The psychological contract: the interaction between the personal and the political at the workplace

Cachia, Moira ORCID: (2014) The psychological contract: the interaction between the personal and the political at the workplace. In: BPS Social Psychology Section 2014 Annual Conference, 09-11 Sep 2014, Canterbury, UK. (Unpublished)

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Purpose: The psychological contract refers to the employee’s perception of the employment relationship based on one’s relations with the employing organisation, thus highlighting its political nature. A positive psychological contract has been found to promote desirable employee attitudes such as job satisfaction and intention to stay. However, research has mainly focussed on the negative consequences of psychological contract breach. The presented study investigates psychological contract formation and development within the first year of employment, aiming to understand the personal elements contributed by the employee.

Methodology: A qualitative longitudinal design was adopted. Semi-structured telephone interviews were conducted with 26 participants at 3, 6 and 12 months from entry into the organisation. The collected data was analysed using thematic analysis.

Findings: New recruits expect a reciprocal exchange of trust, loyalty and mutual care with the organisation, providing them with a positive social identity. Moreover, they perceive their employment as an avenue of self-expression, where they maintain their personal values and goals. Hence, an employee’s intention to leave an organisation may be due to a change in one’s career path which cannot be actualised through the present arrangement.

Conclusion: More emphasis needs to be placed on the ‘personal’ component of the psychological contract. It is not only the employer’s met or broken promises that need to be accounted for but also the employee’s changing and emerging needs, which are required to be attended to. Future research must focus on psychological contract development rather than violation in order to capture these idiosyncratic aspects.

Item Type: Conference or Workshop Item (Paper)
Subjects: Business and finance
Depositing User: Moira Cachia
Date Deposited: 28 Jul 2015 08:00
Last Modified: 28 Aug 2021 07:18


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