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Title: The psychological contract of talented employees : the case of core and support staff in Oman's oil and gas sector
Author: Al Shaqsi, Aflah Z.
ISNI:       0000 0004 7431 5400
Awarding Body: University of Surrey
Current Institution: University of Surrey
Date of Award: 2018
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This doctoral thesis focuses on understanding how talented employees’ psychological contract was formed and changed over the period of their employment. Organisations in the oil and gas sector rely heavily on cutting-edge technologies and human capital to optimise oil production. Hence, they are keen to attract and retain talented employees in order to sustain value creation and meet their organisational goals through the immediate and potential contribution of these talented employees. The psychological contract, on the other hand, reflects the quality of the employment relationship between the talented employees and their employer. It has a number of implications on employees’ attitudes and behaviour including job satisfaction, turnover, and performance. Thirty-four semi-structured interviews were conducted with talented employees across the Exploration and Production Organisations and their subsidiaries in Oman. Data was thematically analysed using a modified version of the traditional thematic analysis. Three overarching themes were discovered as most relevant and important. The findings suggest that the formation of the psychological contract is influenced by Talented Employees' Value Proposition and Identification Mechanism. The findings also suggest that talented employees reciprocate organisations' learning and development initiatives with loyalty and discretionary performance, which could substantially improve business performance. However, the findings also indicate that talented employees do not necessarily leave or stay with perceptions of psychological contract breach and fulfilment. These talent deals are dynamic and change over the course of their career according to the quality of reciprocation from their employer. Moreover, the deals of talented employees are also influenced by contextual factors, such as oil prices and social pressure, employer brands, and the identities of said employees. Talented employees were found to pay particular attention to their future employability prospects and hence turned to their employer for challenging and rewarding tasks and projects. These aspects were at the forefront of what formed and influenced the state of their psychological contract. Future research could be conducted on different contexts and sample groups in order to further understand the nature of reciprocity and mutuality with the psychological contract. Similarly, future research could benefit from the findings of this thesis in terms of designing surveys for a large sample size in order to understand the correlation between employer brand, talented employees' identity, and the dynamics of their psychological contract.
Supervisor: Heliot, YingFei ; Hilson, Gavin Sponsor: Sultanate of Oman
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral