The Mediating Effects of Psychological Contracts on the Relationship Between Human Resource Systems and Role Behaviors: A Multilevel Analysis

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The purpose of this study was to examine the mediating effect of the psychological contracts on the relationship between human resource (HR) systems and role behavior.


Multilevel analyses were conducted on data gathered from 146 knowledge workers and 28 immediate managers in 25 Taiwanese high-tech firms.


Relational psychological contracts mediated the relationship between commitment-based HR systems and in-role behaviors, as well as organizational citizenship behaviors. Transactional psychological contracts did not significantly mediate these relationships. In addition, the results also indicated that commitment-based HR systems related positively to relational psychological contracts and negatively to transactional psychological contracts.

Practical Implications

Commitment-based HR systems could elicit a wide range of knowledge workers' behaviors that are beneficial to the goals of the firms. Furthermore, our findings also provide insight into, how HR systems potentially elicit employees' role behaviors. Organizations could elicit employees' in-role behaviors by providing financial and other non-financial, but tangible, inducements and facilitate employees' extra-role behaviors by providing positive experiences, such as respect, commitment, and support.


The study is one of the primary studies to empirically examine the mediating effect of psychological contracts on HR systems and employee behaviors.

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