Organizational Cynicism Development and Testing of an Integrated Model: A Study of Public Sector Employee in Pakistan


The major objective of the present study was to develop and test an integrated model of organizational cynicism in public sector organizations of Pakistan. Though theories in organizational behavior claim to cover the attitudinal and behavioral aspects of all employees, but there are a number of objections on these theories. For example, criticism on majority of studies is that they are developed in countries which form 30% of the population, mainly Europe and the North America. When the findings are applied to remaining 70% population of the world, the results can be problematic. Theorists like Hofstede(1980) and his followers claim that any explanation of theory without taking into consideration the cultural context can lead to fallacies rather than findings. The present study mainly attempted to analyze an important employee related attitude i.e. organizational cynicism in an under-researched country viz. Pakistan. The second key objective was to study the issue in public sector organizations. The debate that whether same theories are applicable in public and private sector organizations, has been part of literature for decades. The key reason for this debate is that since public and private sector organizations exist with different objectives, the organizational behavior in these organizations may not be the same. Theoretically, the study attempts to develop an integrated model of organizational cynicism. Over the last decade a significant amount of work has been done on the issue, but most of the models discuss limited aspects of organizational cynicism. This study attempts to develop an integrated model of organizational cynicism in Pakistan. The model with these constraints in mind tends to examine impact of demographics and some psychological factors on organizational cynicism. The second component of this model examines outcomes of organizational cynicism and its role as a mediating variable.

A sample of public sector employees was selected for data collection. In Pakistan, public sector organizations employs a huge number of employees (around 3 million) in different sectors. Keeping in view the volume of public sector organizations and employees, the study was restricted to civil servants working only in main government secretariats like Islamabad, Lahore, and Karachi. Data was collected from 948 respondents through a questionnaire .

Results gave some novel findings specific to culture in Pakistan. Qualification is significantly associated with organizational cynicism while age gender has insignificant relationship. More education with lesser career prospects brings more frustration among employees thus older workers with higher qualification are having more cynicism. Among antecedents of organizational cynicism, negative relationship between perception of politics and organizational cynicism was quite unusual finding which was explained in public sector organizations cultural context of Pakistan where rewards, career development every thing is dependent more on individual’s ability to indulge in politics rather than job performance. On the other hand positive relationship between breach of psychological contract and organizational cynicism, while a negative relationship between job autonomy and organizational cynicism was found in the study. The mediating role of organizational cynicism also gives diverse findings. The results are explained in terms of the existing internal and external environment of public sector organizations in Pakistan. Generally the development of integrated model for organizational cynicism was supported well theoretically and statistically.

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