Psychological contract assessment after a major organizational change

Victoria Bellou (University of Macedonia, Thessaloniki, Greece)

Employee Relations

ISSN: 0142-5455

Publication date: 1 January 2007



This study aims to identify specific changes in the content of the psychological contract during mergers and acquisitions (M&As), looking into both the “previous” and the “current” psychological contract.


A total of 255 non‐managerial employees who had recently gone through a MorA, participated in the study. They were asked to evaluate both their previous psychological contract (prior to the MorA) and their current psychological contract (after the MorA). Paired t‐tests provided support for the propositions stated.


Statistical analysis revealed that employee perceptions of both organizational obligations and contributions change after a MorA. Furthermore, employees with limited coping with changes ability are more likely to consider that their contract has changed after a MorA.

Research limitations/implications

The cross‐sectional character of this study may have increased common method bias. Still, no other option existed in this organizational setting.

Practical implications

These findings suggest that major organizational changes, such as MorA significantly impact on individuals' view of their employment relationship. In fact, employees that feel confident in handling organizational changes are more prone to believe that their psychological contract has replaced by a new, subordinate one. Consequently, it is important that organizational agents shield employees against M&As negative impact by fostering coping with changes ability.


The paper offers insights into psychological contracts after a major organizational change.



Bellou, V. (2007), "Psychological contract assessment after a major organizational change", Employee Relations, Vol. 29 No. 1, pp. 68-88.

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Copyright © 2007, Emerald Group Publishing Limited

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