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Teachers Commitment At Fatima College Management Essay

1.0 TITLE:

An investigation of the psychological contract in Fatima College and its impact on teacher’s commitment.


To determine whether or not teacher’s commitment in Fatima College is related to the psychological contract.


One of the most important topics in today’s education system is teacher commitment. A diverse spectrum of factors may affect commitment. This is not only limited to education but a common concern of all organisations in different sectors of the economy. This paper is interested in understanding the link between the form of psychological contract (relational/transactional) and type of commitment (affective, continuance and normative). This project will examine a few commonly recognised influencing factors, including psychological contract, organisational commitment and job satisfaction.

Psychological contracts are playing an increasing role in the contemporary employment relationships and have become a much researched topic in business management literature. While it is understood that this project is not an exhaustive study it is a useful first step, which could lead to further, more comprehensive research.

Key words: psychological contract, psychological contract violations, organisational commitment and job satisfaction.

3.1 History of Fatima College

Fatima College, established in December 1945, is one of Trinidad and Tobago’s foremost Secondary Schools. It is located at Mucurapo, on the outskirts of the capital, Port of Spain. From its classroom have emerged some of the most intelligent and valued citizens of Trinidad and Tobago, such as the world’s best batsman, Brian Lara. Fatima College is the pinnacle of all-round education in the country.

Fatima College is also a Catholic secondary school, run by the Holy Ghost Fathers. It is of the grammar or academic type as distinct from the technical and comprehensive types. The roll is approximately 900 students. It is recognised by the University of Cambridge Local Examinations Syndicate for the award of Certificates O and A levels and is accredited and financially assisted by the Government of Trinidad and Tobago.


Entry to Fatima is competitive (as is entry to the other public schools in Trinidad and Tobago). It is based on the Secondary Entrance Assessment Examination administered by the Government; and only a fraction of those who apply for Fatima can be accepted.


To investigate the relationship between teacher’s psychological contract type and individual levels of Organisational Commitment.

To establish a connection between the type of teacher’s employment contract (permanent and non permanent) and organisational commitment.

To identify the relationship between teacher’s job satisfaction and their commitment to the organisation.

To analyse if teachers individual objectives are aligned to the organisational objectives.


5.1 Psychological Contract

The relationships between organizations and their members are constantly evolving and continually forced into changed by external trends, changes in the constraints and opportunities of the environment in which the organizations operate, or changes in members themselves. Hence, this brings into focus the concept of the psychological contract. This term was first coined by Argyris (1960) to refer to “employer and employee expectations of the employment relationship, that is, mutual obligations, values, expectations and aspirations that operate over and above the formal contract of employment”. This differs from an employment contract, which is usually legally binding and agreed upon in writing by both parties (Rousseau and Tijorwala, 1998).

One of the central assumptions upon which the concept of a psychological contract is based is the consistency between what is perceived to be promised and what is received (Millward and Hopkins, 1989). It is important to note that such a contract does reflect an individual’s perceptions of what is promised and although the role of the organisation in the psychological contract is important, mutuality is not always essential (Millward and Brewerton, 2000). There is considerable confusion about this aspect of the psychological contract and this is demonstrated in the following definitions:-


According to Anderson and Schalk (1998), “a set of unwritten expectations present at each moment between each member of the organisation and others in the same organisation”. However, Herriot and Pemberton (1996) define it as “an exchange relationship between two parties: employer and employees”. Rousseau (1995), a leader is psychological contract theory define it as “individual beliefs, shaped by the organisation, regarding terms of an exchange agreement between individuals and their organisation”. In the same vein, Kotter (1973), stated that it is “an implicit contract between an employee and his organisation which specifies what each can expect to give and receive from each other in the relationship”.

Additionally, Morrison and Robinson (1997) stated that “the psychological contract constitutes an employee’s beliefs or perceptions regarding reciprocal obligations between the employee and the employer”. These obligations include behaviours or contributions on the part of the employees and inducements on the part of the organisation (Rousseau, 1990). A key issue is the individual belief in an obligation of reciprocity; employees believe they are owed something from their employers in return for certain behaviours (Robinson and Rousseau, 1994).

Schein (1965) further emphasized “the importance of the psychological contract concept in understanding and managing behaviour in organisations”. He argued that “expectations may not be written into any formal agreement but operate powerfully as determinants of behaviour”.

5.1.1 Two Types of Psychological Contracts

Prior research has proposed two types of psychological contract: relational and transactional (Morrison and Robinson, 1995; Robinson and Rousseau, 1994). Transactional contracts are narrow in focus, usually of a short and specific duration, and generally economic or extrinsic in nature of the exchange. In contrast, the relational contracts are broad in scope, longer and more open-ended in duration, more dynamic and associated with traditional working partnership between the employee and employer and tend to create socio-emotional elements (loyalty, identity, etc.) in the exchange.

Most of the research to date has proposed that the transactional and relational components are at opposite ends of a bipolar continuum and individuals are placed along the continuum in terms of their beliefs about their psychological contracts. In this study, teachers’ contract type will be examined in terms of their commitment to the organisation.


5.1.2 Psychological Contract Violations

The psychological contract is based upon belief in a promise or debt (Robinson, Kraatz, and Rousseau, 1994). Therefore, if one party fails to comply with its obligations to the other, the affected party’s beliefs in the reciprocal obligations of the two parties are likely to be shaken. In other words, violations by an employer may affect not only what an employee feels he or she is owed but also what that employer feels obligated to offer in return (Robinson, Kraatz, and Rousseau, 1997).

A significant negative relationship between violation of the psychological contract and trust was found in Robinson and Rousseau’s (1994) study of contract violation. The type of contract violation affects how the individual (and the organisation) react to it; if the infringement is the result of an inadvertent misunderstanding the parties would be less ‘injured’ than if one party blatantly reneged. Employers’ attitudes to employee breaches tend to be readily assessable while employees’ attitudes are harder to define and will vary depending on the circumstances.

5.2 Organisational Commitment

Commitment has been a focus of interest for some time. Researchers such as Becker (1960), Etzioni (1961) and Kanter (1968), established organisational commitment as an important aspect of the study of workplace behaviour. Some of the earliest work within the organizational behaviour literature (Porter et al., 1974; Mowday, Steers and Porter, 1979) examined employee’s commitment to their employers, commonly referred to as organisational commitment.

There are different approaches to define organizational commitment. Two views of commitment have been established over the past thirty years. Becker view commitment as a behaviour while both Kanter (1968) and Etzioni (1961) viewed commitment from an attitudinal approach. Similarly, Argyle (1989) proposed two types of commitment: calculative and affective.

One of the most widely accepted approaches to understanding commitment has been through the work of Mowday and Steers (1979). They define organisational commitment by how strongly an employee identifies with, and is involved in, an organisation. This can be demonstrated by their belief in the organisation’s goals and values, their strong desire to remain with the organisation, and through the efforts they put into their jobs. However, more recently, Meyer and Allen (1991) described three forms of organisational commitment: commitment as an affective attachment to the organization; commitment as a perceived cost associated with leaving the organization; and commitment as an obligation to remain in the organization. These three forms are termed as affective, continuance and normative commitment respectively. This study will focus on these three component concept of organisational commitment on teachers in Fatima College.


5.3 Job Satisfaction

This is defined as “a pleasurable or positive emotional state resulting from the appraisal of one’s job or job experiences” (Locke, 1976). Job satisfaction depends on an evaluation the employee makes of the job and its environmental surrounding. This evaluation involves a comparison between ‘what is’ and ‘what should be’. Job satisfaction is a multi-faceted construct. Three central components thought to affect teacher satisfaction including the nature of the work (for example, teaching responsibilities, students/parents, working conditions), the context of the job for example, physical environment), and the consequences associated with teaching, for example, remuneration, union, career development).


6.1 Theoretical Approach

A paradigm provides a conceptual framework for seeing and making sense of the social world. According to Burrell and Morgan (1979) "to be located in a particular paradigm is to view the world in a particular way." Similarly, paradigm has been termed by Patton, (1990) as "a world view". However, it was Kuhn (1970) who introduced the term as "universally recognized scientific achievements that for a time provide model problems and solutions to a community of practitioners". In the postscript to his second edition, Kuhn (1970) provides a useful definition; "it stands for the entire constellation of beliefs, values and techniques, and so on shared by the members of a community".

The research paradigm that will be chosen for this study is the positivism methodology. This paradigm uses a naturalistic approach to investigate people’s feelings and beliefs or ways of life. The deductive approach falls under this paradigm where the researcher will test a theory and design a research strategy to test the hypothesis or hypotheses (Saunders, et al 2003). Hence, it will also be use as it is the search to explain causal relationship between variable. (Psychological contract and organisational commitment).


6.2 Research Design

Research design has been referred to as (Zikmund, 1991), “a master plan specifying the methods and procedures”. In the same vein, Hussey & Hussey, (1997) refer to it as a “detailed plan which you will use to guide and focus your research.” Here the researcher is concerned with why they collect certain data, what data they will collect, where and how they will collect it, and how they will analyse the data in order to answer the research question. The research purpose is defined as exploratory, descriptive or causal. A theoretical framework is developed. This framework is a conceptual model of the relationships among the factors identified as important to the research problem (Sekaran, 1992). From this the research question is refined and the research strategy introduced.

The design choice for this project is based on a descriptive survey approach. Collis and Hussey (2003) state that “descriptive research is research which describes phenomena as they exist. It is used to identify and obtain information on the characteristics of a particular problem or issue”. Furthermore, it will describe the background of the research and will make a critical and systematic analysis of facts and characteristics of the given population and phenomenon of interest. Therefore, it focuses on answering a set of research questions to validate the main research aim.

6.3 Research Methods

Basically, there are two major research methods that could be used: primary research and secondary research. Primary research will concentrate on a number of questionnaires and interviews. The questionnaires will be administered by a research assistant (RA) to teachers of the school, while interviews will be conducted with important stakeholders and carried out by the researcher. Secondary research will be done using published articles, journals, textbooks, research papers, useful websites, the free press and relevant documented sources. However, in order to interpret the data that will be collected and to provide realistic and appropriate reliability and validity a mixed methodology will be used. The methodological triangulation will include both qualitative and quantitative methods of data collection.


6.4 Study Sample Techniques

Sampling is the process of selecting a sufficient number of elements from a population to represent the properties or characteristics of that population (Sekaran, 1992).

The study population will consist of teachers and other important stakeholders. The sample size of teachers will be 60. Five other persons in key areas of the college will also be interview. The total sample frame will be 65. Hence, a systematic random sampling procedure will be used. Systematic sampling involves the researcher selecting the sample at regular intervals from the sampling frame (Saunders, Lewis and Thornhill, 2003). The advantage of this technique is its simplicity and it works equally well with a small or large number of cases.

6.5 Proposed Analysis Techniques

The data will be collected and analyse by the use of tables. This will then be imputed into computer software in order to present a visual representation in the form of pie charts, bar graphs, and line charts. Misrepresentations can then be avoided and inferences can be made between the data that will be collected and that of theoretical evidence.




Starting Date

Finishing Date

Selecting a Topic




Start thinking about research ideas




Formulating research objectives




Liaison with sponsor organisation




Literature Review


Ongoing ……

Draft literature review




Read methodology literature




Devise research approach




Draft research strategy and method




Draft dissertation proposal




Submit dissertation proposal




Develop questionnaire while waiting for approval




Compile, pilot test and revise questionnaires, ongoing literature review while waiting for approval




Administer questionnaires and conduct interviews




Final collection of questionnaires




Enter data in computer


29- 11-2005


Analyse data




Draft finding chapters




Update literature read




Complete remaining chapters




Submit to tutor and await feedback




Revise draft, format for submission




Print, bind




Submit final dissertation






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Argyle, M. (1989) The social psychology of work, London: Penguin.

Argyris, C. (1962) Interpersonal competence and organisational effectiveness, Homewood, Illinois: Dorsey Press.

Becker, H.S. (1960) ‘Notes on the concept of commitment’, American Journal of Sociology, 66, 30-42.

Burrell, G., and Gareth, M. (1979) Sociological Paradigms and Organisational Analysis: Elements of the Sociology of Corporate Life, London, Heinemann.

Collis, J., and Hussey, R. (2003) Business Research: A Practical guide for Undergraduate and Postgraduate Students. Palgrave Macmillan.

Etzioni, A. (1961) Complex Organisations, New York: Holt, Rinehart and Winston.

Herriot, P. and Pemberton, C. (1996) Contracting Careers, Human Relations, 49(6), 757-791.Hussey, J and Hussey, J. and Hussey, R. (1997) Business Research: A Practical guide for Undergraduate and Postgraduate Students. Basingstoke, Macmillan Business.

Kanter, R.M. (1968) ‘Commitment and social organisation: A study of commitment mechanisms in utopian communities’, American Sociological Review, 33(4), 499-517.

Kotter, J.P. (1973) ‘The Psychological Contract: Managing the joining up Process’, California Management Review, (15), 91-99.

Kuhn, T.S. (1970) The structure of scientific revolutions, (2nd edn), Chicago, University of Chicago Press.

Locke, E.A. (1976) ‘The nature and causes of job satisfaction’, Handbook of Industrial and Organisational Psychology, 1297-1349.

Meyer, J.P., and Allen, N. (1997) Commitment in the Workplace: Theory, research and application. California: Sage.

Millward, L., and Hopkins, L.J. (1998) ‘Psychological contracts, organisational and job commitment’, Journal of Applied Psychology, 28(16), 1530-1556.

Millward, L.J., and Brewerton, P. (2000) ‘Contractors and their psychological contracts’, British Journal of Management, 10(2), 253-281.

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Patton, M. (1990) Qualitative Evaluation and Research Methods, Newbury Park, Sage.

Porter, L.W., Lawler, E.E., And Hackman, J.R. (1975) Behaviour in organisations. New York: McGraw Hill.

Robinson, S., and Morrison, E. (1995) ‘Psychological contracts and organisational citizenship behaviour: the effect of unfulfilled obligations on civic virtue behaviour’, Journal of Organisational Behaviour, 16, 289-298.

Robinson, S., and Rosseau, D.M. (1994) ‘Violating the psychological contract: not the exception but the norm’, Journal of Organisational Behaviour, 15, 245-259.

Robinson, S.L., Kraatz, M.S., and Rosseau, D.M. (1997) ‘Changing Obligations and the Psychological Contract: A longitudinal Study’, Academy of Management Journal, 37(1), 137-152.

Rosseau, D.M. (1990) ‘New hire perceptions of their own and their employer’s obligations: A study of psychological contracts’, Journal of Organisational Behaviour, 11, 389-400.

Rosseau, D.M. (1995) Psychological contracts in organisations; Understanding written and unwritten agreements, California : Sage.

Rosseau, D.M., and Tijorwala, S.A. (1998) ‘Assessing psychological contracts: Issues, alternatives and measures’, Journal of Organisational Behaviour, 19, 679-695.

Schein, E.H. (1965) Organisational psychology, New Jersey: Englewood Cliffs.

Sekaran, U. (1992), Research Methods for Business, 2nd edn, New York, Wiley.

Zikmund, W.G. (1991), Business Research Methods, 3rd edn, Chicago, The Dryden Press.


Arnold, J., Cooper, C.L., and Robertson, I.T. (1998) Work Psychology: Understanding Human Behaviour in the Workplace, 3rd edn, Prentice Hall.

Beardwell, I., Holden, L., and Claydon, T. (2004) Human Resource Management: A Contemporary Approach, 4th edn, Prentice Hall.

Bratton, J. and Gold, J. (1999) Human Resource Management: Theory and Practice, 2nd edn, Macmillan Business.

Foot, M., and Hook, C. (2002) Introducing Human Resource Management, 3rd edn, Prentice hall.

Maund, L. (2001) An Introduction to HRM: Theory and Practice, Palgrave.

Mullins, L. (2002) Management and Organisational Behaviour, 6th edn Prentice hall.

Torrington, D. and Hall, L. (1998) Human Resource Management, 4th edn, Prentice Hall.


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