Striving and well-being in a vocational setting: vocational trainees' personal work goals and psychological contracts

Bruns K (2017)
Bielefeld: Universität Bielefeld.

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Bielefeld Dissertation | English
Abstract
Abstract — Striving and Well-Being in a Vocational Setting: Trainees’ Personal Work Goals and Psychological Contracts.

In Germany at present, just under 1.4 million vocational trainees are learning a trade in the dual-system vocational training programme (BIBB, 2016). Although personal goals are thought critical in adolescence for well-being, identity development and for navigating developmental tasks, no studies investigate the personal goals of vocational trainees. One-in-four trainees quit before graduating, indicating problems in withholding trainees. In this mixed-method dissertation I carried out three studies investigating the consequences of pursuing personal work goals in a facilitative or non-facilitative vocational training setting. I viewed the trainees’ psychological contracts and relationship with their trainers as contextual features of the workplace which could facilitate or hinder goal progress. In Study One (n= 10), a qualitative interview study, I found vocational trainees’ psychological contracts to be concentrated on learning and teaching, a fair deal, a supportive workplace and being valued as a full member of the workforce. From this, I generated the Psychological Contract Measure for Vocational Trainees. Study Two (n= 475), a cross-sectional study, revealed that for vocational trainees, a higher percentage of psychological contract promises made that are broken lead to lowered work goal progress, which lead to lowered job satisfaction. A higher percentage of promises made that are broken also lead to lowered work goal attainability, which lead to lowered OCBs and trust in their trainer. Additionally, more trainer support for the trainees’ personal work goals was associated with increased well-being and work attitudes whilst having a clearly defined psychological contract reduced the percentage of promises made that are broken and lead to increased well-being and work attitudes. Contrary to previous findings (Brunstein, 1999) work goal attainability did not moderate the association between work goal commitment and well-being and work attitudes. In Study Three (n= 116), a daily diary study spanning two-weeks, I found that broken promises impacted on activated mood negatively on the within level and impacted on goal progress, mood, work performance and work effort negatively on the between level. The day after a promise break occurs there is also a significant drop in the amount of effort trainees put into their work. Recommendations for practice include trainers discussing the trainees’ personal work goals with them and ensuring the social working environment facilitates their goals, including actively supporting the trainee in their strivings. Promises should not be made flippantly and only if they are likely to be kept, and promise breaks should be avoided if at all possible. Informing trainers of the far reaching consequences of broken promises is also recommended.
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Bruns K. Striving and well-being in a vocational setting: vocational trainees' personal work goals and psychological contracts. Bielefeld: Universität Bielefeld; 2017.
Bruns, K. (2017). Striving and well-being in a vocational setting: vocational trainees' personal work goals and psychological contracts. Bielefeld: Universität Bielefeld.
Bruns, K. (2017). Striving and well-being in a vocational setting: vocational trainees' personal work goals and psychological contracts. Bielefeld: Universität Bielefeld.
Bruns, K., 2017. Striving and well-being in a vocational setting: vocational trainees' personal work goals and psychological contracts, Bielefeld: Universität Bielefeld.
K. Bruns, Striving and well-being in a vocational setting: vocational trainees' personal work goals and psychological contracts, Bielefeld: Universität Bielefeld, 2017.
Bruns, K.: Striving and well-being in a vocational setting: vocational trainees' personal work goals and psychological contracts. Universität Bielefeld, Bielefeld (2017).
Bruns, Katherine. Striving and well-being in a vocational setting: vocational trainees' personal work goals and psychological contracts. Bielefeld: Universität Bielefeld, 2017.
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