The concept of the psychological contract, with its focus on the exchange of perceived promises and commitments, is increasingly used as a framework to study the employment relationship. Yet research has predominantly focused on employee views and has largely neglected the organisational perspective and the management of the psychological contract. This article begins to redress the balance by reporting a study, based on a survey of 1,306 senior HR managers, that explores the management of the psychological contract and in particular the role of organisational communication. Three distinct and relevant aspects of organisational communication are identified, concerned with initial entry, day‐to‐day work and more future‐oriented, top‐down communication. Effective use of these forms of communication is associated with what managers judge to be a clearer and less frequently breached set of organisational promises and commitments, as well as with a fairer exchange and a more positive impact of policies and practices on employee attitudes and behaviour. The findings are discussed within the context of the wider literature on psychological contracts, organisational culture and HRM. The study confirms that the psychological contract offers managers a useful framework within which to consider and manage the employment relationship.
Human Resource Management Journal – Wiley
Published: Apr 1, 2002
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