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Drawing from a bottomless well? Exploring the resilience of value-based psychological contracts in voluntary organizations

Cunningham, Ian (2010) Drawing from a bottomless well? Exploring the resilience of value-based psychological contracts in voluntary organizations. International Journal of Human Resource Management, 21 (5). pp. 699-719. ISSN 0958-5192

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Abstract

In an era of increased involvement by the third sector in the delivery of social services due to public sector outsourcing, this paper explores the resilience of employee psychological contracts in voluntary organizations in the context of their close relationship with state funding bodies. The results suggest that value-laden psychological contracts exhibit some resilience when state funding bodies interfere with the organizational mission of voluntary organizations. However, there are clear limits as to how far value-based aspects of the psychological contract compensate for unfulfilled obligations on the economic and socio-emotional dimensions caused by externally driven cost pressures. The paper suggests serious implications for HR practitioners and wider concerns relating to the quality of care delivered to the vulnerable.