This study examines the role of psychological contract violation at a previous organization in explaining employees’ deviant behaviors in a new organization. Drawing on the social-cognitive model of transference, we hypothesize that past psychological contract violation is associated with employees’ present psychological ownership and job insecurity. These adverse transference effects can be buffered by institutionalized socialization tactics in the new organization. Furthermore, we hypothesize that past psychological contract violation is associated with employees’ present deviant behaviors through psychological ownership and job insecurity in the new organization. These indirect effects are weaker when the new organization uses more (vs. less) institutionalized socialization tactics. The results across two field studies provide consistent and robust support for our hypothesized model. We discuss the theoretical and practical implications of our findings on the transference effects of psychological contract violation and how to attenuate these harmful effects.
Bibliographical noteThis research was supported by Guangdong Basic and Applied Basic Research Foundation, China (grant number: 2019A1515010698), Guangdong Planning Office of Philosophy and Social Science, China (grant number: GD19CGL33), and National Natural Science Foundation of China (grant numbers: 71772076 and 71701054).
For his valuable feedback on an earlier version of this article, we thank J. Michael Crant, as well
as three anonymous reviewers and the journal Associate Editor, Zhijun Chen.
- psychological contract violation
- workplace deviance
- psychological ownership
- job insecurity
- institutionalized socialization facts