This Study Examines Supervisor and Subordinate Perceptions of and Attributions for Psychological Contract Breach.

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Abstract
This study examines supervisor and subordinate perceptions of and attributions for psychological contract breach. The data suggest that supervisor and subordinate perceptions are most likely to differ on the extent to which the organization violated its obligations to provide fair pay, advancement opportunities, and a good employment relationship. In addition, the results indicate that the greater the degree of psychological contract breach reported by subordinates, the less committed they are to the organization and the lower their job performance. Moreover, when psychological contract breach is perceived, supervisors' and subordinates' attributions regarding the reasons for the breach are likely to differ. Summary

This study examines supervisor and subordinate perceptions of and attributions for psychological contract breach. The data suggest that supervisor and subordinate perceptions are most likely to differ on the extent to which the organization violated its obligations to provide fair pay, advancement opportunities, and a good employment relationship. In addition, the results indicate that the greater the degree of psychological contract breach reported by subordinates, the less committed they are to the organization and the lower their job performance (as rated by their supervisor). Moreover, when psychological contract breach is perceived, supervisors' and subordinates' attributions regarding the reasons for the breach are likely to differ. Specifically, the findings suggest that subordinates are more likely to attribute breach to the organization's intentional disregard for the commitments that it had made to the employee, while supervisors are more inclined to attribute breach to situations beyond the organization's direct control. Copyright © 2001 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd. Introduction

In recent years, many organizations have changed the way they manage their human resources. Some of these changes have benefited employees. For example, as competition for skilled employees has increased, many organizations have initiated a number of new pay and benefits packages in order to attract and retain key employees. In addition, numerous organizations now offer their employees financial incentives tied to corporate performance (Pfeffer, 1998). In contrast, other changes in the employment relationship have more negatively affected employees. For example, widespread mergers, layoffs, and reorganizations have reduced job security and increased uncertainty among employees (De Meuse et al., 1997). As a result of the increasingly dynamic business environment, many organizations have been forced to rethink-and to modify-the nature of the psychological contract they have with their employees. According to recent definitions (e.g., Rousseau, 1989, 1995; Morrison and Robinson, 1997), the psychological contract is comprised of an individual's beliefs concerning the reciprocal obligations that exist between the employee and the organization. That is, the psychological contract is made up of the individual's perceptions regarding what he/she has been promised by the organization (e.g., competitive wages, advancement opportunities, job security) and what he/she is expected to give the organization in return (e.g., a fair day's work, loyalty). Consistent with this definition, most prior research in this area has focused solely on employees' perceptions of and responses to psychological contract breach (e.g., Robinson, 1996; Robinson et al., 1994; Robinson and Rousseau, 1994; Turnley and Feldman, 1999a). Morrison and Robinson (1997) define psychological contract breach as the cognition that one's organization has failed to fulfil one or more obligations comprising the psychological contract. Collectively, previous research suggests that psychological contract breach is likely to have a pervasive negative impact on employees' work attitudes and behaviors. For example, prior research indicates that psychological contract...
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