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Social and Developmental Psychology in Work and Organisations

Millward, LJ, McDowall, A and Banks, A (2011) Social and Developmental Psychology in Work and Organisations In: Applied Psychology. General Applied Psychology (25). Wiley-Blackwell, pp. 497-514. ISBN 978-1-4443-3121-9

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We apply social psychology to our understanding of organizational life, by looking in particular at the relationship between the individual and the organization. From a social psychological perspective, an organization is conceptualised as a collection of roles (some of which may be organised into local teams or workgroups) that are all interconnected in the pursuit of some common goal, attached to which are particular behavioural norms and values (Katz & Kahn, 1964). Organizations impact on individuals through processes of social influence which bind them in some psychological way to organizational interests and pursuits. This binding can be conceptualised as a psychological relationship between individual and organization that can be tenuous or strong depending on the extent to which an individual is a fully integrated organizational member. A tenuous relationship may imply that the individual’s interests outweigh those of the organization, and if these are not being fulfilled by an organization he or she will leave. This type of relationship has been conceptualised as instrumental or transactional (Rousseau, 1995; Chapter 22) in which there is a quid-pro-quo type of reciprocation in which an individual supplies specific services (usually highly circumscribed around time spent in relation to a particular work schedule) in return for extrinsic reward (pay, benefits) and little else. A fully integrated relationship on the other hand presupposes that an individual has internalised the norms and values of the organization as their own to the extent that their interests are mutually bound and synonymous. This type of relationship has been conceptualised as relational as it values the relationship per se: here there is an exchange of services based on intrinsic need fulfilment (Rousseau, 1995). A transactional relationship is built on a largely economic interpretation of the employment contract, whilst core to a relational relationship is a more complex psycho-social interpretation of the employment contract. Both are forms of what Rousseau (1995) calls the ‘psychological contract’ (Chapter 22) and both are dependent on how an individual makes sense of themselves in an organizational context through their perceptions and interpretations. Understanding the mechanisms via which self becomes psychologically (whether transactional or relational) connected to organizational life is pivotal to understanding ‘organizational behaviour’.

Item Type: Book Section
Divisions : Faculty of Health and Medical Sciences > School of Psychology
Authors :
Millward, LJ
McDowall, A
Banks, A
Date : 1 April 2011
Related URLs :
Additional Information : Full text may be available at a later date.
Depositing User : Symplectic Elements
Date Deposited : 04 Jun 2014 09:35
Last Modified : 09 Jun 2014 13:46

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