Losing faith in paid employment: an extension of the psychological contract breach model as a predictor of self-employment

Purpose It seems that some aspects of employees' experience can lead to their “losing faith in the system of paid employment”. This disillusion can be studied and measured through the theoretical construct of a psychological contract breach experienced by the employee. This exploratory article thus examines whether the conditions of paid employment could lead to a new dimension of psychological contract breaches: a breach with paid employment itself that could drive to self-employment. Design/methodology/approach The authors use a structural equation modeling on a sample of 403 people who have declared their intention to leave paid employment for self-employment. Findings The study's results show that working conditions affect psychological contract breaches in various dimensions. The authors propose a dimension of psychological contract breaches linked to paid employment, which can lead to the choice to leave paid employment and become self-employed. The authors also confirm the importance of working conditions as antecedents of psychological contract breaches. Research limitations/implications The main limitations of this exploratory research are the use of unvalimonthd scales and a small sample size, with a population that could be better defined. As Murgia et al. (2020) point out, it is not yet clear at the moment whether this category is a special group, equivalent to traditionally distinguished groups of working people. The study's assumptions and these limitations lead us to propose the following avenues for future research. Practical implications For managers and the development of management, the possible relationship between working conditions and psychological contract breaches seems to be very important. In fact, a whole range of best management practices could be developed if this relationship is confirmed. Improving working conditions could thus be a way to repair psychological contracts. Social implications This research field is still quite underdeveloped in comparison to its importance to organizations because the increase in self-employment challenges traditional models and assumptions in human resources management. Originality/value This study aims to expand the theoretical frameworks of psychological contracts and breaches. It thus responds to recent calls for research on psychological contracts (Bankins et al., 2020); Moreover, this research suggests, in line with the work of Aubert and de Gaulejac (2018), that there are relationships between poor working conditions and psychological contract breaches. To the authors' knowledge, this approach is missing from international research into psychological contracts, which focuses only on job characteristics and individual determinants (personality traits, etc.).


Losing faith in paid employment: an extension of the psychological contract breach model as a predictor of self-employment
Type de publication
Article de revue
Année de publication
Journal of Management Development
Date de publication
Soumis le 6 octobre 2023