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 18: Experimental designs in psychological contract research: an overview and research agenda

Jeroen de Jong and Thomas Rigotti


This chapter aims to review and summarize research that uses experimental designs to study psychological contracts. Experimental designs can help in gaining a more thorough understanding about the concept of psychological contracts, mainly owing to the opportunity to isolate specific influences and dynamics that are difficult to study in the field. In this chapter the authors show how content and breach of the psychological contract are manipulated, and provide an overview of the results of these experiments. They introduce a tentative research agenda with topics in psychological contract research that could benefit from experimental research designs. They argue that different experimental designs, including between-subject, within-subject, and field or quasi-experiments, can provide opportunities to further unravel the concept of psychological contracts, the role of time in the development and impact of psychological contracts, and the aftermath of psychological contract evaluations.

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