Perceived obligations of future forest industry employees: A psychological contracts perspective

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New employees will have beliefs regarding the reciprocal obligations between themselves and their employer. These beliefs can take the form of a psychological contract between the two parties if the employee perceives that he will owe the employer some contribution for which he will receive some incentive by the employer. Fulfillment of psychological contracts is relevant because they can have a direct impact on an employee's productivity and satisfaction. The purpose of this research was to examine perceptions of obligations between future forest-industry employees and their first employers after graduation. It also sought to investigate the existence and influence of psychological contracts in the employee-employer relationship. Graduating seniors in wood science and forestry programs across the United States were surveyed, with more than 300 students from 34 different universities replying. Results suggest that an employer's pay-related obligations are most important to wood products students. The students' perception of their most important obligation to their future employer is to work hard. Statistical analyses indicate that students perceive they will have distinct types of obligational relationships with their future employers, thus suggesting that even before graduation they are thinking contractually. Implications are drawn for both educators and forest industry employers seeking to increase the productivity of employees at the start of their careers.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)39-46
Number of pages8
JournalForest Products Journal
Issue number10
StatePublished - Oct 1 2001

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Forestry
  • General Materials Science
  • Plant Science


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