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Measuring relationships between workers in poverty‐focused organisations

Ishbel McWha (Poverty Research Group, Massey University, Auckland, New Zealand)
Malcolm MacLachlan (Centre for Global Health and School of Psychology, Trinity College Dublin, Dublin, Ireland)

Journal of Managerial Psychology

ISSN: 0268-3946

Article publication date: 16 August 2011




The purpose of this paper is to develop and test a measure of relationships and learning within the aid context.


The Aid Relationships Quality Scale (ARQS) was administered to 1,290 local and expatriate workers across six countries in three regions (Africa: Malawi, Uganda; Asia: India, China; Oceania: PNG, Solomon Islands), as part of a larger study exploring remuneration differences. Data were factor‐analysed and explored using correlations. Individual and organisational level variance was partialed out in the analyses.


The ARQS showed a stable factor structure and acceptable reliability for each subscale: “relationship with expatriates”, “relationship with locals”, and “learning from expatriates and locals”. Construct validity was examined using a modification of the Multitrait‐Multimethod Matrix. For the sample as a whole, and at the individual level, both relationships subscales were positively correlated with each other, job satisfaction, and “learning from expatriates and locals”. At the organisational level “relationship with expatriates” correlated positively with pay justice, and international mobility, and negatively with de‐motivation, pay comparison and self‐assessed ability. “Relationships with locals” correlated positively with self‐assessed ability, turnover, and job satisfaction, and negatively with pay justice. The convergent and discriminant correlation patterning is largely in line with theory and thus supports the construct validity of the scale.


Relationships between aid workers are integral to the success of development assistance initiatives. This research has developed a new and brief instrument for measuring one aspect of aid relationships – that between expatriate and local workers.



McWha, I. and MacLachlan, M. (2011), "Measuring relationships between workers in poverty‐focused organisations", Journal of Managerial Psychology, Vol. 26 No. 6, pp. 485-499.



Emerald Group Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2011, Emerald Group Publishing Limited

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