Member since Nov '08 Working languages: Chinese to English English to Chinese
Li Rui 20 year translation experiences
Chengdu, Sichuan, China
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Project Details Project Summary Corroboration Translation Volume: 40000 words Duration: Jul 2005 to Sep 2006 Languages: English to Chinese Convera Online translation project Big online project for mutipile language pairs.
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English to Chinese: The Psychological Contract: The Ticket to Enjoying One’s Work Source text - English The Psychological Contract: The Ticket to Enjoying One’s Work
by Harvey A. Levine
In my recent book “Practical Project Management: Tips, Tactics, and Tools” (John Wiley & Sons, 2002) there is a chapter entitled: “The Psychological Contract: How to Stimulate Initiative and Innovation in any Organization”. The psychological contract is a concept, developed by Edgar Schien, for creating a working environment between a manager and subordinate that vastly enhances the probability of a productive and satisfying engagement.
How to Stifle Motivated Individuals
It’s a familiar story, being played out daily, all over the world. Joe Engineer (anyone, anywhere) puts in his 40 hours, and then some. But he’s not happy. He has talents that are not being used. He is being asked to do things that are not consistent with his skills, his calling, or his goals. He feels that he is not getting the respect that he deserves.
Joe puts in his 40, but begrudgingly. Then, to work out his frustration, his puts the rest of his abundant time and energy into other activities. But he suffers from this situation. The job is more stressful than it need be. And if only Joe could be motivated to put his talent and energies into his job, both Joe and the firm could benefit greatly.
As prevalent as this set of circumstances is, a solution is readily available, at no cost. It is called the Psychological Contract.
Let’s start with this issue of motivation. Joe doesn’t need to be motivated. Given the proper environment, Joe would be happy to put in twice his weekly 40. And all he would want in return is a chance to use his talents, to work on projects that match his skills and interest, to get some sign of appreciation – even some recognition for his contributions, and, through these accomplishments, to gain the opportunity for even more challenging and rewarding assignments in the future.
As a senior manager, I would jump for joy to have someone like Joe on my team. But, while the world is full of Joe’s, many of our senior managers stifle, rather than motivate such people. How often have you heard a manager ask a subordinate “what would you like to do here?” Hell, no! More often it’s “I’ll tell you just what to do and what not to do. And you’ll do as I say because I am the boss and I can hurt you if you challenge me.”
Now, here’s where the psychological contract comes in. Almost four decades ago, Edgar H. Schien wrote: "an organization cannot function unless the members consent to the operating authority system, and that this consent hinges upon the upholding of the psychological contract between the organization and the member.";While we may have questioned this position on authority twenty years ago, we certainly can see that it has become more of the norm as we enter the 21st century.(1)
Schien makes the following assumptions about the characteristics of today's psychologically healthy and productive individuals.
• These people have an inherent need to use their capacities and skills in a mature and productive way.
• They seek to make their work more interesting, challenging, and meaningful.
• They thirst for a sense of pride and self-esteem.
The Psychological Contract
According to Schien, for these individuals to achieve these goals in the workplace, and to obtain satisfaction from their work, depends to a large measure on two conditions.
• First, is the degree in which their own expectations of what the organization will provide them and what they owe the organization, match what the organization's expectations are of what it will give and get.
• Second (assuming that there is an agreement on expectations) is what is actually exchanged -- money in exchange for time at work; social-need satisfaction and security in exchange for work and loyalty; opportunities for self-actualization and challenging work in exchange for high productivity, quality work, and creative effort in the service of organizational goals; or various combinations of these and other things.
So, recognizing Schien’s observations and concepts, I propose the most audacious thing. I propose that the manager assume the role as a partner with the subordinate. Here’s how it works.
• The prospective manager discusses her needs. She spells out her expectations and explains what she has to offer in return.
• The prospective subordinate expresses what she feels that she has to offer in this position, and what she expects to get out of it.
• The two parties negotiate a working relationship that is based on a mutual set of needs and expectations. They arrive at a win-win situation that places both parties as co-equal colleagues, even if the agreement recognizes the basic manager-subordinate hierarchy. Mutual trust and respect form the foundation for the relationship.
Can this Work in a Projects Environment?
In a recent discussion with a colleague, we reminisced about times in our careers where we had established a psychological contract for an assignment and how rewarding it had become. However, I realized during that discussion that the application of the psychological contract concept is much more difficult when we are talking about a project team assignment, as opposed to a traditional functional assignment.
The typical project environment presents several challenges. We all know about the challenges to bring projects in on schedule and under budget. We recognize that many projects involve doing something for the first time or other “discovery” issues. Risk and uncertainty are common bedfellows on projects.
But of all the challenges facing us in the project environment, number one is people. I’m not talking about dealing with scarce resources, although that is virtually ubiquitous in the world of projects. No, the key issue is how we bring people together to work on projects. What we have in projects is perhaps the most difficult working environment that we can ask people to overcome.
If I dare to describe a typical working atmosphere for skilled people (those commonly found in responsible project positions), it would present the following conditions. They would want to be able to contribute to project success by applying their knowledge and skills to the job. They would expect to be rewarded for doing this. They would expect to have reasonably defined relationships with the rest of the organization. They would expect to have the respect of others in the organization.
In the traditional, functionally oriented organization, these expectations are attainable (if the expectations are communicated and discussed). In this traditional environment, a person is usually interviewed for a position and the opportunity exists for all parties to discuss expectations, rewards, relationships, responsibilities, and so forth. The situation, once established, tends to be quite stable over a long period of time.
Editor’s note: For a detailed discussion of how this is accomplished, please read Harvey Levine’s two papers on the “Psychological Contract” on the Sciforma website. Go to:
http://www.sciforma.com/resources/white_papers/Psychological_Contract_P1.htm and http://www.sciforma.com/resources/white_papers/Psychological_Contract_P2.htm
Now consider each of these expectations when an individual is assigned to a project team. The team members are thrown together, on short notice. These are temporary assignments and some team members may be placed on multiple assignments. Leadership responsibility is usually poorly defined. There may not be a defined hierarchy, and leadership of the team may float with the area of current focus.
The Psychological Contract and Projects
Essentially, most of the conditions needed to apply the psychological contract concept would exist in the Projects environment. There are at least three elements that are different and present a challenge.
• The assignment is likely to be for a shorter period of time
• The Project Manager is likely to have less of a say over the team members’ working environment than a functional manager
• The subordinate may be supporting multiple project managers.
Nevertheless, these are challenging conditions, rather than defeating conditions. The psychological contract can work, but it will be a bit more complicated.
In this Projects environment, the negotiations would involve three parties: the project manager, the functional manager and the team member. It starts with an operating psychological contract between the functional manager and the subordinate. When it comes time for the functional manager to allocate people to the project, the functional manager should meet with the project manager and discuss personnel needs. This is a normal routine, even without the psychological contract process. Selection of personnel for the project should be based on skills and availability, but also (where possible) the likelihood of a reasonable psychological contract between the project manager and the team member.
Next, the prospective team member meets with the project manager to discuss the assignment. The normal psychological contract process is employed, with both parties expressing needs and what they have to offer.
In the best of worlds, the enlightened and caring functional manager strives to build a psychological contract with each of his reports. He then follows that up by facilitating psychological contracts between his subordinates and the project managers to which they will be assigned. In the best of worlds, the subordinate completes his assignment to the project with success and satisfaction, knowing that he has kept his part of the bargain and his managers have kept theirs.
How often do we get an opportunity to gain so much without having to give up anything in return? The psychological contract is the ticket.
(1)Schien, E. H. Organizational Psychology, 2nd Ed. Prentice-Hall, 1970, Pg. 18
copyright © 2003 Harvey Levine. All rights reserve
Translation - Chinese 心理契约:享受工作的钥匙
在我最近的新书《项目管理实践：诀窍、策略与工具》（John Wiley $ Sons 出版社，2002）中有一章题为：“心理契约：如何在组织中刺激创造与创新”。心理契约是一个由埃德加•席恩（Edgar Schien）提出的概念，其目的是为了在管理者和下属之间创造一个可以极大地提高生产力与满意度的工作环境。
http://www.sciforma.com/resources/white_papers/Psychological_Contract_P1.htm 和 http://www.sciforma.com/resources/white_papers/Psychological_Contract_P2.htm
Energy, Ohter, Project Management Master's degree - Webster University Years of experience: 24. Registered at ProZ.com: Jul 2005. Became a member: Nov 2008. N/A Project management institue(PMP) Across, Adobe Acrobat, Adobe Illustrator, Adobe Photoshop, AutoCAD, DejaVu, FrameMaker, Microsoft Excel, Microsoft Word, Pagemaker, Powerpoint, SDL TRADOS, SDLX http://www.proz.com/profile/112801 Li Rui endorses ProZ.com's Professional Guidelines (v1.1).
English Name: : Ray
20 year experiences in Civil Engineering Field and related technical translations
20 year experiences in Electric Power Project and related technical translations
15 year international trade and international project translation experiences
12 year oversea working experiences (2 years in Cambodia since 2000 and 4 years in Pakistan,6 years in Georgia).
B.S. of Chinese well known Tongji University
IMBA of Webster University, USA
PMP certified since 2005
Certfied as Senior Engineer in Contruction field of State Grid Corp. China since 2005
Keywords: English, Chinese, Translation, civil Engineering, Electric Power, PMP, Contractor, Energy, Geology, project management, oversea working experiences, financial, technical
Profile last updated Jan 3, 2019