Idealism, disillusionment, and cynicism in response to values (in)congruences in UK nonprofit organisations: an exploratory study

Zoe Sanderson*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle (Academic Journal)peer-review

Abstract

I present the findings of an exploratory qualitative enquiry into how employees in UK-based nonprofit organisations with clearly-espoused organisational values experience values (in)congruences. Participants tended to adopt one of three positions - idealism,
disillusionment, or cynicism – which they may transition between at different times. I use the theoretical lenses of the ideological psychological contract, organisational identification, and organisational cynicism to interpret these employees’ experiences. These data show how ideological psychological contract and organisational identification processes are entwined as employees fluidly navigate values (in)congruence in nonprofits. This analysis supports a critical reading of organisational cynicism, demonstrating how nonprofit values can be experienced as a form of managerial control, against which employees may wish to defend their self-hood. Several directions for future research are indicated.
Original languageEnglish
JournalNonprofit and Voluntary Sector Quarterly
Publication statusAccepted/In press - 8 Dec 2020

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