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Psychological contracts and commitment amongst nurses and nurse managers: A discourse analysis.

McCabe, Thomas, J. and Sambrook, Sally (2013) Psychological contracts and commitment amongst nurses and nurse managers: A discourse analysis. International Journal of Nursing Studies, 50 (7). pp. 954-967. ISSN 0020-7489

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Few studies explore the link between the psychological contracts and the commitment of nursing professionals in the healthcare sector, and how perceived breaches of the psychological contract can impact on nurses’ commitment levels.

This study explores the connections between the psychological contracts and organisational and professional commitment of nurses and nurse managers.

Semi-structured interviews were conducted with nurses and nurse managers, to explore the connections between their psychological contracts and organisational and professional commitment.

Large acute and small community organisation within the British National Health Service.

28 nurses and 11 nurse managers working within an acute and a community sector organisation – 20 and 19 in each organisation. Participants were selected through a process of purposive sampling, reflecting variations in terms of age, grade, ward and tenure.

A discourse analysis was conducted on the qualitative data from the thirty nine semi-structured interviews.

Two overall themes emerged, professional and managerial values. Professional values included the sub-themes: professional recognition; immediate work environment – leadership and peer support; professional development and progression. Sub-themes under managerial values included: involvement; general management; resource management.

The findings suggest that nurses and nurse managers are governed by relational psychological contracts, underpinned by an affective and to a lesser extent normative commitment towards the nursing profession. They emphasise ‘professional values’, and professional commitment, as the basis for positive psychological contracts amongst nursing professionals. There was anecdotal evidence of relational psychological contract breach, with decreasing job satisfaction as the outcome of perceived psychological contract breach. Positive psychological contracts and commitment levels amongst nursing professionals can be supported by managers been aware and sensitive to nursing discourses, and managing their expectations through greater involvement and leadership development.

Item Type: Article
Subjects: R Medicine > RT Nursing
B Philosophy. Psychology. Religion > Psychology > Organisational Psychology
Divisions: School of Business > Staff Research and Publications
Depositing User: Timothy Lawless
Date Deposited: 05 Mar 2014 14:32
Last Modified: 05 Mar 2014 14:36

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