The psychological contracts of Australian hospital volunteer workers

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O'Donohue, Wayne
Nelson, Lindsay
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2009
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Abstract

In the Australian context, there is a gap in the amount of published research into the psychological contract generally, and particularly in regard to voluntary workers. This paper presents and discusses survey data on the psychological contracts, motivation, values, and job satisfaction of volunteers in a sample of five hospitals in Australia. In doing so, it shows that the sample volunteers perceive their psychological contracts to include economic, socio-emotional and ideology-related contributions. For many of the volunteers, the primary focus for these contributions is not on narrow self-interest or joint volunteer-organisation interests, but rather on broader interests that transcend the organisation's boundaries. The study supports the relevance of the psychological contract for conceptualising and understanding the volunteer-organisation relationship. In particular, it illustrates the potential that the concept of an ideology-related psychological contract offers for better explaining the dynamics of that relationship. The study highlights that perceptions held by the sample volunteers of less than supportive management practices, relating to recognition of volunteer efforts, work design and organisation, have the potential for psychological contract breach and a consequent negative impact on volunteer satisfaction.

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Australian Journal on Volunteering

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14

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9

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© 2009 Australian Journal on Volunteering. The attached file is reproduced here in accordance with the copyright policy of the publisher. Please refer to the journal's website for access to the definitive, published

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Human Resources Management

Commerce, Management, Tourism and Services

Studies in Human Society

Psychology and Cognitive Sciences

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