Negotiating a Shared Psychological Contract with Students
AbstractThis article explicates how a shared psychological contract was negotiated with senior undergraduate students at the beginning of a new academic year. The guiding idea behind the investigation is that students’ voice should be heard when mutual role expectations associated with the lecturer-student relationship are clarified and agreed upon. This provides lecturers with an excellent opportunity to reflect on how to adapt their behaviour to optimize the lecturer-student relationship. The Nominal Group Technique was adapted to collect data from individual students and to reach group consensus about the content of the agreement. General themes representative of individual students’ shared expectations about the role of the lecturer and their own roles were identified. The entitlement beliefs and obligations of students and their professor were rated and incorporated into a psychological contract that was subsequently adopted by both parties. The findings show that senior undergraduate students (individually and as a group) have realistic ideological, transactional and relational expectations at the commencement of a new teaching year, and that the negotiation of a collective agreement is a viable option. Such agreements should be renegotiated at critical junctures during the academic year to regulate and manage mutual role expectations in the lecturer-student relationship.
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