Μάλιστα,ειδικά τη τελευταία δεκαετία όσοι ασχολήστε με τη διοίκηση επιχειρήσεων και γενικά με το management θα γνωρίζετε το έδαφος που έχει κερδίσει η έννοια του ''Ψυχολογικού Συμβολαίου'' και τη σημασία που λέγεται ότι έχει στη παραγωγικότητα των εργαζομένων.Ειδικά η παραβίαση του έχει μελετηθεί ευρέως από την Ψυχολογία για τις σημαντικές επιπτώσεις που έχει στο πως οι εργαζόμενοι αντιλαμβάνοντε τη σχέση τους με τους εργαδότες τους και κατά συνέπεια στη λειτουργικότητα και παραγωγικότητα τους μέσα στην εργασία.
Παρακάτω η Ψυχολόγος Δρ.Ελένη Μακρή (σελ.22) δίνει μερικούς πολύ καλούς ορισμούς για το τι αποτελεί ουσιαστικά το ''Ψυχολογικό Συμβόλαιο''.
Εσείς τι πιστεύετε ; Νομίζετε πως το ''Ψυχολογικό Συμβόλαιο'' είναι όντως ένας ισχυρός δείκτης εργασιακής συμπεριφοράς; Θεωρήτε πως η έστω υποκειμενική δυναμική του είναι ικανή να διαμορφώσει τον τρόπο με τον οποίο κινούμαστε στο εργασιακό περιβάλλον; Δεδομένης μάλιστα της σημερινής ρευστότητας στην επαγγελματική αρένα νομίζετε πως όντως παραβιάζεται αρκετά συχνά από τους εργοδότες και τι επιπτώσεις ενδέχεται αυτή η παραβίαση να έχει ;Ως «ψυχολογικό συμβόλαιο» ορίζεται «η πεποίθηση που έχει ένα άτομο για τους όρους και τις συνθήκες μιας αμοιβαίας συμφωνίας συναλλαγής, ανάμεσα σε αυτό και σε κάποιον άλλο συμμετέχοντα, στην προκειμένη περίπτωση ανάμεσα στον εργαζόμενο και τον οργανισμό» (Rousseau, 1995). Πιο συγκεκριμένα, ο όρος «ψυχολογικό συμβόλαιο» αναφέρεται στις αμοιβαίες υποχρεώσεις, αξίες, προσδοκίες και επιθυμίες που υπάρχουν από τους εργαζόμενους για τους εργοδότες τους, πέρα από την οποιαδήποτε επίσημη σύμβαση εργασίας (Linde, Schalk & Linde, 2005). Πρόκειται, δηλαδή, για μια σχέση συναλλαγής, όπου οι εργαζόμενοι και οι εργοδότες έχουν συγκεκριμένες προσδοκίες για τις αμοιβαίες υποχρεώσεις τους, οι οποίες είναι βεβαίως διαφορετικές για κάθε εργαζόμενο και επηρεάζουν σημαντικά το τι θεωρεί η κάθε πλευρά ότι είναι δική της υποχρέωση
Συμπληρωματικά, όποιος ενδιαφέρεται για μια πιο επιστημονική ματιά και κριτική γύρω από το ''Ψυχολογικό Συμβόλαιο'' παραθέτω ένα μικρό κομμάτι εργασίας μου που είχα εκπονήσει πρίν μερικά χρόνια.
Even though the literature on the psychological contract has evolved the past two decades (primarily under the influence of Rousseau), it seems that the psychological contract finds its roots in earlier work around the social exchange theory; according to the social exchange theory ,social relationships have consisted of unspecified obligations and the distribution of unequal power resources (Cullinane and Dundon 2006). The social exchange theory according to Cropanzano and Mitchell (2005) is among the most influential paradigms for understanding workplace behaviour. It is in this light that Schein (1988 ) claims that ‘‘Though it remains unwritten, the psychological contract is a powerful determiner of behaviour in organisations’’. Indeed this claim is also supported by Anderson and Schalk (1998 ) who argue that there is an implicit consensus among Psychologists and researchers in the field that even though the psychological contract only rarely becomes explicit ( or is explicitly discussed) it is considered an important determinant of the behaviours and attitudes of the employees.
In order to better understand why the psychological contract is considered by some as an important determinant of the behaviour of workers within an organisation, it might be helpful to look at the work done by Rousseau and Robinson (1994) who examine psychological contract breach. They argue that psychological contract breach and violation is relatively common and that this breach is often associated with various negative behavioural outcomes like reduced commitment and satisfaction decrease in perceived obligations towards the employer and overall reduced performance. It is also in this light that the psychological contract construct is operationalised . According to Rousseau (1998 ), construct validity has been supported for a variety of operationalisations of psychological contracts. Firstly they argue that ‘‘psychological contract violation is distinct from unmet expectations and that violated contract terms evoked much more intensely negative responses than did unmet expectations, a finding predicted by psychological contract theory’’ (Rousseau 1998 ).
Furthermore since psychological contracts are created on the basis of trust, violation and breach of the psychological contract can lead to negative (and at times strong) emotional responses as well as feelings of betrayal (Rousseau and Robinson 1994). Moreover Rousseau and McLean Parks (1993) make an attempt to operationalise the psychological contract by mapping the main dimensions that can make it be distinguished from the conventional contracts used in employment ; they name 5 dimensions under which the psychological contract can be operationalised : focus, time-frame, scope ,stability and tangibility.
In fact Rousseau (1995) makes a distinction between the operationalisation of the two types of psychological contract: The transactional (which is the more economic-orientated emergent psychological contract and the relational (which incorporates both the economic and emotional focus on the psychological contract). Finally , in terms of the psychological contract being a behaviour determinant Rousseau (1998 ) argues that the scientific construct of the psychological contract along with the related constructs of violation/breach and change ,have a central role to play in organisational behaviour by better specifying the dynamics of the employment relationship.
As discussed above the psychological contract violation and breach is often related to negative attitudes and behaviours from the part of workers towards their organisations, at least in a theoretical level. Even though the area of psychological contract breach and violation and its negative outcomes has been widely studied by researchers, Turnley et al. (2003) argue that very little research has been carried out on how psychological contract breach influences individuals work behaviours per se . In fact they argue that the only research pertinent to how the work behaviour changes after a breach of the psychological contract is relied upon employees’ self reports therefore it is important to examine supervisors’ perceptions of employee behaviour apart from employee self-reports of their own behaviours.
It is not surprising that the work and research conducted by Rousseau has been widely criticised in academia. Critics such as Guest (1998 ) argue that the breach and violation of the psychological contract does not differ from other exchange related constructs that are used to understand how fair employees feel regarding the treatment they receive; he adds that there is a danger of potential conceptual overlap between social exchange theory and the psychological contracts that begs the question: does the psychological contract have ‘‘added value’’ after all? Furthermore, Guest (1998 ) goes on to imply that it is unknown at what point in a relationship between a worker and an organisation the psychological contract can be said to exist. He holds the view that the psychological contract is mainly in the ‘‘eye of the beholder’’ and that it can be changed arbitrarily by either the employee or the employer. Continuing with the critique of Rousseau’s work Guest (1998 ) raises the issue of concept redundancy, since it seems that there are similarities between the breach of the psychological contract and job dissatisfaction.
Guest (1998 ), moreover gives a very interesting approach by trying to examine what would happen should the psychological contract is breached when an employee receives more that what he is expecting. What Guest (1998 ) does is to try to examine this breach under the scope of the equity theory and the associated problems of over-reward. In turn he stresses the need for examining whether the psychological contract is fundamentally different from well-established constructs such as organisational commitment and job satisfaction.
Finally, Conway and Briner (2005) suggest that Rousseau’s work on the psychological contract focuses more on the promissory aspects of the contract and less on the expectations of the workers as suggested by previous research; they add that Rousseau is focusing mainly on the individual perceptions and less in the interconnection of both parties. They deem the psychological contract as a subjective notion that remains to be seen if it can be actually operationalised (however they accept that certain terms of the psychological contract are more open to subjectivity than other) and they argue that its limitations must be seen in the context of the generally uncritical and unquestioning nature of much research in the field.
In conclusion, it can be said that the even though the psychological contract has some serious limitations due to its various conceptual problems and flaws in empirical research and even though it still needs to establish itself as a valid psychological construct one cannot forget its importance in the interpretation of the various implicit expectations and promises that are perceived by individuals that are working in organisations. Moreover, the psychological contract seems to be of great importance when it comes to understanding the behaviours arising from its violation and breach which in turn can be explanatory of the workers’ behaviour in the workplace. Apart from the aforementioned limitations and benefits that seem to play an important role in understanding the psychological contract, Guest (1998 ) suggests that the area which seems to be under-researched is the one relating to over-expectations or mainly when the workers within an organisation receive more than what they expect from their employers, would that constitute a breach of the psychological contract? And how would it impact on the behaviour of the individual within an organisation? Future research on the psychological contract might benefit from examining this widely under-researched area...
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