Sustaining employee involvement in a developing country

  • Ananda Karuna Liyana Jayawardana

Student thesis: Professional Doctorate


The thesis examines the factors influencing the sustainability of employee involvement strategies in the Sri Lankan manufacturing sector. Applying the psychological contract perspective, the researcher attempts to explore how employee involvement strategies are sustained at the factory floor level. More specifically, the attempt is to understand the involved behaviour of employee in the perspectives of a relational as well as a transactional psychological contract. The empirical evidence is drawn from three case studies in to consumer products, tobacco products and garment manufacturing in Sri Lanka. The thesis highlights several key findings relating to the process of sustaining employee involvement strategies in Sri Lankan manufacturing firms. First, the existence of a psychological contract in the form of a relational contract supports the sustenance of employee involvement strategies. Second, the social exchange process that produces the relational contract in an employer-employee setting draws from situational factors such as the supportive climate created by employer and employee development programmes and the psychological factors, such as work values, job involvement, and commitment of the employee to organization. Third important factor: the trust placed in the organization by the employee develops exchange relationships with the organization, managers and fellow employees leading to a relational psychological contract, which results in the sustenance of outcomes of employee involvement. Some confirming evidence for the third factor could be drawn from situations where a break down of trust prompts a violation of the psychological contract. In such situations, the relational contract is transformed into a transactional contract resulting in the failure of employee involvement process. Finally, the thesis finds little evidence to support the view that moving down power, information, knowledge and skills and rewards to the frontline employees alone are sufficient to sustain an employee involvement process.
Date of Award2004
Original languageEnglish
Awarding Institution
  • University of Canberra
SupervisorO'Donnell Michael (Supervisor) & Chris Fisher (Supervisor)

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