The notion of the "psychological contract" was first coined by Argyris (1960) to refer to employer and employee expectations of the employment relationship, i.e. mutual obligations, values, expectations and aspirations that operate over and above the formal contract of employment. Since then there have been many attempts to develop and refine this concept. Argyris (1960) used the concept to describe an implicit agreement between a group of employees and their supervisor. Other influential early writers such as Levinson, Price, ...view middle of the document...
Roehling (1997) credits Levinson et al (1962) with explicitly recognizing the dynamic relationship of the psychological contract: contracts evolve or change over time as a result of changing needs and relationships on both the employee's and the employer's side. Schein (1965) emphasized the importance of the psychological contract concept in understanding and managing behavior in organizations. He argued that expectations may not be written into any formal agreement but operate powerfully as determinants of behavior. For example, an employer may expect a worker not to harm the company's public image and an employee may expect not to be made redundant after many years' of service. Like Levinson et al (1962), Schein too emphasized that the psychological contract will change over time.
Argyris, C. (1960). Understanding organizational behavior : Homewood, Illinois: Dorsey Press.
Levinson, H., Price ,C.R., Munden,K. J. & Solley,C. M. (1962). Men management and mental health. Cambridge MA: Harvard University Press.
Roehling, M.V. (1997). The origins and early development of the psychological contract construct, Journal of Management History, 3(2), 204-217.
Schein, E. H.(1965, Reprinted 1980). Organizational psychology. New Jersey : Englewood Cliff.