The Centre for Work, Organisation and Wellbeing is hosting Professor Jason Shaw from the Hong Kong Polytechnic University on October 10th as he holds a special seminar about his study on a construal-level theory of employment relationships and psychological contract fulfilment.

In his paper, Professor Shaw argues that there is a distinct difference in the way employees evaluate organisations’ employment relationship policies and practices, as the former is seen in more of an abstract level and the latter is seen in more concrete terms.

“In this paper, we make the argument that when people evaluate these things that are at a very abstract or high level they tend to prefer policies which indicate some sort of balance,” Professor Shaw said.

“But when we make the argument using the construal-level theory when people evaluate what the are experiencing they prefer practices or an employment relationship that is imbalanced towards stability or inducement, things that are not performance related or related to how much expectations are placed on them.

“So we evaluate things in a distant way we prefer balance in terms of what we receive and what is expected of us, but when we evaluate them in a close way, or concrete way, we look for security, that is we want to make more money, we want to have more benefits, we want more training opportunities.”

In his paper, Professor Shaw used employee psychological contract fulfilment as an outcome, which is simply put people’s belief about whether an organisation lives up to the promises made to them. Shaw hypothesises that psychological contract fulfilment would be highest under a mutual employee-organisation relationship (EOR).

“the idea of mutual investment type of employment relationship is the one where a lot is given, and a lot is expected of employees, to the extent that the organisation is expecting a lot and offering a lot we would call this mutual investment,” Shaw said.

“So the argument is when we evaluate things at an abstract level we would prefer or would be most fulfilled under a mutual investment type of employment relationship, when we evaluate things more closely or what it actually experienced we actually prefer or are more fulfilled when there is an imbalance in the relationship in our favour.”

Professor Jason Shaw holds various roles including Yeung Kim Man Professor in Business Administration, Chair of Management, and Director of the Centre for Leadership and Innovation in the Faculty of Business at The Hong Kong Polytechnic University. He received his PhD from the University of Arkansas. Jason’s research interests include team effectiveness, the psychology of pay, and organisational turnover. His work can be found in Academy of Management Journal, Academy of Management Review, and Journal of Applied Psychology, among others.

Jason’s seminar will be held in room -2.10, building N72 (Glyn Davis, Nathan campus) with a videolink to room 1.11, building G27 (Business 2), Gold Coast campus from 10 – 11 am on the 10th October. All are welcome – RSVP to [email protected] or phone 07 3735 3714.