Psychological Contracts in Local Government (Consequences and…
Psychological Contracts in Local Government
Definition: "informal agreements between managers and individual workers that aim to increase worker commitment and alignment with the needs of the organization." p.268
Psychological contract: understanding between an employee and his or her immediate supervisor with the purpose of increasing role clarity and commitment. (Nichoff & Paul, 2001)
Best to create at the start of employment
Confusion concerns formal processes and general process
Misconceptions: 1) Psychological contracts are unenforceable because they are informal.
Results of survey
About half of US local govs establish psychological contracts
Term "psychological contract" is not widely used
Psych contract are not associated with geographic region, form of govt, or city size
Association is with management and culture.
Content and Process of Psych Contracts
Top issue: workload, working relations w/ immediate superior, work schedules, job security, rewards, and promotions, etc.
Process:Both top-down and bottom-up processes are common for initiating review
Subordinate initiative: Greater "when managers are also asked to ensure that subordinates' expectations of their organizations are balanced against their willingness to contribute to the organization."
Consequences and Correlations
Improved understanding and agreement on responsbilities
Improved productivity and peace of mind
increased communication and improved relationships
Public managers are not tapping full potential from employees
Knowledge exists of psych contracts, but not necessarily required
In public sector: most are initiated from top-down review
Focuses more on transactional factors and less on socioemotional factors