A Critical Evaluation of the Psychological Contract as a Determiner of Behaviour in Organisations

Marius Sebastian Rücker


Due to a perpetual increase in globalisation, it has become more significant to hire employees who believe in the corporate mission and values and to incentivise these employees to help the organisation to grow. This leads to the question whether and to which extent organisations can determine the behaviour of employees. One widely known concept of measuring and predicting the psychological satisfaction of members of an organisation is the psychological contract. Therefore, the aim of this research paper is to evaluate the psychological contract as a determiner of behaviour in organisations. In order to conduct this evaluation, different stages of the relationship between employees and organisations are examined. The evaluation of the psychological contract in regards to these different stages has led to the result that the psychological contract determines organisational behaviour though external influences and through internal communication of an organisation. In addition to that, the critical evaluation has shown that the psychological contract continues to be a field of interest in organisations in the future and for prospective examinations. 

Full Text:



Anderson, N., & Schalk, R. (1998). The Psychological Contract in Retrospect and Prospect. Journal of Organizational Behavior, 19, 637-647. https://doi.org/10.1002/(SICI)1099-1379(1998)19:1+<637::AID-JOB986>3.0.CO;2-H

Baruch, Y. (2002). Multiple Commitments: A Conceptual Framework and Empirical Investigation in a Community Health Service Trust. British Journal of Management, 13(4), 337-357. https://doi.org/10.1111/1467-8551.00250

Blades. D. D., Ferguson, G., & Richardson, H. C. (2000). A study of junior doctors to investigate the factors that influence career decisions. British Journal of General Practice, 50(455), 483.

Breaugh, J. A., & Billings, R. S. (1988). The realistic job preview: Five key elements and their importance for research and practice. Journal of Business and Psychology, 2(4), 291-305. https://doi.org/10.1007/BF01013761

Cavanaugh, M. A. (1999). Antecedents and consequences of relational components of the new psychological contract. Journal of Organizational Behavior, 20(3), 323-340. https://doi.org/10.1002/(SICI)1099-1379(199905)20:3<323::AID-JOB901>3.0.CO;2-M

Coyle, S. J. (2000). Consequences of the psychological contract for the employment relationship: A large scale survey. Journal of Management Studies, 37(7), 903-930. https://doi.org/10.1111/1467-6486.00210

Coyle, S. J. (2002). A psychological contract perspective on organizational citizenship behavior. Journal of Organizational Behavior, 23(8), 927-946. https://doi.org/10.1002/job.173

David, J., McDonald, P., & Makin, J. (2000). The psychological contract, organisational commitment and job satisfaction of temporary staff. Leadership & Organization Development Journal, 21(2), 84 – 91. https://doi.org/10.1108/01437730010318174

George, C. (2009). The Psychological Contract: Managing and developing professional groups. Berkshire: Open University Press.

Guest, D. E. (1998). Is the psychological contract worth taking seriously?. Journal of Organizational Behavior, 19(1), 649.


Lester, S. W. (2002). Not seeing eye to eye: differences in supervisor and subordinate perceptions of and attributions for psychological contract breach. Journal of Organizational Behavior, 23(1), 39-56. https://doi.org/10.1002/job.126

Morrison, E. W. (1997). When employees feel betrayed: a model of how psychological contract violation develops. The Academy of Management Review, 22(1), 226-256.

Mullins, L. J. (2007). Management and Organisational Behaviour. 8th edn. Harlow: Financial times Prentice Hall.

Robinson, S. L. (2000). The development of psychological contract breach and violation: a longitudinal study. Journal of Organizational Behavior, 21(5), 525-546. https://doi.org/10.1002/1099-1379(200008)21:5<525::AID-JOB40>3.0.CO;2-T

Robinson, S. L., & Rousseau D. M. (1994). Violating the psychological contract: Not the exception but the norm. Journal of Organizational Behavior, 15(3), 245-259. https://doi.org/10.1002/job.4030150306

Roehling, M. V. (1997). The origins and early development of the psychological contract construct. Journal of Management History, 3(2), 204-217. https://doi.org/10.1108/13552529710171993

Rousseau, D. M. (1990). New hire perceptions of their own and their employer's obligations: A study of psychological contracts. Journal of Organizational Behavior, 11(5), 389-400. https://doi.org/10.1002/job.4030110506

Shore, L., & Tetrick, L. E. (1994). The psychological contract as an explanatory framework in the employment relationship. Trends in Organisational Behavior, 1, 91-109.

Sims, R. R. (1994). Human resource management's role in clarifying the new psychological contract. Human Resource Management, 33(3), 373-382. https://doi.org/10.1002/hrm.3930330306

DOI: https://doi.org/10.5296/ijhrs.v8i1.12403

Copyright (c) 2018 Marius Sebastian Rücker

Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 4.0 International License.

International Journal of Human Resource Studies  ISSN 2162-3058

Email: ijhrs@macrothink.org

Copyright © Macrothink Institute  

To make sure that you can receive messages from us, please add the 'macrothink.org' domain to your e-mail 'safe list'. If you do not receive e-mail in your 'inbox', check your 'bulk mail' or 'junk mail' folders.