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Front. Psychol. | doi: 10.3389/fpsyg.2018.01273

The Relationship Between Psychological Contract Breach and Employees’ Counterproductive Work Behaviors: The Mediating Effect of Organizational Cynicism and Work Alienation

  • 1School of Management, China University of Mining and Technology, China

Psychological contract breach (PCB) may trigger negative attitudes in employees and ultimately cause further negative behaviors. By drawing on social exchange theory, this study aims to explore the link between PCB and counterproductive work behavior (CWB) by focusing on the mediating role of organizational cynicism and work alienation. We administered a cross-sectional survey of 484 energy company front-line employees. The conceptual model was examined via structural equation modeling. The results suggested that organizational cynicism and work alienation sequentially mediated the relationship between PCB and CWB. This study elucidated the mechanisms underlying the relationship between PCB and CWB by introducing negative attitudes (i.e., organizational cynicism and work alienation) into the model, and offered further evidence that organizations should pay more attention to employees’ PCB and negative attitudes in order to reduce their CWB.

Keywords: psychological contract breach, organizational cynicism, work alienation,
counterproductive work behavior, mediating effect.

Keywords: psychological contract breach, Organizational cynicism, Work alienation, Counterproductive work behavior, Mediating effect

Received: 22 Mar 2018; Accepted: 03 Jul 2018.

Edited by:

Riccardo Sartori, Università degli Studi di Verona, Italy

Reviewed by:

Arianna Costantini, Università degli Studi di Verona, Italy
Maria Luisa Farnese, Sapienza Università di Roma, Italy  

Copyright: © 2018 Li and Chen. This is an open-access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License (CC BY). The use, distribution or reproduction in other forums is permitted, provided the original author(s) and the copyright owner(s) are credited and that the original publication in this journal is cited, in accordance with accepted academic practice. No use, distribution or reproduction is permitted which does not comply with these terms.

* Correspondence: Mr. Yang Chen, China University of Mining and Technology, School of Management, Xuzhou, 221116, China,