The psychological contract: investigation of generational and career stage differences

Narelle Hess*, Denise M. Jepsen

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference proceeding contributionpeer-review

1 Citation (Scopus)


Psychological contract theorists have posited that individual differences in employees' work attitudes and behaviours influence how the psychological contract is perceived. However, research investigating the psychological contract has largely failed to consider potential individual differences. This study expands current research through investigating whether employees perceptions of employer obligations and cognitive reactions to fulfilment of these obligations vary based on an individual's career stage and generational cohort. Over 250 employees with backgrounds across diverse industry sectors and positions participated in the study. Results indicate that across employees, level of perceived balanced obligations were significantly higher than perceived level of relational or transactional obligations. This study found significant differences between individuals' perceptions of the psychological contract based on their generational cohort and career stage. The implications of these results to theory, future research and practice are discussed.

Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationAcademy of Management 2008 Annual Meeting
Subtitle of host publicationthe questions we ask, AOM 2008
Place of PublicationBriarcliff Manor, NY
PublisherAcademy of Management
Number of pages6
Publication statusPublished - 2008
Externally publishedYes
EventAcademy of Management Annual Meeting (68th : 2008) - Anaheim, United States
Duration: 8 Aug 200813 Aug 2008


ConferenceAcademy of Management Annual Meeting (68th : 2008)
CountryUnited States


  • Career stage
  • Psychological contract


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