unpacking the crisis: un(der)employment, entrepreneurship, participation and resistance

The (Un)employment Relationship Uncovered: Social Contract and Identity in a period of financial crisis.

Paper presented at the 8th International Conference in Critical Management Studies
10 Jul 2013-12 Jul 2013

The University of Manchester. Manchester, United KingdomThere is an abundance of research focusing on the employment relationship between employees and their work organizations. One of the dominant frameworks for examining employee-organization relationship (EOR) has been the psychological contract (Blau, 1964). Globalization, rapid technological development, frequent organizational changes (e.g. downsizing, restructuring, out-sourcing) have eroded the sense of job security and thus engendered a renewed interest in the examination of the concept of psychological contract as a framework for the exploration of the tacit understandings of employees’ exchange relationship within the context of changing employment relations (Sennett, 2000; Kallenberg, 2009; ILO, 2012). The decreasing level of job security and trust in management and corporate values have resulted in the collapse of the idea of the so-called ‘old psychological contract’ (i.e. increased commitment in return to job security); instead, a ‘new psychological contract’ discourse has emerged (Conway and Briner, 2005). However, the current financial crisis institutes a new ‘version’ of the employment relationship which is inclusive of the notion of precariousness, a prevalent feature of the changing work conditions and societal attitudes (Standing, 2011).

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