Psychological contracts: a network of relationships
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The focus of this dissertation is to gain a greater understanding of the individual psychological contract. It is proposed that by examining other specific exchange relationships (e.g., individual-supervisor, individual-co-worker) in addition to the already dominantly examined individual-organization exchange relationship, a greater understanding of how these specific exchanges impact employee attitudes and behaviors differently such as commitment and organizational citizenship behaviors, especially in the presence of a psychological contract breach can be achieved. This research is grounded in social exchange theory and norm of reciprocity and draws from the perceived organizational support, leader-member exchange, and co-worker exchange theories to examine each specific exchange relationship. Participants consisted of employees from several organizations and university systems who were placed in three subsamples to examine each exchange relationship and their respective breaches. Results indicate partial support for the overall idea of increasing the examination of the psychological contract to include the distinct exchange relationships of the individual-supervisor and individual-co-worker in addition to the individual-organization exchange. More specifically, results indicate significant support for the following Hypotheses: Hypotheses 1a, 1b, and 1c indicating that POS, LMX, and CWX are positively related to Organizational Commitment, particularly Organizational Affective Commitment, with POS demonstrating the strongest relationship as predicted, Hypotheses 2a, 2b, and 2c indicating that LMX, POS, and CWX are positively related to Supervisor Commitment, particularly Supervisor Affective Commitment, with LMX showing the strongest relationship as predicted, Hypothesis 3a indicating that CWX has the strongest positive relationship to Co-worker Affective Commitment, Hypothesis 4b indicating that LMX is positively related to OCB-O, but the main prediction of Hypothesis 4a indicating POS would have the strongest positive relationship was not supported, Hypothesis 5b indicating that LMX has the strongest positive relationship to OCB-S, and finally, Hypothesis 6c indicating CWX has the strongest positive relationship to OCB-CW as predicted. Lastly, results indicate support for only one of the moderating hypotheses, Hypothesis 7a, which indicates that the interaction of POS and an employee perceived psychological contract breach on the part of the organization has the strongest negative effect on Organizational Affective Commitment. All other moderating hypotheses were not found to be significant.
Lopez, Yvette Paula (2008). Psychological contracts: a network of relationships. Doctoral dissertation, Texas A&M University. Available electronically from