Let’s be professional about this: ideology and the psychological contracts of registered nurses

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o'donohue w. & nelson l.(2007) Journal of Nursing Management15, 547–555

Let's be professional about this: ideology and the psychological contracts of registered nurses Aims 

This study explores whether there is evidence of an ideological component in the psychological contracts of professional employees, as well as evidence of credible supporting commitments by their employer. Background 

Fundamental changes in the employment context have prompted many individuals to seek a closer alignment between themselves and their work, as well as with the organizational and broader societal contexts. For many professional employees identification with their professional ideology is a significant factor in producing such an alignment. Method 

The study uses an exploratory qualitative approach to analyse interview data collected from a sample of registered nurses employed in an Australian public hospital. Results 

The analysis identifies psychological contract terms best understood by reference to an ideological currency. It also suggests that the organization is perceived as obligated to provide credible support for that professional contribution, and the perceived lack of such support has significant impacts. Conclusions 

The findings raise doubts about the utility of the concept of a psychological contract that recognizes only economic and socio-emotional exchanges for understanding the psychological contracts of professional employees.

Keywords: employment relationship; professional ideology; psychological contract

Document Type: Research Article

DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1111/j.1365-2834.2007.00715.x

Affiliations: 1: Lecturer 2: Senior Lecturer, School of Management, University of Tasmania, Hobart, Australia

Publication date: July 1, 2007

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