Discuss about the Psychological Contracts in the Workplace.
The psychological contract can be termed as the relationship between an employer and its workers, which concerns agreed expectations of the contributions and results. It can also be referred to as the unwritten set of expectations of the entire manager-worker relationship. This institution sets the rules and conditions for the relationship and explains in detail how the work should be done be done. It is often viewed from the employees’ point of view. From their perspective, the psychological contract is the balance between how they are treated by the employers and what they put into the job.
The psychological contract was first introduced in the 1960’s when its definitions and descriptions emerged in the works of the theorists Chris Argyris and Edgar Schein. Since then, the concept has been interpreted widely from various perspectives and theories have also been developed to explain it. Many experts and scholars have come up with ideas concerning the concept, and continue to examine it either entirely focusing on it or approaching it from another particular but relative angle.
One such expert is Denise Rousseau. Denise is specializes in teaching organizational behavior at Carnegie Mellon University. She developed the concept of organizational contracts in the workplace which represents the agreed beliefs, views and opinions, and informal obligations between employers and employees.
Psychological Contracts in a Working Environment: Understanding the Ties that Motivate
In the article, the goals behind Denise’s research are clearly implied in her research questions. These objectives are:
- To find out the features and dynamics of psychological contracts.
- To understand how employers can deploy psychological contracts in ways that can be advantageous to the firm.
- To explain how employees come up with their own psychological contracts.
- To find ways in which workers and their managers can come up with common psychological contracts that are advantageous to the firm.
With these objectives clearly stated, Denise manages to breakdown her concept into smaller sections that explain and clearly elaborate her ideas and research findings. However as it should be expected, Denise’s objectives will be found to differ from other similar scholarly articles. This is because although different experts have tackled the psychological contract, they have done so from different perspectives hence developing varied concepts.
Denise M. Rousseau came up with the concept of the psychological contracts in the workplace with the aim of specifying how employers and their workers understand the employment relationship. Understanding and strategically executing these contracts might aid modern firms and business organizations succeed in their goals.
Since time immemorial, business organizations have grown in size and complexity. For instance, more female workers have been incorporated in the workforce and the employees are better educated. This has caused differences in views and opinions between the workers and their employers. Moreover, employers are nowadays needed to be exceedingly aggressive to attain new, challenging goals fast and well enough. This brings in the necessity to be different and this can be a cause of insecurity.
With this evolution, there has been a routine to standardize rather than personalize the type of employment. Therefore, employers prefer to come up with strategies that promote and acknowledge same chances and rights of employees through professional services from the human resource.
Having stated her research problems, Denise has explored each of these problems in form of simplified sub-topics or sub-sections. She has tackled the problems by describing her own ideas and also referring to other similar scholarly articles and research studies. The research problems are:
- Which are the fundamental compositions and sections of psychological contracts?
- With these dynamics, how can managers execute the contracts in manners which can be advantageous to the firm?
- How do employees come up with their special contracts?
- What advise can we give to aid employees and their managers create common and helpful psychological contracts?
Denise’s concept of psychological contracts in the workplace narrows to the opinion that if workers are happy and contented, then a business firm is more likely to succeed. In other words, it is the employee attitudes that motivate organizational success while performance itself does not motivate much of anything. This implies that much of Denise’s research has dwelled on individual employee and not organizational productivity.
These arguments were raised by a study carried out by the experts Benjamin Schneider, Paul Hanges, Brent Smith and Amy Salvaggio from the University of Maryland. These experts argue that there are recent studies which imply that organizational success motivates the workers’ attitude as equals to the other way round. Therefore, maybe the link between employee attitudes and the entire organizational performance should be examined.
Denise M. Rousseau uses an entirely qualitative approach in her research. She develops an idea then conceptualizes it into a theory. Being a professor, an expert and an outstanding scholar in the field of organizational behavior, she has consulted in diverse organizations and taught in many executive programs therefore gathering extensive amount of information. Denise has also explored works from studies by other scholars which has helped her describe and explain her own work.
Sources and Credibility of Evidence
The sources of this research are vastly from previous studies of other scholars as well as Denise’s personal field research. However, her research raises arguments from other experts that may question the credibility of the evidence she produces. The article only focuses on one aspect which is employee satisfaction for organizational performance.
Place in the Literature
As an astounding professor and behavioral expert, Denise’s article on psychological contracts in the workplace fall under psychology in literature. She has also carried out other various studies that have sort to explain theories and concepts.
Soundness of its Conclusion
As she concluded her article, Denise is confident that when carefully executed, the psychological contracts can highly motivate employees and therefore become fundamental building blocks in business firms.
Potential Theoretical Contribution
The article constitutes a contribution to knowledge since it helps managers and employers come up with practices that will help create a mutual working environment with the employers at the work place. However, the research stands to be expounded and criticized however possible.
Ability to be Applied by Managers
When clearly understood and well executed, Denise’s theory can be put to application in modern business firms where positive employment relationship is crucial for the organizations’ success.
In summary therefore, I find Rousseau’s work effective and credible especially in today’s business organizations. However, these contracts develop can be varied from one firm to another. Patience is therefore absolutely necessary when implementing this concept. Contrary too, I think Denise should have developed the concept from atleast two angles so as to reduce arguments and criticisms. Her research largely favours employees, which should not be the case in any workplace. This is because the success of any working firm entails more than just satisfaction of the workforce.
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Conway, Neil & Briner, Rob B. Understanding Psychological Contracts at Work:
A Critical Evaluation of Theory and Research. Oxford, UK: Oxford University Press, (2005)
Coyle-Shapiro, J. A-M., & Kessler. (2002).
Exploring reciprocity through the lens of the psychological contract: Employee and employer perspectives. European Journal of Work and Organizational Psychology, 11: 69-86
Rousseau, Denise M. “Psychological Contracts in the Workplace:
Understanding the Ties that Motivate
Rousseau, Denise M. (1995). “Psychological Contracts in Organizations:
Understanding Written and Unwritten Agreements”.
Rousseau, Denise M. & Shperling, Z. (2003).
“Pieces of the Action: ownership and the Changing Employment Relationship”.
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A timely conceptin a period of transition. Greenwich CT: JAI Press