Psychological contracts are expectations of reciprocal obligations between an employee and an organization which are held by the employee. Research has shown that victims who experience psychological contract breach may seek to retaliate towards the offending organization. Little research has investigated how a breach can be remediated. The present study investigated the effects of a group apology and reparation on victim‟s sense of power and revenge cognition after a breach of psychological contract. Participants were asked to imagine themselves in a vignette in which a student experiences psychological contract breach by their academic department. The outcome of the scenario differed according to the condition to which they were assigned: they received no response from the department, they received reparations, they received an apology, or they received an apology with reparations. All participants then completed the same series of measures, including their sense of power, revenge cognitions, likelihood to transmit a negative rumor, calculus-based trust, and identification-based trust. Results showed that reparations elicited a greater sense of power and less revenge cognition in the victim compared to not receiving a response. Receiving an apology did not increase sense of power or decrease revenge cognition. Additionally, the effect of reparations on sense of power and revenge cognition is mediated by calculus-based trust. Implications for these results suggest that if an organization breaches psychological contract and wishes to repair the relationship with the victim, they should focus in offering adequate reparations, as an apology may not be helpful in diffusing retaliation.

Library of Congress Subject Headings

Employees--Psychology; Breach of contract; Psychology, Industrial; Organizational justice; Employee morale; Conflict management

Publication Date


Document Type


Department, Program, or Center

Department of Psychology (CLA)


DiFonzo, Nicholas


Note: imported from RIT’s Digital Media Library running on DSpace to RIT Scholar Works. Physical copy available through RIT's The Wallace Library at: HF5548.8 .A56 2011


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