The psychological contract: How to be happy at work

A healthy relationship with your employer is critical to your performance in the workplace.

While a formal contract focuses on your obligations, a psychological contract is a set of unwritten expectations between and employer and employee – as well as between workers.

Dr Linda Ronnie, is a Senior Lecturer in Organisational Behavior and People Management at UCT's Graduate School of Business.

She speaks to Eusebius McKaiser about the implications of working in an unconducive environment.

She also explains why it is important for middle management to nurture a relationship of trust between workers and themselves.

Middle management is crucial to the overall productivity of an organisation.

Dr Linda Ronnie, Senior Lecturer in Organisational Behaviour and People Management

Typically it's thought of between us and the organisation, but of course the organisation is not an amorphous thing. You have a relationship with your direct manager typically and also the people around you, so those are the key two parties that kind of shape your connection with an organisation.

Dr Linda Ronnie, Senior Lecturer in Organisational Behaviour and People Management

Its kind of the complicit contract. Lets think of you arriving at a workplace for the for the time, you coming with a set of unwritten, unspoken expectations of what you are expecting to find for example a space to work and resources to do your job....on a transactional level.

Dr Linda Ronnie, Senior Lecturer in Organisational Behaviour and People Management

On a more relational level you wanting people to value your contributions, fair treatment, developmental opportunities...

Dr Linda Ronnie, Senior Lecturer in Organisational Behaviour and People Management

We all go into organisations with our baggage, it's not as if the psychological contract starts at that moment... typically people leave because they are unhappy at a job...

Dr Linda Ronnie, Senior Lecturer in Organisational Behaviour and People Management

When arriving at a new place of work, we are shaped by our previous experiences and now you become further shaped by what happens in the new environment.

Ronnie says employees are more likely to become disengaged when an organisation does not live up to it's espoused values.

There is a difference between espoused values and their practical application.

Those things that we see in the organisation, the visible part of it, those are their espoused values, things that the organisation sends a message about in a public space. But, in fact, we don't assess as employees the satisfaction of our job or work environment by those espoused values, we look at the enacted stuff....

Dr Linda Ronnie, Senior Lecturer in Organisational Behaviour and People Management

How should one go about negotiating a contract that works for you?

The psychological contract, while it may be heavily influenced by leadership and management, it is also our responsibility as employees to raise issues.

Dr Linda Ronnie, Senior Lecturer in Organisational Behaviour and People Management

The middle management group needs to become more aware that the relationship between themselves and their immediate subordinates is absolutely crucial to the productivity of the overall organisation.... that is premised on things like fairness and trust.

Dr Linda Ronnie, Senior Lecturer in Organisational Behaviour and People Management

Click below to listen to the full interview and how issues of race and gender presents a set of unique challenges in the workplace and how companies should develop a better organisational culture to address this...

Read More
Vodacom customers weigh in on disappearing data

Vodacom customers weigh in on disappearing data

Listeners share their thoughts and frustrations on Vodacom's mishap that caused their data to vanish overnight.

Drug-testing may help tackle school violence, says Gauteng education

Drug-testing may help tackle school violence, says Gauteng education

The department's Steve Mabona says drug-testing from Grade 8 may help curb the prevalent problem of substance abuse among pupils.

60% of children in SA under 10 don’t live with their biological fathers - study

60% of children in SA under 10 don’t live with their biological fathers - study

Kabelo Chabalala Founder of the Young Men Movement (YMM) spoke with Gugu Mhlungu about the rates of fatherhood in South Africa.

Does it still take a village to raise a child?

Does it still take a village to raise a child?

Relationship coach Stephanie Dawson-Cosser examines whether people are still concerned with helping children within a community.

[LISTEN] A career prospect? Lawhill Maritime Centre sets its sight on Africa

[LISTEN] A career prospect? Lawhill Maritime Centre sets its sight on Africa

The Simon's Town centre is one of the few to offers Maritime Studies to students aged 15 to 17.

Concern that Virgin Active putting lives of late-night shift workers at risk

Concern that Virgin Active putting lives of late-night shift workers at risk

Virgin Active member Mpho Leseka and former employees say the gym doesn't provide transport for staff working at night.

Popular articles
Getting to know MP, Dr Makhosi Khoza

Getting to know MP, Dr Makhosi Khoza

Dr Khoza is admired by South Africans for her role in the SABC inquiry as a ANC member of parliament.

10 sexting tips on how to keep things spicy (and safe)

10 sexting tips on how to keep things spicy (and safe)

Interested in sexting but worried about the risks? Dr Eve has created a guideline to help you 'sext' in a fun and responsible way.

It's not the end of the road... Top tips to improve your matric

It's not the end of the road... Top tips to improve your matric

"Recognise that it’s not the end, it’s the beginning." Expert advise for school-leavers who want to improve their results.

Gospel singer Sipho Makhabane explains how Sfiso Ncwane died

Gospel singer Sipho Makhabane explains how Sfiso Ncwane died

Makhabane says Ncwane was feeling weak yesterday and his wife phoned paramedics to check on him.

Who is Advocate Tembeka Ngcukaitobi?

Who is Advocate Tembeka Ngcukaitobi?

The EFF lawyer stole the show during the state capture report court battle.

Meet the founder of Capitec Bank, named ‘Best Bank on Earth and Cheapest in SA’

Meet the founder of Capitec Bank, named ‘Best Bank on Earth and Cheapest in SA’

Michiel le Roux speaks about the fascinating story behind the little bank that has the Big 4 shaking in their boots.

3 easy questions could bag you R2000!

3 easy questions could bag you R2000!

WIN R2000! But only if you can prove you're a whiz of the MTN Biz Quiz by answering the following three questions...

Blesserfinder: Matching you with a sugar daddy near you

Blesserfinder: Matching you with a sugar daddy near you

Is social trend Blesserfinder, where girls are allegedly matching up with rich 'benefactors' in exchange for sex, a real thing?