Handbook of Research on the Psychological Contract at Work
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Handbook of Research on the Psychological Contract at Work

Edited by Yannick Griep and Cary Cooper

The psychological contract is considered a critical construct in organizational behavior literature because it informs employee emotions, attitudes, and behaviors in the workplace. Although the psychological contract has been explored extensively over the last 50 years, numerous theoretical, conceptual, empirical, methodological, and analytical changes have pushed the field forward. As such, it is time to take stock and move forward. The contributors to this Handbook explore in detail this important component of modern management thinking.
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Chapter 11: Person-centrism in psychological contract research: a normative-contextual alternative

Omar Solinger


The current state of the psychological contract literature emphasizes processes of personal exchange at the individual level of analysis, thus offering an under-socialized picture. In redressing this problem, the author offers an alternative by exploring what psychological contracting might look like if viewed as a socially situated process. He does this by examining person-centric and alternative ‘normative-contextual’ assumptions in four substantive areas: level of analysis, the role of social influence, the organization as interaction partner, and the societal context. In articulating the normative-contextual perspective as an alternative in these four substantive areas, he forwards a process model that shows how personal exchange is embedded in group and institutional environments within the organization and in the larger society. Finally, upon re-reading the classical works on the psychological contract and social exchange theory, the author finds surprisingly strong fragments in favour of the normative-contextual perspective.

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