Needful employees, expectant employers and the development and impact of psychological contracts in new employees

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Tallman, Rick
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This thesis examines some sources of psychological contracts and the impact of employees' and employers' fulfillment on employees' work outcomes. Belief theory suggests employees' obligation attitudes are likely to come from direct sensory experience and external authority sources. Direct sensory experience was operationalized as employees' work values. External authority was operationalized through societal obligations and employers' attitudes about employee and employer obligations. This thesis proposed that societal obligations, employers' attitudes about obligations and employees' work values would influence the development of employees' psychological contracts. It was found in this study that there is a significant relationship between employees' psychological contracts and their work values. Significant relationships were found between employees' work values and all four employer obligations and between two of the four employee obligation factors. The specific work value involving the work environment as particularly significant in these relationships. The relationship between employees' psychological contracts and both employers' obligation attitudes and societal obligations would appear to be minimal. This thesis proposed that both employers' and employees' fulfillment of psychological contract terms would influence employees work outcomes. Two forms of measurement of employee and employer obligation fulfillment were used in the study. The first was a single item or overall measure of fulfillment. The second was a calculated measure. Both measurement forms appeared to be satisfactory methods for this measurement. It was found that both employees' and employers' fulfillment was significantly related to a number of work outcomes. Fulfillment of obligations by employers was significantly and positively related to positive affectivity, job satisfaction, affective commitment, intention to remain and trust. It was significantly and negatively related to negative affectivity. Employee fulfillment of their own obligations was significantly related to positive affectivity, job satisfaction, affective commitment civic virtue, performance, and trust in a positive direction and negatively related to negative affectivity. It was further proposed that there would be an interaction between employees' and employers' obligation fulfillment. Although this proposition could not be tested as conceived, the interaction between higher and lower fulfillment of obligations by employers and employees was examined. It was found that only two interactions occurred using the single item measure and no interactions using the calculated measure. It would appear that there are minimal interaction effects between the fulfillment of employees and employers portions of employees' psychological contracts. A number of recommendations are made in this thesis for future work. Further development is required on psychological contract measurement instruments. Further exploration of potential individually based and external sources of psychological contract is needed. In a dition, further research is necessary to verify a number of the findings of this study.