Employees' reactions to supervisors' fulfillment/non-fulfillment of psychological contract promises: an experimental field study

Khaldoun I. Ababneh, Evangelos Dedousis, Udo Braendle

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

2 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

Purpose: Drawing upon social exchange theory and psychological contract (PC) research, this study aims to examine the impact of supervisors' fulfillment/non-fulfillment of transactional psychological contract (TPC) and relational psychological contract (RPC) promises on employees' reactions (e.g. feelings of violation, trust in the supervisor and organizational commitment) in a non-Western context, namely, the United Arab Emirates (UAE). Design/methodology/approach: An experimental field design was used with a sample of employees (N = 234) from a wide range of nationalities and work backgrounds. Four conditions were developed by manipulating the fulfillment of three TPC promises (e.g. competitive salary) and three RPC promises (e.g. sufficient power and responsibility). Participants were randomly assigned to the four conditions and asked to complete the study materials as if they were experiencing a real employment situation with a real organization. Hypotheses were tested using multivariate analysis of covariance and follow-up univariate analysis with Bonferroni post hoc comparisons. Findings: This study demonstrated that a supervisor's failure to fulfill promises pertinent to both TPC and RPC, or one of them, generated negative reactions among participants. Based on a comparison of means analysis, this study also established that breach of TPC promises produced a higher negative impact than breach of RPC promises on perceptions of breach, feelings of violation, trust in the supervisor, organizational perceptions, organizational commitment and recommendation intentions. Furthermore, these findings revealed that a supervisor's breach of RPC promises has no significant incremental (additive) effect above a supervisor's breach of TPC promises. On the other hand, a supervisor's breach of TPC promises has a significant incremental (additive) effect above a supervisor's breach of RPC promises. Originality/value: This study is one of the very few studies that examined and established, under a controlled setting, the differential effects of fulfillment/non-fulfillment of both TPC and RPC promises on employees' breach perceptions, emotions, attitudes and behavioral intentions.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)948-971
Number of pages24
JournalEmployee Relations
Volume44
Issue number4
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Apr 22 2022
Externally publishedYes

Keywords

  • Psychological contract violation
  • Relational psychological contract breach
  • Supervisors' fulfillment of promises
  • Transactional psychological contract breach
  • UAE

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Industrial relations
  • Organizational Behavior and Human Resource Management

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