Chapter 12: The role of time and timing in psychological contract research
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The psychological contract has been widely used in the study of the ever-changing employee–employer relationship. However, most existing research has used ‘timeless’ theories and research methods. Consequently, there is a lack of knowledge about how the employment relationship develops and changes over time as a process. Further, little is known about how such dynamics relate to changes in other work-related phenomena. An understanding of these dynamic relationships is needed to grasp fully the reality of the employment relationship. This chapter aims to highlight the pertinence of incorporating ‘time’ and ‘timing’ in the study of psychological contracts. Indeed, the incorporation of temporal features such as processes, trajectories, and reciprocity will give rise to new and interesting time-sensitive research questions and research methods that can better inform work relationships.

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