The Moderating Effects of the Employment Relationship on Reactions to Psychological Contract Breach and Violation

Date of Graduation

Spring 2006


Master of Science in Psychology



Committee Chair

Donald Fischer


Several constructs have been proposed by organizational behavior researchers to describe and understand exchange relationships in employment. One of the more recent and perhaps most widely accepted concepts is that of psychological contract. Past research indicates psychological contract breach and violation produces increased employee stress and turnover, decreased levels of trust, decreased organizational commitment, decreased organizational citizenship behavior (OCB) and increased counterproductive behavior (CPB). While this may often be the case, interdependence theory (Rusbult & Van Lange, 2003) suggests that situational and dispositional characteristics surrounding the employment relationship have the potential to moderate the impact of psychological contract breach and violation. Therefore, this study investigated instances were OCB/prosocial behaviors were predicted to increase and CPB/self-centered behaviors to decrease despite having experienced psychological contract breach or violation. More specifically, trust, commitment and situational entrapment were tested as moderators of the relationship between breach/violation perceptions and OCB/CPB. Although several moderating effects were significant, the effects were often not in the predicted direction, especially for the dispositional factors of trust and commitment.


psychological contract, breach, violation, organizational citizenship behavior, counterproductive behavior, trust, commitment, interdependence theory, forgiveness, social exchange

Subject Categories



© Kyle E. Ingram