The legal contract of employment offers a limited understanding of the employment relationship. However, the psychological contract describes the relationship between employers and workers and influences how people behave from day to day. Unlike the legal contract of employment, the psychological contract is not tangible. It’s built on the everyday actions and statements made by one party and how they are interpreted by the other. 

This factsheet explores the psychological contract in the context of the employment relationship. It covers how managers can support the psychological contract, its impact on broader organisation strategy and the role of HR in managing it.

Members access only

Unlock exclusive, tailored content and resources, just for members.

Sign in to access

Not a member yet? Find out how you can become a member today!

Related content

Factsheet
Employee relations: an introduction

Understand what employee relations means as a concept and what it means to employers

Thought leadership
Skills, better jobs and business partnership key to UK growth agenda

Ben Willmott explores the new Labour Government strategies to enhance skills and employment to boost economic growth

Report
Working Lives Scotland

Dedicated analysis of job quality and its impact on working lives in Scotland

Report
CIPD Good Work Index

The CIPD Good Work Index provides an annual snapshot of job quality in the UK, giving insight to drive improvement to working lives

Explore our other factsheets

Factsheet
Discipline and grievance at work

Learn the fundamentals of disciplinary and grievance policies and practices in the workplace

Factsheet
Employee relations: an introduction

Understand what employee relations means as a concept and what it means to employers

Factsheet
TUPE (Transfer of undertakings): An introduction

Looks at the law governing transfers of undertakings and gives introductory guidance on managing a TUPE situation

For Members
Factsheet
Employee engagement and motivation

Understand the concept of employee engagement and learn how to build an engaged and motivated workforce

Factsheets