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Publisher : Elsevier - Science Direct (الزویر - ساینس دایرکت)
Journal : Journal of Vocational Behavior, Volume 73, Issue 2, October 2008, Pages 268–277
Previous research on psychological contracts has focused on whether or not employees feel their employers have fulfilled the promises made to them. Instead, here we examine how perceptions of the external labor market, particularly about whether present psychological contracts could be replicated elsewhere, influence employees’ attachment to their current employers. In a longitudinal study of a diverse employee sample, we found perceptions that psychological contracts could not be replicated elsewhere accounted for a substantial amount of the variance in affective commitment (.38) and normative commitment (.29) and a smaller, but significant, amount of the variance in continuance commitment (.04). We also found significant moderating effects of age, work experience, and career stage on these relationships. The article concludes with implications for psychological contract theory, organizational commitment theory, and management practice.
Recent research suggests that employees may stay with their employers even after their employers have reneged on some elements of their psychological contracts (Ng & Feldman, 2007). A number of unanswered theoretical questions remain regarding why individuals still feel bound to their organizations after expectations have gone unmet—and why, even if all their expectations have been met, some employees choose to leave their organizations nonetheless. Most of the previous research on psychological contracts has examined how sets of mutual obligations and responsibilities with the firm create strong incentives for employees to remain. For example, Turnley and Feldman (1999) suggest that highly involving work, valued coworkers, and good relationships with supervisors can help mitigate the negative effects of psychological contract violations on exit behaviors. Here, we argue that comparisons of psychological contracts with those available in the external labor market may also tighten (or loosen) the bonds between employees and employers. To examine this phenomenon, we introduce a construct called contract replicability. Contract replicability is the extent to which an individual perceives that his/her current psychological contract would be readily attainable in other firms. We posit that, when employees perceive that they cannot replicate their current psychological contracts elsewhere, commitment to current employers will be strong even if some expectations have gone unmet. In other words, it is not only whether a contract is fulfilled or not, but also the extent to which an idiosyncratic deal could be crafted elsewhere, that binds an employee to the employer (Rousseau, Ho, & Greenberg, 2006). The first goal of this article, then, is to introduce and operationalize the construct of contract replicability and demonstrate its impact on affective, normative, and continuance commitment to the organization. Furthermore, we suggest that the relationship between contract replicability and organizational commitment is likely to vary depending upon an individual’s age, work experience, and career stage. Relatively few studies have examined the different ways in which veteran employees and “career starters” formulate and evaluate their psychological contracts. Thus, the second goal of the article is to examine the moderating effects of age, work experience, and career stage on the relationship between contract replicability and commitment and to explain why the strength of these relationships changes across life stages and career stages.
نتیجه گیری انگلیسی
We hope that this article provides some insight into the effects of contract replicability on the perceived quality of employment relationships and illustrates the importance of this construct in generating and sustaining organizational commitment. We also hope the present study highlights the different ways in which older, more experienced, and mid- and late-career employees perceive their psychological contracts and respond to unmet expectations. As the Baby-Boomers start retiring and organizations face some labor shortages, it may be that older career veterans will want (and get) more “i-deals” themselves.