Manager-employee psychological contracts: enter the smartphone

Manager-employee psychological contracts: enter the smartphone PurposeThe purpose of this paper is to investigate how company-provided smartphones and user-device attachment influence the psychological contract between employees and managers in terms of connectivity expectations and outcomes.Design/methodology/approachData were collected using qualitative semi-structured interviews with 28 participants from four organizations.FindingsThe study showed that when organizations provide smartphones to their employees, the smartphones become a part of the manager-employee relationship through user-device attachment and this can change connectivity expectations for both employees and managers.Research limitations/implicationsDue to participant numbers, these findings may not be generalizable to all employees and managers who receive company smartphones. However, the authors have important implications for theory. The smartphone influence on the psychological climate and its role as a signal for workplace expectations suggest that mobile information and communication technology devices must be considered in psychological contract formation, development, change and breach.Practical implicationsThe perceived expectations can lead to hyper-connectivity which can have a number of negative performance and health outcomes such as technostress, burnout, absenteeism and work-life conflict.Social implicationsSmartphone usage and user-device attachment have the potential to redefine human relations by encouraging and normalizing hyper-connected relationships.Originality/valueThis study makes an original contribution to psychological contract theory by showing that smartphones and attachment to these devices create perceived expectations to stay connected to work and create negative outcomes, especially for managers. http://www.deepdyve.com/assets/images/DeepDyve-Logo-lg.png Employee Relations: An International Journal Emerald Publishing

Manager-employee psychological contracts: enter the smartphone

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Publisher
Emerald Publishing
Copyright
Copyright © Emerald Group Publishing Limited
ISSN
0142-5455
DOI
10.1108/ER-02-2017-0040
Publisher site
See Article on Publisher Site

Abstract

PurposeThe purpose of this paper is to investigate how company-provided smartphones and user-device attachment influence the psychological contract between employees and managers in terms of connectivity expectations and outcomes.Design/methodology/approachData were collected using qualitative semi-structured interviews with 28 participants from four organizations.FindingsThe study showed that when organizations provide smartphones to their employees, the smartphones become a part of the manager-employee relationship through user-device attachment and this can change connectivity expectations for both employees and managers.Research limitations/implicationsDue to participant numbers, these findings may not be generalizable to all employees and managers who receive company smartphones. However, the authors have important implications for theory. The smartphone influence on the psychological climate and its role as a signal for workplace expectations suggest that mobile information and communication technology devices must be considered in psychological contract formation, development, change and breach.Practical implicationsThe perceived expectations can lead to hyper-connectivity which can have a number of negative performance and health outcomes such as technostress, burnout, absenteeism and work-life conflict.Social implicationsSmartphone usage and user-device attachment have the potential to redefine human relations by encouraging and normalizing hyper-connected relationships.Originality/valueThis study makes an original contribution to psychological contract theory by showing that smartphones and attachment to these devices create perceived expectations to stay connected to work and create negative outcomes, especially for managers.

Journal

Employee Relations: An International JournalEmerald Publishing

Published: Feb 12, 2018

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