Emic & Etic Measures

A Distinction

Etic perspectives address generalizable features of a psychological contract, whereas emic measures focus on local and idiosyncratic content. Assessments using standardized scales to assess the extent to which workers experience a 'transactional' or 'relational' arrangement with their employer generally are etic in nature, applying a common framework across a variety of situations. In contrast, ethnographic interviews probing the subjective experiences of workers, with no a priori framework to test, typically are emic in nature. Emic assessments provide a qualitative description of the idiosyncratic meaning ascribed to employment.


from Rousseau, D.M. (2000). 'Psychological Contract Inventory - Technical Report'.