The impact of the psychological contract, justice and individual differences: nurses take it personally when employers break promises
Article first published online: 28 APR 2013
© 2013 John Wiley & Sons Ltd
Journal of Advanced Nursing
Volume 69, Issue 12, pages 2774–2785, December 2013
How to Cite
2013) The impact of the psychological contract, justice and individual differences: nurses take it personally when employers break promises. Journal of Advanced Nursing 69(12), 2774–2785. doi: 10.1111/jan.12160& (
- Issue published online: 15 NOV 2013
- Article first published online: 28 APR 2013
- Manuscript Accepted: 30 MAR 2013
- career commitment;
- job satisfaction;
- nurse management;
- organizational justice;
- psychological contract;
- structural equation modelling
To explore affective and attitudinal outcomes of aspects of the psychological contract, organizational justice and negative affectivity in nursing.
Job satisfaction, mental health and commitment to organizations and the nursing profession is important for nurse retention. The psychological contract and organizational justice are related constructs that have been linked to these outcomes, as has the characteristic of negative affectivity. Rarely have the relationships between these concepts and outcomes been examined.
Cross-sectional data were collected during November, 2007.
Survey data collected on Registered Nurses and midwives from a large metropolitan hospital in Australia (n = 193, after removing missing cases and outliers) were analysed using structural equation modelling. The model used self-report measures of psychological contract obligations, fulfilment and breach, organizational justice and negative affectivity as predictors of job satisfaction, organizational commitment, career commitment and psychological distress.
Goodness-of-fit statistics confirmed a well-fitting model. The model explained 49%, 29%, 60% and 47% of the variance in psychological distress, job satisfaction, organizational commitment and career commitment respectively.
Findings support the influence of the psychological contract, fairness and individual differences on outcomes important to nurse retention. Keeping promises is more important than making promises that cannot be kept. The results support a discrepancy mechanism underlying fulfilment and breach. The impact of breach suggests that nurses take breach personally, whereas fulfilment may represent a global evaluation of discrepancies. Ultimately, fulfilling, rather than making promises, keeps nurses happy.