Person-centrism in psychological contract research: A normative-contextual alternative

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The current state of the psychological contract literature emphasizes processes of personal exchange at the individual level of analysis, thus offering an undersocialized picture. In redressing this problem, I offer an alternative by exploring how psychological contracting may look like if viewed as a socially situated process. I do 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, I forward 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, I found surprisingly strong fragments in favor of the “normative-contextual” perspective.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationHandbook of Research on the Psychological Contract at Work
EditorsYannick Griep, Cary Cooper
Place of PublicationCheltenham, UK
PublisherEdward Elgar Publishing Ltd.
Number of pages19
ISBN (Electronic)9781788115681
ISBN (Print)9781788115674
Publication statusPublished - 2019

Publication series

NameNew Horizons in Management series


  • psychological contract
  • normative contract
  • institutional theory


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