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That wasn't our deal: A psychological contract perspective on employee responses to bullying

Kakarika, Maria; González-Gómez, Helena V.; Dimitriades, Zoe


Helena V. González-Gómez

Zoe Dimitriades


Research on the effects of workplace bullying has concentrated on direct negative attitudinal employee responses, typically ignoring the cognitive mechanisms underlying this link. We integrate social exchange and attribution theories to propose and test a model wherein the link between workplace bullying and job and life satisfaction is explained by a breach of the psychological contract, i.e., employee beliefs that the organization failed to meet its commitments towards them. In two studies, we tested our hypotheses with experimental data from 69 business students and field data from 275 employees in France and Greece, respectively. Results from our experimental study revealed that bullying causes psychological contract breach. Study 2 replicated the findings in a field setting and found that psychological contract breach mediated the main effect of workplace bullying on job and life satisfaction. Interestingly, our results from moderated mediation analysis of Study 2 also showed that the effects of bullying are strongest for older women. We discuss theoretical and practical implications for literatures on workplace bullying and the psychological contract.


Kakarika, M., González-Gómez, H. V., & Dimitriades, Z. (2017). That wasn't our deal: A psychological contract perspective on employee responses to bullying. Journal of Vocational Behavior, 100, 43-55.

Journal Article Type Article
Acceptance Date Feb 20, 2017
Online Publication Date Feb 21, 2017
Publication Date 2017-06
Deposit Date Mar 3, 2023
Journal Journal of Vocational Behavior
Print ISSN 0001-8791
Publisher Elsevier
Peer Reviewed Peer Reviewed
Volume 100
Pages 43-55
Public URL