What's in a broken promissory obligation? Developing and testing a multiple component form measure of psychological contract breach

Vincent Cassar*, Rob B. Briner, Sandra Buttigieg

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Abstract

While the literature has suggested the possibility of breach being composed of multiple facets, no previous study has investigated this possibility empirically. This study examined the factor structure of typical component forms in order to develop a multiple component form measure of breach. Two studies were conducted. In study 1 (N = 420) multi-item measures based on causal indicators representing promissory obligations were developed for the five potential component forms (delay, magnitude, type/form, inequity and reciprocal imbalance). Exploratory factor analysis showed that the five components loaded onto one higher order factor, namely psychological contract breach suggesting that breach is composed of different aspects rather than types of breach. Confirmatory factor analysis provided further evidence for the proposed model. In addition, the model achieved high construct reliability and showed good construct, convergent, discriminant and predictive validity. Study 2 data (N = 189), used to validate study 1 results, compared the multiple-component measure with an established multiple item measure of breach (rather than a single item as in study 1) and also tested for discriminant validity with an established multiple item measure of violation. Findings replicated those in study 1. The findings have important implications for considering alternative, more comprehensive and elaborate ways of assessing breach.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)567-592
Number of pages26
JournalInternational Journal of Human Resource Management
Volume27
Issue number5
Early online date7 Apr 2015
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 2016

Fingerprint

Factor analysis
Testing
Breach
Psychological contract breach
Obligation

Bibliographical note

This is an Accepted Manuscript of an article published by Taylor & Francis in The International Journal of Human Resource Management on 7/4/15, available online: http://www.tandfonline.com/10.1080/09585192.2015.1025089

Keywords

  • measures of breach
  • multiple component forms
  • psychological contract breach
  • psychometric properties
  • violation

Cite this

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abstract = "While the literature has suggested the possibility of breach being composed of multiple facets, no previous study has investigated this possibility empirically. This study examined the factor structure of typical component forms in order to develop a multiple component form measure of breach. Two studies were conducted. In study 1 (N = 420) multi-item measures based on causal indicators representing promissory obligations were developed for the five potential component forms (delay, magnitude, type/form, inequity and reciprocal imbalance). Exploratory factor analysis showed that the five components loaded onto one higher order factor, namely psychological contract breach suggesting that breach is composed of different aspects rather than types of breach. Confirmatory factor analysis provided further evidence for the proposed model. In addition, the model achieved high construct reliability and showed good construct, convergent, discriminant and predictive validity. Study 2 data (N = 189), used to validate study 1 results, compared the multiple-component measure with an established multiple item measure of breach (rather than a single item as in study 1) and also tested for discriminant validity with an established multiple item measure of violation. Findings replicated those in study 1. The findings have important implications for considering alternative, more comprehensive and elaborate ways of assessing breach.",
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