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.
Bibliographical noteFunding Information:
I gratefully acknowledge the support of Dr. Humphrey Bourne, Dr. Victoria Clarke, Gemma Pike, Dr. Paul Redford, and Prof. Irmgard Tischner in developing this paper. I thank the four anonymous reviewers and editors for their constructive comments on previous drafts. The author(s) received no financial support for the research, authorship, and/or publication of this article.
© The Author(s) 2021.
- organizational values
- ideological psychological contract
- organizational identification
- organizational cynicism