Dynamics of psychological contracts with work engagement and turnover intention: The influence of organizational tenure

P. Matthijs Bal, Rein De Cooman, Stefan T. Mol

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This study investigated the interrelations of the psychological contract with work engagement and turnover intention, which has hitherto been a largely overlooked topic in psychological contract research. Although previous research has mainly focused on how psychological contracts influence job attitudes and behaviours, it is proposed here that attitudes and behaviours also affect the psychological contract that the employee has with the organization. Moreover, it is proposed that because reciprocity norms are more important among shortly tenured employees, mutual relationships between psychological contracts and work engagement and turnover intention were stronger for employees with lower organizational tenure. Longitudinal data were collected among 240 employees and proposed models were evaluated with structural equation modelling. The results show that indeed psychological contract fulfilment was longitudinally related to higher work engagement and lower turnover intentions, but only for employees with low tenure. Moreover, stability in work engagement, turnover intention, and psychological contract over time was higher for those with high tenure, whereas the relations between turnover intention and the psychological contract were stronger for those with low organizational tenure. These findings demonstrate that psychological contracts are reciprocally interrelated with work outcomes, and that such relations are stronger for those with low tenure.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)107-122
JournalEuropean Journal of Work and Organizational Psychology
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 1 Feb 2013


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