Repatriation and the Psychological Contract: A Saudi Arabian Comparative Study
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Studies related to psychological contracts have made significant contributions to our understanding of the exchange relationship between employees and employers. However, the influence of national/organisational culture on the psychological contract has largely been neglected. The thesis examines the influence of national and organisational culture on the way in which psychological contracts are constituted, and how they may change following international assignments and repatriation. The research examines differences in the nature, and consequences of, psychological contract fulfilment or breach across two Saudi organisations in the petroleum and petrochemicals sectors. A qualitative case study approach was adopted. The data were gathered using multiple methods, including interviews, non-participant observations and analyses of organisational documents. The findings reported in the thesis draw upon 60 semi-structured interviews with employees who had been repatriated within the previous 12 months, and 14 interviews with Human Resource (HR) managers in the two organisations, triangulated with extensive documentary analysis and observations. The research findings demonstrate the influence of strong national cultural values shaping organisational culture and HR practices in both organisations, which, in turn, influence the content of the psychological contract (i.e. expectations and obligations) at an individual level, both pre- and post-international assignment. Differences were identified between the two organisations in terms of the influence of different national cultural values on organisational culture and practices; these differences influenced individuals’ perceptions of whether their psychological contract had been fulfilled or breached post-international assignment. The implications of this research are also considered.
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