Contract breach as a trigger for adjustment to the psychological contract during the first year of employment Academic Article uri icon


  • 2014 The British Psychological Society. This research investigated how much and in what direction newcomer psychological contracts changed during the first year of employment and the extent to which change was a function of a psychological contract breach. These issues were investigated using a sample of 88 organizational newcomers with diverse job duties/titles, prior experience, and age levels. Newcomers were surveyed at three points in time during the first year of employment, including employee perceptions of both employee and employer obligations. Consistent with equity theory, results revealed employees perceived more balanced than imbalanced employment relationships upon organizational entry as well as after 1 year of employment. A failure of the employer to fulfil commitments was associated with perceived imbalance in the employment relationship and a significant decrease in perceived employer obligations, suggesting breach is perceived as a trigger for an adjustment to the psychological contract rather than a signal of an injustice. Implications of these findings for research and theory on psychological contracts and breach in the employment relationship are discussed.

published proceedings

  • Journal of Occupational and Organizational Psychology

altmetric score

  • 2.75

author list (cited authors)

  • Payne, S. C., Culbertson, S. S., Lopez, Y. P., Boswell, W. R., & Barger, E. J.

citation count

  • 11

complete list of authors

  • Payne, SC||Culbertson, SS||Lopez, YP||Boswell, WR||Barger, EJ

publication date

  • January 2015