This paper takes a process perspective in exploring the influence of social interaction on the dynamics of psychological contracting throughout the organisational change. Although social interaction is a key focus in social exchange theory, this aspect is largely overlooked in the current psychological contract literature.
Digital transformation in Dutch travel organisations
In this qualitative study, the authors adopt a retrospective design, asking change recipients to recollect events over time in the context of digital transformation in Dutch travel organisations. Their data reveal a sequence of different kinds of social interactions over the course of a change process. From collective-focused interactions (i.e., kindness and sharing) in stable contracts to transactional interactions (i.e., “what is in it for me”) following psychological contract disruption, to relational interactions (i.e., vigilance about equity in social exchange) in psychological contract repair, and to a final return to resonance and alignment with others and a return to psychological contract maintenance.
The important role of social interactions
The results suggest that social interactions play a more potent role in the dynamics of psychological contracting than is currently recognised in the literature. Finally, we discuss a number of implications for dynamic models of psychological contracting.