Hiring the Good Consultant: The formation of Psychological Contracts in a small Danish consulting company

Louise Lykke Stryhn

Student thesis: Master thesis


The motivation and purpose of this thesis has been to get an improved understanding of the formation and development of organizational relationships during the processes of recruitment and employment start. This motivation is based on the assumption that organizational relationships has both economically implications for the organization, and additionally influences job satisfaction, organizational commitment, job performance, and employee turnover. The relationships have been investigated in the context of a small Danish consulting company. The method used has been qualitative in-depth interviews with representatives of the management and the employees. The approach in this study differs from the more normative approaches for effective recruitment as it has sought to understand how the parties involved make meaning of, and perceive the relationships. The theoretical approach has its foundation in the Psychological Contract as a way of understanding the informal and implied parts of the employment relationship. The study has revealed how organizational and individual identity has been a central factor in the formation of the relationship, and the process of Identification is therefore seen as part of the foundation for the development of the psychological contracts in the case company. It is furthermore revealed how the relationships have been affected by more general implications caused by being in a small company. The structural design also plays a significant role in the way the processes are being executed and affect the formation and further development of the employment relationship. The findings of this thesis have further shown how the experiences and perceptions of the processes and the employment relationship are influenced by an ideological assumption and definition of the good consultant. The ideal of the good consultant has been found as both an enhancer of identity and creator of tensions for the parties involved. These tensions have resulted in small breaches affecting the psychological contracts and the identification processes between the employer and employees. However, the effect of the breaches has been found as existing in the relationship with relatively few complications. The breaches are therefore rather seen as resulting in a re-identification and adjustment to the new organizational setting, than causing severe damage to the relationships. The findings do, however, lead to the conclusion that even though individuals seemingly define themselves by the same ideal of the good consultant, they do not necessarily make meaning of, and perceive the employment relationship the same way.

EducationsMSc in Strategy, Organization and Leadership, (Graduate Programme) Final Thesis
Publication date2013
Number of pages82