How work ideologies shape the psychological contracts of professional employees: doctors' responses to perceived breach

Authors

  • J. Stuart Bunderson

    Corresponding author
    1. John M. Olin School of Business, Washington University in St. Louis, St. Louis, U.S.A.
    • John Olin School of Business, Washington University in St. Louis, Campus Box 1133, One Brookings Drive, St. Louis, MO 63130-4899, U.S.A.
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Abstract

This study suggests that the psychological contract between a professional and his/her employing organization is shaped by both professional and administrative work ideologies and therefore involves both professional and administrative roles and perceived role obligations. It is also suggested that because of important differences between these two ideologies, a professional employee's response to perceptions that his/her organization is not fulfilling its role obligations will depend on whether the perceived breach involves professional or administrative obligations. Hypotheses based on this general proposition were strongly supported in a sample of medical professionals. Specifically, results suggest that perceived breaches of administrative role obligations are most strongly associated with dissatisfaction, thoughts of quitting, and turnover whereas perceived breaches of professional role obligations are most strongly associated with lower organizational commitment and job performance (productivity and client satisfaction). Implications for theory and research on the dimensionality of the psychological employment contract and on the employment of professionals are considered. Copyright © 2001 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.

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