Antecedents and formation of psychological contracts between subcontinent immigrants and New Zealand managers: Do cultural values affect their expectations? : A thesis submitted in partial fulfilment of the requirements for the Degree of Doctor of Philosophy at Lincoln University

Ali Wardah
Fields of Research
ANZSRC::470210 Globalisation and culture , ANZSRC::350503 Human resources management , ANZSRC::470108 Organisational, interpersonal and intercultural communication , ANZSRC::350799 Strategy, management and organisational behaviour not elsewhere classified , ANZSRC::350502 Employment equity and diversity , ANZSRC::350504 Industrial and employee relations
Psychological contracts take shape even before employees begin their first day with an organisation. Pre-employment experiences, perceived expectations, individual and cultural backgrounds influence a new employee’s schemas. However, this is only one side of the psychological contract; the manager also comes with a set of antecedents as the employee and manager begin to form an employment relationship. This study seeks to understand the interrelationship under the lens of psychological contracts. The main objective of this research was to understand the formation of a psychological contract framework to explore value-based expectations between Subcontinent immigrant employees (Pakistan, India and Bangladesh) and New Zealand managers working together. Both parties from different cultural backgrounds can influence the perceived exchange expected from each other. A psychological contract is “individual beliefs” shaped by past experiences, culture, or values that influence the social exchange between two parties (Rousseau, 1995). A qualitative approach was adopted in this research; 28 Subcontinent immigrants and 7 New Zealand managers were interviewed. The key finding is that their respective cultures consciously and subconsciously influenced the participants’ expectations. The employees had a moral compass that influenced which direction their psychological contract would evolve towards. This is because some participants held on to some of their cultural values more strongly than did other participants. Power distance was a constant variable affecting the employee–manager relationship. For employees coming from the Subcontinent, power distance is a value that is not only limited to organisations but is widespread in their culture and society. It is related to age, gender and social class. In contrast, New Zealand observes low power distance. This difference significantly affected the employee–manager relationship through communication, independence, and feedback processes. This study also provides a theoretical framework by comparing three well-known theories: national cultural dimensions (Hofstede, 2001), cultural values (Schwartz, 1994; 2004) and individual cultural values (Schwartz, 2012). A cross-cultural star framework has been conceptualised, and the themes analysed through this framework have helped visualise and compare the individual and cultural values of the participants. It has helped connect the comments of the participants with their values. This thesis concludes with recommendations for policymakers, immigration advisors, and organisations to better understand the underlying expectations and experiences of employees from the Subcontinent immigrant culture and use that to create more accurate methods to ensure positive employment integration into the New Zealand work environment.
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