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PLAT 2010. The Psychological Contract 'An individual's belief regarding the terms and conditions of a reciprocal exchange agreement between that focal.

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Presentation on theme: "PLAT 2010. The Psychological Contract 'An individual's belief regarding the terms and conditions of a reciprocal exchange agreement between that focal."— Presentation transcript:

1 PLAT 2010

2 The Psychological Contract 'An individual's belief regarding the terms and conditions of a reciprocal exchange agreement between that focal person and another party … a belief that some form of promise has been made and that the terms and conditions of the contract have been accepted by both parties' Robinson, S.L. & Rousseau, D.M. (1994). 'Violating the psychological contract: Not the exception but the norm' Journal of Organizational Behavior 15, pp

3 Example Extracts from Organizational Psychological Contract ‘Build skills to increase my value to the organization’ ‘Take the organization’s concerns personally’ ‘Quit whenever I want’ ‘Concern for my personal welfare’ ‘Help me develop marketable skills’ Source: Rousseau, D. M. (2000) Psychological Contract Inventory

4 The Psychological Contract in HE The implicitly and tacitly held agreement & expectations of the ‘contractual’ relationship between students & lecturers about the nature of their exchange and relationship in the process of education. (Charlton, Barrow & Hornby-Atkinson, 2007)

5 Example Aspects of Psychological Contract (HE) ‘Teaching staff have a responsibility to ensure that all students understand all aspects of the course’ ‘Lecturers will be available to discuss course content with students whenever they require’ ‘The degree is likely to contribute positively to the student’s future earning potential’ ‘Personal development in general is an important part of the degree process’ ‘Full written instructions will be provided for all coursework assignments’ Source: Charlton, Barrow & Hornby-Atkinson (2007)

6 Project Rationale Infringement of HE psychological contract can: occur without awareness of parties concerned adversely affect motivation, achievement & staff-student relationships lead to student dissatisfaction, disillusionment and withdrawal Making psychological contract explicit  contract can be ‘managed’ & infringements avoided

7 The Project 1 st yr Psychology students PDP activity (action research) Measures taken at start & end Sem 1 & end Sem 2 Attendance, retention & performance recorded Work with students comparing expectations of staff & students Negotiate & experiment with changes to contract to enhance learning experience & outcomes Comparison with control sample Ultimately inform PDP strategy

8 Additional Measures Personal narratives ‘blank-sheet’ (Beard, Clegg & Smith 2007) Achievement Motivation (Elliot & McGregor 2001) Academic Efficacy & Self-Handicapping (Midgley et al 2000) Emotional Intelligence (Schutte et al 1998)

9 Design of Study Time 1 Start Semester 1 Psychological Contracts Questionnaire Blank Sheet Achievement Motivation Academic Efficacy Emotional Intelligence Time 2 End Semester 1 Psychological Contracts Questionnaire Blank Sheet Achievement Motivation Academic Efficacy Emotional Intelligence Time 3 End Semester 2 Psychological Contracts Questionnaire Blank Sheet Achievement Motivation Academic Efficacy Emotional Intelligence Activity Exploration of staff/student psychological contracts Activity Negotiate changes to psychological contract Outcomes Attendance Retention Performance Outcomes Attendance Retention Performance

10 4. Staff responsibility understanding 6. Lecture content 8. Handouts content 11. Earning potential Spread of agreement ratings for Psychology Psychological Contracts Data

11 Discrepancies Between Staff & Student Responses to Psychological Contracts Questionnaire Responses differ in regard to: Q 7 Lecturer availability Q 15 Graduate skills & competencies Q 16 Student will be expert Q 17 Careers available Q 18 Paid employment Q25 Read feedback Q 29 No job- waste of time Q31 Deadlines responsibility staff Q34 Really good classification

12 18. Paid employment31. Assignment spread 7. Lecturer availability16. Student expert Agreement rating percentages for staff & students Psychological Contracts Data

13 Psychological Contract Questionnaire data collected at TIME 1 A MANOVA analysis comparing 39 continuing students with 6 who later withdrew No significant difference in overall questionnaire scores (35 questions) between the two groups of students. However, the two groups differed significantly in their responses to the following questions (with continuing students scoring higher than withdrawn students): Q5. Discussing course content with other students beyond class time is an important part of the experience of completing a degree, F(1,43) 5.60, p <.05. (Continuing 4.21; Withdrawn 3.50). Q9. Assessed work is likely to be challenging and require a good deal of independent study, F(1,43) 5.55, p <.05. (Continuing 4.54; Withdrawn 4.00). Q18. It is reasonable to expect students to be able to engage in more than 10 hours a week paid employment during the course of their degree, F(1,43) 5.43, p <.05. (Continuing 3.59; Withdrawn 2.5).

14 Psychological Contracts Questionnaire data collected at TIME 2 A MANOVA analysis compared 36 continuing students with 13 who later withdrew. No significant differences in overall questionnaire scores (35 questions) or in the responses to individual questions between the two groups of students. There were marginally significant differences in responses to the following two questions: Q5. Discussing course content with other students beyond class time is an important part of the experience of completing a degree, F(1,47) 2.99, p =.09. Continuing students had higher scores than withdrawn. (Continuing 4.17; Withdrawn 3.69). Q8. Course handouts will contain all of the information needed to pass course assignments, F(1,47) 3.29, p =.08. Withdrawn students had higher scores. (Continuing 2.47; Withdrawn 3.08).

15 Psychological Contracts Questionnaire data collected at TIME 3 A MANOVA analysis compared 40 continuing students with 3 who later withdrew There was no significant difference in overall questionnaire scores (35 questions) between the two groups of students. The mean responses of the two groups differed significantly for only one of the questionnaire items with continuing students having the higher mean score: Q15. Studying for a degree should provide students with skills and competencies that will equip them to understand complex issues beyond their area of study, F(1,41) 5.036, p<.05. (Continuing 4.20; Withdrawn 3.33).

16 4 Factor Structure of Psychological Contracts Questionnaire Factor 1: Student application 23 I expect the course to be hard work and to require a lot of my time. 28 If I am ill or miss lectures the onus is on me to find out what I need to do to ‘make good’ the work or improve my mark next time. 32 I will need to do further study beyond my degree if I would like to work as a practicing psychologist. 2 Attending lectures can make a positive difference to the quality of my university experience and my degree outcome. 21 I expect to have to spend a good deal of time in the library researching course top 9 I expect assessed work to be challenging and require a good deal of independent study. 35 I expect to have to organise my own time so that work for assignments due in around the same time is spread in order to avoid missing deadlines. 12 Personal development in general is an important part of the degree process. 26 If I fail a piece of work it is probably because I have not done what was required of me. 25 Reading coursework feedback will help me to improve my grades in the future.

17 4 Factor Structure of Psychological Contracts Questionnaire Factor 2: Lecturer responsibility 4 Teaching staff have a responsibility to ensure that I understand all aspects of the course. 7 I expect tutors to be available to discuss course content with me whenever I require. 13 If I am ill or miss lectures the onus is on the lecturer or module leader to tell me what I need to do to ‘make good’ the work or improve my mark next time. 27 If I do badly or fail at a piece of work the onus is on my lecturer to tell me what I need to do to put it right.

18 4 Factor Structure of Psychological Contracts Questionnaire Factor 3: Career prospects 11 I expect my qualification on completion to contribute positively to my future earning potential. 1 My degree is likely to make a significant difference to my future career prospects. 14 My degree will make me more attractive to a prospective employer. 34 I am aiming to get a really good degree classification.

19 4 Factor Structure of Psychological Contracts Questionnaire Factor 4: Student expectation 17 Studying for the degree will inform me about the career opportunities available to me. 8 I expect course handouts to contain all of the information I need to pass course assignments. 6 I expect lectures to cover all of the subject matter I need to pass my course.

20 Conclusions? There is as much within variation in psychological contracts of groups of lecturers and students as between them – implications for intervention students who leave are: less likely to appreciate the value of discussing their work with other students, less likely to believe that HE will be challenging and require a good deal of independent study, more likely to believe that lectures and/or handouts will contain all the information they require to pass the course, less likely to recognise that studying for a degree will provide them with skills and competencies beyond their subject of study, and less likely to believe that failure is due to their lack of effort.

21 Actions Arising from the Research Explicit negotiation of the psychological contract through personal and academic development activities Clear statements in handbooks regarding expectations of independent learning & more explicit support for developing the skill of independent learning Early help in developing a general sense of internal responsibility for successes and failures. Intervention of contract negotiation begun much earlier. Self initiated project based activities. Peer mentoring to provide active peer support and to provide role models for independent learning. Students meet with their personal tutors at least once per week to actively engage in reflection on progress. Greater integration of learning across the whole of the first year programme aims to provide continuity of experience and links and connections for supporting learning.

22 Future Research Continuing exploration of the data and continuation of data gathering Collection and analysis of a larger sample of staff psychological contracts with the aim of exploring possibilities for communicating a more consistent message to students re expectations of HE ??


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