By interacting with the organization, employees develop beliefs on what they owe their employer as well as what their employer owes them in return. These mutual obligations, as perceived by the individual employee, form the psychological contract (PC; Rousseau, 1989). When employees believes that their employer failed to fulfill a promise—i.e., psychological contract breach—they typically react by lowering, for example, their commitment (Zhao et al., 2007).
Although emotional reactions to PC breach perceptions received extensive attention in the literature (e.g., Robinson & Morrison, 2000), little is known as to how PC breach perceptions elicit stress reactions. So far, only Gakovic and Tetrick (2003) examined the positive relationship between PC breach perceptions and employee’s stress experience. However, it remains unclear how stress reactions to PC breach perceptions unfold over time.
In this project, we address this gap by introducing a theoretical model that explains the underlying mechanisms between PC breach perceptions and stress trajectories. This model attempts to clarify how organizational and individual factors explain variation in individual stress trajectories. Moreover, this model advances our knowledge on PC breach by investigating outcomes carrying considerable individual and organizational costs (i.e., burnout and absenteeism).