cynthia Gallois, Ph.D.
Professor of Psychology and Communication
School of Psychology, The University of Queensland
The present research program seeks to understand employer-employee relationships in the Philippine context. In particular, the psychological contract dynamics are explored in relation to workplace familism prevalent in Filipino culture. A multimethod approach was used integrating qualitative and quantitative methodologies across the five studies. This research program extends previous research in three ways. First, it directs the present research effort towards the development and initial construct validation of a measure on workplace familism and how it is empirically distinct from other constructs (e.g., perceived organisational support, perceived supervisor support) commonly used in organisational behaviour research. Second, it contributes to the literature by addressing the call for theory-based investigations on workplace familism (Aycan, Kanungo, & Sinha, 1999; Aycan, in press) and its role in the psychological contract dynamics. Third, it extends previous research by determining whether psychological contract breach and workplace familism are related not only to self-report of work behaviours but also to supervisor's assessments of employee work behaviour (Lester, Turnley, Bloodgood, & Bolino, 2002; Turnley, Bolino, Lester, & Bloodgood, 2003).
The primary objective of Study 1 was to determine the generalisability of the psychological contract framework in the Philippines. In particular, Studies 1a and 1b examined the direct consequences of psychological contract breach on employee behaviours. Results supported the predicted negative relationships between psychological contract breach and self-reported and supervisor-rated civic virtue behaviour and in-role performance. The results also demonstrated that psychological contract breach and its negative consequences exist in a non-western context.
Study 2 extended Study 1 by developing a deeper understanding of the nature of workplace familism. Thirty full-time (30) employees from a wide variety of business sectors were interviewed to identify the nature of their relationships with and their expectations from their employers. Results suggest that the nature of employment relationships in a collectivist culture is grounded in a family-like relationship. The organisation and the supervisor appear to be a symbolic representation of a familial relationship consisting of mutual obligations and loyalty.
Study 3 extended Study 1 and 2 in several ways. First, it utilised a facet-based or specific component measure of psychological contract breach as opposed to a global perception measure. Participants were instructed to provide specific breach ratings across a wide-range of transactional and relational organisational obligations. Second, a new measure was designed to capture the qualitative results of Study 2. This construct is herein termed "workplace familism" which consists of beliefs and behaviours of employees toward their organisation and supervisor. It reflects the extent to which employees consider their organisation and supervisor as a parental figure and treat them in ways similar to a family. It also suggests how employees believe their organisations and supervisors treat them. That is, whether their organisation or supervisor engages in a sustained display of parental concern and support for their well-being. In Study 3, 267 full-time employees enrolled in a part-time MBA program were surveyed to test the direct effect of workplace familism and its moderating role in the relationship between psychological contract breach and civic virtue behaviour and in-role performance. Results suggest that breach of relational obligations was negatively related to civic virtue behaviour. Evidence for the main effects of workplace supervisor familism and workplace organisational familism on civic virtue behaviour was also found. This suggests that workplace familism is vital in facilitating civic virtue behaviours. A caring organisation and supervisor motivates employees to engage in discretionary behaviours which favour the organisation. Further analysis revealed that both types of workplace familism moderated the relationship between breach of relational obligations and civic virtue behaviours. Because contractual transgressions occurred in a family-oriented context, it may be interpreted as a form of betrayal. This suggests that contract breach is a failure to live up to the personal expectations of workplace familism that govern the relationship.
Study 4 replicated and extended the findings of Study 3 using a sample of 162 full-time employees and their direct supervisors from small-sized pharmaceutical organisations. In contrast to Study 3, this study collected supervisor ratings of civic virtue and helping behaviour, and self-ratings of anti-role behaviour. Results suggest that breach of relational obligations was negatively related to supervisor-rated civic virtue behaviour and helping behaviour, and positively related to self-reported anti-role behaviour. Workplace supervisor familism and workplace organisational familism were positively related to supervisor-rated civic virtue behaviour and negatively associated with anti-role behaviour. Furthermore, in support of the social support framework, workplace supervisor familism has the capability to buffer the negative effects of breach of relationship obligations on supervisor-rated civic virtue behaviour and helping behaviour.
While I have attempted to conceptualise and measure the behavioural indicators of workplace familism, I was unable to differentiate this newly developed construct from other variables frequently used in organisational behaviour research. Study 5 was aimed at examining the construct distinctiveness and validity of the two types of workplace familism against organisational and supervisor-related variables. Two hundred and thirty four (234) nurses from 5 health care organisations were surveyed. Confirmatory factor analysis was used to investigate the distinctiveness of workplace familism against other constructs such as affective commitment, leader-member exchange, perceived organisational support, and perceived supervisor support. The modification indices suggested that some items had correlated error terms. The removal of these items led to the best representation of the hypothesised model for both types of workplace familism. Results suggest that while these constructs seem to have some shared themes, each construct appears to measure a unique set of domains or behaviours.
This research program makes several contributions to the understanding of psychological contracts and workplace familism. First, this research extended the psychological contract framework in a collectivist culture by determining the relationships between contract breach and four types of employee behaviours: civic virtue behaviour; helping behaviour; in-role performance; and anti-role behaviour. Second, it explored the nature of workplace familism in a collectivist culture (i.e., the Philippines) and examined how employees view their relationship with their organisation, in general, and their immediate supervisor, in particular. Third, using the betrayal and social support frameworks, this research examined how workplace familism influences employee performance and the role it plays in the context of psychological contract dynamics. Theoretical implications with reference to psychological contract breach and workplace familism, and practical implications for reducing contract breach in organisations and enhancing a familial work environment are discussed.