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Title: Trust in the psychological contract : an international employee perspective
Author: Jackson, Keith
Awarding Body: SOAS, University of London
Current Institution: SOAS, University of London
Date of Award: 2011
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This study is about researching trust; specifically, trust as a content element in common conceptualisations of the psychological contract. It contributes conceptual and empirical data and analysis to the currently under-researched relationship between trust and the psychological contract. The study presents and analyses data generated during a three-stage research process: a cross-sectional survey among a sample population of international employees (n = 420); semi-structured interviews followed by longitudinal verstehend conversations about trust in the psychological contact specifically and about trust in contexts for employment and individual career development generally. By exploring cross-cultural dimensions of trust in the psychological contract this study confirms the complexity of trust as a research concept and as a social- psychological phenomenon. It develops a position that emphasises trust in interpersonal relationships as a process of perceived trustworthiness. Its findings challenge established conceptualisations locating trust primarily as a content element of the psychological contract: in this study trust emerges variously as input and output/outcome of negotiations and interpretations of the contract. Although trust is confirmed as present in and across all psychological contracts, the international perspective generated by the primary data suggests that perceptions of trustworthiness can vary according to each individual's national cultural identity together with demographic variables such as age, gender and individual career trajectory. Limitations of this study include: the relative smallness of the sample population; reliability issues generated by the conceptual anchoring of the study in primarily western interpretations of trust; generalisability issues as a consequence of the individual anchoring of the ethnographic data. Of practical relevance are insights gleaned in respect of trust as a factor influencing employee decisions to quit or stay with a particular employer. These insights should support future research and practice in international human resource management, notably with regard to processes of targeted staff retention.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral