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History and Definitions of the Concept of Pyschological Contract

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Basic Concepts & Definitions History and Definitions of the Concept: The notion of the "psychological contract" was first coined by Argyris (1960) to refer to employer and employee expectations of the employment relationship, i.e. mutual obligations, values, expectations and aspirations that operate over and above the formal contract of employment. Since then there have been many attempts to develop and refine this concept. Historically, the concept can be viewed as an extension of philosophical concepts of social contract theory (Schein, 1980; Roehling, 1997). The social contract, which deals with the origins of the state, supposes that individuals voluntarily consent to belonging to an organised society, with attendant constraints and…show more content…
Incorporation of beliefs, values, expectations and aspirations of employer and employee, including beliefs about implicit promises and obligations, the extent to which these are perceived to be met or violated and the extent of trust within the relationship. 2. These expectations are not necessarily made explicit. It can be regarded as the implicit deal between employers and employees. It implies fairness and good faith. 3. An important aspect of the notion of a psychological contract is that it can be continually re-negotiated, changing with an individual's, and an organisation's, expectations, and in shifting economic and social contexts. It is not static, but dynamic and shifting. However, most research provides only a snapshot of one point in time thereby capturing only one stage in this social process. 4. Because it is based on individual perceptions individuals in the same organisation or job may perceive different psychological contracts, which will, in turn, influence the ways in which they perceive organisational events (e.g. redundancies or developing or modifying a flexitime system). Some, but not all, definitions of the psychological contract stress that it implies mutuality and reciprocity, based on the perceptions of both parties (employee and employer or its agent e.g. managers). The notion of mutuality, however can be problematic, especially where there is a large power differential between contractors. This allows for the
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