Sub-theme 3.3. On the relational disequilibrium between paid and voluntary employees in nonprofit organizations and social enterprises

Sub-theme 3.3. On the relational disequilibrium between paid and voluntary employees in nonprofit organizations and social enterprises

In view of Psychological Contract Theory—generally discussing content and effects of reciprocal expectations between two parties, i.e. in our studies between paid and voluntary workers—different hypotheses can be suggested to help clarify the relational disequilibrium that is expected. Each of these basic hypotheses will be the basis of a separate analysis in this project.

Hyp. 1 - The mismatch of expectations in the relationship between volunteers and paid staff increases the chance of experienced psychological contract breach due to incongruence between the two parties’ expectations about the relationships. This, in turn, causes negative affective (e.g. decreased organizational commitment and satisfaction) and behavioural (e.g. decreased performance and increased turnover) outcomes.

Hyp. 2 - Taking the multidimensionality of rewards into account, it can be expected that, because of the higher importance paid to relational issues by the volunteers, psychological reward satisfaction is of particular value and will have a stronger impact on behavioral and attitudinal outcomes, as if it was a substitute for other types of rewards (compared to paid workers in the same organization).

Hyp. 3 - Based on Self-Determination Theory, it has been demonstrated that volunteers experience a stronger relational need satisfaction. Hence, it may be expected that the relational part of the psychological contract is relatively more important in creating a balance between expected and received obligations with volunteers (compared to paid workers in the same organization), where experienced need satisfaction is considered a moderator.

Hyp. 4 - A huge variety of basic relationships in the field of psychology are studied as if they exist in a rather universal way, i.e., all individuals under study show the same relationship. However, recently, the application of a series of innovative statistical techniques has shown that important individual differences may operate in these relationships, which questions the generalization of such universal results. In line with this new trend we also expect that our basic disequilibrium hypothesis about the relationship between paid and voluntary workers, will not have a uniform shape and will depend on idiosyncratic (personal or organizational) characteristics.

These different hypotheses will be studied using survey techniques where data from samples of paid and voluntary workers in the same social enterprises will be collected. Each of the different studies refers to separate analyses aiming at different scientific papers. As independent variables we will use established measures (questionnaires) to collect data about the psychological contract (transactional, relational and ideological) (study a) as well as about pay satisfaction and psychological reward satisfaction (study b). In order to assess the indicated moderator effect (study c), we will introduce an established measure about need satisfactions according to the aforementioned self-determination theory (competence, autonomy and relatedness need), as well as potential individual difference variables (e.g. equity sensitivity) and organizational characteristics (e.g. culture) (study d). As outcome variables, we will include measures for attitudinal (e.g. commitment) and behavioral (e.g. self-reported performance, effort) variables. For a number of substudies we will introduce multilevel structural equation modeling (study a, b, c). In order to capture individual differences in the relationships between some variables (study d), a series of clusterwise regression models will be applied. This refers to a family of methods that capture heterogeneity (or individual differences) of regression functions in a particular data set.