Edgar Schein the Psychological Contract between Employer and Employee

Edgar Schein: The Psychological Contract Between Employer and Employee

Edgar Schein is a renowned scholar on organizational culture and leadership. He is best known for his work on the concept of the “psychological contract,” which refers to the unwritten and often unspoken expectations and obligations that exist between employees and employers. In this article, we`ll explore Schein`s ideas on the psychological contract and its significance for organizations and employees, as well as offer some tips for managing this important aspect of the employer-employee relationship.

The Psychological Contract

According to Schein, the psychological contract consists of three key elements:

1. Employee expectations: This refers to the beliefs, assumptions, and hopes that employees have about their job, their role within the organization, and what they can expect from their employer.

2. Employer expectations: This includes the promises, commitments, and obligations that employers make to their employees in terms of compensation, benefits, job security, and other factors.

3. Perceived obligations: This is the third and perhaps most important element of the psychological contract. It refers to the unwritten and often implicit expectations and obligations that employees and employers believe they owe each other, such as loyalty, trust, and mutual respect.

Importance of the Psychological Contract

The psychological contract is important because it shapes the attitudes and behaviors of employees and employers. When both parties have clear and consistent expectations, and when they perceive that the other party is fulfilling its obligations, there is a greater sense of trust, motivation, and commitment. However, when there are gaps, misunderstandings, or breaches in the psychological contract, it can lead to disillusionment, distrust, and disengagement.

Tips for Managing the Psychological Contract

Here are some tips for managing the psychological contract between employees and employers:

1. Be transparent: Employers should be clear and honest about what they expect from employees, and what employees can expect in return. This includes being transparent about compensation, benefits, job responsibilities, and other important factors.

2. Communicate effectively: Communication is key to building and maintaining a strong psychological contract. Employers should communicate regularly with employees, listen to their concerns and feedback, and be responsive to their needs.

3. Build trust: Trust is essential to a healthy psychological contract. Employers should build trust by being consistent, reliable, and following through on commitments.

4. Monitor and adjust: The psychological contract is not static, and it can change over time. Employers should monitor the psychological contract regularly to ensure that it remains relevant and appropriate, and make adjustments as needed.

In conclusion, Edgar Schein`s work on the psychological contract provides important insights into the employer-employee relationship. By understanding and managing the psychological contract, employers can build a positive and productive workplace culture that benefits everyone involved.