Police stress : the role of psychological contract and perceptions of fairness
Noblet, Andrew, Rodwell, John and Allisey, Amanda 2009, Police stress : the role of psychological contract and perceptions of fairness, Policing : an international journal of police strategies and management, vol. 32, no. 4, pp. 613-630.
Purpose – The overall purpose of this paper is to examine the extent to which breaches in psychological contracts and perceptions of organizational fairness account for variations in job stress experienced by operational police officers (as measured by psychological distress and employee performance), after controlling for the variance associated with more established job stressors (i.e. job demands, job control and social support).
Design/methodology/approach – This study is based on data collected through a self-report survey involving operational members of a large Australian police force (n=582).
Findings – Results of hierarchical multiple regression analyses indicate that vast majority of explained variance in psychological distress and extra-role performance is attributed to the additive effects of demand, control, and support. Furthermore, only one of the social exchange dimensions (interpersonal fairness) is predictive of either target variable.
Research limitations/implications – The limitations that need to be taken into account are the cross-sectional nature of the study design and the focus on a single police service.
Practical implications – Despite the generally weak support for the social exchange variables, there are signs that dimensions of justice (particularly interpersonal justice) should be included in future police-stress investigations. The results also suggest that job characteristics such as job demand, job control and social support should be taken into account when developing strategies to prevent and/or reduce chronic job stress in policing services.
Originality/value – This is one of the first studies to examine the relationships between psychological contract breach, perceptions of fairness and police stress.
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