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Journal of Applied Psychology 2004, Vol. 89, No.

1, 5272

Copyright 2004 by the American Psychological Association, Inc. 0021-9010/04/$12.00 DOI: 10.1037/0021-9010.89.1.52

Mutuality and Reciprocity in the Psychological Contracts of Employees and Employers


Guillermo E. Dabos and Denise M. Rousseau
Carnegie Mellon University
The authors assessed the joint perceptions of the employee and his or her employer to examine mutuality and reciprocity in the employment relationship. Paired psychological contract reports were obtained from 80 employee employer dyads in 16 university-based research centers. On the basis of in-depth study of the research setting, research directors were identified as primary agents for the university (employer) in shaping the terms of employment of staff scientists (employees). By assessing the extent of consistency between employee and employer beliefs regarding their exchange agreement, the present study mapped the variation and consequences of mutuality and reciprocity in psychological contracts. Results indicate that both mutuality and reciprocity are positively related to archival indicators of research productivity and career advancement, in addition to self-reported measures of Met Expectations and intention to continue working with the employer. Implications for psychological contract theory are presented.

Shared understandings and reciprocal contributions for mutual benefit are the core of functional exchange relationships (Blau, 1964) and constructive psychological contracts between workers and employers (Rousseau, 1995). Although workers and employers often differ in their perceptions and interpretations regarding the terms of employment (Coyle-Shapiro & Kessler, 2000, 2002; Porter, Pearce, Tripoli, & Lewis, 1998), some degree of mutuality or shared understanding is essential for the parties to achieve their interdependent goals (Rousseau, 1995). Mutuality exists, for example, where both worker and employer concur that the employer has committed to providing career development opportunities. Failure to reach an objective agreement can give rise to psychological contract violation (Morrison & Robinson, 1997; Rousseau, 1995), for example, where the worker and employer hold widely differing notions of what career development means. In addition, workers and employers typically strive to maintain a fair balance in the reciprocal inducements and contributions each has offered the other (Blau, 1964). When one partys contributions generate an imbalance in the relationship, the indebted party experiences feelings of obligation to the other and seeks to reciprocate as means of restoring the balance (Eisenberger, Armeli, Rexwinkel, Lynch, & Rhoades, 2001; Eisenberger, Huntington, Hutchison, & Sowa, 1986; Greenberg, 1980; Shore & Wayne, 1993). For example, an employer providing career development might anticipate that workers enjoying such opportunities will recognize an obligation

Guillermo E. Dabos, Heinz School of Public Policy and Management, Carnegie Mellon University; Denise M. Rousseau, Heinz School of Public Policy and Management and Graduate School of Industrial Administration, Carnegie Mellon University. An earlier version of this article was presented at the annual meeting of the Academy of Management, August 2002, Denver, Colorado. A Heinz Foundation Research Chair supported this research. We thank Mark Fichman and Carrie Leana. Correspondence concerning this article should be addressed to Guillermo E. Dabos, Heinz School of Public Policy and Management, Carnegie MellonUniversity,Pittsburgh,Pennsylvania15213.E-mail:gdabos@andrew .cmu.edu 52

to provide the employer a substantial return in the future. Failure to reciprocate the other partys actions erodes the quality of the exchange relationship (Cotterell, Eisenberger, & Speicher, 1992; Morrison & Robinson, 1997; Rousseau, 1995). Although mutuality and reciprocity play important roles in theories of relationships and employment, they are seldom studied directly. The present study examines the extent to which workers and employers share beliefs regarding specific terms of the exchange (mutuality) and their reciprocal commitments (reciprocity). By investigating the extent of consistency between worker and employer beliefs, this study maps the variation in mutuality and reciprocity occurring in an employment relationship. It provides evidence of how mutuality and reciprocity impact such employment-related outcomes as objective indicators of productivity and career advancement and subjective measures of Met Expectations and intention to continue working with the employer. This study differs from previous research in several ways. First, it matches each employees psychological contract report with that of his or her employer, an uncommon feature in previous research. Although there has been little work incorporating the employers perspective, those studies that do exist typically have used either general unit-level reports from the employers representative (e.g., Porter et al., 1998) or between-group comparisons of managers and workers (e.g., Coyle-Shapiro & Kessler, 2000). Second, the research site was selected to overcome the limitations of past research in capturing the employers perspective. Determining who speaks for the organization is a major challenge (Guest & Conway, 2000). Previous research has used direct supervisors or top managers to represent the employers perspective without ascertaining whether these individuals were the primary agent for the firm in shaping the terms of employment (e.g., Lester, Turnley, Bloodgood, & Bolino, 2002). Because previous studies mixed different kinds of firms or organizational activities, it cannot, however, be inferred that each employers representative played the same role in their firms employment relationship. This study focuses on autonomous research units in a university setting where each research director had primary control over recruitment, development, and research opportunities of the scientists studied.

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Finally, because this research design is likely to introduce unitlevel variance, the present study also examines the extent to which unit-level variables might confound the effects observed at the dyadic level.

Psychological Contract Theory


The psychological contract in employment refers to the system of beliefs that an individual and his or her employer hold regarding the terms of their exchange agreement (Rousseau, 1995). These beliefs are shaped by preemployment factors (e.g., values, motives), on-the-job experiences (e.g., socialization practices), and broader societal context (e.g., norms). Psychological contracts are characterized as schemas shaped by multilevel factors (Rousseau, 2001a, p. 525), which affect the creation of meaning around promises and commitments workers and employers make to each other, the interpretations of the scope of their obligations, and the degree of mutuality and reciprocity the parties manifest. Much of the value in creating psychological contracts lies in their capacity to reduce insecurities and anticipate future exchanges, helping both individuals and organizations to meet their needs (Rousseau, 1995; Shore & Tetrick, 1994). When workers and employers agree on the terms of the contract, their future exchanges develop into actions predictable by each party, facilitating planning, coordination, and effective performance (Rousseau, 1995). This agreement becomes manifest in the degree of mutuality and reciprocity between the parties to a psychological contract. In the context of psychological contract, mutuality describes the degree to which the two parties agree on their interpretations of promises and commitments each party has made and accepted (i.e., agreement on what each owes the other). Reciprocity refers to the degree of agreement about the reciprocal exchange, given that commitments or contributions made by one party obligate the other to provide an appropriate return. Relatedly, the leadermember exchange (LMX) approach has recognized that managers develop differentiated exchange relationships with their subordinates (e.g., Dansereau, Graen, & Haga, 1975; Graen & Scandura, 1987). It also has addressed the dynamics of agreement in the managersubordinate relationship (Graen & Schiemann, 1978). Although LMX research often adopts a dyadic perspective to investigate both manager and subordinate perceptions of their relationship (e.g., Engle & Lord, 1997; Maslyn & Uhl-Bien, 2001; Schriesheim, Neider, & Scandura, 1998), it typically does not examine the nature of the commitments the parties have exchanged (Rousseau, 1998). Instead, most LMX research on agreement investigates the quality of the exchange as a function of the similarity between manager and worker characteristics (Liden, Wayne, & Stilwell, 1993), attitudes (Phillips & Bedeian, 1994), personality traits (Deluga, 1998), positive affectivity (Bauer & Green, 1996), values (Ashkanasy & OConnor, 1997; Steiner, 1988), cognitive styles (Allinson, Armstrong, & Hayes, 2001), or implicit theories and self-schemas (Engle & Lord, 1997). Although these studies demonstrate that high-quality leadermember relationships resulted from managerworker similarity, they did not investigate the consequences associated with agreement regarding specific exchange terms. In contrast, the present study focuses more directly on the degree of agreement in the actual commitments employer and employee have exchanged and investigates its impact on subjective and objective measures of performance and continued membership in the organization.

There is limited empirical investigation of mutuality or reciprocity in psychological contract research. Studies to date have been largely one-sided, dominated by the employee perspective (e.g., Guzzo, Noonan, & Elron, 1994; Robinson, Kraatz, & Rousseau, 1994; Rousseau, 1990) and have focused primarily on dysfunctionality in the employment relationship. In particular, the vast majority of studies have investigated contract violation and its associated consequences (e.g., Bunderson, 2001; Robinson, 1996; Robinson & Morrison, 1995; Robinson & Rousseau, 1994; Turnley & Feldman, 2000). Little attention has been paid to the potential upside of functional employment relationships, that is, the consequences associated with agreement and psychological contract fulfillment. In an initial study of joint employee employer perceptions, Porter and colleagues (1998) found that gaps between employee and employer perceptions of organizational inducements provided unique explanatory power for an employees satisfaction with the organization, even after controlling for job satisfaction and individual performance. That study used high-level executives to represent the employer and to report on the average level of inducements the firm provided to specific groups of employees. In accordance, the authors assumed no significant within-group variance in inducements, or in other words, that the employee organization arrangements were largely standardized across workers rather than idiosyncratic for individuals. Two studies examined the specific terms of the psychological contract and general level of agreement between workers and managers. Herriot, Manning, and Kidd (1997) conducted a nationwide survey using the critical incident technique and convenience samples of individuals where workers and managers represented a variety of firms and economic sectors. Coyle-Shapiro and Kessler (2000) examined between-groups differences in the psychological contracts of workers and managers from a wide range of public service departments of the same large local authority. Both studies reported considerable overall agreement regarding the terms of the psychological contract but also significant differences regarding the saliency of mutual obligations. Herriot et al. found that while both groups endorsed similar sets of obligations, managers focused more on intangible employment terms, such as humanity and recognition, whereas workers focused more on fair pay, safe conditions, and job security. Coyle-Shapiro and Kessler (2000) confirmed that while managers and work groups agreed on the general nature of the employment relationship, managers reported higher scores than workers did on employer fulfillment of its commitments to workers. Finally, in an analysis extending the same data on the public sector organization over time, Coyle-Shapiro and Kessler (2002) explored the bidirectionality of the norm of reciprocity. They found empirical support that the norm of reciprocity operates for both parties to an employment relationship, extending prior research that focused exclusively on the employee perceptions of reciprocity (Shore & Barksdale, 1998). These studies provided evidence of variations in between-groups agreement but could not investigate the impact of joint perceptions because of the absence of paired employee employer data. To investigate joint perceptions, we next describe the distinctive context of our research, a setting chosen because its work process and structure facilitate the study of employee employer beliefs regarding their joint psychological contracts.

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Social Structure of Research Organizations


The present study focuses on employee employer relations in the context of research centers. Research centers exist in a variety of venues, from universities and government agencies to private enterprises (de Hemptinne & Andrews, 1979; Lambright & Teich, 1981; Payne, 1990). Despite the variety of organizational types, the social structure of research organizations is strikingly similar (P. B. Cohen, Kruse, & Anbar, 1982; Mintzberg, 1979). This similarity has been attributed to the ethos of science and its specific norms regarding appropriate behavior for scientists in organizations (Pelz & Andrews, 1966; Storer, 1966). Research organizations tend to allow scientists a great deal of autonomy and control over their own tasks. As Lambright and Teich (1981) pointed out, The standard model for a research setting is the university, a self-consciously egalitarian organization that emphasizes autonomy, individual entrepreneurship, peer evaluation of performance, non-uniformity, and minimal administrative control (p. 305). The broader organization, whether it is a university or a school within the university, a government agency, or a research and development facility of a large corporation, often acts as an umbrella hosting a number of research centers. Knorr, Mittermeir, Aichholzer, and Waller (1979) reported that university-based research centers retain most of the structural power in terms of goal setting, budget and resource allocation, promotions and incentives, and control over research tasks. In effect they constitute more or less independent small-scale organizations (p. 97). Research directors (center leaders) play a crucial role, acting in effect as the primary agent of the employer and foremost contract maker in expressing commitments and evaluating performance of staff scientists (center members). The opportunities staff scientists have for funding, publication, participation at conferences, accessing promotions, or career development are largely determined by the research director and his or her personal management style, competence, and power (Knorr et al., 1979). At the same time, directors depend on contributions from center scientists for accomplishing research goals and scientific productivity. Directors retain considerable control over administrative decisions affecting their centers by taking part in various academic committees or by influencing the selection of other colleagues who occupy critical managerial positions in the hierarchy. Thus, as critical players of organizational politics, the role of research directors is much more similar in structural terms to the role of top management than to the role of a departmental head in an industrial firm (Knorr et al., 1979, p. 98). The university-based research centers studied here consisted of a leader or research director (often a prestigious head professor) and a number of members or staff scientists with different levels of scholarly development. Moreover, they benefited from a great deal of autonomy, functioning as truly independent small-scale organizations. In this context, the relationship between research director and center scientists captures a substantial portion of the employment relationship. Although certain aspects of the employment relationship are still managed at the university level (e.g., benefits administration), an important number of contract expectations are instantiated at the center level (e.g., performance requirements, scholarly development, access to promotions and incentives). In general, research center directors are the primary contract makers (Rousseau, 1995; Rousseau & Greller, 1994) in this employment relationship.

Psychological Contracts in Research Collaborations


This collaborative relationship between research director and staff scientists, built around specific research tasks (e.g., hypothesis testing, experimentation, theory development, writing), entails mutual promises and reciprocal commitments made and accepted by the parties. How each party perceives these promises and commitments regarding the terms of the collaborative exchange can be conceptualized as their psychological contract (Rousseau, 1995). We used the framework developed by Rousseau (1995, 2000) to characterize the psychological contracts of research collaborations. Typical measures of psychological contracts have focused on whether the nature of the exchange is relational or transactional. Transactional contracts refer to collaborations of limited duration with well-specified performance terms that can be characterized as easy-to-exit agreements with relatively high turnover. Low levels of organizational commitment and weak integration into the organization allow for high member rotation and freedom to enter new contracts. Two dimensions reflect the transactional psychological contract: (a) narrow involvement in the organization, limited to a few well-specified performance terms, and (b) short-term duration. Relational contracts, in contrast, are open-ended collaborations with only loosely specified performance terms. With high affective commitment, strong member organization integration, and stability built on the traditions and the history of the relationship, relational contracts exemplify many emblematic characteristics of paternalistic relationships. Relational obligations include mutual loyalty and long-term stability, often in the form of job security. Although these two forms of employment agreement have proven broadly relevant to organizations over many years (e.g., Macneil, 1985; Rousseau, 1990; Williamson, 1979), more recently, employment arrangements have manifested a hybrid pattern, often characteristic of high involvement work and knowledge organizations operating in highly competitive markets (Pfeffer, 1994; Rousseau, 1995). Hybrid or balanced contracts, because they balance or blend features of both relational and transactional arrangements, maintain the involvement and long-term time horizon that characterize relational exchanges while at the same time allowing for greater flexibility and changing contract requirements as projects evolve and circumstances change. Balanced terms include dynamic performance requirements and career development. The measurement framework Rousseau (2000) developed operationalizes these three psychological contract forms.

Joint Perceptions of Mutuality and Reciprocity


Mutuality and reciprocity are represented by the extent of agreement center directors and staff scientists manifest across different psychological contract obligations. Whether the parties agree on specific contract terms (mutuality) and on the reciprocal contributions these terms entail (reciprocity) has been postulated to play a fundamental role in shaping the operation of an employment relationship (Rousseau, 1995, 2001a). Although psychological contract theory is predicated on a perception of mutuality, some degree of objective agreement (i.e., actual mutuality) is essential for the parties if they are to achieve their interdependent goals. Mutuality provides both parties the basis to align behaviors with the actual commitments made and accepted in the context of the relationship. Frequent communication, shared information, and

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common frames of reference (e.g., implicit theories and mental schemas regarding employment) are likely to give rise to high levels of perceived and objective agreement (Engle & Lord, 1997; Rousseau, 2001a). Nonetheless, workers and employers often have different understandings regarding specific terms of the exchange (Coyle-Shapiro & Kessler, 2000; Porter et al., 1998). Potential discrepancies in each partys beliefs regarding what was promised and what was delivered can lead to breach of contract (Morrison & Robinson, 1997), with negative consequences for both individuals and organizations. Conversely, an employment relationship is more likely to have positive consequences where its parties develop shared understandings regarding the existence and meanings of specific contract terms (Rousseau, 1995, 2001a). Thus, mutuality exists where both research director and staff scientist have the same beliefs regarding the extent of one partys particular obligation. Evidence for mutuality exists when scientist and director assessments of the same psychological contract obligation (e.g., a scientists rating of the directors balanced obligation and the directors rating of his or her own balanced obligation) are more highly related to each other than to dissimilar obligations (e.g., a scientists rating of the directors balanced obligation and the directors ratings of his or her own transactional or relational obligations). Hypothesis 1: A staff scientists belief regarding his or her research directors obligation will be more highly and positively related to that directors own belief regarding the same obligation than to that directors beliefs regarding dissimilar obligations. Commitments made by one party to the contract obligate the other to reciprocate because both parties are expected to strive for balance in their exchange (Blau, 1964). Under the general norm of reciprocity (Gouldner, 1960), recipients of help, contributions, or beneficial treatment not only increase their liking for the giver but also seek to reciprocate as means of restoring the balance in the relationship (e.g., DePaulo, Brittingham, & Kaiser, 1983; Eisenberger et al., 1986; Greenberg, 1980). An employment relationship is more likely to endure and meet its goals where parties reciprocate their commitments and obligations to one another (Rousseau, 1989, 1990; Wayne, Shore, & Liden, 1997). In general, an exchange relationship can involve economic resources (e.g., money, goods, services, and information) and/or more socioemotional resources (e.g., status, love, devotion, and affection). However, reciprocity typically entails the return of relatively similar types of resources, particularly in work relationships as opposed to family or communal ones (Foa & Foa, 1980). Reciprocating behavior at work is also found to be targeted toward the entity from which benefits accrue (e.g., ones manager or the larger organization, Hofmann & Morgeson, 1999; Settoon, Bennett, & Liden, 1996; Wayne et al., 1997), in contrast to the more generalized reciprocity characterizing family or communal relationships. Thus, reciprocity in commitments exists where the obligations a staff scientist has toward his or her research director are given in return (reciprocated) for corresponding director obligations to that scientist. Evidence for reciprocity exists when corresponding director and scientist obligations are more highly and positively related to each other (e.g., scientists balanced obligation and directors balanced obligation) than to noncorresponding obligations (e.g., scientists

balanced obligation and directors transactional or relational obligations). Hypothesis 2: A staff scientists belief regarding his or her obligation to the research director will be more highly and positively related to that directors belief regarding his or her own corresponding obligation to the scientist than will noncorresponding obligations.

Joint Perceptions and Consequences for the Employment Relationship


Joint perceptions of the two sides of the psychological contract can provide important insights into the outcomes an exchange relationship yields (Rousseau & Tijoriwala, 1998). When parties develop shared understandings and reliance on their reciprocal commitments, psychological contracts can become construed as self-fulfilling prophecies reflecting anticipated future exchanges, making both individuals and organizations more productive and their interactions more mutually supportive and constructive (Rousseau, 1995, 2001a). Previous research on perceived organizational support and LMX has suggested that shared understandings and reciprocity-based behaviors affect such employmentrelated outcomes as productivity, Met Expectations, affective commitment, and intention to remain in the organization (Deluga, 1998; Eisenberger et al., 2001; Engle & Lord, 1997; Maslyn & Uhl-Bien, 2001; Wayne et al., 1997). To date, however, little research has been conducted on the joint perceptions of the employee and employer regarding the commitments they have exchanged. Psychological contract research in general has focused on the negative or dysfunctional consequences associated with perceived breach of contract and contract violation (e.g., Bunderson, 2001; Robinson, 1996; Robinson & Morrison, 1995; Robinson & Rousseau, 1994; Turnley & Feldman, 2000). Less attention has been paid to the positive or functional outcomes associated with agreement and psychological contract fulfillment (for an exception, see Coyle-Shapiro & Kessler, 2000). An employment contract is created to benefit both parties; yet, its operation is largely based on each partys perception of mutuality and reliance on reciprocity. Despite the inherent subjectivity in how the parties understand their employment relationship (Rousseau, 1995; Rousseau & Parks, 1992), some degree of actual or objective agreement is required to meet the parties goals regarding the exchange. Thus, we expect that positive outcomes for both parties will occur where psychological contracts between research directors and staff scientists are characterized by mutuality and reciprocity. Hypothesis 3: Mutuality will explain additional variance in the outcomes associated with the employment relationship beyond that provided by the separate perceptions research directors and staff scientists have regarding the terms of their psychological contracts. Hypothesis 4: Reciprocity will explain additional variance in the outcomes associated with the employment relationship beyond that provided by the separate perceptions research directors and staff scientists have regarding the terms of their psychological contracts.

56 Method Sample and Procedure

DABOS AND ROUSSEAU areas of study. The remaining 6 units were relatively newer, reflecting increasing demands for research in applied and emerging fields. At the time of this study, all research centers had been in place formally for at least 3 years. This study used surveys administered in Spanish and archival data. To guarantee consistency, survey measures were independently translated back and forth from the original English version (Brislin, 1980). The few ambiguities or discrepancies in meaning resulting from the comparison of the two versions of the questionnaires in the source language (English) were solved using a process of consultation and collaboration with bilingual members of the schools top management team. Moreover, where lexical equivalence was impractical, the process of achieving conceptual equivalence was facilitated by the bilingual first authors intimate knowledge of the research settings culture (Frey, 1970).

Data for this study were collected from 16 university-based research centers at a leading research-oriented school of biosciences in Latin America. Both research directors and staff scientists completed questionnaires containing identity codes to permit matching each scientists ratings with those of his or her corresponding research director. Participants were assured that all survey responses would be confidential. Demographic information and objective outcome measures were collected from administrative records. All 107 full-time faculty members of the 16 research centers at the school were surveyed, yielding 96 completed surveys (89.72% response rate). All 16 center directors returned the questionnaire. Among the 11 nonrespondents, 6 were on sabbatical, pursuing either doctoral or postdoctoral studies abroad. The average center size was 6.69 members including the director, ranging from 4 to 10 (actual respondents ranged from 3 to 10 per center). An initial interview with each center director provided information on how the center was structured, its research activities, and major goals. Participants were fairly evenly distributed with respect to gender (51 were male and 45 were female); nonetheless, 15 out of the 16 research directors were male. Almost 60% of the researchers held a graduate degree (doctoral degrees were the standard, but masters degrees were also common in more applied fields). Respondents represented the universitys five formal positions on the academic ladder: 21% assistant professors (the typical entry level), 27% senior assistant professors, 26% associate professors, 20% senior associate professors, and 6% full professors. Average age was 45.63 years (SD 5.98 years) for research directors and 38.18 years (SD 7.09 years) for staff scientists. Average organizational tenure was 17.86 years (SD 6.44 years) for research directors and 11.26 years (SD 6.89 years) for staff scientists, reflecting the settings relatively low turnover. Finally, average center or unit tenure was 6.50 years (SD 3.29 years) for directors and 5.53 years (SD 2.77 years) for scientists. This school was one of the most successful and developed units of a growing national university, employing the highest number of full-time professors and collecting the highest amount of research funding from both governmental and nongovernmental sources. Since its inception, the school prioritized its research and development programs, showing a high retention rate among its often internationally educated researchers and the successful creation and development of its own doctoral program. The schools dominant human resource strategy was to make its own faculty, either by educating them directly or by supporting their educational endeavors abroad. As the school developed into a research institution, research centers replaced the traditional teaching-oriented academic departments as the central unit of organizing within the school. Research centers consisted of a research director, usually a prestigious senior faculty in a substantive area of expertise, and a number of staff scientists whose scholarly development ranged from entry-level assistants without doctoral degrees to senior faculty whose status was comparable with the director. Interviews with research directors confirmed that centers were instrumental in providing the context and resources for faculty to conduct programmatic research consistent with the typical objectives research faculty have: scientific productivity measured in terms of publications and career advancement along an internal tenure track (Long, Allison, & McGinnis, 1993). Each center comprised a number of research lines, and for the most part, center scientists worked independently from one another under the general supervision of the center director. On occasion, unusually large lab experiments or interdisciplinary field projects demanded the collaboration of several staff scientists from one or more research centers. However, even in these cases, interdependent collaborations among scientists were largely limited to data collection. Scientist mobility between centers was unusual and to a large extent constrained by the scientists specialization. Out of the 16 research centers, 10 were long-standing and well-recognized units with interests grounded in basic science, representing the schools established

Measures
Psychological contract scales (staff scientists [S]). Using items adapted from the Psychological Contract Inventory (PCI; Rousseau, 2000), staff scientists evaluated their psychological contracts by assessing (a) the extent to which the director had made such commitments or obligations to them and (b) the extent to which they in turn had made such commitments or obligations to the director. All items used a 5-point Likert-type scale response format ranging from 1 (not at all) to 5 (to a great extent). Participants responded to two sets of 12 items, measuring first the directors obligations to them and then their own obligations to the director across the three types of psychological contract: transactional, relational, and balanced. Because organizational and cultural factors may affect perceptions of the psychological contracts, we evaluated the construct validity of the psychological contract scales in this setting. We used principal axis factoring with a varimax rotation to conduct an exploratory factor analysis on 23 of 24 items (1 balanced item turned out to be unclear to respondents and was dropped from the analysis). The initial solution resulted in the six expected factors consistent with the original English-language version of the PCI, each with eigenvalues greater than 1 and item loadings greater than .4 (see Table 1). These factors comprised the following scales: Director Transactional (S; i.e., transactional obligations from director to scientist as rated by the staff scientist): This factor captured all director-to-scientist obligations along the narrow and short-term dimensions of the contract (initial eigenvalue 2.04). Cronbachs alpha () for the scale was .85. Director Relational (S; i.e., relational obligations from director to scientist as rated by the staff scientist): This factor captured all director-to-scientist obligations along the loyalty and stability dimensions (initial eigenvalue 2.84, .92). Director Balanced (S; i.e., balanced obligations from director to scientist as rated by the staff scientist): This factor captured all director-to-scientist obligations along the dynamic performance and career development dimensions (initial eigenvalue 8.40, .94). Scientist Transactional (S; i.e., transactional obligations from scientist to director as rated by the staff scientist): This factor captured all scientist-to-director obligations along the narrow and short-term dimensions (initial eigenvalue 1.61, .82). Scientist Relational (S; i.e., relational obligations from scientist to director as rated by the staff scientist): This factor captured three out of four intended scientist-to-director obligations along the loyalty and stability dimensions (i.e., one of the items did not load significantly on any single factor; initial eigenvalue 1.27, .79). Scientist Balanced (S; i.e., balanced obligations from scientist to director as rated by the staff scientist): This factor captured three out

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Table 1 Exploratory Factor Analysis of Psychological Contract Scales for Staff Scientists (S) and Research Directors (D)
Statement Staff scientist scale Director Transactional (S) 1. Limited involvement in the research center and other organizational matters 2. Makes no commitments to retain me as center scientist in the future 3. Research collaboration for a specified time period only 4. A job limited to specific, well-defined research responsibilities Director Relational (S) 5. Concern for my short- and long-term personal welfare 6. Stability within the research center 7. Make research decisions with my interests in mind 8. Stable benefits and resources for my research work Director Balanced (S) 9. Support me to attain the highest possible levels of research productivity 10. Contacts that facilitate opportunities for scholarly development inside and outside the university 11. Help me respond to ever greater scientific challenges within the field 12. Opportunities for scholarly development within the field Scientist Transactional (S) 13. Fulfill limited number of research responsibilities 14. I have made no commitments to the center director regarding future research collaborations 15. Work in this research center for a limited time only 16. Only perform specific research activities for which I am compensated Scientist Relational (S) 17. Remain with this research center indefinitely 18. Be loyal to this research center and protect its image 19. Be a steady research center scientist, without looking for a job elsewhere 20. Commit myself personally to this research center (ns item) Scientist Balanced (S) 21. Actively seek opportunities for scholarly training and development 22. Build contacts inside and outside the university to enhance my scholarly career potential 23. Accept increasingly challenging performance standards in research 24. Take personal responsibility for making this research center more successful (dropped item) Research director scale Director Transactional (D) 1. Limit scientists job to a set of specific, well-defined research responsibilities 2. Makes no commitments to retain this scientist within the research center in the future 3. Limit scientists involvement in the research center and other organizational matters Director Relational (D) 4. Stability within the research center 5. Concern for scientists short- and long-term personal welfare Director Balanced (D) 6. Support scientist to attain the highest possible levels of research productivity 7. Provide opportunities for scholarly development within the field Factor loading

.73 .70 .69 .67 .78 .76 .74 .71 .86 .83 .82 .81 .72 .61 .61 .50 .82 .64 .60 .19 .76 .75 .66 .83 .71 .66 .90 .73 .89 .81

Note. Factor analysis was conducted separately for each group of respondents. The dash indicates that the item was not included in the analysis.

of four intended scientist-to-director obligations along the dynamic performance and career development dimensions (initial eigenvalue 1.11, .78). The fourth item (i.e., take personal responsibility for making this research center more successful) was found to convey a confusing meaning between relational and balanced aspects of the contract and thus was dropped from our analysis. This result is similar to that reported by Rousseau (2000) in a pretest of the PCI where she suggested the need for rewording this item. Psychological contract scales (research directors [D]). Similarly, research directors were given seven psychological contract statements (Rousseau, 2000) and were asked to consider their own commitments or obligations to a specific staff scientist. Because research directors used separate questionnaires to rate one by one their psychological contract with each center scientist (varying from 3 to 9 across research centers), a reduced version of the PCI was used. The instructions in the director questionnaire read as follows: Consider your relationship with (name of the scientist). To what extent have you made the following commitments or obligations

to (name of the scientist)? Directors were provided with a 5-point Likerttype scale, ranging from 1 (not at all) to 5 (to a great extent), along with seven statements assessing the psychological contract. Consistent with staff scientists measures above, the seven directors statements were also subjected to a principal axis factor analysis with a varimax rotation. A three-factor solution supported the construction of the following scales: Director Transactional (D; i.e., transactional obligations from director to scientist as rated by the research director): Three items captured the director-to-Scientist Transactional obligations as reported by directors ( .86). Director Relational (D; i.e., relational obligations from director to scientist as rated by the research director): Two items captured the Director-to-Scientist Relational obligations ( .87). Director Balanced (D; i.e., balanced obligations from director to scientist as rated by the research director): Two other items captured the Director-to-Scientist Balanced obligations ( .87).

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Table 2 Descriptive Statistics and Correlations Among Variables


Variable Control 1. Organizational tenure 2. Center tenure 3. Gender (male) 4. Educational level (PhD) Scale 5. Director Transactional (S) 6. Director Relational (S) 7. Director Balanced (S) 8. Scientist Transactional (S) 9. Scientist Relational (S) 10. Scientist Balanced (S) 11. Director Transactional (D) 12. Director Relational (D) 13. Director Balanced (D) 14. Scientist Fulfillment (D) 15. Met Expectations 16. Continuity Objective Outcome 17. Publications 18. Coauthorship 19. Formal career advancement M 11.26 5.53 0.45 0.54 2.31 3.34 3.81 2.27 4.00 4.09 2.42 3.73 4.01 3.79 3.40 3.41 9.19 5.00 3.41 SD 6.89 2.77 0.50 0.50 1.07 1.17 1.03 1.04 0.87 0.74 1.16 1.05 1.02 1.12 1.02 1.05 4.16 4.24 1.15 1 .44** .13 .46** .02 .24* .44** .15 .08 .19 .01 .08 .20 .13 .32** .21 .24* .12 .07 2 3 4 5 6 7

.18 .26* .00 .12 .10 .06 .11 .15 .09 .10 .16 .04 .10 .05 .27* .21 .11

.26** .21 .17 .10 .11 .08 .04 .19 .02 .04 .13 .09 .09 .34** .30** .07

.22* .09 .24* .10 .15 .20 .21 .03 .19 .03 .04 .04 .49** .18 .25* (.85) .58** .33** .54** .40** .04 .44** .41** .26* .37** .45** .37** .30** .44** .34** (.92) .48** .47** .54** .09 .46** .52** .18 .39** .52** .60** .22* .43** .50**

(.94) .40** .37** .33** .27* .15 .32** .31** .57** .44** .12 .43** .25*

Note. N 80 for all variables. Cronbachs alphas for director (D) and scientist (S) scales appear on the diagonal in parentheses. * p .05. ** p .01.

All in all, these results show that the factor structure for both scientist items and director items are strikingly consistent with those reported by previous research based on larger samples (e.g., Hui, Lee, & Rousseau, in press). Quality of the employment relationship. We adapted two measures of the quality of the employment relationship from previous work conducted in an academic setting (Wade-Benzoni & Rousseau, 1998) as follows: (a) met expectations, or the extent to which the research collaboration has been beneficial to the scientist, and (b) continuity, or the intention to continue working with the director. In both cases, staff scientists used a 5-point Likert-type scale ranging from 1 (not at all) to 5 (to a great extent). For met expectations, staff scientists were asked to evaluate the results of the research collaboration with their research director and rate a set of four items. Items assessed the extent to which this research collaboration resulted in scientists being in a better position to make scientific contributions, to achieve higher scientific performance, to advance in their academic career, and to position themselves within the scientific community ( .88). For continuity, staff scientists were asked to evaluate the future of the relationship using four items. These items assessed the extent to which scientists had plans for future research collaboration with the director, their willingness to keep working with this director, their willingness to remain with this research center, and the feasibility of mutually beneficial future collaborations ( .89). To further assess the validity of these measures, we reran the exploratory factor analysis for all scientist responses at once, including not only the psychological contract reports but also the eight relationship quality items assessing met expectations and continuity. A principal axis factoring analysis with varimax rotation on the combined item sets of both the psychological contract and outcome scales from the scientist questionnaire produced the expected eight-factor solution with eigenvalues greater than 1 and item loadings greater than .4. The six psychological contract scales remained unchanged with item loadings ranging from .50 to .84 (cf. Table 1). The two additional factors captured the eight relationship quality items with item loadings ranging from .68 to .75 for met expectations and from .66 to .82 for continuity. Publications and coauthorship. Objective outcomes were gathered to corroborate the self-report outcome measures and to assess whether common-method variance was a concern. Weighted totals of individual

publications and publications coauthored with the research director in the last 3 years were obtained from official university records. The university used a normalized total weighted for publications reputation (e.g., international vs. national, refereed vs. nonrefereed). This normalized publication measure was applied as basis for distributing federal funding among the research units. In a further analysis, we corroborated that more than 90% of the international publications reported by universitys archives were also represented in the Web of Science Citation Index. The number of publications coauthored with the center director was an important measure because the average number of authors per publication was around 5.5 authors, with little variation across different specialties. Directors confirmed during interviews that every person who substantially contributed to a particular research line was listed on its subsequent publications regardless of his or her organizational status. Typically, publication authors included those center scientists who were actively involved in that research line and peripheral contributors, such as student assistants, part-time personnel, or external scientists who also participated in the project. Directors also confirmed that the total number of publications was not expected to vary significantly across specialties because most had similar publication norms. Because scientific performance in this university was largely measured in terms of publications, the normalized counts of publications and publications coauthored with the research directors provided convergent validation for the scientists self-reported measure of met expectations regarding the research collaborations. Formal career advancement. This index obtained from university records represents an internal rating system completed annually by school department heads assessing each scientists likelihood of success in future evaluations. It was prepared primarily for budgeting and academic planning purposes. In the system governing recruitment and promotion processes at this university, scientists must renew their appointments every 3 to 5 years, depending on their position, through an external evaluation process incorporating faculty reviewers from other universities. Because successfully passing an external evaluation warranted the scientists reappointment for another period and often a promotion to the next level, this internal rating of formal career advancement provides convergent validation for the scientists self-reported measure of continuity.

PSYCHOLOGICAL CONTRACTS: MUTUALITY AND RECIPROCITY

59

10

11

12

13

14

15

16

17

18

19

(.82) .45** .32** .43** .35** .26* .35** .34** .34** .31** .33** .35**

(.79) .06 .36** .48** .02 .02 .31** .33** .24* .32** .40**

(.78) .03 .05 .15 .20 .18 .09 .07 .08 .02

(.86) .59** .46** .34** .39** .43** .42** .48** .41**

(.87) .35** .15 .30** .49** .27* .30** .50**

(.87) .35** .36** .32** .25* .45** .24*

(.88) .44** .54** .32** .37** .32**

(.88) .48** .39** .66** .41**

(.89) .37** .43** .53** .67** .41** .49**

Fulfillment. Two final items in the research director questionnaire assessed overall perceived scientist fulfillment. Directors were asked to respond about the extent to which each center scientist fulfills his or her commitments or obligations as follows: (a) Overall, how well does (name of the scientist) fulfill his or her commitments to you? (b) To what extent does (name of the scientist) deliver what he or she promises? ( .88). As per the scientists questionnaire, we reran the exploratory factor analysis for all director responses, including the psychological contract reports as well as the directors assessments of scientist fulfillment. Scientist fulfillment (D; i.e., scientist fulfillment of his or her obligations as rated by the research director) emerged as an additional factor beyond those of directors psychological contract scales. Control variables. In the data analysis, several demographic variables were controlled for in order to rule out alternative explanations for the findings, including organizational tenure, center tenure, gender, and educational level (Bauer & Green, 1996; Maslyn & Uhl-Bien, 2001). An individuals center tenure was a good indicator of how long the research center director and staff scientist had been working together (i.e., dyadic tenure) because only two leadership changes had occurred since the inception of the research centers and, in both cases, replacements were center insiders. We also controlled for gender because the effects of gender differences on research productivity and rank advancement in academic settings are well-documented (Long et al., 1993; Xie & Shauman, 1998). Finally, educational level was also expected to have a significant impact on both perceptual and objective outcomes, with those holding doctoral degrees enjoying better opportunities for scientific productivity, career advancement, and Continuity. A correlation matrix of relevant variables in the study appears in Table 2. Group-level variables. Archival sources provided data on center-level variables that also might have affected perceptions, behaviors, or outcomes at the individual level. These variables were used in an exploratory examination of group-level predictors via hierarchical linear modeling (HLM) when significant between-groups variance existed. Such variables included center size, center longevity, directors tenure, his or her formal position, power (reflected in terms of the number of university committees the director served on which we categorized as low [1 or 2 committees],

medium [3 or 4 committees], and high [more than 4 committees]) and total number of publications in the last 3 years (normalized as per scientist publications described above).

Results Discriminant Validity of Psychological Contract Scales


We first examined the discriminant validity of the psychological contract scales for staff scientists by conducting a confirmatory factor analysis using AMOS software (Arbuckle & Wothke, 1999) with maximum likelihood estimation. To find the best fitting structure, we compared several a priori psychological contract factor models. The one-factor model reflects a contractual continuum with two opposite types of contract at the ends: transactional and relational (e.g., Macneil, 1985). Then, loadings of both transactional and relational items contribute to the same factor but with opposite sign. In the two-factor model, the most commonly used conceptualization in previous psychological contract research, transactional and relational items separately contribute to distinct factors (e.g., Rousseau, 1990; Robinson & Rousseau, 1994). In addition to the transactional and relational obligations, the threefactor model also includes the balanced obligations usually related to either the dynamic performance and/or training and development dimensions of the psychological contract (e.g., CoyleShapiro & Kessler, 2000; Rousseau, 1995). In comparison with the two-factor and the three-factor models, the four-factor and sixfactor models further discriminated between commitments made along each obligation according to their directionality (i.e., from director to scientist or from scientist to director; e.g., Rousseau, 2000). Fit statistics for these models are shown in Table 3. Results indicate that among them, the best fitting factor structure was the

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Table 3 Comparison of Alternative Psychological Contract Factor Structures for Staff Scientists
Model One-factor Two-factor Four-factor Three-factor Six-factor

2
736.07 651.45 544.09 445.81 281.07

df 209 208 203 206 194

2 diff

2/df
3.52 3.13 2.68 2.16 1.45

IFI .53 .61 .70 .79 .92

TLI .47 .55 .65 .76 .91

CFI .52 .60 .69 .78 .92

RMSEA .179 .164 .146 .121 .075

84.62 107.36 98.28 164.74

2 2 Note. N 80. All 2 and diff values are significant at p .01. 2 chi-square measure of discrepancy; diff difference in chi-square from the previous factor structure; 2/df chi-square relative to its degrees of freedom; IFI incremental fit index; TLI TuckerLewis index; CFI comparative fit index; RMSEA root-mean-square error of approximation.

six-factor model, which also reached the standards of good fit along a variety of fit indices. Indeed, the absolute measure of discrepancy between covariances implied by the model and covariances observed in the data (i.e., chi-square) reveals that the six-factor model fitted the data better or, in other words, presented the lowest chi-square index. This result was also corroborated by using the index of chi-square relative to its degrees of freedom, a measure researchers have used to correct for the effect of sample size with a ratio of 2 as an arbitrary indicator of good fit (Arbuckle & Wothke, 1999). The six-factor model was the only one having incremental fit index (IFI), TuckerLewis index (TLI), and comparative fit index (CFI) above the recommended standard of .90. These indices compare the fit of a given model with a standard model that usually has no covariance among the variables and has been confirmed to perform well even with sample sizes as small as 50 (Bentler, 1990). Finally, the six-factor model presented the lower root-mean-square error of approximation (RMSEA) and a reasonable fit to the hypothetical population covariance matrix of optimally chosen parameter values (i.e., RMSEA values between .05 and .08; Browne & Cudeck, 1993). We repeated the analysis of discriminant validity this time on the psychological contract scales research directors used, conducting the same confirmatory factor analysis procedure. In this case, however, we only compared the fit of the first three psychological contract factor models given that the director questionnaire assessed the commitments or obligations from director to scientist but not from scientist to director. The three-factor structure, including a transactional factor, a relational factor, and a balanced factor, was the only one reporting a good fit for the data, IFI .96, TLI .92, and CFI .96. All these analyses confirm that the factor structure underlying the PCI measures used here conforms to the measurement model Rousseau specified (2000) and to results reported by previous research based on larger samples (e.g., Hui et al., in press).

For mutuality: GAP ij Director Obligation i D Director Obligation j S For reciprocity: GAP ij Director Obligation i D Scientist Obligation j S , where i and j represent the three different types of psychological contract obligations (i.e., transactional, relational, and balanced). The extent to which mutuality and reciprocity exist should be reflected by smaller average gaps between director and scientist perceptions along the same psychological contract obligation (e.g., balanced balanced) than along dissimilar obligations (e.g., balancedtransactional). In addition, we examined the correlations among all corresponding psychological contract obligations (depending on whether the focus was on mutuality or reciprocity) and tested the significance of the difference between on-diagonal (e.g., balanced balanced) and off-diagonal correlation coefficients (e.g., balancedtransactional). Significantly higher and positive correlations were expected along director and scientist scales of the same psychological contract obligation (on-diagonal scales) than across different obligations (off-diagonal scales). Finally, we ran several regression models regressing each scientist scale onto all corresponding director scales and vice versa. When regressing a particular scientist scale (e.g., balanced) onto all director scales, the corresponding director scale (i.e., balanced) was expected to be the stronger predictor among all director scales. We also tested the significance of the difference between on-diagonal and offdiagonal partial regression coefficients. The gap analysis yields two 3 3 tables in which the mean difference and the 95% confidence interval of the difference were calculated for all nine mutuality gaps and all nine reciprocity gaps, respectively. As indicated above, lower means along the ondiagonal elements reflect whether mutuality and reciprocity exist in the employment relationship. Starting with the gaps between director and scientist perceptions of the director obligations to the scientist (i.e., variation in mutuality), Table 4 reveals that the smaller gaps indeed occurred along the on-diagonal elements for all scales: transactional, relational, and balanced. For instance, the directors perception of his or her transactional obligations to the scientist displays a significantly smaller gap with the scientists perception of the same transactional obligations (M 0.87) than with the scientists perceptions of director relational or balanced obligations (M 1.87 and M 1.90, respectively). Although all results follow the same pattern, it is important to note that the

Joint Perceptions: Mutuality and Reciprocity


Using several methods, we examined the variation in mutuality (i.e., agreement regarding one partys specific obligations) and reciprocity (i.e., agreement regarding the reciprocal exchange) that occurs in the research collaborations between research director and staff scientist. Consistent with the approach applied by Porter et al. (1998), we first calculated the absolute value of the gaps in perceptions across all psychological contract obligations, as follows:

PSYCHOLOGICAL CONTRACTS: MUTUALITY AND RECIPROCITY

61

Table 4 Gaps Between Director and Scientist Perceptions Across Psychological Contract Obligations
Mutuality Director Transactional (S) 0.87 (0.69, 1.05) 2.02 (1.78, 2.25) 2.12 (1.89, 2.36) Director Relational (S) 1.87 (1.62, 2.12) 0.88 (0.70, 1.05) 1.24 (1.03, 1.45) Reciprocity Scientist Transactional (S) Director Transactional (D) Director Relational (D) Director Balanced (D) 0.83 (0.64, 1.02) 2.00 (1.77, 2.23) 2.15 (1.92, 2.38) Scientist Relational (S) 1.93 (1.66, 2.21) 0.80 (0.65, 0.94) 1.03 (0.85, 1.22) Scientist Balanced (S) 1.85 (1.61, 2.09) 1.05 (0.86, 1.24) 0.91 (0.74, 1.07) Director Balanced (S) 1.90 (1.64, 2.16) 1.06 (0.87, 1.25) 0.83 (0.63, 1.03)

Scale Director Transactional (D) Director Relational (D) Director Balanced (D)

Note. Values are the mean of the absolute value of the gaps (95% confidence interval of the difference in parentheses). S scientist scale; D director scale.

on-diagonal mean difference between director and scientist perceptions of director relational obligations (M 0.88) marginally fell within the confidence interval of the off-diagonal mean difference between the directors perception of his or her relational obligations and the scientists perception of director balanced obligations (0.87, 1.25). This overlap between directors beliefs regarding relational obligations and their subordinates interpretations of both relational and balanced obligations is not surprising. In the context of the directors role in the professional growth and development of their staff, subordinates are likely to experience support that is at once personal (relational) as well as performancebased (balanced). Correlations among scales shown in Table 2 support the preceding results, revealing strong, positive correlations along director and scientist assessments of the same psychological contract obligation. In particular, when assessing obligations from the director to the scientist, the correlation between director and scientist scales was .44 ( p .01) for transactional obligations, .52 ( p .01) for relational obligations, and .32 ( p .01) for balanced obligations. The tests for the significance of the difference between correlation coefficients reveal that on-diagonal coefficients were significantly higher than off-diagonal coefficients for transactional and relational obligations but not for balanced obligations. The on-diagonal-balanced-(S) balanced-(D) coefficient was significantly higher than the off-diagonal-balanced-(S)transactional-(D) coefficient, t(77) 3.20, p .01, but it was not significantly higher (albeit in the right direction) than the off-diagonal balanced (S)-relational (D), t(77) 1.35, ns. Finally, Table 5 presents the results of the subsequent regressions of each scientist scale onto all director scales. For instance,

Table 5 Regressions of Scientist Scales Onto Director Scales Examining Mutuality and Reciprocity in the Psychological Contracts
Dependent variable Director Transactional (S) Bdiff Predictor B Null (H0) t B Mutuality Director Transactional (D) Director Relational (D) Director Balanced (D) F R2 Dependent variable .26* .23 .05 7.65** .23 B 1 B2 0 B 1 B3 0 2.70** 2.24* .27* .43** .09 11.22** .31 B2 B1 0 B 2 B3 0 3.67** 4.11** .15 .04 .26* 3.48* .12 B 3 B1 0 B3 B 2 0 2.84** 2.31* Director Relational (S) Bdiff Null (H0) t B Director Balanced (S) Bdiff Null (H0) t

Director Transactional (S) Bdiff

Director Relational (S) Bdiff t B Reciprocity Null (H0) t B

Director Balanced (S) Bdiff Null (H0) t

Predictor

Null (H0)

Director Transactional (D) Director Relational (D) Director Balanced (D) F R2

.28* .14 .07 6.34** .20

B1 B 2 0 B1 B 3 0

2.29* 2.55*

.15 .36** .19* 9.69** .28

B2 B1 0 B 2 B3 0

3.55** 5.73**

.05 .05 .15 0.96 .04

B 3 B1 0 B3 B2 0

0.90 2.11*

Note. Degrees of freedom (dfs) for F are 3, 76; df for t is 76. S scientist scale; Bdiff difference between Bs; D director scale. p .10. * p .05. ** p .01.

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when the scientists perception of director transactional obligations was regressed onto all corresponding director scales, director transactional (D) was the strongest predictor (B 0.26, p .05). Similarly, when the scientists perception of director relational obligations was regressed onto all corresponding director scales, director relational (D) was the strongest predictor (B 0.43, p .01), and when the scientists perception of director balanced obligations was regressed onto all corresponding director scales, director balanced (D) was the strongest predictor (B 0.26, p .05). Overall, results indicate that the best predictor of each scale was the same scale from the other partys perspective. Similar results were obtained when regressing each director scale onto all scientist scales. In addition, Table 5 shows the tests for the significance of the difference between on-diagonal and off-diagonal partial regression coefficients revealing that on-diagonal coefficients were significantly and consistently higher than off-diagonal coefficients along all three types of psychological contract obligations. For instance, when the scientists perception of director relational obligations was regressed onto all corresponding director scales, the on-diagonal relational (D) partial regression coefficient was significantly higher than the off-diagonal transactional (D) coefficient, t(76) 3.67, p .01, and the off-diagonal balanced (D) coefficient, t(76) 4.11, p .01. These results provide support for Hypothesis 1. With regard to analyses of reciprocity (Hypothesis 2), examination of the gaps between director and scientist perceptions of their own obligations to one another (i.e., variation in reciprocity) reveals that the smaller gaps occurred along the diagonal elements for all scales (see Table 4). However, on-diagonal gaps were significantly smaller than off-diagonal gaps only for transactional and relational obligations but not for the balanced obligation. Correlations and regression analyses confirmed this result. In particular, when assessing their own reciprocal commitments to one another, the correlation between director and scientist scales was .43 ( p .01) for transactional obligations, .48 ( p .01) for relational obligations, and .15 (ns) for balanced obligations. Moreover, the tests for the significance of the difference between correlation coefficients reveal that on-diagonal coefficients were significantly higher than off-diagonal coefficients only for the transactional and relational obligations. We conducted follow-up tests that confirm the reciprocal effects found for both transactional and relational scales. When the scientists perception of his or her transactional obligations was regressed onto all corresponding director scales, director transactional (D) was the strongest predictor (B 0.28, p .05). Similarly, when the scientists perception of his or her relational obligations was regressed onto all corresponding director scales, director relational (D) was the strongest predictor (B 0.36, p .01). However, when the scientists perception of his or her balanced obligations was regressed onto all corresponding director scales, director balanced (D) was not a strong predictor (B 0.15, ns). Similar results were obtained when regressing each director scale onto all scientist scales. In addition, Table 5 shows the tests for the significance of the difference between on-diagonal and off-diagonal partial regression coefficients revealing that on-diagonal coefficients were significantly and consistently higher than off-diagonal coefficients only for the transactional and relational obligations. Thus, Hypothesis 2 is partially supported.

Joint Perceptions and Quality of the Research Collaborations


Previous organizational research on congruence (i.e., agreement, fit, or match) between two constructs has advised on the numerous substantive and methodological problems that arise when congruence indices, developed by collapsing two measures into a single one (e.g., algebraic, absolute, square difference), are used as predictors in regression models (Edwards, 1994). For that reason, we departed from gaps in perceptions for subsequent analyses. We examined the extent to which the joint perceptions of director and scientist provided distinct explanatory power for outcomes using hierarchical regressions to test the interaction term (Baron & Kenny, 1986). In the first step, we entered all control variables along with the individual scales of directors and scientists into the regression equations. In the second step, we entered the joint perceptions (i.e., interaction term) to examine whether the interplay between director and scientist perceptions has explanatory power beyond that of their individual scales. This procedure, suggested by Cronbach (1958), has been also used in previous studies of congruence (e.g., Berger-Gross & Kraut, 1984; Butler, 1983; Maslyn & Uhl-Bien, 2001; Rice, McFarlin, & Bennett, 1989) to eradicate most of the substantive and methodological problems associated with the use of a congruence index, in particular those surrounding the effects of its constituent components. Moreover, results obtained using the hierarchical regressions to test the interaction term were substantiated in a third and final step by applying Edwards polynomial regression technique (Edwards, 1994). In particular, we used this technique to test for the possibility that curvilinear effects account for the significance of the interaction term. Because the constituent components (i.e., director and scientist perceptions) were measured using the same scale and were positively correlated to each other (see Table 2), their interaction term was also expected to be positively correlated with the square of either component. In cases like this, the likelihood of a spurious interaction increases when these higher order terms are omitted. In preparation for examining the hierarchical regressions, we note other methodological issues. The individual scales of directors and scientists were centered to minimize multicollinearity problems, often caused in moderator models by the very high correlations associated with the introduction of the interaction term in the regression equation (Aiken & West, 1991). Moreover, given that psychological contract obligations are defined based on similar or opposing characteristics along the same two key contract features (i.e., duration and specificity of performance terms; Rousseau, 1995), scales tend to correlate (either positively or negatively). To avoid confounding effects, each type of obligation was separately entered in subsequent regression equations. Thus, results can also shed light on how specific psychological contract obligations are related to specific outcomes. Finally, two preliminary tests were conducted to rule out potential problems in the data. First, we tested for the omnibus null hypothesis that all possible correlations among the variables in the individual regression equations equal zero, a situation likely in exploratory studies where the sample size is relatively small (J. Cohen & Cohen, 1983). When the null hypothesis cannot be rejected, no further analysis involving these correlations should be performed (Steiger, 1980). Our results, however, led to an overwhelming rejection of the null hypothesis in all individual regression equations ( p

PSYCHOLOGICAL CONTRACTS: MUTUALITY AND RECIPROCITY

63
0.32 0.84* 0.49 0.89** 9.85** 0.02 0.50 9, 70 12.10** 0.50** 0.46 6, 73 Note. Psychological contract scales were centered. S scientist scale; D director scale; square the quadratic term of the corresponding scale. p .10. * p .05. ** p .01. 0.93* 0.51 0.50 0.41 0.09 0.21* 0.00 0.24** F R2 Adjusted R2 df 9.38** 0.44** 0.39 6, 73 9.86** 0.05** 0.44 7, 72 7.64** 0.01 0.43 9, 70 10.56** 0.46** 0.42 6, 73 9.29** 0.01 0.42 7, 72 8.51** 0.05* 0.46 9, 70 12.24** 0.04** 0.50 7, 72

.01). Second, we tested for the null hypothesis that no difference exists among all outcome variables (i.e., met expectations, continuity, publications, coauthorship, and formal career advancement), given the relatively high average intercorrelation among them. Of course this effect was to some extent anticipated in our research design by deliberately choosing objective outcomes that would provide convergent validation for the self-reported measures of met expectations and continuity. Nonetheless, the fact that the average intercorrelation is still high between performance-related outcomes (i.e., met expectations and both publication measures) and job-securityrelated outcomes (i.e., continuity and formal career advancement) raises the issue that all outcomes might in fact reflect the same phenomenon. Using a canonical correlation analysis including all relevant variables (e.g., J. Cohen & Cohen, 1983), we tested the null hypothesis that all outcome variables are the same, or in other words, that all remaining correlations following the first canonical variate are zero. Our results, however, rejected this null hypothesis and confirmed the expected two canonical variates: one performance-related, 2(70, N 80) 184.08, p .01, and the other job-securityrelated, 2(52, N 80) 98.93, p .01. Turning to the hierarchical regressions, our results reveal a strong support for Hypothesis 3 (see Tables 6 and 7) suggesting that mutuality, or agreement regarding one partys specific obligations, explains unique variance in the outcomes associated with the employment relationship. The mutuality interaction terms were significantly related to several outcome variables. In particular, mutuality in balanced contracts was a significant predictor of met expectations (B 0.24, p .01) and number of coauthored publications with the research director (B 0.89, p .01), after controlling for the individual perceptions by directors and scientists (see Step 2, Table 6). The mutuality interaction term for balanced was not, however, a significant predictor of the total number of publications or job-securityrelated outcomes (i.e., continuity and formal career advancement). Not surprisingly, given that balanced contracts are performance-based, stronger effects of mutual balanced agreement manifest for performance-related outcomes. On the other hand, mutuality in relational contracts was a significant predictor of both continuity (B 0.30, p .01) and formal career advancement (B 0.35, p .01; but not of met expectations or publication measures), after controlling for the individual perceptions by directors and scientists (see Step 2, Table 7). Consistent with the nature of relational contracts, the impact of mutual relational obligations is evident around job-security related outcomes. Finally, mutuality in transactional contracts did not have a significant impact on any outcome measures, a result plausible given the long-term focus regarding outcomes in academia. To illustrate the mutuality interaction, Figure 1 shows the regression lines of the effects of mutuality in relational obligations on continuity and formal career advancement. Scientist and director reports regarding the extent of the directors relational obligations to the scientist were dichotomized into low and high on the basis of 1 SD from the mean of each variable (J. Cohen & Cohen, 1983). The interactions indicate that continuity and formal career advancement were greatest when both parties agreed that relational obligations have been committed to by the director. On the other hand, differences in perceptions or agreement on the absence of relational obligations led to lower outcomes in both cases. Similar patterns were obtained for the effects of mutuality in

Step 3 (Quadratic) Coauthorship Step 2 (Interaction) Step 1 (Main effect) Step 3 (Quadratic) Publications Step 2 (Interaction) Step 1 (Main effect) Step 3 (Quadratic) Met Expectations Step 2 (Interaction) Step 1 (Main effect) Outcome and predictor

Table 6 Hierarchical Regressions Examining the Effects of Mutuality in Balanced Obligations on Met Expectations, Publications, and Coauthorship

Step 1 Organizational tenure Center tenure Educational level (PhD) Gender (male) Director Balanced (S) Director Balanced (D) Steps 2 and 3 Director Balanced (S) square Director Balanced (S) Director Balanced (D) Director Balanced (D) square

0.04* 0.09* 0.33 0.05 0.46** 0.24*

0.04** 0.08* 0.42* 0.15 0.43** 0.35**

0.04* 0.07* 0.36 0.15 0.52** 0.32*

0.08 0.21 3.76** 1.72* 0.72 1.39**

0.07 0.18 3.91** 1.55* 0.67 1.59**

0.03 0.19 4.63** 1.58* 0.15 2.36**

0.07 0.39** 2.40** 1.46 1.39** 1.78**

0.09 0.34* 2.72** 1.10 1.29** 2.20**

0.10 0.33* 3.04** 1.10 1.10 2.73**

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Table 7 Hierarchical Regressions Examining the Effects of Mutuality in Relational Obligations on Continuity and Formal Career Advancement
Continuity Outcome and predictor Step 1 Organizational tenure Center tenure Educational level (PhD) Gender (male) Director Relational (S) Director Relational (D) Steps 2 and 3 Director Relational (S) square Director Relational (S) Director Relational (D) Director Relational (D) square F R2 Adjusted R2 df Step 1 (Main effect) 0.01 0.05 0.10 0.02 0.50** 0.27* Step 2 (Interaction) 0.00 0.05 0.05 0.09 0.47** 0.41** 0.30** 9.09** 0.43** 0.38 6, 73 9.82** 0.06** 0.44 7, 72 Step 3 (Quadratic) 0.01 0.05 0.06 0.09 0.44** 0.38** 0.14 0.35** 0.04 7.85** 0.01 0.44 9, 70 8.62** 0.41** 0.37 6, 73 Formal career advancement Step 1 (Main effect) 0.02 0.00 0.78** 0.19 0.42** 0.34** Step 2 (Interaction) 0.02 0.00 0.72** 0.11 0.39** 0.50** 0.35** 9.73** 0.07** 0.44 7, 72 Step 3 (Quadratic) 0.02 0.00 0.73** 0.10 0.34** 0.48** 0.18 0.42** 0.05 7.96** 0.02 0.44 9, 70

Note. Psychological contract scales were centered. S scientist scale; D director scale; square the quadratic term of the corresponding scale. * p .05. ** p .01.

balanced obligations on met expectations and number of coauthored publications with the research director. Results obtained for the mutuality interaction terms were substantiated using Edwards polynomial regression technique extended up to the quadratic terms (see Step 3, Tables 6 and 7). By applying this technique, we tested for the possibility that curvilinear effects account for the significance of the mutuality interaction terms. Results reveal that where the interaction term was already significant, it remained significant even after entering the squares of its constituent components into the regression equations (see Steps 2 and 3, Tables 6 and 7). For example, the interaction term for mutuality in balanced obligations was a significant predictor of met expectations (B 0.24, p .01; Step 2, Table 6) and remained significant in the quadratic equation (B 0.21, p .05; Step 3, Table 6).

Hypothesis 4 addressed the extent to which reciprocity, or agreement about the reciprocal exchange, explains unique variance in the outcomes associated with the employment relationship. Our results reveal no significant effects for the balanced obligations, a likely consequence of the lack of shared perceptions between director and scientist regarding their reciprocal balanced obligations as described above. Significant effects did exist between reciprocity in relational obligations and both continuity (B 0.18, p .05) and formal career advancement (B 0.31, p .01) above and beyond the individual perceptions of directors and scientists (see Step 2, Table 8). In both equations, the form of the interaction follows patterns similar to those presented in Figure 1 for mutuality in relational obligations. Because reciprocity entails not only commitments from the director to the scientist but vice versa, we also controlled for staff scientist fulfillment of their

Figure 1. Interaction of scientist and director reports assessing the effects mutuality in relational obligations on Continuity and formal career advancement. S scientist scale; D director scale.

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Table 8 Hierarchical Regressions Examining the Effects of Reciprocity in Relational Obligations on Continuity and Formal Career Advancement
Continuity Outcome and predictor Step 1 Organizational tenure Center tenure Educational level (PhD) Gender (male) Scientist Fulfillment (D) Scientist Relational (S) Director Relational (D) Steps 2 and 3 Scientist Relational (S) square Scientist Relational (S) Director Relational (D) Director Relational (D) Square F R2 Adjusted R2 df Step 1 (Main effect) 0.01 0.03 0.08 0.05 0.50** 0.21* 0.34** Step 2 (Interaction) 0.01 0.04 0.05 0.03 0.52** 0.23* 0.44** 0.18* 10.85** 0.51** 0.47 7, 72 10.59** 0.03* 0.49 8, 71 Step 3 (Quadratic) 0.01 0.04 0.05 0.03 0.52** 0.21 0.43** 0.02 0.21 0.02 8.26** 0.00 0.48 10, 69 7.40** 0.42** 0.36 7, 72 Formal career advancement Step 1 (Main effect) 0.03 0.02 0.63* 0.15 0.30** 0.26* 0.38** Step 2 (Interaction) 0.03 0.01 0.67** 0.19 0.33** 0.29* 0.54** 0.31** 8.61** 0.07** 0.44 8, 71 Step 3 (Quadratic) 0.03 0.01 0.75** 0.11 0.30** 0.06 0.55** 0.32** 0.54** 0.14 8.64** 0.06** 0.49 10, 69

Note. Psychological contract scales were centered. D director scale; S scientist scale; square the quadratic term of the corresponding scale. p .10. * p .05. ** p .01.

commitments as rated by center directors. Consistent with our previous findings for mutuality, stronger effects of reciprocity in relational contracts manifest around job-securityrelated outcomes. Similar to the case of mutuality, reciprocity in transactional contracts did not significantly affect outcomes. In addition, by applying the polynomial regression technique (see Step 3, Table 8), we tested for the possibility that curvilinear effects account for the significance of the reciprocity interaction terms. Results reveal that where the interaction term was already significant, it remained so even after entering the squares of its constituent components into the regression equations (see Steps 2 and 3, Table 8). For example, the interaction term of reciprocity in relational obligations was a significant predictor of formal career advancement (B 0.31, p .01; Step 2) and remained significant in the quadratic equation (B 0.54, p .01; Step 3). All in all, results provide partial support for Hypothesis 4. Finally, because the coefficients of polynomial equations are often difficult to interpret (Edwards, 1994; Edwards & Parry, 1993), we also conducted a follow-up examination of the threedimensional response surfaces to provide additional insight into the results. Response surfaces, often used graphically and analytically in studies of congruence (e.g., Edwards & Parry, 1993, Edwards & Rothbard, 1999; Kristof-Brown & Stevens, 2001), can be generated from the coefficients of the polynomial regression equations (extended up to the square terms) to map the relationship between two paired reports and a given outcome. Although various relationships can be investigated, a typical hypothesis is that congruence leads to a maximum (or minimum) level of outcome along the line of perfect fit (i.e., where the two paired reports match exactly). Such a relationship can be represented, for example, using a quadratic equation constrained to the squared difference between the two constituent components. In a hypothetical form, the quadratic equation can generate response surfaces consistent

with the squared difference (see Figure 2A) by meeting the following three constraints: (a) the coefficients of the constituent components are nonsignificant, (b) the coefficients of the square terms are equal, and (c) the coefficient of the interaction term is twice as large as the coefficient of either square term but with an opposite sign (for an extensive review of congruence tests and their related constraints, see Edwards, 1994). In this study, we expected congruence to lead to more positive outcomes than incongruence. Nonetheless, our hypotheses do not suggest that the value of the outcome is the same (and maximum) at every single point along the line of perfect fit. Rather, we expected agreement on the presence of a particular obligation in an employment relationship to have a more positive impact on outcomes than agreement on its absence. Consistently, our results reveal that regression coefficients were far from meeting the constraints of the hypothetical form (e.g., the coefficients of the constituent components were significant in most regressions; see Step 3, Tables 6, 7, and 8), and thus response surfaces differed significantly from that of Figure 2A. From a graphical standpoint, our typical response surface displayed a downward slope on either side along the line of perfect fit, showing that congruence in director and scientist perceptions was indeed related to a higher outcome value. However, the most noticeable pattern was a sharp, positive slope along the line of perfect fit, revealing that the outcome value was higher when both director and scientist perceptions were high rather than when both were low. This surface pattern, characteristic of the polynomial equations studied here, is consistent with the underlying dynamics postulated for mutuality and reciprocity, as illustrated in Figure 2B, using the results of the regression examining the effects of mutuality in relational obligations on continuity (Step 3, Table 7). In addition, response surface patterns were confirmed analytically using the framework proposed by Edwards and Parry (1993) for testing the significance of the slopes and curvatures along both the line of perfect fit where director and

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Figure 2. Three-dimensional response surfaces relating scientist and director reports to assess the effects mutuality in relational obligations on Continuity. All scales were centered. S scientist scale; D director scale.

scientist reports are equal (i.e., the D S line) and the line running perpendicular to the perfect fit (i.e., the D S line). A detailed description of the procedure and results is included in the Appendix.

Group-Level Effects
Finally, because all directorscientist research collaborations were formally organized around research centers, it was necessary to examine whether group-level variables might confound the effects observed at the dyadic level. Group-level variables such as center size, center longevity, research directors productivity, formal position, relative power, and tenure could have explanatory power on individual-level outcomes such as objective indicators of productivity and career advancement and subjective measures of met expectations and continuity. We used HLM to determine the amount of variance residing within and between groups as well as to investigate the influence of group-level variables on individuallevel outcomes (Bryk & Raudenbush, 1992). Our initial model investigated the amount of between-groups variance and its significance for each of the five dependent variables used in this research (i.e., met expectations, publications, coauthored publications, continuity, and career advancement). To partition variance into its within- and between-groups components, we specified no predictors in Level 1 or Level 2 equations. This forced any within-group variance in the dependent variable into the Level 1 residual and any between-groups variance into the Level 2 residual (i.e., a model conceptually equivalent to a one-way analysis of variance; Hofmann, 1997). In Table 9 we computed the intraclass correlations for each of the five dependent variables, that is, the ratio of the between-groups variance in the dependent variable to total variance in the dependent variable including both the withinand between-groups components. Results reveal that there was no significant between-groups variance for met expectations, publications, and formal career advancement. However, results reveal that 33.38% of the variance in coauthored publications and 11.52% of the variance in continuity resided at the group level. In the case of coauthored publications and continuity, we further investigated whether there was significant variance in the intercepts and/or

slopes across groups using the random coefficient regression model. In both cases, results show significant variance in the intercepts, 00 4.80, t(15) 6.48, p .01, for coauthored publications, and 00 3.40, t(15) 23.15, p .01, for perceived continuity but not in the slopes. Finally, we used the interceptsas-outcomes model to assess whether the variance in the intercept was significantly related to one or more of the a priori relevant group-level variables. In the case of coauthored publications, we found that once the total number of publications by the research director in the last 3 years was entered as predictor into Level 2 equation, there was no systematic between-groups variance remaining that could have been modeled by additional group-level predictors, 2(14, N 80) 22.28, ns. Conversely, the grouplevel variables we evaluated could not fully explain the remaining

Table 9 Intraclass Correlation (ICC): Between- and Within-Group Variance


Dependent variable Met expectations Level 2: Between Groups Level 1: Within Groups Publications Level 2: Between Groups Level 1: Within Groups Coauthorship Level 2: Between Groups Level 1: Within Groups Continuity Level 2: Between Groups Level 1: Within Groups Formal career advancement Level 2: Between Groups Level 1: Within Groups Variance component 0.048 0.989 0.556 16.784 6.083 12.142 0.128 0.986 0.056 1.280 ICC 0.0461 0.0321 0.3338 0.1152 0.0423 df 15 15 15 15 15

2
20.21 19.24 53.21** 26.73* 17.98

Note. Hierarchical linear modeling provides a significance test for the between-groups variance component only. * p .05. ** p .01.

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between-groups variance in continuity. Nevertheless, this may be inconsequential given the relatively low percentage of the variance in continuity that resided between groups (only 11.52% of the total variance). In all, we conclude that the results we observe for employer employee mutuality and reciprocity in psychological contracts are not an artifact of center-level factors. Rather, our findings suggest that it is the dyadic relationship between individual and employer that gives rise to the level of mutuality and reciprocity that the relationship manifests and the consequences that result.

Discussion
Our research provides support for a crucial assumption of psychological contract theory, that the psychological contract terms workers frequently believe to be mutual on the part of themselves and their employer may indeed be so. Mutuality can be more than a perception; it may be a fact, at least to some degree. Moreover, where mutuality exists, this study demonstrates it has substantial benefits for both workers (e.g., advancement) and organizations (e.g., coauthorship). Understanding the origins of agreement in the employment relationship is fundamental for enhancing theory development in both psychological contract and exchange theory and in their practical application in organizations. One mechanism underlying agreement is postulated to be shared mental models (Rousseau, 2001a) in which informational cues that are mutually reinforcing make it easier for scientists of the same social system to form common understandings. Such shared mental models are likely to arise in settings that have bundles of support practices, reinforcing similar or interrelated social cues (e.g., promotion and development systems that cue the same kinds of behaviors and performance outcomes). In the organizational setting we studied, common entry requirements (e.g., advanced education) and similar tasks (e.g., research) are likely to reflect mutually reinforcing support practices, making mutuality more likely. In organizations with more diverse employee backgrounds and heterogeneous functions, mutuality may be more difficult to achieve. Nonetheless, where mutuality does occur, our results suggest it is highly functional for both workers and employers. Alternative mechanisms underlying agreement also have been suggested in the LMX literature. For instance, Deluga (1998) found evidence that managerworker similarity in Conscientiousness, one of the Big Five personality traits, was positively related to worker in-role and extra-role behavior. He further argued that managers and workers similar in Conscientiousness are inclined to engage in processes of frequent communication and continuous feedback that help develop shared understandings (mutuality) of role expectations and stimulate increasing levels of reciprocal support (e.g., behaviors consistent with each others expectations, improved performance, high-quality exchange). Similarly, Engle and Lord (1997) examined leadermember agreement in the implicit theories each holds regarding leadership (what a good leader is) and performance (what a good worker does), finding evidence that agreement between worker and leader in implicit performance theories is related to liking and LMX quality. They also suggested that congruence in implicit theories provides the basis for mutuality or shared understandings, making it easier for both parties to align behaviors with expectations. Because our study reveals that in the presence of mutuality benefits accrue to both workers and

employers, further research is needed on these and other mechanisms affecting the creation and development of agreement regarding the exchange terms. Reciprocity, however, is a more complex phenomenon. Our results indicate that reciprocity in relational terms produces the expected benefits of worker retention and career advancement. However, we found far less evidence of reciprocity in exchanges involving balanced obligations. There are several possible reasons for this. The first is operational, in that workers and employers manifest less agreement on balanced terms than on the other psychological contract obligations. This finding is noteworthy because balanced exchanges appear to be increasingly common in employment, particularly among highly skilled knowledgeable workers (Rousseau, 2000). Appropriate forms of reciprocity may be especially difficult to achieve in the balanced condition. Both workers and firms have far less experience in relating to each other in ways that intermingle the balanced dimensions interpersonal and professional support with dynamic and shifting conditions of performance. Another explanation seems particularly likely to us. Although mutuality can be construed to be a joint and simultaneous occurrence, the temporality of reciprocity is uncertain. How long a period of time must elapse before contributions one party makes to another are reciprocated? The importance of the differential immediacy of returns has been addressed in previous LMX research on reciprocity. In particular, Sparrowe and Liden (1997) adopted a framework in which various forms of reciprocity are characterized by differential immediacy of returns. Generalized reciprocity, in which returns take many forms and are not necessarily targeted to the original giver, is attributed to the indefiniteness of results and altruistic concern for the other party. In contrast, equivalent reciprocity entails immediate and comparable returns typically provided to the original giver. Our data suggest that reciprocity of relational exchanges corresponds to generalized reciprocity, and transactional exchanges may be characterized by equivalent reciprocity. In contrast, reciprocity in balanced exchanges appears to be more complex and potentially more difficult to capture in part because balanced contracts blend features of both relational and transactional arrangements. We suspect that in on-going relationships, such as the collaborations studied here, significant events reflecting cycles of inducements and contributions vary in the time frames in which they occur. Whereas other scholars have suggested that relational exchanges are evaluated across the whole history of the relationship (Clark & Reis, 1988), balanced exchanges may have rhythms that vary, making assessment intervals more difficult to capture. Beyond the specific issues described above, several directions for future research are suggested by the evidence this study provides for the role of mutuality and reciprocity in the employment exchange. One important and basic issue concerns the factors that contribute to or impede mutuality of understanding between employee and employer. We note that in the present setting, unit-level factors played relatively little role in shaping either mutuality or reciprocity. Unit-level factors may play less of a role in the research context studied here because staff scientists work relatively independently. However, in settings where greater interdependence exists among employees, unit-level factors, such as team-building practices (e.g., member participation in selection of team mates) and socialization activities (e.g., shared training sessions) may play a role in shaping how mutuality and reciprocity

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arise. Under conditions of greater interdependence among workers, shared perceptions regarding the work setting (e.g., climate, cultural values, leadership style) also are likely to contribute to the degree of agreement both between workers and employers and among workers themselves. Thus, research is needed on the role that task structure and unit-factors play in shaping the degree of agreement between parties to the employment relationship. Just as unit-level practices, such as socialization, might enhance mutuality and reciprocity, other contextual factors can impair the extent of agreement employer and employee manifest. Rousseau and Greller (1994) pointed out that workers can derive their understanding of the psychological contract from a variety of sources presumed to represent the employer. These contract makers include first line supervisors, senior managers, and human resource professionals as well as structural signals, that is, practices of the firm, which can be interpreted by workers to create obligations on the part of the employer or themselves (e.g., policies of filling higher level positions from within). To the extent that these contract makers are interpreted as sending different messages regarding the nature of the employment relationship, both mutuality and reciprocity can be undermined. Research is needed to investigate the conditions under which individuals rely on particular sources of information regarding the employment relationship. Further, it is important to examine how individuals respond to mixed messages between sources and the impact that the extent of convergence among these sources has on the outcomes associated with the employment relationship. Last, the present study suggests that reciprocity is a more complex phenomenon than is mutuality in the context of employment-based exchanges. Reciprocity involves exchanges over time in which the intervals associated with the cycles of exchange vary with the nature of the resources involved (e.g. pay vs. career development) and the organizational context (e.g., a start-up firm with uncertain future vs. a growing, diversified corporation). To better understand how reciprocity occurs and how parties respond to lags in the exchange cycle, it would be useful to focus on recurring practices in organizations where exchanges of promises occur between employer and employee. For instance, performance reviews and the follow-ups accompanying them often induce exchanges of promises (e.g., of managerial support in exchange for a change in worker contributions) providing a context for examining reciprocity as it unfolds over time. We suggest that future research on reciprocity can benefit from longitudinal studies following up particular practices or events in employment where promise exchanges are the norm. The design of this study overcomes several limitations of previous work through its contextualization of the employment relationship and use of paired worker employer data. In particular, an examination of the joint perceptions of the individual worker and his or her primary employers agent is crucial for understanding employment arrangements of knowledge workers. In the knowledge economy, employment paradigms have shifted from standardized conditions for all workers toward more idiosyncratic arrangements, making general levels of agreement (e.g., between a manager and a group of workers or a senior human resource person and the firms employees) less meaningful (Rousseau, 2001b). Another salient aspect of the study is the relative stability of the interaction term when using both hierarchical regressions and Edwards (1994) polynomial regression technique. Despite the small sample size, results are robust in that where the interaction

term was significant using hierarchical regressions, it remained significant when applying the polynomial regression technique. Finally, other strengths of this study lie in the consistency of results between both self-reported and archival outcome measures and in the estimation of potential confounding effects at the group level. At the same time, this studys design also presents certain limitations. First, the instruments employed were Spanish translations from measures developed in the United States. Although the scales have been found to be reliable and valid in non-North American contexts (Rousseau, 2000) and when translated into Chinese (Hui et al., in press), interpretations and response patterns in the present sample may differ from those observed in other societies. As with all cross-cultural generalizations, our findings should be investigated in other regions and with scales in languages other than Spanish. Another limitation to the generalizability of the results is given by the atypical nature of the research setting. In typical organizations, work units seldom present the degree of autonomy and independence characteristic of the research centers studied here. In particular, research directors are the primary source of employer communication with workers. Future research should find ways to examine the level of agreement between workers and employers in cases where organizations entail multiple contract makers. Finally, this study used recall measures of commitments or obligations between research directors and staff scientists, and it was based on a cross-sectional design. This design might be suitable for assessments of mutuality, whereas a longitudinal design might provide a stronger test of reciprocity as long as it allows for in-depth examination of significant events during which commitments and contributions are exchanged (e.g., recruitment, development opportunities, performance reviews). Nonetheless, evidence that mutuality and reciprocity do arise from the cycle of inducements and contributions reflected in psychological contracts opens up many avenues for studying not only their violation but also their fulfillment and functional consequences in contemporary employment.

Practical Significance
Creating and sustaining mutuality of understanding between employers and employees facilitates not only better quality employment relationships, but as our results suggest, mutuality also contributes to improved individual performance and career success. Although research is needed on the factors that create mutuality in the first place, efforts to create common information and shared understandings between the workers and their managers are likely to enhance mutuality. Our results also suggest that although mutuality may be more readily achieved, employers may find it more difficult to obtain reciprocal contributions in response to the commitments they have offered workers. For instance, an employer may indicate a willingness to develop a worker and support his or her career advancement and yet fail to explicate what services and efforts that worker is expected to provide in return. Although further research on reciprocity in the employment relationship is needed, our results suggest that it may be helpful to couple communications regarding employer commitments to workers with the types of efforts and contributions the employer expects from workers in return. Information regarding reciprocal obligations can be particularly warranted in the venues in which commitments to workers are fre-

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quently made, such as performance reviews, training sessions, and recruiting. Moreover, it can be helpful to revisit the degree of agreement regarding reciprocal obligations periodically because evidence exists that individuals are inclined to be more aware of their own contributions in an exchange relationship than they are to their partners (e.g., Robinson & Rousseau, 1994).

Conclusion
One goal of the present study was to expand beyond research focusing on the downside of psychological contracts (i.e., adverse consequences such as erosion and violation) to investigate the upside of functional or mutually beneficial psychological contracts in employment. The bedrock of functional employment relationships are exchanges between workers and employers characterized by mutuality or shared understanding of all parties obligations and reliance on their reciprocal commitments. Convergence in the psychological contracts of employees and employers as demonstrated here can serve the interests of both parties to an employment relationship.

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Appendix Analysis of the Response Surface Patterns in the Quadratic Regression Equations
Edwards and Parry (1993) presented a framework for interpreting polynomial regression equations extended up to the square terms (i.e., quadratic equations) in studies of congruence. Among other features, this framework provides the basis for testing the significance of the slopes and curvatures along both the line of perfect fit where director and scientist reports are equal (i.e., the D S line) and the line running perpendicular to the perfect fit (i.e., the D S line). As presented in Tables 6, 7, and 8, the quadratic equation in this study takes the general form of Z b 0 b 1 S b 2 D b 3 S 2 b 4 SD b 5 D 2 , (1) plicity, control variables are not represented in Equation 1, although they are included in the regression equations of Tables 6, 7, and 8. The slopes and curvatures along the two lines of interest can be obtained by substituting the expression for that line in Equation 1. For instance, a significant positive slope along the D S line (visible as a surface sloping upward from the front to the back of the graph) would provide support for the assumption that agreement on the presence of a particular obligation leads to higher values in the outcome variable than does agreement on its absence. Using the expression for this line (i.e., D S), we can substitute S for D in Equation 1 as follows: Z b 0 b 1 b 2 S b 3 b 4 b 5 S 2. (2)

where S represents the scientists perception of a particular obligation, D is the corresponding directors perception, and Z is the outcome variable being predicted. The constituent components S and D vary with the type of obligation (i.e., transactional, relational, or balanced) and with the nature of the relationship being examined (i.e., mutuality or reciprocity). For sim-

Then, the slope (given by the sum of b1 and b2) and the curvature (given by the sum of b3, b4, and b5) of the surface along the D S line can be examined using standard procedures for testing the significance of linear

Table A1 Analysis of the Slopes and Curvatures of Three-Dimensional Response Surfaces Along Lines of Interest
Shape along D S line Outcome Mutuality in balanced obligations (from Table 6) Met Expectations Publications Coauthorship Mutuality in relational obligations (from Table 7) Continuity Formal career advancement Reciprocity in relational obligations (from Table 8) Continuity Formal career advancement Shape along D S line

Curvature Slope Curvature Slope (b1 b2) (b3 b4 b5) (b1 b2) (b3 b4 b5) 0.84** 2.21** 3.83** 0.82** 0.82** 0.64** 0.61** 0.30* 0.08 1.01* 0.17 0.19 0.17 0.08 0.20 2.51** 1.63 0.06 0.14 0.22 0.49* 0.12 0.94 0.67 0.53** 0.65** 0.25** 1.00**

Note. Following the general form of the quadratic equation (Equation 1), the regression coefficients b1, b2, b3, b4, and b5 for each case correspond to the set of predictors included in the quadratic regression equations, as presented in Step 3, Tables 6, 7, and 8. For instance, in regressions examining the effects of mutuality in balanced obligations on Met Expectations, publications, and coauthorship (Table 6), b1 corresponds to Director Balanced (S), b2 to Director Balanced (D), b3 to Director Balanced (S) Square, b4 to Director Balanced (S) Director Balanced (D), and b5 to Director Balanced (D) Square. D director scale; S scientist scale. * p .05. ** p .01.

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DABOS AND ROUSSEAU line was positive and significant for met expectations and coauthorship, suggesting that the value of these two outcomes increased at a faster rate when reports from both parties were high. Results also provide partial support for the downward slope on either side along the line of perfect fit. The curvature along the D S line was negative for all surfaces (showing that congruence matters), even though it was significant for the regressions examining mutuality and reciprocity in relational obligations ( p .01), but not for the regressions examining mutuality in balanced obligations. The slope along the D S line was negative and significant for formal career advancement (only in the case of reciprocity; slope 0.49, p .05), suggesting that the point at which the value of this outcome ceased to rise and began to fall occurred slightly to the left (directors side) of the line of perfect fit. A similar result was found for publications. In all, these results confirm the patterns observed in the response surface graphs.

combinations of partial regression coefficients (J. Cohen & Cohen, 1983). Likewise, a significant negative curvature in conjunction with a nonsignificant slope along the D S line would reveal that the value of the outcome decrease on either side of the line of perfect fit, demonstrating that agreement in director and scientist perceptions is indeed related to higher values in the outcome variables. Using the expression for this line (i.e., D S), we can substitue S for D in Equation 1 as follows: Z b 0 b 1 b 2 S b 3 b 4 b 5 S 2. (3)

Then, the slope (given by the expression b1 b2) and the curvature (given by b3 b4 b5) of the surface along the D S line can also be examined using the same procedure indicated above. Table 1 presents the analysis of slopes and curvatures for all seven response surfaces generated from the coefficients of the quadratic regression equations (Step 3, Tables 6, 7, and 8). Results provide strong support for the assumption that the value of the outcome is higher when both scientist and director agree on the presence of a particular obligaiton than when both agree on its absence. Certainly, the most noticeable pattern is that the slope along the D S line was positive and significant for all the surfaces examined ( p .01). In addition, the curvature along the D S

Received July 24, 2002 Revision received April 1, 2003 Accepted May 6, 2003