Dissertation/Thesis Abstract

Broken Promises: An Exploration of Employees’ Perceptions after Psychological Contract Breaches at Work and How They Relate to Personal Relationships
by Taylor-Mukendi, Candace, Ph.D., The Chicago School of Professional Psychology, 2019, 292; 27668265
Abstract (Summary)

Psychological contract breach refers to an employee’s perception that their leader has broken a work-related promise to them, and perceived broken promises can have an adverse impact on employees, including decreased organizational commitment and trust. Employees believe that leaders break promises to them quite frequently, which could indicate a problem with leader-employee relations within organizations. In fact, up to 89 percent of employees experience a broken work-related promise within the first 3 years of employment.

This qualitative phenomenological study consisted of 17 semi-structured interview questions. The study explored perceptions of employees after a psychological contract breach in the sales industry in the Southeastern and Mid-Atlantic regions of the United States. Using the conceptual framework of leader-member exchange theory, the study linked the psychological and emotional experiences of psychological contract breach in the workplace to employees’ propensity to become reluctant stayers or to engage in increased organizational citizenship behaviors. Furthermore, this study examined the psychological contract breach experience through the lens of the cycle of abuse theory, to understand the repetitive, cyclical nature of breaches in the workplace. Findings revealed that employees experience a variety of different types of broken promises, and most employees have negative responses that agree with previous literature on the topic. Although this is true, some individuals in the study responded with doing extra work that in some cases were genuinely to benefit their team, or to benefit themselves while they looked for other opportunities outside of their department or organization. The findings also revealed that although the experience of psychological contract breach is unique to everyone, it may be repetitive and cyclical like phases in unhealthy personal relationships. The research study suggests that leaders should be more aware of possible psychological contract breaches and learn strategies to remedy a breach to maintain a healthy work environment for employees. This can ultimately be a factor in increasing top-line growth for an organization. Through this study, future researchers can also begin to view psychological contract breach as an opportunity for development in organizations, rather than an incident with purely negative consequences.

Indexing (document details)
Advisor: Wanner, Kristy
Commitee: Schwab, Elizabeth, Gaines, Sondra
School: The Chicago School of Professional Psychology
Department: Business Psychology: Consulting Track
School Location: United States -- Illinois
Source: DAI-A 81/7(E), Dissertation Abstracts International
Subjects: Psychology, Organizational behavior, Occupational psychology
Keywords: Employee wellness, Organizational citizenship behavior, Psychological contract breach, Cycle of abuse, Work performance
Publication Number: 27668265
ISBN: 9781392657539
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