Journal of Business and Psychology

, Volume 28, Issue 3, pp 361–374 | Cite as

Deleterious Consequences of Change in Newcomers’ Employer-Based Psychological Contract Obligations

  • Amanuel G. Tekleab
  • Karin A. Orvis
  • M. Susan Taylor



This study examines the issue of change in newcomers’ employer-based psychological contract obligations over time, viewing change as a potentially important determinant of perceived contract breach and subsequent employee attitudes and behaviors.


Data were collected using a three-wave longitudinal design from newly hired faculty members (N = 106).


Newcomers’ perceptions of employer-based relational obligations significantly decreased during their first year on the job. Newcomers reacted negatively to these changes, subsequently reporting increased contract breach and more negative work attitudes (i.e., increased turnover intentions and reduced job satisfaction and organizational loyalty).


This study provides evidence of the negative effects of perceived changes to a newcomer’s psychological contract. Practitioners should implement interventions to ensure a realistic set of psychological contract obligations are developed from the start in order to minimize the likelihood that newcomers will modify these obligations downward; and, therefore, experience these negative attitudes toward the organization.


Drawing from the realistic job preview and socialization literatures, this study examines a topic that has received little empirical attention in the extant psychological contract research, yet has important implications to the management of employees’ psychological contracts. Using both a three-wave longitudinal field design and a more rigorous statistical analysis for assessing change (i.e., latent growth curve modeling), we add a unique contribution to the extant research by identifying the negative consequences of psychological contract change on newcomers’ subsequent work perceptions and attitudes.


Psychological contract change Breach Newcomers Latent growth curve modeling 



The views, opinions, and/or findings contained in this article are solely those of the authors and should not be construed as an official Department of the Army or DOD position, policy, or decision, unless so designated by other documentation.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media New York 2012

Authors and Affiliations

  • Amanuel G. Tekleab
    • 1
  • Karin A. Orvis
    • 2
  • M. Susan Taylor
    • 3
  1. 1.School of Business AdministrationWayne State UniversityDetroitUSA
  2. 2.Foundational Science Research Unit, U.S. Army Research Institute for the Behavioral and Social SciencesFort BelvoirUSA
  3. 3.Robert H. Smith School of BusinessUniversity of MarylandCollege ParkUSA

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