This critical review of the article of Briner, B and Conway, N (2006) "Protecting the psychological contract" will briefly consider the problem formulation, the place of the theory, methodology, Standard of analysis and presentation. The writers show that an employment contract is vital in the relationship between the employee and the organisation. That a psychological contract is as equally important but is less well known. They further highlight that the psychological contract is highly subjective and contains contracts that are inexplicit, unwritten and not legally binding. They also bring out different reactions from employees when they feel that there has been a broken promise or violation of the contract. They also see the psychological contract as a t useful and important way of understanding an employment relationship and its behavioural effects. The psychological contract has a way of understanding employee well being, attitude and performance and different organisations have different psychological contract and as a result it is essential that people understand how it works.
The writers look at how the Psychological contract is made. It is good to see the writers highlighting that signals are likely to be sent out to prospective employees at every stage of the selection process with regards to what can be really expected of them. This shows that the contract starts even before employment. When employed, they get information from their work colleagues and continue to shape and reshape the psychological contract. This is supported by De van, (2004) with the reference to Rousseau, 1995; Shore & Tetrick, 1994 "That psychological contract involves employee beliefs about the reciprocal obligations between themselves and their employers. They can be viewed as the foundation of employment relationships". Furthermore, Guest, 1999) suggests that in explaining the connection between HR Practices and employee outcome such as job satisfaction, perceived job security and motivation, the psychological contract may be a key intervening variable. However, highlighted by Wellin, M (2007) and Markin et al (1996) the mutuality of the relationship is vital. This does not seem to be highlighted here by the authors instead their focus is toward employees. In the same light the psychological contract has not been made very understandable as it seems to be taking a unitary view.
The article highlights how the psychological contract can be managed. It is useful to see the writers show that in earlier managing of the psychological contract, the emphasis was on making contract explicit. It is also appealing to see the writers highlight the potential disadvantages of this. They also highlight that effective management of the contract and getting line managers equipped with knowledge and resources are very important. However, the writers fail to show that there are different types of psychological contract that can exist. This fact is shown by Rousseau (1996) who identified a 2x2 model of the psychological contract, giving rise to four different contracts. Looking at the contract from this different dimension could have shown ways of managing each contract which would have been more explicit.
The writers show how employees react if they feel that the employer has broken promises or violated the contract. It is good to see them show the adverse effect that occurs as a result of this. This is supported by the Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development (CIPD) fact sheet that; where employees believe that management has broken promise, a negative effect is seen on the job. Also Sims (1994) helps to strengthen this in explaining that the violation of the psychological contract can show the participants that the common set of values or goals that the parties shared no longer exists. On the other hand it could be thought provoking as to whether a promise existed in the first place, not to...
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