Knowledge Workers: Deregulated Work, Psychological Contracts and How These Affect Them
Abstract: Background: Knowledge work has been described in a boundaryless context with increasingly deregulated working conditions. How common deregulated work is and how the psychological contract (PC) of knowledge workers is affected remains unclear. Objective: An empirical investigation of deregulated work, PCs, and their effects on outcomes, namely work-to-life balance, affective organizational commitment, and work satisfaction. Method: n = 111 knowledge workers in the UK were surveyed online. Mean age was 37.25 (SD = 10.10) years; only 28.8 % identified as male. Results: Deregulation was common, but while time and space deregulation overall did not predict outcomes and PCs, performance and collaboration deregulation did. Moreover, the latter kinds of deregulation were associated with more beneficial PCs and outcomes, except work-to-life balance. Relational and balanced PCs were generally positively, while transactional and, more importantly, transitional PCs were negatively associated with outcomes. Discussion: Results are discussed, e.g. unexpected results for time and space deregulation as well as work-to-life balance. After reflecting on limitations, implications for theory and practice are considered.
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