The role of psychological ownership in retaining talent : a systematic literature review

13 Sep 2013

ORIENTATION: Managing psychological ownership can have positive attitudinal and behavioural effects, promote organisational effectiveness and support talent retention. RESEARCH PURPOSE: This paper seeks to explore and describe psychological ownership, distinguish it from other work-related attitudes and clarify the role that psychological ownership can play in retaining talent. MOTIVATION FOR THE STUDY: Previous studies of human resource practices and organisational characteristics that affect organisational commitment and the retention of talent have reported that absent variables could be responsible for varied results. Psychological ownership could be one of them. RESEARCH DESIGN, APPROACH AND METHOD: Based on a systematic review of the literature published over the last 20 years, the authors synthesised various research perspectives into a framework of psychological ownership and its links to retaining talent. MAIN FINDINGS: The authors found that psychological ownership was a comprehensive multidimensional construct. It is distinct from other work-related attitudes and seems capable of enabling organisations to retain the talents of skilled employees. PRACTICAL/MANAGERIAL IMPLICATIONS: Organisations can benefit from psychological ownership because it leads employees to feel responsible towards targets (like organisations) and to show stewardship. It can help organisations to retain talent and influence the intentions of skilled employees to remain with their organisations. CONTRIBUTION/VALUE-ADD: Psychological ownership, as an integrated multidimensional construct, has expanded the existing theory about the organisational commitment and workrelated attitudes that organisations need to retain talent in the 21st century.