What Is The Psychological Contract? Essay Example


Kotter (1973) defines the psychological contract as “an implicit contract between an individual and his organization which specifies what each expects to give and receive from each other in their relationship”. Schein (1980) described it as “a set of unwritten reciprocal expectations between an individual employee and the organization”. According to both these definitions and that of Herriot and Pemberton (1995) psychological contract involves exchange and an implied contract involving two parties. The concept of psychological contract has increased in popularity recently due to the growing concern that the world of work has been changing and people who have entered employment expecting the traditional career promises of a fair pay for fair work and employment security are likely to find that this promise has been broken. The traditional career promises are not able to be maintained because of the increasing pace of change in organizations.

Articles relevant to the report

Due to recent changes in the management scenario due to globalization, restructuring and downsizing, psychological contracts are become more and more significant factors in the workplace. Sandra L. Robinson (1996) explains that organizations, which are forced to adapt to the changing circumstances have to alter employment relationships and also the psychological contracts that are intertwined with them. Thus changing circumstances in the management sector are the reasons behind the changing nature of psychological contracts. It may no longer be possible to balance the traditional contract of long-term job security and the hard work of the employees and hence there is increased probability of psychological contract breach (Robinson, 1996). Sandra L. Robinson’s article on “Trust and breach of the psychological contract” reports on the application of a theoretical model of the role of trust in the psychological contract breach experience. Robinson explores the various roles played by the past and current trust in the context of psychological contract breach. De Meuse et al (2001) test the extent to which perceptions of the relational component of the psychological contract have changed during the past 50 years. The study also discusses the role of generational differences or differences in employment status in shaping perceptions of the psychological contract. Lester et al (2001) examine the issue of psychological contracts from the employees’ perspective and has examined to what extent organizations fulfill the important aspects of the psychological contract. Niehoff and Paul (2001) have provided an explanation of how psychological contracts may be violated and how they can be developed and maintained. Paul R. Sparrow (1998) has found that a series of cross-cultural and psychological dimensions must be considered in the context of changes in the psychological contract. Kickull (2001) has investigated the role of the psychological contract and the types of promises made and communicated by small business organizations to attract and retain their employees. These are some of the relevant research studies in the context of psychological contracts.

Literature Review

Studies show that psychological contract has two components – transactional and relational. In a transactional exchange, organizations agree to provide specific remuneration for certain services provided by the employee. The relational component emphasizes a socio-emotive interaction between the employee and employer and relational elements revolve around trust, respect, and loyalty developing over time. Meuse et al (2001) conducted their study involving 204 individuals spanning three generations. Each participant was asked to complete a survey about the psychological contract. It was found that perceptions of the relational component of the psychological contract have changed over time – relations scores being different for different time periods. However there was no difference in perception among the three generations. The findings also revealed that part-time employees view the psychological contract differently than their full-time counterparts in the fact that full-time employees perceived a greater decrease in the relational component over time. Likewise, Paul R. Sparrow in his analysis warns that one must be careful while interpreting the employee response through the psychological contract and suggests that cross-cultural and cross-national differences must be taken into consideration. Managers must realize that national values such as individualism-collectivism and the factor of power distance influence the social cues that they use to interpret information in the contract with their employees (Sparrow 1998, p. 30).

Lester et al (2001), in their study involving 268 employees enrolled in a part-time MBA found that employees were most concerned about intrinsic outcomes in a company such as “open and honest communication, managerial support, and challenging and interesting work” (Lester et al. 2001, p. 10). The study also revealed that the psychological contract obligations that employees value most are also the ones that companies find most difficult to fulfill such as open and honest communication to their employees. The findings also reveal that when psychological contract obligations are left unfulfilled, it can lead to attrition or job dissatisfaction. Robinson (2001) has studied the role of trust in the case of violation of a psychological contract and makes three findings: a prior positive attitude and trust in one’s employer at the time of hire may reduce the likelihood that a contract breach will be noticed; a psychological contract breach will reduce the contribution of the employees to the firm; a sense of unmet expectations and a loss of trust will mediate the relationship between the contract breach and the contributions of the employees to the firm. Robinson also found that prior trust will moderate the relationship between the contract breach and subsequent trust. Those employees who had low prior trust are likely to be impacted more by a psychological contract breach than those who had high prior trust. Robinson arrived at these conclusions based on surveys involving 125 alumni of a Midwestern graduate business school held over several points in time.

Analysis and evaluation of literature

The inability of employees to keep up their promises to their employees due to increasing pace of change in organizations has led to increasing research in the area of psychological contracts. Literature regarding psychological contracting uses distinctions between transactional features and relational features of psychological contracts. The transactional elements include timing of holidays, the basis for overtime payment, criteria for achievement of performance targets etc. whereas relational elements include implication understandings about fair treatment, support for a promotion application, opportunities to get on key development programs and so on. (Schbracq et al 2003, 145). Rousseau (1995) was one of the earliest researchers of psychological contracts. McLean Parks et al (1998) have built on this research by identifying seven dimensions along which the psychological contracts of workers may be measured: stability, scope, tangibility, focus, time frame, particularism, multiple agency and volition. Due to the wide variety of workers and organizational contexts, there is a lot of variation in the content of the psychological contract; much of the research is focused on identifying the content or the important factors of the psychological contract. This has been carried out mainly using survey questionnaires as in the case of Robinson (1996), Lester et al. (2001) and Sparrow (1998). However, Herriot et al (1997) used the critical incident technique to identify the content of the contract and Rousseau and Anon (1991) used a policy capturing methodology to explore the exchange in psychological contracts. Much of this research has been theoretical as in the case of Sandra L. Robinson who used a theoretical model to study the role of trust in the organization. Lester et al (2001) have investigated psychological contracts from the viewpoint of the employees and found that though employees placed a high level of importance to all areas of the contract, eight of the ten items that received the highest employee importance ratings dealt with intrinsic outcomes. This finding suggested that employees are interested not only in monetary rewards that the employers provide but also in non-monetary factors such as communication, support and challenging work. This finding has greater meaning for recruiters, who need to go beyond a discussion of compensation and benefits and highlight aspects of their organization that job candidates will find intrinsically satisfying. This study also has implications for employers who need to understand that they must pay more attention to things such as “meaningful work, recognition, creative freedom, and opportunities for personal growth” (Lester et al, 2001, 10). Some of the studies on psychological contract have been conducted with only MBA students (Robinson, 1996; Lester et al, 2001) and the limitation of these studies is that these students may not truly represent the managers in real life due to different goals, needs and expectations. Another gap in the literature is that only a small number of studies have considered breach or violation of psychological contracts (Schabracq, 2003, p. 151).

Conclusions relating to the literature

Psychological contracting is a two sided unwritten unspoken agreement between the employer and the employee which is considered more of a promise. When the psychological contract is broken, it leads to inefficient work from the employees. To avoid such inefficiency, it is important to understand what the psychological contract is and how it is to be developed and maintained. The existing literature distinguishes between two components of the psychological contract-transactional and relational and these two components emphasize different types of exchange relationships between the employee and employer. Studies have shown that employees pay more importance to the relational aspects of the psychological contract and desire things other than money from their employers. Trust is a very important aspect of the psychological contract and those who have a high level of trust in their employers while joining work are found to be more resistant to mental disappointments through unmet expectations. Otherwise, employees whose expectations are unmet tend to underperform in the workplace. Time, work status, nationality and culture tend to play a role in the content of the psychological contract. These are some of the conclusions arrived at by the available literature on psychological contracts.


  1. De Meuse, PK; Bergmann, TJ; Lester, WS 2001, An Investigation of the Relational Component of the Psychological Contract across Time, Generation and Employment Status, Journal of Managerial Issues, Volume: 13, Issue: 1, 2001, p. 102.
  2. Herriot, P and Pemberton, C. 1995, New Deals: The Revolutin in Managerial Careers, John Wiley and Sons, Chichester
  3. Kotter, JP 1973, The psychological Contract: managing the Joining up Process, California Management Review, 15, 91-9.
  4. Lester, WS; Claire, E and Kickul, J 2001, Psychological Contracts in the 21st Century: What Employees Value Most and How Well Organizations Are Responding to These Expectations, Human Resource Planning, Volume: 24, Issue: 1, 2001, p.10
  5. Niehoff, PB and Paul, JR 2001, The Just Workplace: Developing and Maintaining Effective Psychological Contracts, Review of Business, Volume: 22, Issue: 1, 2001, p. 5.
  6. Parks, MJ; Kidder, D and Gallagher, D. 1998, Fitting square pegs into round holes: mapping the domain of contingent work arrangements onto psychological contracts, Journal of Organizational Behavior, 19, 697-730
  7. Robinson, LS 1996, Trust and Breach of the Psychological Contract, Administrative Science Quarterly, Volume: 41, Issue: 4, 1996, p. 574+.
  8. Rousseau, DM 1995, Psychological Contracts in Organizations, Sage Publications, Thousand Oaks: California
  9. Rousseau, DM and Anton, RJ 1991, Fairness and implied contract obligations in job terminations: the role of contributions, promises and performance, Journal of Organizational Behavior, 12, 287-99
  10. Schabracq, JM; Winnubst, AMJ and Cooper, CL 2003, The Handbook of Work and Health Psychology, John Wiley & Sons, Chichester, England. 2003.
  11. Schein, EH 1980, Organizational Psychology, Englewood Cliffs, Prentice Hall, NJ
  12. Sparrow, RP 1998, Reappraising Psychological Contracting: Lessons for the Field of Human-Resource Development from Cross-Cultural and Occupational Psychology Research, International Studies of Management & Organization, Volume: 28, Issue: 1, 1998, p. 30+.

History Of Russia After The Soviet Union

From the time when Soviet Union was founded in 1922, Communist henchmen thought of it as simply a tool of spreading Communism across the Globe. Soviet coat of arms featured sickle and hammer over the Earth and Soviet Constitution openly stated that it was only the matter of time, before the rest of world’s countries would join “workers’ paradise” as Soviet republics. Therefore, USSR could not enjoy vitality for as long as it was expanding. When after the end of WW2 it stopped expanding, it began collapsing internally. Thus, the whole post-war period in Russia’s history can be described as essentially the period of stagnation. This stagnation was due top failed political agenda. After coming to power, Khrushchev strived to slightly liberalize public life in Soviet Union, without understanding that Liberal principles and ideology of Communism are simply irreconcilable. What Khrushchev did to Soviet Union from 1957 to 1964, can be compared to what students do to dead frogs, during anatomy classes, while putting electrical currents through frog’s legs, thus causing them to move. He wanted to revitalize something that could not be revitalized by definition.

Khrushchev needed Western Democracies to begin thinking of USSR not as bloody Communist dictatorship, which used to be the case prior to 1939,, but as “main contributor to the defeat of Nazism”. This is the reason why Soviet official ideology, after the end of WW2, became essentially opposite to what it originally used to be. Given the fact that USSR had failed at reaching its geopolitical agenda, it became only the matter of time, before it would cease to exist. From 1964 onwards, after Brezhnev came to power, Soviet Union had stopped progressing scientifically and culturally altogether, while being turned into essentially a natural resources’ colony. Once prices for oil had dropped in eighties, Soviet Union simply could no longer exist; therefore, its collapse in 1991 cannot be exclusively blamed on Gorbachev, as many people in Russia do, but on the very essence of Communist ideology.

Today’s Russia is nothing but a miniature model of Soviet Union. Russia’s elite consists of former KGB high officials and oligarchs (former Communists), who were able to enrich themselves immensely on suffering of ordinary Russians. However, after having learned a lesson of Soviet Union, which had peacefully ceased to exist in 1991, because everybody in this country (including Soviet officials) hated it with utter passion, today’s Russian elite wants to prevent the same thing happening to Russian Federation, by instilling ordinary Russians with the sense of “imperial pride”. This is why the old myths of “great patriotic war” and of “Russia’s unilateral role in defeating the Nazism” are now being again jammed down ordinary citizens’ throats. This is why Russia had attacked Georgia in 2008, while violating the most basic international laws and this is why it will continue to escalate international tensions in future.


Suvorov, V. 1990. “Icebreaker: Who Started the Second World War?”. London: Viking Press.

The Stakeholders And Their Stakes Within The Sports Media Discussions

Discussing key issues associated with controversial discussions in sports media, it would be relevant to point out such criteria as the conflicts in values, important consequences or rights, and responsibilities among the stakeholders in the issue under consideration, where stakeholders might be represented as an entire television media service and a European Sports Commission with single sportsmen and various sports teams under its charge.

This paper is aimed to show whether or not such media discussion respects the rights of the involved sides. In this context, it should be discussed the above-mentioned case with the view to the international sport situation. As there has been already mentioned the key stakeholders of the present discussion would be the television media service itself and a European Sports Commission with single sportsmen and various sports teams under its charge.

Within such discussion, there should be analyzed and argued the stakes of those stakeholders that might be introduced as follows: economic and television media aspects associated with sport, representation of sport as a big business, and television media share in this business. To understand, describe and analyze the above-listed theses better, it would be relevant to argue which of the values, consequences, rights, or responsibilities are the most important considerations concerning the issue of the interest.

Following this, it should be said that, nowadays, sport performs indeed important social, economic, international and cultural function. That is why it is targeted by media services, especially, television. Another issue that should be considered while discussing the problem of interest is that sport is introduced by various critics and media as a big business.

One of the most striking, controversial, and vivid examples of this is introduced below. It describes the increase in salaries, payments, and transfer fees of sportsmen who practice sports professionally; also it shows the rise in the value and importance of television media rights within the context of sports activities and exclusive materials about them. Here might be suggested a citation that supports the above-mentioned claim: “In 1992, broadcasters paid 434 million euro for the television media rights of the English Premier League for five seasons. In 2000 they paid 2.6 billion euro for only three seasons” (Broadcasting Competition Law, 2003, January 15).

After providing such information, it would be relevant to analyze European Sports Commission’s opinion and view on the issue under consideration and its questionable issue of joint selling of television media rights. Thus, it might be concluded from the above-mentioned facts that European Sports Commission does not agree with the media’s statement that the already mentioned joint selling of television media rights of events in the sports world should be regarded as an obligatory issue for solidarity and peaceful measures between television media service and European Sports Commission with single sportsmen and various sports teams under its charge.

After analyzing, describing, and discussing all of the above-provided facts and materials about the given stakeholders in the issue under consideration and their stakes, it is possible to conclude that European Sports Commission is indeed interest in television media rights on events in the sports world as they play a significant role in the development of the television markets that gain huge profits. Following this, it is necessary to outline that television media interest in sports activities might be also explained by the usage of sports broadcasting in the system of newly liberalized television media markets.

Works cited

Toft, Torben. Broadcasting Competition Law. European Sport Commission. Brussels: EC Press, 2003.

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