Handbook of Research on the Psychological Contract at Work
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Handbook of Research on the Psychological Contract at Work

Edited by Yannick Griep and Cary Cooper

The psychological contract is considered a critical construct in organizational behavior literature because it informs employee emotions, attitudes, and behaviors in the workplace. Although the psychological contract has been explored extensively over the last 50 years, numerous theoretical, conceptual, empirical, methodological, and analytical changes have pushed the field forward. As such, it is time to take stock and move forward. The contributors to this Handbook explore in detail this important component of modern management thinking.
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Chapter 8: Me and my team: the role of social context in psychological contract breach and fulfilment

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

Abstract

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.

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