• The end of meaningful work in charities? A case study of ethics in employee relations

      Wang, Wen; Seifert, Roger (Springer, 2021-07-12)
      Developed from meaningful work and business ethics, we investigate the motivational effect of meaningful work on paid staff (not volunteers) with a “shortage” of ethical employment practices situated in the Not-for-Profit sector. We tested the traditional notion of meaningful work by nature and by line manager support (under its business-like practices) to compensate for the “sacrifice” (low pay and job stress caused by poor employment terms) of front line staff working alongside professional managers paid the market rate. Using a mixed-method case study, we employed SEM modelling to analyse a staff survey of 125 valid responses and administrative records of staff resignation, alongside interviews. The results show that meaningful work by nature and by line manager support are positively and significantly associated with job satisfaction but neither has a significant effect on staff resignation action. There is no empirical evidence to support the compensating effect of meaningful work by nature; meaningful work by line manager support has a stronger effect only through reduced job stress, rather than compensating for the low pay, in preventing resignation. The qualitative analysis reveals that continued low pay and using precarious employment contracts have evoked the questioning of ethics of employment practices in this sector. We discuss the implications and suggest further areas of research.
    • Job stress and employee outcomes: employment practices in a charity

      Wang, Wen; Seifert, Roger (Emerald Publishing, 2021-03-19)
      Design/methodology/approach We collected both quantitative (through a staff survey and administrative records of sick leave in the previous 12 months) and qualitative data (through interviews and focus groups) from one branch of an internationally well-established and UK-based religious charity between 2017 and 2018. Purpose The study intends to examine employee relations with a changing workforce resulting from the business-like transformation in the charity sector. We investigated sector-specific employment practices which can alleviate job stress (as a given and which has been made worse by the transformation). Developed from the intrinsic and extrinsic motivation framework, the findings can inform human resource management practices in its new efficiency-seeking business model. Findings The quantitative results support a strong mediating effect of job satisfaction between job stress and staff sick leave. The negative correlation shown between job stress and job satisfaction is subject to paid staff perception of meaningful work and their level of involvement in decisionmaking, with the latter having a stronger moderating effect. The qualitative data provides further contextualized evidence on the findings. Practical implications It is important for charities to uphold and reflect their charitable mission towards beneficiaries and paid staff during the shift to an efficiency-seeking business model. Charities should involve their new professional workforce in strategic decision-making to better shape a context-based operational model. Originality/value The study examined employee relations in the nonprofit charity sector with a changing workforce during the transition to a more business-oriented model. In particular, we revealed sector-specific factors that can moderate the association between job stress and absenteeism, and thereby contribute to the understanding of HRM practices in the sector.