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How Cultural Difference Results In Difference In Psychological Contract?

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The term psychological contract (Argyris, 1960; Schein, 1965) describes a set of individual perceptions concerning the terms of the exchange relationship between individuals and their organizations. For example, it may include beliefs about performance requirements, job security, training, compensation, and career development (Rousseau, 1989), but is not limited to these dimensions. Psychological contracts manifest themselves in individuals' mental representations (schemas) of their relationship to their organization (Rousseau, 1998). Because psychological contracts are mental representations, having to do with mutual obligations, they help employees make sense out of a complex employment relationship (Shore & Tetrick, 1994). Recent

As a determinant of social exchange in general, research has noted that culture is a primary component in choices people make as to how exchanges occur (Fiske, 1991).

The transactional versus relational contract

Individualism and collectivism

Motives that are linked to the self assume different forms depending on the concept of self being enhanced or verified (Markus & Kitayama, 1991). For example, for those with independent (separate) selves, feeling good about oneself means uniqueness and expression of inner attributes, internal needs, and rights, and exhibition of the capacity to withstand undue social pressure (Janis & Mann, 1977). Those with interdependent (Connected) selves derive a positive self-image from belonging, fitting in, occupying one's proper place, maintaining harmony, receptivity to others, and restraint of personal needs or desires (Markus & Kitayama, 1991).

In sum, we propose that the mechanisms of cultural influence can be described as falling into two related domains, cognitive and motivational. The cognitive domain involves cultural variation in perception and interpretation of signals from the organization and in behavioral scripts associated with an individual's relationship to the organization. The motivational domain involves how culturally different self-concepts influence what is desirable and thus, varying forces on preferred outcomes and ways of behaving (Fiske & Taylor, 1991). Figure 1 shows a heuristic conceptualization of how these two mechanisms influence the formation of the psychological contract, perception of and attribution for contract violations, and responses to these violations.

Cultural Differences in Psychological Contract Formation

Based on the above conceptualizations of culture, its cognitive and motivational influences, and the psychological contract, we propose that the cultural profile of individuals' influences the form that the psychological contract takes (dominated by a transactional or relational orientation). First, through social cognitive processes such as attention and encoding, systematic cultural differences exist in the interpretation culturally different individuals have for the same organizational messages regarding the exchange relationship. Second, based on variation in exchange relationship motives, systematic differences exist in the extent to which individuals attempt to formulate their contracts with a transactional or relational orientation. Each of these mechanisms is discussed ahead.

Proposition 1: The cultural profile of individuals will influence formation of the psychological contract towards transactional or relational forms through cognitive processing based on existing cognitive structures.

Proposition 1a: Selective attention and encoding, storage, and retrieval biases will influence individualists to interpret organizational messages to be transactional, and collectivists relational, in nature.

Proposition 1b: Selective attention will influence the extent to which message context, or non-explicit communication, influences the formation of the psychological contract, such that collectivists are more likely to attend to message context than individualists.

Proposition 2: Individualist cultural values will motivate individuals to form a more transactional psychological contract to enhance the independent self, whereas collectivist cultural values will influence individuals to form a more relational contract to enhance the interdependent self and to satisfy related motives toward consensus.

Proposition 3: The cultural profile of individuals will influence the extent to which unmet obligations are perceived as violations of the psychological contract, based on differences in selective attention, encoding, and storage of communication regarding unmet obligations.

Proposition 3a: Individualists are more likely to perceive unmet transactional obligations as violations, whereas collectivists are more likely to perceive unmet relational obligations as violations.

Proposition 3b: Collectivists will have a higher overall threshold for the perception of a psychological contract violation than will individualists.

Proposition 4: Individualists are more likely to attribute perceived unmet expectations to factors within organizational control than are collectivists.

Proposition 5: Collectivists, based on motives to maintain their self-enhancing relationship with the organization, will experience greater stress, tension, and internal conflict when experiencing a breach than will individualists.

Proposition 6: The cultural profile of individuals will influence the content of behavioral scripts retrieved and enacted in response to a violation of the psychological contract.

Proposition 6a: Individualists are more likely to respond to violations in the psychological contract by retrieving and enacting voice and neglect scripts than collectivists.

Proposition 6b: Collectivists are more likely to respond to violations in the psychological contract by retrieving and enacting loyalty and exit scripts than individualists.

Proposition 7: The cultural profile of individuals will have both direct and moderating effects on responses to violations of the psychological contract through social exchange motives.

Proposition 7a: Individualists are more likely to prefer and respond with voice to psychological contract violations than collectivists.

Proposition 7b: Collectivists are more likely to prefer and respond with loyalty to psychological contract violations than individualists.

Proposition 7c: Quality of job alternatives will have a greater influence on response behavior for individualists than for collectivists, such that (ceteris paribus) in the case of high-quality

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