On our side: A grounded theory of manager support in a prison setting
Degree GrantorUniversity of Canterbury
Degree NameMaster of Science
This project explores the challenges of managing in times of organisational stress. The New Zealand department of corrections is facing multiple pressures which are only set to increase including: financial strictures as government funding is being highly scrutinised, greater demand as inmate numbers increase, and reduced capabilities as many staff lack experience.
A grounded theory in a case study setting (three prisons in Christchurch, New Zealand) was undertaken utilising repertory grid and semi-structured interviews to explore the ways in which managers cope during times of such stress. A total of 11 interviews were conducted. In the case, I considered what differentiates effective managers from those who appear less able to cope. It was found that effective managers are those who are able to build trust and respect with their constituents. When staff trust and respect their managers it is because they feel valued and perceive their manager to be on their side; they are then willing to reciprocate. Positive regard, demonstrations of support, and leading by example were found to be key factors leading to being perceived as being on the staff’s side. The links between trust, respect and performance along with the valuation of staff wellbeing were examined.