Title: The psychological contract of organisational newcomers: an investigation of antecedents and changes over time

Authors: Ans De Vos

Addresses: Vlerick Leuven Gent Management School, Reep 1, 9000 Gent, Belgium

Abstract: This study focuses on the antecedents and the development of newcomers| psychological contracts. A longitudinal survey was conducted among a panel of 1361 newcomers from eight organisations, covering the first year after organisational entry. Data were collected at five points in time: at entry, four weeks, three months, six months and 12 months. Results show that newcomers| initial psychological contract perceptions can be explained by their work values, career strategy, work locus of control and exchange orientation. During the first year after entry, significant changes in newcomers| psychological contract perceptions take place, which can be explained by their intermediate evaluations of promise fulfilment and by their actual experiences within the organisation. Moreover, information seeking about the psychological contract is related to a more positive evaluation of the employment relationship at the end of the socialisation process. Together, these results contribute to the literature on psychological contract development during the initial stages of the employment relationship.

Keywords: psychological contracts; newcomer socialisation; work values; locus of control; career strategy; exchange orientation; information seeking; longitudinal change; newcomer adaptation; organisational newcomers; new employees; employment relationship; HRD; human resources development.

DOI: 10.1504/IJHRDM.2005.008508

International Journal of Human Resources Development and Management, 2005 Vol.5 No.4, pp.371 - 388

Published online: 24 Dec 2005 *

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