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The Interactive Effects Of Psychological Contract Breach And Organizational Politics On Perceived Organizational Support: Evidence From Two Longitudinal Studies

C. Kiewitz, S. Restubog, Thomas J. Zagenczyk, W. Hochwarter
Published 2009 · Sociology

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We explore the effects of the social context on the relationship between psychological contract breach (PCB) and perceived organizational support (POS) in two studies. We build on the premise that psychological contract breach (i.e. the organization's failure to fulfil the obligations employees believe they are owed) signals to employees that they are not cared for and valued by the organization (i.e. reduces POS). In support, a longitudinal study of 310 employees shows that PCB at Time 1 explains significant variance in POS at Time 2 (beyond that explained by POS at Time 1). Building on this result, we advance the argument that employees' perceptions of organizational politics serve as a heuristic for the overall benevolent or malevolent character of the organization and its agents. Accordingly, we expect that when employees perceive PCB and high levels of organizational politics, they will be more likely to hold the organization responsible for PCB and thus report lower levels of POS in response to breach. This line of reasoning received support in a second study of 146 employees which showed that perceptions of organizational politics moderate the PCB–POS relationship. Our results suggest that the social context in which psychological contract breaches occur matters and that managers should consider the organization's perceived political landscape when anticipating how employees will respond to broken promises.
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