University of Surrey

Test tubes in the lab Research in the ATI Dance Research

Workplace emotion through a psychological contract lens

McGrath, ML, Millward, LJ and Banks, AP (2015) Workplace emotion through a psychological contract lens Qualitative Research in Organizations and Management, 10 (3). pp. 206-226.

McGrath Millward-Purvis Banks 2015.pdf - Accepted version Manuscript
Available under License : See the attached licence file.

Download (346kB) | Preview
Text (licence)
Available under License : See the attached licence file.

Download (33kB) | Preview


Purpose – The purpose of this paper is to identify how psychological contract perceptions are used as a lens through which employees make sense of their workplace emotions. Applying Rousseau’s (1995, 2011) conceptualisation of psychological contracts it examines how the emotions linked to both promise perceptions (broken/exceeded) and regulation are made sense of in relation to perceptions of contract type. Design/methodology/approach – This paper takes a unique perspective into the role perceptions of psychological contract type play in the process of emotional sensemaking using qualitative thematic analysis of 30 in-depth interviews. A range of occupations are represented and all participants worked in a full-time capacity. Findings – The paper identifies how the predominant relationship frame (transactional/relational) is used by employees when making sense of the emotions recalled during specific psychological contract events, as well as the emotions they feel are necessary to regulate while at work. Research limitations/implications – The mean age of the study sample was 26 years, comparatively young in terms of the span of the employment age bracket. Taking a lifespan approach would potentially broaden the understanding of how employees use their predominant relationship frame in the process of emotional sensemaking at different stages of their life and careers. Originality/value – This paper identifies an important work-related cue used in the active regulation of specific emotions whilst at work, contributing to both the psychological contract and emotion literature.

Item Type: Article
Subjects : subj_Psychology
Divisions : Faculty of Health and Medical Sciences > School of Psychology
Authors :
McGrath, ML
Millward, LJ
Banks, AP
Date : 2015
DOI : 10.1108/QROM-06-2014-1227
Copyright Disclaimer : ©Emerald Group Publishing Limited. This is the authors accepted manuscript.
Depositing User : Symplectic Elements
Date Deposited : 20 Apr 2016 10:23
Last Modified : 31 Oct 2017 18:13

Actions (login required)

View Item View Item


Downloads per month over past year

Information about this web site

© The University of Surrey, Guildford, Surrey, GU2 7XH, United Kingdom.
+44 (0)1483 300800