Date of Award

Winter 2004

Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)



Committee Director

Donald D. Davis

Committee Member

Debra A. Major

Committee Member

Brigitte W. Schay

Committee Member

Barbara A. Winstead


Previous research offers inconsistent findings with respect to attitude and behavior differences for contingent and permanent workers. The current study proposes the psychological contract as an explanatory framework for understanding differences between contractors and regular employees. The hypotheses examined attitudinal and behavioral measures: organizational commitment, job satisfaction, intent to quit, job performance, and organizational citizenship behaviors. The two components of the psychological contract (relational vs. transactional) were thought to impact differentially the outcome measures. Approximately 650 employees in a technology contracting organization completed an on-line survey designed to test the hypotheses. The two-factor structure of psychological contract was confirmed and the hypotheses relating to the relational component were supported. Employees who reported receiving more than promised in terms of relational obligations reported more positive attitudes and behaviors. The hypothesis regarding the transactional component was not supported, indicating that violation of transactional obligations did not impact employee job performance. The proposed model of mediation was not supported, as work status did not affect employee attitudes and behaviors. The results indicate that contract and regular employees do not differ in terms of psychological contracts or the outcome measures.


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