The aim of this article is to test the assumption that both management and co‐workers constitute multiple contract constituencies, as advocated for in recent research on psychological contracts. It also aims to test the theory of cognitive schemas as predictors of psychological contract development. Finally, it aims to examine the validity of the relational subscale of psychological contracts.
Data were collected through three survey studies in different workplaces, areas and settings and were analyzed through Fisher's exact test, principal component analysis and hierarchical regression analysis.
The results supported the notion of multiple contract constituencies. Partial support was found for the theory of cognitive schemas and their influence on psychological contract development. The study also revealed new sub‐dimensions of the psychological contract, here called “Fellowship” and “Challenge/Development”. These new sub‐dimensions respond differently to predictors that, according to psychological contract theory, are supposed to generate similar effects.
Since the findings of this study call into question some of the earlier research: it would be desirable to study psychological contracts, using a multiple foci approach, with a greater, random, sample.
The results indicate a need to draw further attention to the role of the co‐workers in the integration of agency staff in client companies.
Since no previous study has tested the notion of co‐workers as constituencies of the psychological contract, these empirical results will challenge much previous research on the concept of psychological contracts.
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