Exploring the Commitment of Contractor’s Employees in a Municipal Recreation Environment




Morley, Vanessa

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With an increased focus on health promotion and chronic disease prevention, municipal recreation centres are becoming predominant places for community members to become physically engaged in a diversity of pursuits (Barnes, Maclean, & Cousens, 2010). Recreation Organizations are increasingly searching for flexibility in programming and staffing (Connelly, Gallagher, & Gilley, 2007; Coyle-Shapiro & Morrow, 2006; Lepak, Takeuchi, & Snell, 2003) and new forms of employee-employer relationships are evolving. One of the most common trends in the provision of recreation services is the use of third parties (contractors) who place their employees with client organizations (municipal recreation centres) on a long-term basis. This study explores the perspectives of four contract recreation service provider employees and their experiences delivering recreation programs at municipal recreation centres. Transcripts were used to illustrate each individual’s perspectives using their own words wherever possible and the four interviews were compared to identify similarities and differences. Three themes emerged from the interviews: focus of commitment, impact of perceived organizational support (POS) and the dynamic with the recreation centre. It was found that contractor’s employees in this type role were generally affectively committed to a variety of aspects of their jobs (the participants in the program, their career and the program/activity itself). Incidents were also identified that influenced POS (organizational policies and procedures and those perceived by the employee). It was also found that interactions with municipal recreation centre staff impacted the employee significantly. Future studies should explore this topic further and specific attention could be given to the working relationship between the contractor employee and the recreation centre. Research should also be conducted from the perspectives of the two other key players in this study: the recreation centre (recreation programmer) and the recreation contract service provider.



Commitment, POS, Municipal Recreation, Contract Service Provider, Contractor's Employees, Psychological Contract