Sensemaking during organizational entry: Changes in newcomer information seeking and the relationship with psychological contract fulfilment


Correspondence should be addressed to Ans De Vos, Competence Centre People & Organisation, Vlerick Leuven Gent Management School, Belgium (e-mail:


In this study, insight is given into the temporal nature of psychological contract-related information seeking during organizational entry, by examining how the frequency of information seeking changes across the first year of employment for a sample of 280 newcomers. We examined the pattern of changes in the frequency of information seeking from four sources (supervisor, co-workers, mentors, and other newcomers) and about two content dimensions of the psychological contract (organizational inducements and employee contributions). We also investigated if information-seeking behaviours were related to the evaluation of the psychological contract and whether these relationships changed over time. The data were analysed using Latent Growth Modelling. The results indicated that information seeking about the psychological contract decreases significantly over the first year of employment, with the exception of information seeking from supervisors, indicating that for different targets of information different information seeking patterns exist. Employees seek more information on organizational inducements than on employee contributions. We found a positive association between information seeking during the initial weeks after entry and evaluations of psychological contract fulfilment after 3 months, but changes in information seeking after this initial period were not associated with changes in psychological contract fulfilment. Finally, we found that younger newcomers engaged more frequently in information seeking from co-workers and other new hires compared to older newcomers. Implications for theories on psychological contract formation and future research are discussed.