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Personal values and the features of psychological contracts

Maria Céu Santos (Faculty of Law, University of Coimbra, Coimbra, Portugal)
Filipe Coelho (Faculty of Economics, University of Coimbra, Coimbra, Portugal)
Jorge F.S. Gomes (Advance/CSG, Lisbon School of Economics and Management, University of Lisbon, Lisbon, Portugal)
Carlos M.P. Sousa (Faculty of Business Administration and Social Sciences, Molde University College, Molde, Norway)

International Journal of Organizational Analysis

ISSN: 1934-8835

Article publication date: 4 April 2019

Issue publication date: 9 September 2019




This paper aims to investigate how personal values relate to the psychological contract employees establish with their employers.


The sample consisted of 223 frontline employees from a major Portuguese company. The paper used stepwise regressions analysis to test the research hypotheses.


Collectivistic-oriented values were generally related to psychological contract features such as long time frame, lower tangibility, flexibility, inequality and collective regulation. Conversely, individualistic-oriented values were generally associated with a short time frame and a more tangible, stable, equal and individually regulated type of contract with a narrow scope.

Research limitations/implications

This study uses cross-sectional data collected from a single Portuguese company. While common method bias could potentially affect the results, various procedural remedies were used to control for it. Finally, the study relied on stepwise regression, which is a data-driven approach.

Practical implications

The study supports the contentions that internal dispositions are related to psychological contracts.


This paper innovates by exploring how employees’ personal values are associated with the psychological contract from a feature-oriented approach. In addition, this study was carried out in Portugal, highlighting the importance of exploring existing models and theories in different cultural contexts.



Santos, M.C., Coelho, F., Gomes, J.F.S. and Sousa, C.M.P. (2019), "Personal values and the features of psychological contracts", International Journal of Organizational Analysis, Vol. 27 No. 4, pp. 1111-1123.



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