Research Publications

The Mutuality and Reciprocity Lab is committed to producing high quality research that makes meaningful contributions to the literature on employee-employer relationships from a theoretical, methodological, and practical point of view. Below you can find our 2016 publications. Enjoy the read!


Antecedents of psychological contract breach: The role of job demands, resources and affect.

Vantilborgh, T., Bidee, J., Pepermans, R., Griep, Y., & Hofmans, J. (PlosOne, 2016)

While it has been shown that psychological contract breach leads to detrimental outcomes, relatively little is known about factors leading to perceptions of breach.We examine if job demands and resources predict breach perceptions. We argue that perceiving high demands elicits negative affect, while perceiving high resources stimulates positive affect. Positive and negative affect, in turn, influence the likelihood that psychological contract breaches are perceived. We conducted two experience sampling studies to test our hypotheses: the first using daily surveys in a sample of volunteers, the second using weekly surveys in samples of volunteers and paid employees. Our results confirm that job demands and resources are associated with negative and positive affect respectively. Mediation analyses revealed that people who experienced high job resources were less likely to report psychological contract breach, because they experienced high levels of positive affect. The mediating role of negative affect was more complex, as it increased the likelihood to perceive psychological contract breach, but only in the short-term.

Keywords: Psychological contract breach; job demands; job resources; affect; time; diary study


Temporal dynamics of need satisfaction and need frustration. Two sides of the same coin? 

Bidee, J., Vantilborgh, T., Pepermans, R., Griep, Y., & Hofmans, J. (European Journal of Work and Organizational Psychology, 2016).

In this paper we study the dynamics of need satisfaction and need frustration by examining how need satisfaction and need frustration change over time and how these changes relate to changes in motivation. To investigate this, volunteers were assessed daily during a delineated activity, resulting in a total sample of 77 volunteers and 467 completed daily diaries. Bayesian confirmatory factor analysis on the within-person level confirmed a bifactor solution: autonomy, competence, and relatedness were distinguished by three specific factors, but the majority of variance was explained by two strongly correlated (need satisfaction and need frustration) factors. The strong correlation between need satisfaction and need frustration further translated in the development of their relationship over time. That is, Bayesian latent growth curve modelling revealed a simultaneous, yet opposite, growth curve. Contrary to our expectations, neither of them could be related to behavioural internalization or externalization. These results imply that, at the within-person level, momentary need satisfaction and frustration are difficult to distinguish, and affecting one may automatically affect the other. Also, the relationships within the self-determination framework, such as the proposed link between need satisfaction and behavioural internalization may be better reframed with attention to the time-frame in which they occur.

Keywords: Self-determination theory; motivational change; need satisfaction; need frustration; Bayesian latent growth curve modelling


The explanatory role of rumours in the reciprocal relationship between organizational change communication and job insecurity: A within-person approach. 

Smet, K., Vander Elst, T., Griep, Y., & De Witte, H. (European Journal of Work and Organizational Psychology, 2016).

The current study highlights rumours as an explanation of the reciprocal relationship between perceived organisational change communication and job insecurity. First, we predict that perceiving insufficient organizational change communication may result in rumours, which in turn may shape job insecurity perceptions. Second, we propose that rumours may also mediate the relationship between job insecurity and perceiving insufficient organizational change communication. To test the hypotheses, a multilevel approach was used, in which three measurements were nested within 1994 employees. This enabled us to probe within-person processes, while controlling for possible between-person variation. The results demonstrated a negative reciprocal relationship between perceived organizational change communication and job insecurity. Additionally, rumours mediated both the negative relationship between perceived organizational change communication and subsequent job insecurity, and the negative relationship between job insecurity and subsequent perceived organisational change communication. This study contributes to the literature on job insecurity by offering initial evidence on the relationship between job insecurity and rumours, and by highlighting rumours as a process through which perceived organizational change communication and job insecurity may mutually affect each other.

Keywords: job insecurity; rumours; organizational change communication; multilevel mediation; within-person


The effects of unemployment and perceived job insecurity: A comparison of their association with psychological and somatic complaints, self-rated health and life satisfaction

Griep, Y., Kinnunen, U., Nätti, J., De Cuyper, N., Mauno, S., Mäkikangas, A., & De Witte, H.  (International Archives of Occupational and Environmental Health, 2016).

Research has provided convincing evidence for the adverse effects of both short- and long-term unemployment, and perceived job insecurity on individuals’ health and well-being. This study aims to go one critical step further by comparing the association between short- and long-term unemployment, and perceived job insecurity with a diverse set of health and well-being indicators. We compare four groups: 1) secure permanent employees (N = 2,257), 2) insecure permanent employees (N = 713), 3) short-term unemployed (N = 662) and 4) long-term unemployed (N = 345) using cross-sectional data from the nationally representative Living Conditions Survey in Finland. Covariance analyses adjusted for background variables supports findings from earlier studies that long-term unemployment and perceived job insecurity are detrimental: short-term unemployed and secure permanent employees experienced fewer psychological complaints and lower subjective complaints load, reported a higher self-rated health, and were more satisfied with their life compared to long-term unemployed and insecure permanent employees respectively. Second, whereas unemployment was found to be more detrimental than insecure employment in terms of life satisfaction, insecure employment was found to be more detrimental than unemployment in terms of psychological complaints. No differences were found regarding subjective complaints load and self-rated health. Our findings suggest that 1) insecure employment relates to more psychological complaints than short-term unemployment and secure permanent employment, 2) insecure employment and long-term unemployment relate to more subjective complaints load and poorer health when compared to secure permanent employment, and 3) insecure employmentrelates to higher life satisfaction than both short- and long-term unemployment.

Keywords: unemployment, job insecurity, psychological complaints, subjective complaints load, life satisfaction, self-rated health.


Psychological contracts.

Hansen, S. D., & Griep, Y. (Handbook of Employee Commitment, 2016).

Like organizational commitment, research on the ‘psychological contract’ (PC) provides an important framework for helping employers to understand and manage their relationships with employees. A PC represents the employee’s beliefs about mutual obligations exchanged with the employer. This chapter offers an overview of key topics and theoretical refinement in the study of PCs, with special attention to theoretical and empirical connections with organizational commitment. Although organizational commitment is treated primarily as an outcome variable in the extant PC literature, recent theoretical developments in the study of PCs suggest a far more complex role of organizational commitment for future research. The authors discuss several exciting opportunities for the concurrent study of PCs and organizational commitment (for example, how commitment changes over time as a function of PC phase) and explore how the organizational commitment literature can inform future exploration of PC processes.

Keywords: psychological contract, organizational commitment, time, processes


The mitigating role of leader-member exchange in reaction to psychological contract violation: A diary study among volunteers.