The creation and telling of stories is a powerful way for individuals to make sense of their experiences in the world, and through exploring and interpreting these narratives researchers can better understand that experience. In this chapter the author explores the power of a narrative approach for investigating the psychological contract, or the implicit, subjective, and individualized beliefs one party holds regarding the exchange agreement with another. The psychological contract offers an important lens for understanding the operation of the employment exchange; however, narrative inquiry offers the opportunity to explore in richer depth, for example, key processes such as breach and violation, sensemaking, and the operation of the psychological contract in non-traditional work and organizational contexts. The author first provides an overview of the narrative field, then assesses how psychological contract researchers have utilized narratives to date, and finally explores two potential pathways for psychological contract research, focused on narrative and antenarrative analyses.
Maria Tomprou and Sarah Bankins
Employees often need to recover from psychological contract violation, or the adverse emotional responses following the experience of unmet obligations. Recent theory and research indicate that managing violation to achieve resolution is a rather complicated process and includes managing emotions and re-establishing relationships with the employer. Perceived organizational responsiveness and likelihood of violation resolution are key mechanisms to address violation. In this chapter, the authors review literature related to violation management and offer directions for future research and practice. They also extend their review by introducing the role of calling to understand how employees remain in their employment when organizational inducements are limited and coping is constrained. Finally, they address the case of vulnerable workers and how this population manages violations while remaining employed, through downward social comparisons and collective coping. Overall, they review existing research on the post-violation aftermath and extend the research implications for this psychological contract research stream.