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    A schema theory perspective on the psychological contracting processes of interns over time

    Coogan, Kim M. and Crowley-Henry, Marian and Cushen, Jean (2022) A schema theory perspective on the psychological contracting processes of interns over time. In: Academy of Management Conference Proceedings.. (Submitted)

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    This study explores the evolving expectations of undergraduate interns from a psychological contract schema theory perspective over time. Psychological contracts have been conceptualised as a type of schema, which is a mental model or construct through which individuals filter and understand social life. Scholarly endeavours have focused heavily on the negative effects of mismanaged psychological contracts. Less insight is available on the process through which a psychological contract is constructed, formed, and becomes impactful over time. Researching this process is vital to understanding and managing the evolution of the employment relationship. Taking a process methodological approach, we interviewed 30 interns from an Irish university between three to five times each over a 12-15 month period. We also collected written reflective accounts once they returned to the final year of study. Our findings reveal the importance of antecedents, such as normative expectations and goals, and the anticipated psychological contract on the psychological contracting process. We provide an empirically informed process model of the psychological contracting process of undergraduate interns. Our model incorporates factors such as the antecedents influencing the construction of the psychological contract, the formation and development of employment schemata, affective events, the role of agency, and the influence of internships on learners who return to the final year of undergraduate studies. We contribute to scholarly work on schema theory, the psychological contract as a dynamic process, and undergraduate internships. This research is of importance to educators preparing learners for the working world, organizations employing interns or fresh graduates, and learners themselves.

    Item Type: Conference or Workshop Item (Paper)
    Keywords: psychological contract; schema theory; process methodology; internships;
    Academic Unit: Faculty of Social Sciences > School of Business
    Item ID: 16806
    Identification Number:
    Depositing User: Dr. Marian Crowley-Henry
    Date Deposited: 06 Jan 2023 11:44
    Refereed: No
    Funders: EU Horizon 2020
    Use Licence: This item is available under a Creative Commons Attribution Non Commercial Share Alike Licence (CC BY-NC-SA). Details of this licence are available here

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