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Minding the Psychological Contract: Intersection of Cognitive Research and Practice Denise M. Rousseau Carnegie Mellon University MOC Welcome Academy of.

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Presentation on theme: "Minding the Psychological Contract: Intersection of Cognitive Research and Practice Denise M. Rousseau Carnegie Mellon University MOC Welcome Academy of."— Presentation transcript:

1 Minding the Psychological Contract: Intersection of Cognitive Research and Practice Denise M. Rousseau Carnegie Mellon University MOC Welcome Academy of Management

2 Cognition 101 Mindfulness—Directed attention is needed to modify frames, schemas, or scriptsMindfulness—Directed attention is needed to modify frames, schemas, or scripts Bounded Rationality—Can process only limited information at a time (serial processing, limited attention and computational capacity)Bounded Rationality—Can process only limited information at a time (serial processing, limited attention and computational capacity) Fast/Frugal is Norm—Packing info into hierarchically organized concepts makes for computational easeFast/Frugal is Norm—Packing info into hierarchically organized concepts makes for computational ease

3 Cognition 101 con’t Thinking =>Frame* ApplicationThinking =>Frame* Application *(Schema, Script)*(Schema, Script) Meaning matters (not the Stimulus)Meaning matters (not the Stimulus)

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5 Cognition 101 cont’d Presentism: We typically have difficulty imagining a tomorrow different from today and assume that we will think, want or feel much the same as we do now.Presentism: We typically have difficulty imagining a tomorrow different from today and assume that we will think, want or feel much the same as we do now. Anticipation Machine: Most important thing a human brain does is ‘making the future’.Anticipation Machine: Most important thing a human brain does is ‘making the future’.

6 Psych Con Minding #1 Individual can only process limited information at one timeIndividual can only process limited information at one time –Standard Models of Everything cannot be individually accurate –Psychological Contract must be filled in over time to be an informed guide for interpretation and action

7 Standard Model

8 Individual With Bounded Rationality

9 Psych Con Minding #2 Requires directed mental force to create or reviseRequires directed mental force to create or revise –Mindfulness—Directed attention is needed to modify frames, schemas, or scripts –When people are paying attention, the employer may a) be silent, b) convey what it doesn’t intent, c) be represented by an “agent” with another point of view -- Exposure to variations creates deeper processing of meanings (more elaborate “expert” schemas)

10 Psych Con Minding #3 Filling in is episodic: cues must capture attention.Filling in is episodic: cues must capture attention. –Episodes post-hire occur in social context—network ties and informal social structure impact what is paid attention to and what interpretations are made –Pre-contract and post-contract perceptions and motives differ (greatest differences evident in first year)

11 Psych Con Minding #4 Increasing Imagination Improves Capacity to Anticipate (helps in contracting &EBMgt)Increasing Imagination Improves Capacity to Anticipate (helps in contracting &EBMgt) –MY FAVOR: Mind exploits ambiguity for its own gratification –MY WAY: Reciprocity favors personal preferences (competencies, habits, resources)-- cf. OCB. –EASY: When it’s easy to imagine an event, its likelihood is overestimated (availability) –INSIGHT DEPENDS ON OTHERS TO FILL PERCEPTUAL GAPS: We can anticipate future more accurately when others share their own experiences (surrogators: veterans share w/newcomers).

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13 Practice Biased toward top-down controlBiased toward top-down control Cognition and organization-related processes are bottom-up as well as top-down.Cognition and organization-related processes are bottom-up as well as top-down. Undervalues social influence as a major source of fill-ins (discrepancy resolution, learning)Undervalues social influence as a major source of fill-ins (discrepancy resolution, learning) Under-uses discrepancies and variety of experiences as learning opportunities (performance vs. learning goals)Under-uses discrepancies and variety of experiences as learning opportunities (performance vs. learning goals)

14 Teaching is Practice and (Effective) Practice is Teaching Learning occurs any time a discrepancy (error or gap in understanding) is resolved.Learning occurs any time a discrepancy (error or gap in understanding) is resolved. –Fewer errors –More complete or mutual understanding Learning is highest among those whose training involved more discrepanciesLearning is highest among those whose training involved more discrepancies –(minimal instruction or explicit incorporation of mistakes) compared with trainees who received detailed instructions and prescriptions for action (Frese) Mindfulness promotes learning (cf. Langer)Mindfulness promotes learning (cf. Langer) –Continuous creation of new categories –Openness to new information, –Implicit awareness of more than one perspective.

15 Mindful psychological contracting? Can psychological contract be created mindfully? (cf. as opposed to mindless application of existing categories; Kawakami, White, Langer, 2000).Can psychological contract be created mindfully? (cf. as opposed to mindless application of existing categories; Kawakami, White, Langer, 2000). –Careful attention to novel distinctions and insights (e.g., “development”, “support”, “value-added”) –Awareness of “conditional nature” of knowledge and beliefs – Expand zone of negotiation/acceptance by perspective taking, new distinctions

16 Conclusion Taking bounded rationality seriously:Taking bounded rationality seriously: –limited number of factors influence schema (e.g., psychological contract) at a given time. – accumulation of influences occurs over time via schema formation and bottom-up experiences; – exposure to varied sources and environments creates more complex (complete?) schemas, and more mindful use of them. Variation may be more important than consistency in creating meaningful and adaptive psychological contracts and agreements (with mindful reflection)Variation may be more important than consistency in creating meaningful and adaptive psychological contracts and agreements (with mindful reflection)


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