Corcoran, Alan (2012) Does the Psychological Contract in the Voluntary/Community Sector in Ireland have distinctive features compared with the private sector? Masters thesis, National College of Ireland.
This study focuses on assessing the psychological contract in the voluntary/community (sometimes now called the Non-For Profit Sector) sector in Ireland and comparing the psychological contract between employees in the voluntary/community sector and elements of the private sector, primarily the retail/leisure industry. The study applies Rousseau’s Psychological Contract Inventory (PCI)as the primary tool to measure the psychological contract and uses Rousseau’s PCI technical report as a comparator for the research findings.
The psychological contract is defined as “An individual’s belief in mutual obligations between that person and another party such as an employer” (Rousseau 1998). The research was conducted during March to August 2012 in the recessionary period, (as a result of recent financial and economic crises), which has had a significant impact on both sectors in terms of reduced funding and falling retail sales. A finding of the study highlights that the external environment within which the organisations are operating can have a significant impact on the psychological contract.
The study also shows that whilst the psychological contract within each sector was broadly similar, and were also broadly in line with Rousseau’s PCI report from 2000, there were distinct differences inherent in each sector that pose unique challenges for the management of the psychological contract.
The main difference between this study within the identified sectors and Rousseau’s PCI report from 2000 was in the specific area defined as 4 Transitional ’ Psychological contract. The Transitional psychological contract is usually found at times of uncertainty and change, for example during mergers or acquisitions. The study found that there were distinct differences between the assessment of the psychological contract in terms of the employees trust, perception of erosion of their benefits, terms and conditions and in terms of uncertainty about the future relations between employer and employee.
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