This paper addresses the results of a study about the antecedents of the anticipatory psychological contract of graduate students entering the labor market. The anticipatory psychological contract (ACP) is conceptualized as an incomplete mental model about the conditions of the future employment relationship (the employee and employer contributions being part of this deal). Departing from earlier research on the importance of the anticipatory psychological contract as a determinant of employee evaluations regarding their employment relationship, we examine to which extent these pre-employment perceptions are affected by individual career-related antecedents (optimism, career strategy, individual career management and work importance). The results of an empirical study among 1409 graduate students largely confirm the proposed hypotheses. Mainly those dimensions of the ACP that are related to career perspective and job content are significantly affected by the antecedents included in our model. Graduates with a high score on careerism, who engage in a high level of individual career management and with management ambitions, have stronger expectations regarding these inducements. With regard to their own commitment toward their future employer, mainly the dimensions flexibility and employability are affected by these antecedents.
The extent to which private and public sector employees differ in the importance they attach to different types of inducements being part of their employment deal and their evaluations of these inducements is studied. We focus on five content dimensions of the psychological contract: career development opportunities, job content, financial rewards, social atmosphere and respect for private life. Data from a survey of 4956 Belgian employees show that, compared to private sector employees, public sector employees are motivated by other inducements. In particular, they attach less importance to career development opportunities and financial rewards promises in their psychological contracts, and perceive these promises as less fulfilled. Keywords: psychological contract, public sector employees, private sector employees, motivation
De Vos, Ans; Buyens, Dirk (Vlerick Business School, 2005)
This paper explores the relationship between organizational career management and career self-management and addresses their impact on employee outcomes. The results of a study among employees and linemanagers are presented, which partly support our hypotheses. The interaction between organizational and individual career management in explaining employee outcomes is discussed.
De Schamphelaere, Veroniek; De Vos, Ans; Buyens, Dirk (Vlerick Business School, 2004)
The development of a career is subject to an interaction and exchange process between employer and employee. In addition, the changing nature and meaning of a career in today's competitive labor market has stimulated researchers to relate this with the psychological contract theory (e.g. Herriot, 1998, Sparrow & Cooper, 1998). However, the research domain of career self-management and the potential influence on the perception and evaluation of the psychological contract and on career activities offered by the organization in particular, has not been explicitly explored yet. Studies of Kossek et al. (1998) and Sturges et al. (2000) show that employees who actively manage their own career, hold higher expectations towards their employer, since they develop a clear idea on what their career objectives are and on how they want to achieve them. Hence, hypotheses are formulated that address the relationship between career self-management and (1) the perception and evaluation of the psychological contract, (2) the esteemed value and perception of career activities offered by the employer. To test our hypotheses, a cross-sectional survey among 491 employees of six Belgian organizations has been conducted. Our results suggest that the extent to which employees manage their own career has a significant impact on (1) the perception and evaluation of promises exchanged with their employer and (2) the importance they attach to career activities and the evaluation they make of the career activities offered by the company. First, employees who actively manage their own career, believe their employer has made more promises to them relating to different content domains of the psychological contract. Secondly, employees who actively manage their own career, are more positive on the fulfillment of their psychological contract. More specifically, this conclusion can be applied to the two dimensions of the psychological contract that are job-related, i.e. career development opportunities, job content. Thirdly, employees who actively manage their own career, attach more importance to the career activities offered by the company. In particular those career activities that consist of real guidance and steering from the organization. Furthermore, these employees also evaluate the provision of career management practices in the organization more positively. Our findings are discussed in view of the literature on career self-management and psychological contracts and they add new important insights.
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