Abstracts: February 16th, 2012

Attitude surveys of public sector employees before and after the Autumn 2011 Spending Review reveal a sharp increase in negative feelings after the Review, although it had no immediate practical impact.

The survey is published by the International Centre for Governance and Management and was carried out by Warwick Business School and Birkbeck College. The findings are based on responses from 1160 respondents, who were employed in a range of public sector organisations such as local and national government, health, and police.

Most changes are related to negative experiences at work. The strongest negative impact is related to changes to job conditions and compulsory redundancies. Employees experiencing a lot of changes also reported a number of negative outcomes on their wellbeing, attitudes and behaviours. The main issues were their emotional wellbeing, their sense of workplace justice in the organisation and job security. People reporting more change also tend to see their psychological contracts breached more frequently.

People who responded after the Review were more pessimistic about the impact of change on their work and reported less emotional well-being, less favourable attitudes towards leadership and the organisation and saw they see their psychological contracts less fulfilled. However, their behaviours (e.g., engagement, helping peers) were not affected.

One particular change is related to positive experiences at work: Those working in roles which involved working with other organisations, such as ‘Partnership working’, ‘Total place’ and ‘Place-based partnerships’ reported a higher level of positive experiences and behaviours in the workplace than those who did not.

The report is available here.