History and Definitions of the Concept: The notion of the "psychological contract" was first coined by Argyris (1960) to refer to employer and employee expectations of the employment relationship, i.e. mutual obligations, values, expectations and aspirations that operate over and above the formal contract of employment. Since then there have been many attempts to develop and refine this concept. Historically, the concept can be viewed as an extension of philosophical concepts of social contract theory (Schein, 1980; Roehling, 1997). The social contract, which deals with the origins of the state, supposes that individuals voluntarily consent to belonging to an organised society, with attendant constraints and rights. Argyris (1960) used the concept to describe an implicit agreement between a group of employees and their supervisor. Other influential early writers such as Levinson, Price, Munden, and Solley (1962), used the concept to describe the set of expectations and obligations that individual employees spoke of when talking about their work experience. They identified a number of different types of employee expectations, held both consciously (for example expectations about job performance, security, and financial rewards) and unconsciously (for example being looked after by the employer). Roehling (1997) credits Levinson et al (1962) with explicitly recognising the dynamic relationship of the psychological contract: contracts evolve or change over time as a result of changing needs and relationships on both the employee's and the employer's side. Schein (1965) emphasised the importance of the psychological contract concept in understanding and managing behaviour in organisations. He argued that expectations may not be written into any formal agreement but operate powerfully as determinants of behaviour. For example, an employer may expect a worker not to harm the company's public image, and an employee may expect not to be made... [continues]
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