Edited by Rosalind H. Searle and Denise Skinner
Chapter 5: Human Resource Management, the Psychological Contract and Trust
David Guest and Michael Clinton INTRODUCTION Although there are existing bodies of writing and research about the relation between human resource management (HRM) and trust, about HRM and the psychological contract, and about the psychological contract and trust, all three are rarely considered together. The aim of this chapter is to provide an integrative conceptual and empirical analysis. Since a distinctive focus of this chapter is on the psychological contract and its relation to HRM and to trust, we start by analysing the role and relevance of the psychological contract. We then consider the relationships between HRM and the psychological contract and between the psychological contract and trust. Based on propositions emerging from this analysis, we present the findings of a large-scale study that explores the associations between HRM, the psychological contract and trust. THE ROLE OF THE PSYCHOLOGICAL CONTRACT The psychological contract has entered mainstream research in organizational behaviour and HRM. Its origins can be traced back half a century to the work of Argyris (1960) and Levinson et al. (1962) with subsequent contributions by Kotter (1973) and Schein (1980). However, its contemporary influence was given particular impetus by the work of Rousseau (1989, 1995) whose approach to the concept has shaped much of the subsequent research and thinking (Taylor and Tekleab, 2004; Conway and Briner, 2005). One of the initial challenges for both theory and research on the psychological contract is to arrive at an acceptable definition. Most of the early writers accepted that the psychological contract was...
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