Interplay between trust and distrust in the workplace: examining the effect of psychological contract breach on organizational disidentification

Hira Rani, Ghulam Ali Arain, Aneel Kumar, Iram Rani Shaikh

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

22 Citations (Scopus)


Purpose: This study aims to examine the effect of psychological contract breach on organizational disidentification through the “affect-based” mediating mechanisms of trust and distrust. Design/methodology/approach: Using a convenient sampling technique, cross-sectional data were collected from 281 doctors working in public sector health-care organizations in Pakistan. After initial data screening, a confirmatory factor analysis (CFA) was conducted to test the measurement models’ validity and reliability. The hypothesized relationships were tested using structural equation modeling (SEM) with AMOS. Findings: The results of this study showed that psychological contract breach had significant direct and indirect positive effects through the mediating mechanism of distrust on organizational identification. However, trust was not supported as a mediator in that relationship. Research limitations/implications: This study uses cross-sectional data. Other researchers should use longitudinal design with two or three time lags. This study uses a sample of doctors from different cities of Pakistan, as this is a global era, so results cannot be generalized; this opens the future avenue for other scholars to select a broad sample from multiple organizations like businesses and NGOs from different countries or to use it in different context. The authors have used single source (questionnaires) and quantitative method to collect data for this study, so there is a probability of self-report bias. As future is of mixed method, so future researchers should use mixed method for deep and thorough understanding of different selected phenomena. Practical implications: Due to the experiences of breach of psychological contract, the doctors may either lose trust or may experience distrust which may further reduce their level of identification in an organization. Their contribution toward best interest of hospital decreases and their willingness to identify with their working place declines. Practically, the authors have compared that it is either the trust or distrust which can lead to organizational disidentification among doctors. Social implications: The findings will help employers and hospital authorities to understand that doctors are the most important strategic element of every hospital. Having sound financial, physical and informational capital is incomplete and worthless if there is no “doctor”. Because they have to deal directly with patients, so in this case, they are most important and crucial. A doctor’s identification and their loyalty with high level of trust directly on employer and indirectly on hospital all contributes toward an organization’s long-term success, and ultimately for the success of society. Originality/value: This study contributes to the existing literature on the consequences of employees’ psychological contract breach by simultaneously testing trust and distrust as the two competing affect-based mediating mechanisms between psychological contract breach and organizational disidentification.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1-16
Number of pages16
JournalJournal of Asia Business Studies
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 2018
Externally publishedYes


  • Organizational behaviour
  • Research design
  • Social identity theory

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Economics,Econometrics and Finance
  • Business and International Management
  • Strategy and Management


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