This paper discusses the changing nature of psychological contract in the 20th century and attempt to look from the lens of OCB (organisational citizenship behaviour) and work-portfolio in workplace in relation to motivation. This paper shall draw from the author personal experiences in private sector and relates it to this discussion. Psychology contract implies those aspects of employment relationship between organization and employee over and above the legal requirement (Herriot, P. , 1998).
While Organization Citizenship Behavior (OCB) is work-related activities performed by employees; such behavior increases organizational effectiveness but are beyond the scope of job descriptions and formal, contractual sanctions or incentives (Organ, 1990). Most often this behavior is voluntary (Moorman & Blakely, 1995). A work-portfolio defined as the total number of assignments an individual is engaged in during a certain period of time (Ola Bergstrom, 2001). This means that employee develops experiences and skills in various areas and at the same time is exposed to relationship with different employers.
Employees gain broader skills in the same time retaining the specialised skills, thus not confine his transferable skills. In the rise of 20th century, we witnessed a big wave of structural changes in the employment relationship subsequent of organisations experienced waves of merger and acquisition, organization downsizing and delayering, technology boom, globalisation phenomenal, corporate scandals, economic recession and international political uncertainties (Jane Cranwell-Ward, 1995; Mabey, et. al. , 1998).
These caused people start to question their underlying value with the organization they worked with (such as the lesson from Enron scandal), and thus seeking ways to gain greater control over their destinies. McBain, R. (2002) said that the very fact that increasing pace of change and need for an organization to respond to today’s rapidly evolving business environment may well mean ‘breaches of psychological contract’ are likely to increase. This implies managers can no longer plan their career in the traditional ladder. Kessley, et. al.
(1996) cited that employers were no longer offering jobs for life, there is lack of trust in management, aspirations of employees such as pay and setting goals were not being met. In the mean time, organisations are increasingly obsessed with how to attract, develop, motivate and retain the highly skilled and knowledgeable workforce. Paradoxically, they must remain lean and cost-competitive at the same time encouraging innovation and quality. Therefore, we come to the question of how do all these affect employee motivation in workplace?
This follow by up to what extends it will shape the future of psychological contract? Will OCB still prevail? Or will we witness a different social contract with individual responsibility and self-determination as its principle passage? In attempting to answer these questions, the following case based on the author personal experiences shall be draw to examine this paper in more depth. This case relates to the critical incidents that happened to the author during his tenure period as a sales executive with a private company which specialising in glassware and scientific equipments for research and development sector.
He joined the company straight after graduated with a degree in industrial chemistry. Besides equipped with a conducive place to work, the company also offered benefits such as company car, phone expenses, travel expenses, accommodation allocation, and flexible wage systems. During the probation period in 1st two weeks, the company provided basic trainings such as receiving in-coming calls, making cold-calls, making appointments, filling in quotations, and et cetera to get the author familiarised with the company working practice, norm and culture.
Moreover, company also provided reading materials in scientific equipments, chemicals, glassware, clients and competitors information, which could be retrieved from the company database. The company expected the sales executive to learn at his own pace. The management monitored his suitability progression in every stage of in-house training and development. Later, the management assigned a supervisor (Product Manager) as mentor. In this training stage, the mentor paired with him to meet clients.
During that period, the sales executive must captured learning as much as possible such as negotiation skills, interpersonal skills, and listening skills, et cetera which relevant to the basic functional development. He found it not only his interests and education background congruent with the company requirements; the notion that he learnt something new and interesting as well motivated him to learn continuously. During off time, he unremittingly input new knowledge and skills by reading materials relevant to his profession and sector.
As he passed the probation period and exceeded the expected performance standard, the company rewarded him with the relevant incentives in cash and holiday package, which he perceived desirable and fair. The company felt that he was a potential candidate and decided to promote him as area-Z sales manager after one year. The company gave him more autonomy in decisions making with the minimum supervision. In addition, the company reinforced the relevant training and development to him. During this stage, he was assigned to work cross functionally with other departments.
Technical department, finance department, product development and sales department collaborated cross functionally for particular projects. The company also trained him in technical skills such as how to produce specific glassware and fix scientific equipments. This training was undertaken by pairing him with a technician. He felt highly motivated and worked extra hard even during after working hours. As a result, he would volunteer to go back to the company to work extra hours in the weekend.