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Research, 2005, Volume 10, Number 2, pages 57-72
Psychological Contract Violation: Impacts on Job Satisfaction and Organizational Commitment Among Australian Senior Public Servants
Janice Anna Knights & Barbara Jean Kennedy James Cook University
In a world of ongoing organisational transformation, the psychological contract between the employer and the employee is open to violation. It is imperative that senior managers, as change agents, have a good understanding of the psychological contract and how it influences employee behaviour and attitudes towards their job and their organisation. This paper explains the concept of psychological contract violation and presents the results of a survey of executive management personnel from the Australian Public Sector. The results of the survey revealed a negative relationship between psychological contract violation and both job satisfaction (r = .77) and organisational commitment (r = -.67). Recommendations are given on how an organisation can minimise perceptions of violation through human resource strategies, policies and procedures that foster open communication and are reflective of distributive, procedural and interactional justice.
A WIDE CROSS-SECTION of organisations, within both the private and public sectors, are constantly being challenged by global competition, advancing technology, the utilisation of a diverse workforce, and the provision of highquality products and services (Karpin, 1995; Noe, Hollenbeck, Gerhart & Wright, 1997). In the face of such challenges, many organisations reinvent themselves through such processes as reengineering, restructuring and downsizing. These transformations usually involve the renegotiation and alteration of the employment agreement to fit changing circumstances (Guzzo & Noonan, 1994; Lucero & Allen, 1994; McLean Parks & Kidder, 1994; Morrison, 1994; Sims, 1994). Although such change is crucial to the survival of the organisation, it is the way in which change is executed that often results in the violation of psychological contracts. As McLean Parks, Kidder, and Gallagher (1998) so aptly point out, “It is their perception of reality, not any so-called ‘objective’ reality, that shapes their expectations, their attitudes, and their behaviors. Consequently, to understand employee attitudes and behaviors, it is necessary to understand their perceptions—their reality” (1998, p.697). It is imperative that senior managers, as change agents, understand the process of the psychological contract and how it influences employee behaviour and attitudes towards their job and their organisation. It is essential that management and the employee have a shared perception of what they believe to be the obligations of each party. THEORETICAL BACKGROUND The origins of the psychological contract date back to the writings of Argyris (1960) and Schein (1980). It can be defined as a set of individual beliefs or perceptions regarding reciprocal obligations between the employee and the organisation (Robinson, Kraatz, & Rousseau, 1994; Wolfe Morrison & Robinson,
the employee has expectations in the areas of promotion. resentment. and support with personal problems. with resultant increases in absenteeism and turnover (Griffeth. 1982). volunteer to do non-required tasks. the employee may experience a decrease in job satisfaction especially if these facets were viewed as important by the employee (Robinson & Rousseau. theft and sabotage of equipment (Spector. This emotional experience culminates in attitudinal and behavioural responses.. but largely they are implied and not openly discussed (Anderson & Schalk. For example.1997). the theoretical model of psychological contract violation (Wolfe Morrison & Robinson. depression (Frese. If dissatisfied employees remain in the organisation they may engage in counter-productive behaviours such as poor service. and to spend a minimum of two years with the organisation. However. pay. absenteeism and counter-productive behaviour results in a financial cost to the organisation in terms of lost productivity and replacement costs. there is also an emotional state that accompanies violation the feelings of betrayal. 2000. career development. It emphasizes the specific task environment where an employee performs his/her duties and reflects the more immediate reactions to specific tangible aspects of the work environment (Mowday. Hom. & Steers. Spector. Dowling & Kabanoff. 1998). be willing to accept transfer. 1996. 1989). Hackett. to refuse to support competitors. job security. tiredness. . Similarly. Turnover. communication and job security. anxiety. Job Satisfaction Job satisfaction is an attitudinal variable that reflects how people feel about their jobs. Porter. disturbed sleep patterns. be loyal. 1978. Violation of the psychological contract occurs when one party perceives that the other has failed to fulfil its obligations or promises. coworkers. 1994). the employee's understanding of the employment relationship may be different from that of the organisation (Robinson. O'Brien. the nature of the work itself. Some of these obligations are recorded in the form of a written formal contract of employment. anger. 1997). 1985. Wolfe Morrison & Robinson. destructive rumours. There are many facets of job satisfaction. However. the employer expects the employee to be willing to work extra hours. job conditions. In return.a mental calculation of what the employee has received relative to what was promised. When an employee experiences a discrepancy between what was expected and what was received in one or more of these facets. 1997). job dissatisfaction and lowered organisational commitment. These obligations are perceived promises that both parties believe have been made and accepted by both parties. give advance notice when quitting. such as. benefits. a sense of injustice and wrongful harm (Wolfe Morrison & Robinson. Dissatisfied employees have also been found to report such physical symptoms as tension. 1997) and stiffness in muscles and joints 58 . with common classifications being pay. promotion. It is this perceptual and idiosyncratic nature of the psychological contract that distinguishes it from other forms of contracts (Robinson et al. & Gaertner. 1994). 1997). 1997) proposes that when an employee perceives a discrepancy in the reciprocal promises made between the employee and the organisation. distress. The employee's perception that the organisation has failed to fulfil one or more obligations relating to the psychological contract represents the cognitive aspect of violation . their response may manifest as job dissatisfaction. training. to protect company information. supervision.
Dailey & Kirk.. . 1992). Commitment is reflected in the employee's acceptance of organisational goals. low levels of morale (DeCotiis & Summers. When employees perceive the outcomes of their interpretations of events as fair. job satisfaction reflects immediate affective reactions to the job and job facets and forms soon after organisational entry. Commitment and Violation Job satisfaction and organisational commitment share many common antecedents. they are more likely to engage in a relationship of social exchange that exceeds 'normal' expectations of their performance (Brewer. however. or perceive the process by which outcomes are allocated as fair. & Organ. Furthermore. 1982). is an area of contention among researchers. and an indirect financial cost to the organisation in terms of sub-optimal performance and sick leave. Some studies suggest that commitment is an antecedent of satisfaction (Bateman & Strasser. These represent a very significant cost to the psychological and physical well-being of the employee. it is a micro determinant of commitment which is seen as more macro in its orientation of the individual to the organisation (Williams & Hazer. These attitudes are strongly influenced by the employee's perceptions of distributive and procedural justice within the organisation (Cropanzano & Folger. 1987). Relationship between Satisfaction. 1996. Commitment develops slowly and consistently over time as a result of the employer/ employee relationship (Mowday et al. Tang & Sarsfield-Baldwin. Podsakoff. some studies view satisfaction as an antecedent of commitment (DeCotiis & Summers.. In addition. 1992. while other studies view satisfaction and commitment as correlates (Mathieu & Zajac. Fahr. Low commitment is also linked to decreased motivation. 1998)... non-committed employees may describe the organisation in negative terms to outsiders. security. 2005. and a negative self-image (Mowday et al. Vandenberg & Lance. 1994). Mathieu & Zajac. 1984. goals and purpose in life. Low levels of commitment have been associated with increased incidences of absenteeism. 1996). The position taken in this study is to view job satisfaction as an antecedent of organisational commitment. inhibiting the organisation's ability to recruit high-quality employees (Mowday et al. 1987). impoverished feelings of belonging. 1986).behaviours that are unproductive and costly to the organisation. when employees perceive the outcomes as unfair. as in the case of psychological contract violations. 1988. job and job facets) that determine organisational commitment. 59 . 1990.g. whether satisfaction influences commitment. 1982). 1982). Farrell & Stamm. tardiness and turnover which elevate expenses and lower productivity (Cooper-Hakim & Viswesvaran. decreased measures of altruism and compliance (Schappe. compliance and resistance . efficacy. willingness to work hard for the organisation. As such.. 1990). This is based on the argument that job satisfaction is derived from only a subset of the personal and organisational factors (e. they are likely to engage in behaviours such as voice. 1992. McFarlin & Sweeney. However.(O'Driscoll & Beehr. 1990). and the desire to stay with the organisation (Mowday et al. 1998). Organisational Commitment Organisational commitment is defined as a strong identification with and involvement in the organisation. or whether commitment to the organisation results in job satisfaction. 1982).
organisational commitment is seen as forming and stabilising sometime after organisational entry. 1998. and the implications of maintaining organisational membership (Mowday et al. Turnover intentions are more strongly related to organisational commitment than to job satisfaction (McFarlane Shore & Martin. Violation of the transactional obligations of the psychological contract (e. The type of understanding underpinning organisational commitment is not immediate. Rousseau. pay.. performance expectations and their consequences. Consequently. Sweeney & McFarlin. while violation of relational obligations (e. job satisfaction and organisational commitment. in order to produce human resource management recommendations based on the findings. benefits and promotion) results in a decrease in job satisfaction. H3b: Job satisfaction will mediate the relationship between psychological contract violation and organisation commitment.g. while commitment is more strongly associated with procedural justice (Dailey & Kirk. 1992. Turnley and Feldman (2000) suggest that satisfaction partially mediates the relationship between violation and commitment. organisational commitment and psychological contract violations. with satisfaction being associated with distributive justice. Job satisfaction and organisational commitment also relate to different aspects of workplace justice. develops more slowly after the individual possesses a firm understanding of not only the job and job facets. . H2: H3a: The level of organisational commitment will be positively related to the level of job satisfaction. it requires exposure to a variety of organisational components outside of the job itself. Because of the similarity of the consequences of job dissatisfaction. 1993). loyalty and support) resulted in a lowering of organisational commitment (Anderson & Schalk. Thus there were four major hypotheses: H1: The level of psychological contract violation will be negatively related to job satisfaction. 1990). 1994. The level of psychological contract violation will be negatively related to organisational commitment. 1989).Organisational commitment. METHOD 60 .g. on the other hand. 1982). Robinson et al. with the more immediate formation of job satisfaction acting as one of its many determinants (Vandenberg & Lance. 1994. Guzzo & Noonan. THE CURRENT STUDY The primary aim of our research was to examine the relationship between psychological contract violation. but also the organisation's goals and values. 1992)..
An additional 12. promotion. The responses were rated on a 5-point scale ranging from 1 (strongly agree) to 5 (strongly disagree). yielding a 80. pressure. It covers job facets such as supervision. promotion. . and the questions were reformatted. Data were collected using the four-stage mailing strategy recommended by Mangione (1995). yielding a 80. 1995). The 9-item scale measured the respondents perception that their employer had fulfilled its obligations and/or the promises made in relation to training and development. with 65. Organisational Commitment Scale 61 . 1981). was used as the measure of job satisfaction.2% of the sample advised that they did not wish to participate. the nature of the job.9% response rate. This 18-item scale measures the employee's perception that their job allows the fulfillment of their important job values. challenge. across these departments. 310 received the questionnaire. pay. 1990). Materials The individual scales used in the present study were presented together in a single questionnaire containing 42 questions. and the expertise and qualities of co-workers. Rousseau. job security. 1995. respondents were asked to rate their degree of satisfaction on the 18 items. The measures used were as follows. Psychological Contract Violation Scale A measure of psychological contract violation was based on the nine areas of violation most relevant to managerial samples (Robinson & Rousseau. Of the 387 managers eligible to participate. 1980. compensation. feedback. influence. amount of personal responsibility. opportunities for learning. to enable the three categories to be rated on the same scale. In the present study. Robinson & Wolfe Morrison. physical conditions. Completed questionnaires were received from 251 subjects. 1994. 1978. developed by Australian researchers in an Australian context and used successfully in a variety of Australian organisations (O'Brien et al. on a 5-point scale ranging from 1 (strongly disagree) to 5 (strongly agree). were invited to participate in this study. where necessary. skill level. a system of random ordering was used (Mangione. Thirteen departments agreed to participate and participants were drawn from executive management personnel who were responsible for the administration of the separate divisions. management of change.1% distribution rate. branches and units.. O'Brien & Dowling. feedback. To control for question order effects. variety. and opportunities for growth. coworkers. Job Satisfaction Scale The O'Brien Scale.Subjects and Procedure Twenty-four State Government Departments in Queensland. Australia.2% of respondents requesting a copy of the research findings.
1992.4% reported high levels of commitment. This 15-item scale measures the employee's perceived acceptance of organisational goals. 1996).23). Commitment and Violation The results of the frequency distributions relating to the levels of job satisfaction. while a further 25. 62. 61. organisational commitment (Alpha = . while 35.54. The scores for job satisfaction (M = 67. Demographic Analysis A breakdown of the demographic data revealed a composite of 78.62) ranged from 41 to 88.87). The scores for psychological contract violation (M = 21. and psychological contract violation 62 . and psychological contract violation (Alpha = . was used to measure organisational commitment.6% reported very low levels of violation. developed by Mowday. SD = 10. Table 1 Levels of job satisfaction. while a further 22.4%).4%) and University postgraduates (56. University undergraduates (32. The results revealed that 66. Porter and Steers (1982) and widely used in previous studies to measure commitment (Dailey & Kirk.81) ranged from 27 to 75. from a possible range of 18 to 90. from a possible range of 9 to 45. while a further 26. TAFE (4. respondents were asked to rate their degree of commitment on the 15 items.The Organisational Commitment Questionnaire (OCQ).4% of respondents reported moderate levels of job satisfaction.47).4%. Tang & Sarsfield-Baldwin.23) ranged from 10 to 41. SD = 5.4% men and 21. In the present study. organizational commitment.44. In relation to psychological contract violation. The scores for organisational commitment (M = 53. The percentage of subjects working in Head Office was 64.98. SD = 8. 1998. Schappe.6% women The subjects ranged between 30 and 62 years of age (M = 47. from a possible range of 15 to 75. . Levels of Satisfaction.6% worked in Regional Offices. SD = 8. In relation to organisational commitment.0% or respondents reported low levels of violation. organisational commitment and psychological contract violation are set out in Table 1.69. willingness to work hard for the organisation.4%).57.84).8%). RESULTS Scale Reliability All three scales had a high level of reliability: job satisfaction (Alpha = .90). The highest traditional level of education was High School (6. The length of tenure with the department ranged from <1 to 40 years (M = 15. on a 5-point scale ranging from 1 (strongly disagree) to 5 (strongly agree).8% reported high levels of satisfaction. SD = 6. 1996. and desire to stay with the organisation.2% or respondents reported moderate levels of commitment.
6%).36) in relation to job satisfaction.0 6. the results indicate that there were no significant relationships between job satisfaction and education.18 19 .75 9 .2 22.8%). However. promotion or advancement schedules (10.4 26.4%).8 0. indicating that as the length of tenure increases so does organisational commitment.54 55 . and in the degree of job security (220.127.116.11) and regional offices (M = 54.4 25.3%).2 Percentage Analysis In relation to psychological contract violation. there was a small positive relationship between organisational commitment and tenure (r = .96.8%). SD = 8. In relation to job location. SD = 8.Sex and Job Location The results of the t-tests for independent samples indicated that there was no significant difference between men (M = 68. SD = 8.2 1. SD = 8.45 46 . There was also no significant difference between men (M = 53.45 Level of Variable Very Low Low Moderate High Very Low Low Moderate High Very Low Low Moderate High Respondents % 0. the expertise. respondents reported that the organisation had not kept its promises in relation to pay.17) in relation to job satisfaction. there was no significant difference between head office (M = 67. or the nature of the job and the organisation itself (19.40.27 28 .8%). opportunities for responsibility and challenge (4.7%).6 62.72 73 .Variable Job Satisfaction Organisational Commitment Psychological Contract Violation Range of Scores 18 .05.0 11. Correlational Analyses As shown in Table 2. age or tenure and no significant relationships between organisational commitment and education or age.30 31 . Table 2 Correlation coefficients (n=250) Variable Descriptive Statistics Mean SD Correlations Job Satisfaction Organisational 63 .77. Analysis of Dichotomous Variables .75) in relation to organisational commitment. SD = 8.36 37 .6 61.49) in relation to organisational commitment.13. Respondents also reported the organisation had misrepresented of the degree of employee input involved in the management of change (14.13).36 37 . SD = 8. or between head office (M = 52. SD = 8.60 61 .8 15. workstyle or reputation of the organisation or its workers (9.5%).90 15 .8 66. training and development (18.74) and women (M = 67. .98.6%). benefits and bonuses (10. performance feedback and reviews (32.77) and regional offices (M = 67.91) and women (M = 54. SD = 8.
In Model 1.05 ** p < .3% of the variance.018 . Table 3 Summary of Hierarchical Multiple Regression Analysis for Variables Predicting Organisational Commitment (N = 250).23 10.69 6. In Model 2.444 * 101.018 .433 . F (3. indicating that as the level of job satisfaction increased so did the level of organisational commitment..255 *** 89.684** . the addition of job satisfaction also resulted in a significant increment.001. R = .54 15. Regression Analyses Based on the results of the correlation analyses.57 21.444 ** 194.057 .723. with all independent variables in the equation.001 R .68).057 . The beta weights for these three models are shown in Table 4. There was a strong negative relationship between psychological contract violation and job satisfaction (r = .05** p < .522 F(Eqn) 4. .01 47.8% of the variance in organizational commitment. p < .98 53.056 .628. indicating that as the level of psychological contract violation increased.072 FCh 4. and between psychological contract violation and organisational commitment (r = -.723 R2 . After step 3.82 8.. explaining an additional 7.81 5.2% of the variance.060 .596 *** 36.669 There was a strong positive relationship between job satisfaction and organisational commitment (r = .133* .628 *** R2Ch .23 .77).. hierarchical regression analyses were carried out to determine the true relationship between psychological contract violation and organizational commitment.765** Commitment . explaining an additional 43.47 8. 246) = 89. tenure explains 1. Model Variable Beta t 64 ..133 .67).922 *** Table 4 Summary of Hierarchical Multiple Regression Beta Coefficients for Variables Predicting Organisational Commitment (N = 250).451 . A summary of the regression results are set out in Table 3. In model 3.Education Age Tenure Job satisfaction Organizational commitment Psychological contract violation * p < . Model 1: IN: Tenure 2: IN: Psychological Contract Violation 3: IN: Job Satisfaction * p < ..671 . the levels of job satisfaction and organisational commitment decreased.44 67.684 . the addition of psychological contract violation resulted in a significant increment.01 *** p < .079 .
01 *** p < . The level of psychological contract violation did not differ in relation to gender. while tenure was no longer a significant predictor.2% of respondents scored within the moderate range. or job location. It was interesting to note that only 14% of respondents perceived that their psychological contract had not been violated in any way. promotion.4% of respondents scored within the moderate range of job satisfaction. although psychological contract violation remained a significant predictor of organizational commitment.8% of scores fell within the low satisfaction range. The level of organisational commitment did not differ in relation to gender.416 2. age.108* 1. p < .004*** 6.196 -13. or job location. educational level. training and development.061 . age. higher organisational commitment was found among long-term employees.366 -5. age. DISCUSSION The results of our research indicated that 66. while an additional 26.001.697.662 . Given the empirical relationship between violation and job dissatisfaction. The dissatisfaction resulting from violation can be explained by the similarity of the transactional components of the psychological contract (see. In relation to organisational commitment. The level of job satisfaction did not differ in relation to gender.950*** 1. while a further 25.4% scored within the high range. 2004). confirmed that job satisfaction was a significant mediator of organizational commitment. its beta weight significantly decreased and was smaller than the beta weight for job satisfaction.076*** Tenure Psychological Contract Violation Job Satisfaction * p < .4% of scores fell within the ranges of moderate and high violation. and the organisation's misrepresentation of the nature of the job.05** p < . . job satisfaction partially mediated the relationship between violation and commitment. Wolfe Morrison & Robinson. This suggests that although violation remained a significant predictor of organisational commitment. In relation to psychological contract violation. Only 6.6% scored in the very low violation range. Only 12. When the 65 . tenure. educational level. or job location. The most salient areas of actual and potential violation identified in this study are associated with performance feedback. Only 16. The results of the Sobel Test (Preacher & Hayes. the results of the study revealed that 62. psychological contract violation had a strong correlation with organizational commitment.057 .133 .4% of scores fell within the ranges of low and very low commitment.344 . 1997) that overlap areas of job satisfaction. for example. tenure. 61.001 In Model 2.. In Model 3. z = -19.8% scored within the high range.0% of respondents reported low levels of violation.. while an additional 22. educational level. these violations may have directly contributed to employee feelings of job dissatisfaction through the non-delivery of knowledge and skills that may have enabled the employee to feel less pressure and stress in their job. however.1 2 3 Tenure Tenure Psychological Contract Violation .
for example. betrayal or mistrust towards the organisation (Wolfe Morrison & Robinson. 1997). Recommendations for Human Resource Management Given these results.8% of respondents 66 . al.whether or not the employee has an accurate or misguided perception of the violation. Only 45. in turn. These feelings are likely to lead the employee to engaging in exit. An employee's commitment attitudes are strongly influenced by perceptions of distributive. it will result in a lowering of job satisfaction . the employee may experience feelings of disappointment. the empirical research that links psychological contract violation to job satisfaction and organisational commitment.employee experiences a discrepancy between what was promised and what was received. and incongruence between personal and organisational values. 1996. et. HRM personnel should clearly and honestly communicate the responsibilities and expectations of the employee. 1990). voice. leads to a lowering of employee commitment.2% of respondents who rated themselves as neither agreeing nor disagreeing on these issues. and it is this sense of dissatisfaction which. the following recommendations in the area of human resource activities are offered to assist management to clarify and sustain the psychological contract.. anger. In addition. the results must be considered in conjunction with the additional 15. 1998. as in the case of psychological contract violations. Robinson et al. 1994). as well as those the organisation will give in exchange. procedural and interactional justice within the workplace (see. for example. 1995). Rousseau. Given the empirical relationship between violation and lowered commitment (see. compliance and resistance behaviors (Brewer. resentment. Again. Recruitment and Orientation During recruitment interviews. Other salient areas of violation occurred in the area of the organisations' misrepresentation of the employee's involvement in the management of change. job satisfaction and organisational commitment. workstyle or reputation of the employees and the organisation itself. distress. it is suggested that this misrepresentation of information may have contributed to indecision or disagreement on organisational employee policies. Cropanzano & Folger.5% to 41.. . While violation in many of these areas was low. in relation to any facet that influences job satisfaction. these results must be considered in conjunction with the 13. These latter percentages represent a group of employees who are still undecided on the status of their psychological contract an area of potential violation. together with the negative consequences of dissatisfaction and non-commitment. frustration. the results indicate that the experience of violation creates a sense of job dissatisfaction.9% to 25. and misrepresentation of the expertise. In terms of the relationship between psychological contract violation. If an employee perceives an outcome as unfair. and these percentages must also be viewed as levels of potential violation. there were areas relating to the employee's attachment to the organisation that suggested 40% of employees disagreed or were undecided about the advantages of staying with the organisation. hostility.8% of respondents who rated themselves as neither agreeing nor disagreeing on these issues. Fahr.
1994. 1994). work style or reputation of the organisation or its employees. 67 . procedural and interactional justice. Fahr et al. As the psychological contract begins its formation during the hiring process. 1996. when violated. 1995. Performance Reviews The organisation must ensure that performance reviews are conducted on a regular basis. thereby setting up unrealistic expectations which. Rousseau. whether they received adequate justification for these non events. 1990) will minimise the incidence of violations and heighten the level of job satisfaction and organisational commitment (Daily & Kirk. This is an important issue as only 47. 1992. 1996). 1996. 1994). Once the new employee enters the organisation.2% perceived organisational fulfillment of promises in the area of personal training and development..4% perceived that the organisation had not misrepresented the expertise. Dowling. Organisational Rules. Any perceived inequity in the distribution of rewards. any perceived injustice in decisionmaking processes. of either party.. 1992. Smart & Huber. Cooper & Fox. Policies and Procedures The organisation's rules. or any perception that one has been treated with disrespect or in an undignified manner. Morrison. 1998). Sims.2% perceived that the organisation had fulfilled promises in relation to performance feedback and reviews. Sims. creating greater potential for misunderstanding and perceived violation (McLean Parks & Schmedemann. 1994. and only 66.. 1989. . Schuler. Rousseau. 1998. 2000). Employees will interpret these violations in terms of whether they were dealt with honestly and respectfully. 1996. Robinson. Singh. policies and procedures should be based on the foundation of distributive.agreed that the nature of their job was how the organisation promised it to be. it is important that they do not misinterpret obligations and entitlements. and whether the violations were consistent with the prevailing social contract (Wolfe Morrison & Robinson. only 40. Meglino. Performance reviews are important as they offer an opportunity for the employee to receive accurate feedback on their performance and may help dispel any false beliefs. Incongruence is one of the major contributors to psychological contract violation (Makin et al. will contribute to the formation of pragmatic psychological contracts and reduce turnover (Bretz & Judge. McFarlane Shore & Martin. 1993). may result in dissatisfaction and lowered commitment (Makin. 1995. it is important that the organisation does not "over-sell" the job. A belief in the fairness of organisational procedures (Cropanzano & Folger. and only 58.4% of respondents agreed that the organisation had fulfilled its promises regarding their promotion or advancement schedule. may lead to unmet expectations becoming violations of the psychological contract (McLean Parks & Kidder. 1997). Realistic job previews that contain a detailed description of relevant job aspects. including negative as well as positive features. Ambiguously worded passages in human resource manuals and policy documents may widen the interpretation of obligations and entitlements. Sweeney & McFarlin. that they have fulfilled their part of the psychological contract (Makin et al. Rousseau. Ravlin & DeNisi. An unrealistic selfassessment by the employee will impact on the comparison process because. 1994. 1995). 1996.
1998. and that organisations communicate honestly 68 . Rousseau. 1998. 1997). 1994. Morrison. will lead to the employee being less likely to perceive an unmet promise in the first place. the performance review offers an opportunity for the organisation and employee to review and agree upon future opportunities for responsibility and challenge. procedural and interactional justice. 1998). Reviewing and renegotiating such aspects of the psychological contract on a regular basis will reduce psychological contract violations that are caused by incongruence or misunderstanding between both parties (Makin et al. 1996). it is imperative that the organisation gives adequate explanation and justification for unmet promises. Training and Development Organisations should ensure employees have the opportunity for on-going training and development. 1994). compensation and benefits. Employees will then be more likely to retain their trust and credibility in the face of actual violations (Robinson. 1996. 1994. policies and procedures are reflective of distributive. it will heighten the employee's level of trust and credibility in the organisation. 2000. In times of organisational change such as the announcement of restructuring or strategic shifts (Morrison. . In addition. there is the potential for the employee to misperceive the balance between the fulfillment of their obligations against those of the organisation (Wolfe Morrison & Robinson. 1994). Sims. 1986). will increase the vigilance of the employee in monitoring how well the organisation has fulfilled its obligations and promises in other areas. 1996). 1995). 1995. organisational culture. Communication The organisation should ensure that they have effective channels of communication. One of the keys to the successful development of mutually beneficial psychological contracts is open communication (Argenti. Kienzle & Shadur. This. and increases the chances that the employee will perceive future unmet promises as violations (Wolfe Morrison & Robinson. McLean Parks & Schmedemann. Rodwell. Clear and honest discussion of mutual obligations will facilitate the understanding of expectations. we recommend that organisations ensure that human resource strategies. This. 1998) and lower the trust that the employee has in the organisation (Robinson. and they will be more likely to retain their trust and credibility in the face of an actual or perceived violation (Robinson. in turn. The provision of training and development sends a message to employees that the organisation cares about them and supports them (Eisenberger. Singh. 1997).. 1994. 1996). If the organisation gives adequate explanation and justification for unmet promises. Conclusion In conclusion. employee development. in turn. and any prospective involvement in the management of change. Singh. Huntington. Rousseau. or when revisions are to be made to employee benefits (Lucero & Allen.without accurate feedback. Any unmet promises in this area will reduce management credibility (King. Hutchinson & Sowa.
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