New paper: Buffering the psychological contract breach

March 12, 2019

We just published a new paper about psychological contract breach in the open access journal Frontiers in Psychology. In this study, we examined whether a high level of commitment in one's unit/team might act as a buffer when psychological contract breach occurs. We found support for our expectations: psychological contract breach can diminish work engagement and subsequently increase intentions to leave the organization. However, when the unit/team members are all highly committed to the organization (that is: when commitment climate level and strength are both high) this effect became less strong. In other words: a highly committed team can buffer the psychological contract breach.

The full paper can be accessed HERE. The abstract is below:

Despite the wealth of research showing that psychological contract breach (PCB) has negative outcomes for individuals, knowledge about the influence of the social context in which breaches are experienced is still scarce. This is surprising, as scholars have argued that work climates, such as when unit members are generally highly committed, could buffer an individual’s negative experiences at work. Yet, to date, the unit climate and PCB literatures have largely remained separated and our main goal is to integrate these fields. This is especially timely and relevant, because recent work in the unit climate literature indicates that merely looking at the average climate level might not be enough, because the climate’s strength (i.e., the agreement or homogeneity within the unit) could also provide important social cues. Building on these recent advances, we develop and test a theoretical framework which links both climate concepts to PCB. More specifically, we hypothesized that especially when all unit members are highly and homogeneously committed, an employee would reframe their PCB in such a way that it would less adversely affect work engagement and turnover intentions. Using data from 1,272 employees across 36 healthcare units, multilevel structural path analyses supported this three-way interaction. By answering recent calls for more “social PCB research” and integrating the unit climate and PCB literatures, we aim to provide guidance to scholars and practitioners who want to understand in more depth the social context’s influence on PCB.

Show all news