Psychological contract differences for different groups of employees: big date analysis from China

  • Weihua Duan
  • Guochao Zhang
  • Zhichuan Zhu
  • Junyan Zhang
Original Article


To find the psychological contract differences for different groups of employees in both enterprise and e-business company, on the basis of cognitive big data investigating 400 employees in China by questionnaire, this study analyzed the main influencing factors and the date collected by mathematical methods. Firstly, based on literature reviews, the authors have proposed hypothesis models, including 7 assumptions. Secondly, based on classical references, the authors have summarized the organizational responsibility items from the employee’s perspective, and have refined 24 items. Then, according to 24 items, a questionnaire has been developed to measure the psychological contract differences for different groups of employees. Lastly, the authors have used 377 valid questionnaires from Chinese enterprises to conduct the ANOVA and T test, and have found that gender, age, education level, and department had significant impacts on employee psychological contract differences. The results can not only be used for finding the psychological contract differences in the enterprise, but also can be implemented for designing the contract of employees in the e-business company.


Psychological contract Organizational obligations China Age Gender Education Department 

JEL Classification




This work was supported by Science Project of Education Department of Jilin Province (JJKH20190754SK, JJKH20190742SK), President’s Special Fund Project of Jilin University of Finance and Economics (XZ2018036), Plan Project of Jilin Education Science Office (GH180275), Jilin Social Science Foundation Project (2018B54), and Jilin Provincial Science and Technology Development Plan Funded Project (20170520050JH).


  1. Agarwal UA, Bhargava S, Agarwal UA, Bhargava S (2013) Effects of psychological contract breach on organizational outcomes: moderating role of tenure and educational levels. Vikalpa 38(1):13–25Google Scholar
  2. Alcover CM, Rico R, Turnley WH, Bolino MC (2017) Understanding the changing nature of psychological contracts in 21st century organizations—a multiple-foci exchange relationships approach and proposed framework. Org Psychol Rev 7(1):4–35Google Scholar
  3. Allen NJ, Meyer JP (1990) The measurement and antecedents of affective, continuance and normative commitment to the organization. J Occup Psychol 63(1):1–18Google Scholar
  4. Ang KB, Goh CT, Koh HC (1993) The impact of age on the job satisfaction of accountants. Pers Rev 22:31–39Google Scholar
  5. Argyris C (1960) Understanding organizational behavior. Dorsey Press, Homework, ILGoogle Scholar
  6. Bal PM, Kooij D (2011) The relations between work centrality, psychological contracts, and job attitudes: the influence of age. Eur J Work Org Psychol 20(4):497–523Google Scholar
  7. Bal PM, Lange AHD, Jansen PGW, Velde MEGVD (2008) Psychological contract breach and job attitudes: a meta-analysis of age as a moderator. J Vocat Behav 72(1):143–158Google Scholar
  8. Bal PM, Jansen PGW, Velde MEGVD, Lange AHD, Rousseau DM (2010) The role of future time perspective in psychological contracts: a study among older workers. J Vocat Behav 76(3):474–486Google Scholar
  9. Bal PM, De Lange AH, Zacher H (2013) A lifespan perspective on psychological contracts and their relations with organizational commitment. Eur J Work Org Psychol 22(3):279–292Google Scholar
  10. Bellou V (2009) Profiling the desirable psychological contract for different groups of employees: evidence from Greece. Int J Hum Resource Manag 20(4):810–830Google Scholar
  11. Blau G (1989) Testing the generalizability of a career commitment measure and its impact on employee turnover. J Vocat Behav 35(1):88–103Google Scholar
  12. Brande VD, Janssens M, Sels L, Overlaet R (2003) Multiple types of psychological contracts: a six-cluster solution. Hum Relat 56(11):1349–1378Google Scholar
  13. Card RL, Gove S, De Matto J (2000) Dynamic and customer-oriented workplaces: implications for HRM practice and research. J Qual Manag 5(2):159–186Google Scholar
  14. Chen JZ, Ling WQ, Fang LL (2003) Structuraland dimensions of employees psychological contracts. J Psychol 35(3):404–410Google Scholar
  15. Chien MS, Lin CC (2013) Psychological contract framework on the linkage between developmental human resource configuration and role behavior. Int J Hum Resource Manag 24(1):1–14Google Scholar
  16. Dick P (2006) The psychological contract and the transition from full to part-time police work. J Org Behav 27(1):37–58Google Scholar
  17. Eagly AH, Karau SJ (1991) Gender and the emergence of leaders: a meta-analysis. J Personal Soc Psychol 60(5):685–710Google Scholar
  18. Eddleston KA, Kidder DL, Litzky BE (2002) Who’s the boss? Contending with competing expectations from customers and management. Acad Manag Exec 16(4):85–95Google Scholar
  19. Fan Y, Ji XP, Shao F (2011) An empirical study on the effect of employment contract on psychological contract breach. Manag Sci 24(6):57–68Google Scholar
  20. Freese C, Schalk R, Campbell JW (1998) Change and employee behavior. Leadersh Org Dev J 19(3):157–163Google Scholar
  21. Guest DE (2004) The psychology of the employment relationship: an analysis based on the psychological contract. Appl Psychol 53(4):541–555Google Scholar
  22. Guest DE, Oakley P, Clinton M (2006) Free or precarious? A comparison of the attitudes of workers in flexible and traditional employment contracts. Hum Resource Manag Rev 16(2):107–124Google Scholar
  23. Harrington JR, Lee JH (2015) What drives perceived fairness of performance appraisal? Exploring the effects of psychological contract fulfillment on employees’ perceived fairness of performance appraisal in U.S. Federal Agencies. Public Pers. Manage 44(2):214–238Google Scholar
  24. Hill K, Montes SD (2008) Potential psychological contract predispositions: gender based differences in inducement importance. Paper presented at the Administrative Sciences Association of Canada (ASAC), Halifax, Nova Scotia, pp 138–156Google Scholar
  25. Hui C, Lee C, Rousseau DM (2004) Psychological contract and organizational citizenship behavior in China: investigating generalizability and instrumentality. J Appl Psychol 89(2):311–321Google Scholar
  26. Kleiman L, Biderman M, Faley RH (1997) An examination of employee perceptions of a subjective performance appraisal system. J Bus Psychol 2:112–121Google Scholar
  27. Knabke T, Olbrich S (2018) Building novel capabilities to enable business intelligence agility: results from a quantitative study. Inf Syst E-Bus Manag 16:493–546Google Scholar
  28. Kotter JP (1973) The psychological contract: managing the joining-up process. Calif Manag Rev 15(3):91–99Google Scholar
  29. Lester SW, Kickul JR, Bergmann TJ (2007) Managing employee perceptions of the psychological contract over time: the role of employer social accounts and contract fulfillment. J Org Behav 28(2):191–208Google Scholar
  30. Levinson H, Price CR, Munden KJ, Solley CM (1962) Men management and mental health. Harvard University Press, Cambridge, MAGoogle Scholar
  31. Li Y, Guo DJ (2006) The structure and inner relations of employee’s psychological contract. Sociol Study 5:151–168Google Scholar
  32. Maia LG, Bastos AVB (2015) Organizational commitment, psychological contract fulfillment and job performance: a longitudinal quanti-qualitative study. Braz Adm Rev 12(3):250–267Google Scholar
  33. Mauno S, Kinnunen U, Ruokolainen M (2006) Exploring work- and organization-based resources as moderators between work–family conflict, well-being, and job attitudes. Work Stress 20(3):210–233Google Scholar
  34. Netz Y, Raviv S (2004) Age differences in motivational orientation toward physical activity: an application of social-cognitive theory. J Psychol 138(1):35–48Google Scholar
  35. Pate J, Scullion H (2018) The flexpatriate psychological contract: a literature review and future research agenda. Int J Hum Resource Manag 29(10):1402–1425Google Scholar
  36. Raja U, Johns G, Ntalianis F (2004) The impact of personality of psychological contracts. Acad Manag J 47(3):350–367Google Scholar
  37. Robinson SL, Kraatz MS, Rousseau DM (1994) Changing obligations and the psychological contract: a longitudinal study. Acad Manag J 37(1):137–152Google Scholar
  38. Rousseau DM (1989) Psychological and implied contracts in organizations. Empl Responsib Rights J 2(2):121–139Google Scholar
  39. Rousseau DM (1990) New hire perceptions of their own and their employer’s obligations: a study of psychological contracts. J Org Behav 11(5):389–400Google Scholar
  40. Rousseau DM (1995) Psychological contracts in organizations: understanding written and unwritten agreements. Sage publications, California, CAGoogle Scholar
  41. Rousseau DM, Hansen SD (2018) A dynamic phase model of psychological contract processes. J Org Behav 39(11):1081–1098Google Scholar
  42. Savery LK (1996) The congruence between the importance of job satisfaction and the perceived level of achievement. J Manag Dev 15:18–27Google Scholar
  43. Scandura TA, Lankau MJ (1997) Relationships of gender, family responsibility and flexible work hours to organizational commitment and job satisfaction. J Org Behav 18(4):377–391Google Scholar
  44. Shapiro JC, Kessler L (2000) Consequences of the psychological contract for the employment relationship: a large scale survey. J Manage Stud 37(7):903–930Google Scholar
  45. Shi YS, An GH, Zhang S (2014) On primary teachers’ psychological contract and personal teaching efficacy. J Ningbo Univ (Educ Sci Ed) 36(1):15–19Google Scholar
  46. Tang L (2004) Hierarchy, attitude and psychological contract: an empirical study in a Chinese Firm. Nankai Bus Rev 7(6):73–78Google Scholar
  47. Turnley WH, Feldman DC (1999) The impact of psychological contract violations on exit, voice, loyalty, and neglect. Hum Relat 52(7):895–922Google Scholar
  48. Turnley WH, Feldman DC (2000) Re-examining the effects of psychological contract violations: unmet expectations and job dissatisfaction as mediators. J Org Behav 21(1):25–42Google Scholar
  49. Twenge JM (2006) Generation Me: Why today’s young Americans are more confident, assertive, entitled—and more miserable than ever before. Free Press, New York, NYGoogle Scholar
  50. Twum Barima A (2014) Assessing the impact of psychological contract fulfillment on employee performance: a case study of Ashanti regional house of chiefs. Thesis, Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and TechnologyGoogle Scholar
  51. Upasna AA, Rajen KG (2018) Examining the nature and effects of psychological contract: case study of an Indian organization. Thunderbird Int Bus Rev 60(2):175–191Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag GmbH Germany, part of Springer Nature 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  • Weihua Duan
    • 1
  • Guochao Zhang
    • 2
  • Zhichuan Zhu
    • 3
  • Junyan Zhang
    • 2
  1. 1.School of Business AdministrationJilin University of Finance and EconomicsChangchunChina
  2. 2.School of StatisticsJilin University of Finance and EconomicsChangchunChina
  3. 3.School of EconomicsLiaoning UniversityShenyangChina

Personalised recommendations