Presentation on theme: "Dr Lynn Nichol Department of Business and Management University of Gloucestershire."— Presentation transcript:
Dr Lynn Nichol Department of Business and Management University of Gloucestershire
Exploring clergy working lives through the framework of the psychological contract Non contractual elements of the ‘employment’ relationship It is about our expectations of how we should be treated, and what we are prepared to ‘do’ regardless of our contractual obligations Herriot and Pemberton (1995) define it as the ‘deal’ between the organisation and the individual Psychological Contracts can change – violation
Interpretative and exploratory study Focuses on parish clergy – stipendiary, NSM, MSE – no senior staff A series of group interviews with Clergy Chapters A series of one-to-one interviews with Clergy Findings – 5 key areas
Main research carried out when the Church was on the cusp of change with the introduction of common tenure. Clergy perceived themselves constantly as autonomous workers. No evidence of clergy without freehold perceiving their position or role to be any different from those with freehold. The Canons of the Church of England were never referred to by any of my participants and did not seem to inform their understanding of their ‘employment relationship’. The ‘contractual’ ordinal
Unsurprisingly the relationship between participants and senior staff is confirmed as based on ‘sharing’ a role and the cure of souls rather than a management relationship. It is a relationship based on trust and support. Clergy expect pastoral care from the senior staff. There is no evidence in my research of them not receiving this care. Despite my participants indicating that the Church of England has in the recent past, and continues to undergo significant change there is no evidence of a change in the psychological contract between clergy and senior staff. This is a surprising (and encouraging) finding the research evidence conducted in other forms of organisations concludes that ongoing change destabilised the psychological contract in the organisation and results in a de-motivated and often disloyal workforce.
The parish clergy draw on the historical psychological contract to inform their understanding of their own work. Aspects to the historical psychological contract – independence, autonomous working, close long term association with geographical place. The participants draw on a collective memory of their perceptions of previous working lives to draw attention to the conditions of their own contemporary situation.
My full time participants articulate a narrative of regret. There is a mismatch between clergy’s expectations of their work and the reality of working within the contemporary Church of England. This regret is shared by clergy of different generations and years experience. This is evident even in those who have been recently trained and ordained. They report frustration and regret that they are unable to fulfil what they perceive to be the key tasks articulated in their ordination vows. My participants perceive that their predecessors were not so constrained. In the language of the psychological contract they perceive that the Church of England has violated the contract with communities and regret being unable to meet their own and others expectations.
Self-supporting ministers in parish work did not express a ‘narrative of regret’ MSEs - there is evidence in my research that clergy perceive that the Church of England has adopted new forms and patterns of working but has not adapted its practices to accommodate those working as MSEs. The perception of historical working life is a powerful influence on the working lives of contemporary parish clergy. Clergy in new forms of working lives, such as MSEs do not have access to common understanding of work developed over hundreds of years. MSEs are potentially developing a new psychological contract differentiated from the historical one.
Celebration and affirmation of the existing Psychological Contract Freedom to listen to and follow God’s call Embracing vulnerability and sacrifice Supported and cared for; not managed The Broken Psychological Contract Walking in the footsteps - the influence of the ‘historical psychological contract’ Broken contracts - the contract between the church and the communities it serves Renegotiation- the changing expectations of church congregations Financing ministry, and its impact on the psychological contract Alternative Psychological Contracts ‘Serving two masters’ - understanding the psychological contract of those who are self-supporting ministers Walking without footsteps - Working beyond the ‘historical psychological contract’