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Jos Akkermans, Simon de Jong, Jeroen de Jong and P. Matthijs Bal

The literature on psychological contract formation and evaluation is extremely rich, yet the role of social context has been under-researched. Studying the role of social context, however, is important, as psychological contract formation, fulfilment, and breach are likely to be influenced by social contextual factors such as supervisors, colleagues, and team members. In this chapter, the authors bring together the available literature on the role of social context in the psychological contract, thereby distinguishing between three main approaches: individual-level, direct consensus, and referent shift. Following from these three approaches, the authors argue that single-level research has a rich foundation, yet multi-level research is still relatively new and unexplored. Further, they distinguish between idiosyncratic and shared psychological contracts, thereby arguing that the latter especially is in need of more theorizing and empirical work. In all, the authors hope that this chapter inspires researchers to explore the role of social context in psychological contract processes.