Psychological Contracts in a Nontraditional Industry: Exploring the Implications for Psychological Contract Development

Anne M. O’Leary-Kelly, Kevin E. Henderson, Vikas Anand, Blake Ashforth

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

16 Scopus citations


This research examined the employment contracts and experiences of information technology contractors working on H-1B visas for bodyshopping firms in the United States. Examination of these nontraditional workers allows for the emergence of insights that promote theory development on psychological contracts (PCs). In a qualitative study of 54 Indian contractors, we identified experiences that both contradict and further develop our currently limited understanding of the PC development process. Specifically, we found evidence of underdeveloped contracts, different PC content, missing PC elements, a high frequency of breach, PCs becoming more transactional over time, and the significant role of context in the PC development process. We discuss the implications of our findings related to these nontraditional workers for research on PCs.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)326-360
Number of pages35
JournalGroup and Organization Management
Issue number3
StatePublished - Jun 1 2014



  • attitudes
  • psychological contracts
  • qualitative analysis
  • sense-making
  • social exchange

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Arts and Humanities (miscellaneous)
  • Applied Psychology
  • Organizational Behavior and Human Resource Management

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