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Trust and the psychological contract

Atkinson, Carol (2007) Trust and the psychological contract. Employee relations, 29 (3). pp. 227-246. ISSN 0142-5455

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Purpose – This paper aims to contribute empirical data to the under-researched relationship between trust and the psychological contract. Design/methodology/approach – A case study approach is used carrying out 41 interviews in three case study firms, adopting a critical incident technique (CIT). Findings – Trust is present in all psychological contracts and its different bases, cognitive and affective, underpin transactional and relational obligations respectively. Research limitations/implications – A small-scale study using CIT which identifies especially salient issues but is not necessarily exhaustive. Provides a base for more detailed study of the relationship. Practical implications – Demonstrates the impact of the differing bases of trust on the employment relationship. This information could contribute to better managing the employment relationship. Originality/value – There are few extant empirical data on this relationship and a contribution is made to debates on the role of trust within the psychological contract by providing detailed empirical data.

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