Relative Deprivation and Organisational Satisfaction:  Satisfaction and Discontent and Their Consequences Among University Staff.

Walker, I. (The University of Canberra)

Relative deprivation (RD) theory formalises the conditions under which we expect people to believe they are unjustly treated, and the social and behavioural consequences of perceived injustice. An important distinction is made between individual RD and group RD. This presentation describes a survey (N = 121) of academic and professional staff at an Australian university, examining staff members’ evaluations of their pay and conditions, and testing the predictions from RD theory, that discontent framed individually leads to stress, and group-based discontent leads to social action. RD is operationalised as experiencing worsening conditions as both unfair and inducing anger, and is measured separately for the individual respondent’s working conditions and for ‘staff in the same position as you’. Preliminary analyses show more than 55% of respondents experience personal RD and slightly fewer (52%) experience group RD. Effects are described of both individual and group RD on stress, willingness to take social action, organisational commitment, organisational identification, and job satisfaction.


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Social Identity and Applied Psychology