The Psychological Contract

Managing and developing professional groups

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October 1, 2009


Paperback, 168 pages


0335216129 / 9780335216123


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Main description

  • What is the psychological contract?
  • How do the psychological contracts of professional workers change over time?
  • Do professional workers feel more committed to their profession or to their employing organization?
  • Can psychological contracts be 'managed'?
These are some of the key questions addressed by this book in its examination of the role played by the psychological contract in the developing careers of professional workers.

The book seeks to make sense of the organizational experiences of the professional worker by drawing on several areas of research, including the psychological contract, social identity theory, theories of career development and retention. The author uses real-life examples and short case studies to situate psychological theory within organizations.

Beginning with an introduction of the history and concept of the psychological contract, the book provides an overview of the major areas of research. However it goes beyond a simple description to focus on the careers of professional workers, from factors influencing the entrance into a profession, to the process of developing professional identities and career progression.

The developing professional career may involve a progression to managerial responsibilities which can lead to organizational conflict. The book offers insights into the influence of the psychological contract when it comes to critical career decisions, including a discussion of the consequences of psychological contract violation. Finally the role of HR is examined with reference to the 'management' of the psychological contract and the retention of key professional workers within organizations.

The book is key reading for all psychology students, especially those specializing in occupational, organizational, work and business psychology. It will also be of interest to HR students and HR professionals, business students and health professionals.

Table of contents

Introducing the psychological contract
Professional careers in the UK
Contract formation and development: Early socialization
Transitions: From education to professional employment
From professional employment to the mature career
The psychological contract and critical career decisions
Managing the psychological contract
The future of the psychological contract and psychological contracts of the future

Author comments

Christeen George is a Chartered Occupational Psychologist and is the Programme Director of the MSc in Occupational/Organisational Psychology at the University of Hertfordshire, UK. She is an Associate Fellow of the British Psychological Society.

Copyright 2014 McGraw-Hill Global Education Holdings, LLC


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