This chapter explores the role of individualization in careers, and especially with regard to older workers. The central aim of the chapter is to elucidate the role of individualization in the establishment of careers, as well as how organizations treat their workers, and employ HRM systems and practices in order to retain and motivate workers of all ages. Based on the argument that the older workers become, the more heterogeneous they become in terms of career preferences, I propose that individualization of career arrangements will be increasingly important in the sustainability of contemporary careers. An individualized approach, such as through the lens of idiosyncratic deals (or I-deals), can facilitate older workers to retain work motivation and performance. However, the extent to which I-deals will benefit motivation and performance is dependent upon a range of factors, including supportive climate, psychological processes that occur within the worker, and fairness in the distribution of negotiated deals across the organization.
P. Matthijs Bal and Severin Hornung
This chapter discusses the links between psychological contracts and idiosyncratic deals. While both concepts have been theoretically developed by the same scholar, they are also indicative of emerging societal trends that influence the topics under study by researchers in the field of organizational behaviour and human resource management. This chapter discusses how individualization as a broader societal process has influenced the study of psychological contracts, as well as the subsequent shift towards the phenomenon of idiosyncratic deals. Key similarities and differences between the two concepts are discussed. The chapter finishes with recommendations for further research.
Jos Akkermans, Simon de Jong, Jeroen de Jong and P. Matthijs Bal
The literature on psychological contract formation and evaluation is extremely rich, yet the role of social context has been under-researched. Studying the role of social context, however, is important, as psychological contract formation, fulfilment, and breach are likely to be influenced by social contextual factors such as supervisors, colleagues, and team members. In this chapter, the authors bring together the available literature on the role of social context in the psychological contract, thereby distinguishing between three main approaches: individual-level, direct consensus, and referent shift. Following from these three approaches, the authors argue that single-level research has a rich foundation, yet multi-level research is still relatively new and unexplored. Further, they distinguish between idiosyncratic and shared psychological contracts, thereby arguing that the latter especially is in need of more theorizing and empirical work. In all, the authors hope that this chapter inspires researchers to explore the role of social context in psychological contract processes.