Perception of Fairness in Psychological Contracts by Hispanic Business Professionals: An Empirical Study in the United States

Article excerpt

This paper reports on a large scale survey of Hispanic Business Professionals working in the United States. While the Hispanic population is the fastest growing group in the United States, little research has attempted to decipher the idiosyncrasies of this unique group of workers. The present study evaluates psychological contract fairness perceptions of Hispanic Business Professions (Hispanic individuals in 'white collar' jobs). The results show that almost two-thirds of the Hispanic Business Professionals surveyed find their psychological contract to be 'unfair'. Additional results are presented surrounding perceptions of discrimination and age.

The Hispanic1 population is well documented as the fastest growing minority group in the United States. As noted in the Census 2000 data, Hispanics are the largest minority group in the United States and have grown much faster than predicted in the past decade and now are equal in size to the African-American population. Currently, there are approximately 33 million Hispanics, comprising approximately 12% of the population and it is projected to be over 50 million by 2020. This group has accounted for 40% of the population growth in the United States in the past decade, growing at 60% - ten times the rate of non-Hispanics (www.hacr.org). While growing at a staggering rate, little managerial research has focused on this component of the workforce. This dearth of work is now more important than ever seeing as how the projected statistics for 2050 are even more explosive and, according to Census projections, Hispanics will then be 25% of the total United States population (Blancero & Blancero, 2001). This projected rise in the number of Hispanics poses challenges for researchers and practitioners and has important implications for organizations, especially considering the lack of scholarly work on this minority. Moreover, business researchers have almost completely ignored Hispanic Business Professionals (white-collar workers with a minimum of an undergraduate college degree) who are examined in the present study.

As with any minority group, issues of great importance surround perceptions of discrimination and fairness. While these issues are of increasing interest in relation to Hispanic professionals (Foley, Kidder & Powell, 2002), most academic research has ignored the potential differences in the workplace that this increasingly large segment of the population faces. Through this lens, the following analysis focuses on issues of the Hispanic professional's perception of psychological contract fairness, perceptions of discrimination and the changing nature of these relationships. Of particular interest are the implications for further research on Hispanics' psychological contract development and evaluation of their specific contracts with employers. While some psychological contract scholars have called for efforts into the nature of psychological contracts for different population segments (Rousseau & Schalk, 2001), there has yet to be an extensive look into the rich research potential created by the unique nature of the Hispanic professional. Thus, this research will not only further organizational research in the area of psychological contracts, but Hispanic research also, as we attempt to explain perceptual differences in Hispanic professional's interpretation of their work agreements.

This work will contribute to the literature by taking a new approach to the psychological contract in looking at new explanatory constructs of the phenomenon of violation. Numerous scholars have stated that future directions in psychological contract research should focus on addressing the major criticisms that exist in the research landscape (measurement, definition, dynamics/outcomes) but maybe more importantly the added value of the construct; this would include identification of clear relationships with other more solidly defined organizational behavior constructs (Guest 1998) as well as the testing of these alternative or "explanatory constructs" (Anderson & Schalk, 1998). …