Relationships between Psychological Contract Breach and Employee Well-Being and Career-Related Behavior: The Role of Occupational Future Time Perspective


Relationships between psychological contract breach and employee well-being and career- related behavior cannot sufficiently be explained by social exchange and reciprocity theories, yet the alternative mechanisms underlying these associations are currently not well understood. Based on the psychological contract perspective on careers, the goal of this study was to examine indirect effects of psychological contract breach on emotional engagement, emotional exhaustion, and career-related behavior through two dimensions of occupational future time perspective (i.e., focus on opportunities, focus on limitations). Data came from 405 employees in Australia, who responded to three surveys across 12 months. Results showed that psychological contract breach had indirect effects on emotional engagement and exhaustion through focus on opportunities and focus on limitations, respectively, and on career-related behavior through focus on opportunities. Another mechanism, psychological contract violation, was only related to employees’ organizational deviance. These findings highlight the important role of occupational future time perspective dimensions as employees’ evaluations of future career-related opportunities and limitations. These evaluations may change in response to psychological contract breach and, in turn, might impact on employee well-being and career-related behavior.

Journal of Organizational Behavior