Expectations, obligations or promises? A conceptual review and revision of the beliefs comprising the psychological contract

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Abstract

The psychological contract is a frequently deployed construct to examine the dynamics of the employee-employer exchange relationship. While there is consensus that the contract comprises employee and employer beliefs regarding this relationship, the various belief types are not conceptually well-defined and understood. Over time, the contract has been conceptualised as comprising expectations, obligations, promises or some combination therein. While most contemporary researchers focus solely upon promises, the justifications for this position are unpersuasive. This paper theoretically describes the various belief types, identifies their interrelationships and proposes a reconceptualisation of the beliefs constituting the contract. Specifically, it is demonstrated that the extant promise-based belief framework provides too restrictive a theoretical base for a comprehensive understanding of individuals’ psychological contracts.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationProceedings of the 24th Annual Australian and New Zealand Academy of Management Conference
Subtitle of host publicationManaging for Unknowable Futures
PublisherAustralian and New Zealand Academy of Management
Publication statusPublished - 2010
Externally publishedYes
EventAustralian and New Zealand Academy of Management Conference (24th : 2010) - Adelaide
Duration: 7 Dec 201010 Dec 2010

Conference

ConferenceAustralian and New Zealand Academy of Management Conference (24th : 2010)
CityAdelaide
Period7/12/1010/12/10

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  • Cite this

    Bankins, S. (2010). Expectations, obligations or promises? A conceptual review and revision of the beliefs comprising the psychological contract. In Proceedings of the 24th Annual Australian and New Zealand Academy of Management Conference: Managing for Unknowable Futures Australian and New Zealand Academy of Management.