Managing employee perceptions of the psychological contract over time: the role of employer social accounts and contract fulfillment


  • This paper is dedicated to Thomas J. Bergmann, a dear friend and colleague, who lost his short battle with cancer on May 30, 2003.


This study proposed and tested relationships pertaining to employee perceptions of psychological contract type over time. Using a longitudinal design, we examined the mediated role that adequacy of social accounts and psychological contract fulfillment play in determining the development of contract perceptions. More specifically, our model posits that perceptions of contract type will influence employee perceptions of the adequacy of social accounts that are offered by the organization and its agents to explain job-related decisions. These initial perceptions of social accounts at Time 1 were expected to impact perceptions of psychological contract fulfillment at Time 2 (6 months later) and psychological contract fulfillment was proposed to be positively associated with perceptions of a relational psychological contract. Results support the mediating roles of social accounts and psychological contract fulfillment in determining perceptions of contract type over time. Practical implications of these findings and directions for future research are discussed. Copyright © 2006 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.