This chapter introduces the individual psychological contract network (iPC-network) model as an alternative approach for studying psychological contracts. This model departs from the idea that a psychological contract forms a mental schema containing obligated inducements and contributions, which are exchanged for each other. This mental schema is captured by a dynamic network in which the nodes represent the inducements and contributions and the ties represent the exchanges. Building on dynamic systems theory, the author proposes that these networks evolve over time towards attractor states, at the level both of the network structure and of the nodes. He highlights how the iPC-network model integrates recent theoretical developments in the psychological contract literature and explains how it might advance scholars’ understanding of exchange relationships. This would allow for more precise predictions of psychological contract breach and fulfilment consequences and would explain how the content and process of the psychological contract continuously influence each other.
Joeri Hofmans and Tim Vantilborgh
In this chapter, the authors provide an overview of different ways of measuring psychological contract breach and fulfilment, distinguishing between: 1) composite and global measures of breach and fulfilment; and 2) a differential or between-person and a dynamic or within-person approach to breach and fulfilment. Drawing on the idea of methodological fit—which holds that theory, measurements and their analysis methods should all be aligned—the authors discuss not only measures of psychological contract breach and fulfilment but also associated analytical methods. By discussing the strengths and limitations of each method, they hope that this chapter offers a useful guide for researchers in their search for an appropriate methodology to assess psychological contract breach and fulfilment.
Tim Vantilborgh, Yang Yang and Jiahong Du
The psychological contract has always been considered a dynamic phenomenon that is created, maintained, renegotiated, and abandoned over time. Yet, it is only in recent decades that scholars have truly started to treat the psychological contract as a dynamic phenomenon in empirical research. In this chapter, we give a brief overview of recent theoretical and empirical advances in temporal psychological contract research. We discuss the diverse roles that time can play in psychological contracts, highlighting potential gaps in the literature. Finally, we consider some key conceptual and methodological challenges that need to be overcome to advance research on psychological contract dynamics.