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The Meaning Behind the Message: Climate Perceptions and the Psychological Contract

The Meaning Behind the Message: Climate Perceptions and the Psychological Contract It has been argued that the social and informational cues within the work environment need to be investigated to better understand and identify a nomological network underlying the psychological contract construct. This study is one of the first to investigate how employees may use social and informational messages and cues in the work environment to formulate and place meaning behind their employee employer exchange relationship. We present a model that examines specific dimensions of employees’ psychological climates that may serve as a basis for understanding their contract with their organization. Three hundred and seventy employees from a variety of organizational settings completed measures of their climate (role characteristics, job characteristics, workgroup and social environment, leader behaviors, and organizational and subsystem attributes) as well as their perceptions of their psychological contract. The model and proposed relationships were tested through a series of hierarchical regression analyses. Results revealed that role characteristics were associated with the workload and clarity components of the contract while job characteristics were related to the work variety, work importance, and autonomy contract factors. Workgroup and social environment dimensions were related to the contract components of social interaction and work conditions and leader behaviors were associated with the feedback contract factor. Finally, organizational and subsystem attributes were linked to the compensation, benefits, security, advancement, development opportunities, fairness, and interpersonal factors of an employee’s psychological contract. Study contributions and limitations as well as directions for future research are discussed. http://www.deepdyve.com/assets/images/DeepDyve-Logo-lg.png American Journal of Business Emerald Publishing

The Meaning Behind the Message: Climate Perceptions and the Psychological Contract

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Publisher
Emerald Publishing
Copyright
Copyright © 2003 MCB UP Ltd. All rights reserved.
ISSN
1935-5181
DOI
10.1108/19355181200300009
Publisher site
See Article on Publisher Site

Abstract

It has been argued that the social and informational cues within the work environment need to be investigated to better understand and identify a nomological network underlying the psychological contract construct. This study is one of the first to investigate how employees may use social and informational messages and cues in the work environment to formulate and place meaning behind their employee employer exchange relationship. We present a model that examines specific dimensions of employees’ psychological climates that may serve as a basis for understanding their contract with their organization. Three hundred and seventy employees from a variety of organizational settings completed measures of their climate (role characteristics, job characteristics, workgroup and social environment, leader behaviors, and organizational and subsystem attributes) as well as their perceptions of their psychological contract. The model and proposed relationships were tested through a series of hierarchical regression analyses. Results revealed that role characteristics were associated with the workload and clarity components of the contract while job characteristics were related to the work variety, work importance, and autonomy contract factors. Workgroup and social environment dimensions were related to the contract components of social interaction and work conditions and leader behaviors were associated with the feedback contract factor. Finally, organizational and subsystem attributes were linked to the compensation, benefits, security, advancement, development opportunities, fairness, and interpersonal factors of an employee’s psychological contract. Study contributions and limitations as well as directions for future research are discussed.

Journal

American Journal of BusinessEmerald Publishing

Published: Jan 1, 2003

Keywords: Psychological contract; Employee‐employer exchange relationship; Psychological climate; Role characteristics

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