This Is AuburnElectronic Theses and Dissertations

An Examination of the Relationship Between a Realistic Job Preview and Job Applicants' Psychological Contract Perceptions




Stafford, Jeremy

Type of Degree





Psychological contracts have generated considerable interest from organizational scholars and practitioners for the past several decades, largely due to the negative organizational outcomes that arise when these contracts are violated. While investigations of the outcomes of psychological contracts between an employee and his or her employer have dominated the literature, there has been very little theoretical and empirical investigation of how and when psychological contracts form. One exception is the notion that psychological contracts are rooted in an individual’s pre-employment experience. In addition, there is an assumption that psychological contracts are related to the realistic job previews potential employees receive as part of the recruitment process. This association has been generally accepted but lacks empirical support. Therefore, the major aim of the current study was to provide empirical support for the relationship between realistic job previews and the psychological contract perceptions of job applicants. Using questionnaire data from a sample of 139 job applicants for entry-level manufacturing positions, this study found a significant relationship between a realistic job preview and one of the two core dimensions of the psychological contract. Specifically, the realistic job preview did not relate to applicants’ perceptions of the job being sought, but was significantly related to their expectations regarding their anticipated exchange obligations with the employer. Implications and opportunities for future research are discussed.