The Role of Employee Human Resources Attribution on Developing Psychological Contract and Turnover Intention in Hong Kong

Chui Shan Kong


The purpose of the study is to illustrate how the human resources (HR) practices affecting the employee outcomes, this study used the concept from social and behavior science with HR management, which were attribution theory and psychological contract, to show how employees perceived the information differently. It further suggested how the process affected the performance of the employees, which illustrated through presenting their turnover intention in this model. In order to test the model, a quantitative survey was designed and conducted through snowball sampling. Multiple linear regression analysis model was used in this study to examine the data sets and tested the hypotheses. The result of this study showed how employees perceived the information could dramatically affect their reaction, as well as employee outcome.  Furthermore, this study suggested that relational and transactional psychological contract was not a distinct concept, which subverted the past research regarding the types of psychological contract. This study could be used in operation management as the managers should pay attention of how they designed the HR practices could directly affect the employee outcomes and productivity. Limited research focused on the process operating in employees mind and the antecedents of psychological contract leading to certain employee outcomes. This study not only filled up the research gap but also presented the employee attribution and psychological contract concept in a complete manner by linking the variables in the model.

Keywords: employee attribution, psychological contract, turnover intention, black box theory

Full Text:



Antonaki, X. E., & Trivellas, P. (2014). Psychological contract breach and organizational commitment in the Greek banking sector: The mediation effect of job satisfaction. Procedia-social and behavioral sciences, 148, 354-361.

Arthur, D. (2001). The employee recruitment and retention handbook. New York, NY: Amacom.

Arthur, J. B. (1994). Effects of human resource systems on manufacturing performance and turnover. Academy of management journal, 37, 670-687.

Ballou, N. S. (2013). The effects of psychological contract breach on job outcomes. Master’s thesis, Paper 4327. San Jose, CA: San Jose State University

Bamberger, P. A., Biron, M., & Meshoulam, I. (2014). Human resource strategy: Formulation, implementation, and impact. New York, NY: Routledge.

Bothma, C. F., & Roodt, G. (2013). The validation of the turnover intention scale. SA journal of human resource management, 11(1), 1-12. doi:10.4102/sajhrm.v11i1.507

Bowen, D. E., & Ostroff, C. (2004). Understanding HRM-firm performance linkages: The role of the “strength” of the HRM system. Academy of management review, 29(2), 203-221.

Chiang, J. C., Jiang, J. J. Y., Liao, C., & Klein, G. (2012). Consequences of psychological contract violations for IS personnel. Journal of Computer Information Systems, 52(4), 78-87.

Cullinane, N., & Dundon, T. (2006). The psychological contract: A critical review. International journal of management reviews, 8(2), 113-129.

Davila, A., & Elvira, M. M. (2007). Psychological contracts and performance management in Mexico. International journal of manpower, 28 (5), 384-402.

Deckop, J.R., Mangel, R. & Cirka, C.C. (1999). Getting more than you pay for: Organizational citizenship behavior and pay-for-performance plans. Academy of management journal, 42(4), 420-428.

Gallagher, T. (2008). Exploratory study of the antecedents of psychological contract breach (Master's thesis, Cranfield University). Retrieved from

Giffen, R. (2015). Organizational culture and personality type: Relationship with person-organization fit and turnover intention (Doctoral dissertation). Graduate theses and dissertations. 14387. Retrieved from

Guest, D. (2004). The psychology of the employment relationship: an analysis based on the psychological contract. Applied psychology, 53, 541–555.

Guest, D. E., & Clinton, M. (2017). Contracting in the UK: Current research evidence on the impact of flexible employment and the nature of psychological contracts. In Employment contracts and well-being among European workers (pp. 201-223). Routledge.

Guest, D. E., & Conway, N. (2002). Communicating the psychological contract: An employer perspective. Human Resource Management journal, 12(2), 22-38.

Herriot, P., & Pemberton, C., (1996). Contracting careers. Human relations, 49, 757-790.

Hesslow, G. (2002). Conscious thought as simulation of behaviour and perception. Trends in cognitive sciences, 6(6), 242-247.

Highhouse, S., Zicker, M. J., Thorsteinson, T. J., Stierwalt, S. L., & Slaughter, J. E. (1999). Assessing company employment image: An example in the fast food industry. Personnel psychology, 52, 151-172.

Hui, C., Lee, C., & Rousseau, D. M. (2004). Psychological contract and organizational citizenship behavior in China: Investigating generalizability and instrumentality. Journal of Applied Psychology, 89(2), 311.

Huselid, M. A. (1995). The impact of human resource management practices on turnover, productivity, and corporate financial performance. Academy of management journal, 38(3), 635-672.

Jones, E. E., & Davis, K. E. (1965). From acts to dispositions the attribution process in person perception. In Advances in experimental social psychology (Vol. 2, pp. 219-266). Academic Press.

Kelley, H. H., & Michela, J. L. (1980). Attribution Theory and Research. Annual review of psychology, 31(1), 457-501.

Knights, J. A., & Kennedy, B. J. (2005). Psychological contract violation: Impacts on job satisfaction and organizational commitment among Australian senior public servants. Applied HRM research, 10(2), 57-72.

Koys, D. J. (1988). Human resource management and a culture of respect: Effects of employees’ organizational commitment. Employee rights and responsibilities journal, 1, 57-68.

Koys, D. J. (1991). Fairness, legal compliance, and organizational commitment. Employee rights and responsibilities journal, 4(4), 283-291.

Maguire, H. (2003). The changing psychological contract: challenges and implications for HRM, organizations and employees. In Human resource management: Challenges and future directions (pp. 87-103). Brisbane, QLD: John Wiley & Sons Australia Ltd.

Mazzei, M. J., Flynn, C. B., & Haynie, J. J. (2016). Moving beyond initial success: Promoting innovation in small businesses through high-performance work practices. Business horizons, 59(1), 51-60.

Meyer, J., & Allen, N. (1997). Commitment in the Workplace: Theory, research and application. Thousand Oaks, CA: SAGE Publications.

Morrison, E.W., & Robinson, S.L. (1997). When employees feel betrayed: A model of how psychological contract violation develops. Academy of management: The academy of management review, 22, 226-256.

Nishii, L. H., Lepak, D. P., & Schneider, B. (2008). Employee attributions of the “why” of HR practices: Their effects on employee attitudes and behaviors, and customer satisfaction. Personnel psychology, 61(3), 503-545.

Oja, B. D., Wear, H. T., & Clopton, A. W. (2018). Major sport events and psychic income: The social anchor effect. Journal of sport management, 32(3), 257-271.

Patrick, H. A. (2008). Psychological contract and employment relationship. The Icfai University Journal of organizational behavior, 7(4), 7-24.

Robinson, S. L., & Rousseau, D. M. (1994). Violating the psychological contract: Not the exception but the norm. Journal of organizational behavior, 15, 245-259.

Rousseau, D. M. (1989). Psychological and implied contracts in organizations. Employee responsibilities and rights journal, 2, 121-13.

Rousseau, D. M. (1995). Psychological contracts in organizations: Understanding the written and unwritten agreements. London, England: SAGE Publications.

Rousseau, D. M. (2000). Psychological contract inventory technical report [Version 3].

Rousseau, D. M. (2004). Psychological contracts in the workplace: Understanding the ties that motivate. Academy of management executive, 18, 120-127.

Rousseau, D. M. (2008). Psychological contract inventory. Pittsburgh, PA: Carnegie Mellon University's Heinz College.

Ruokolainen, M., Mauno, S., Diehl, M. R., Tolvanen, A., Mäkikangas, A., & Kinnunen, U. (2018). Patterns of psychological contract and their relationships to employee well-being and in-role performance at work: longitudinal evidence from university employees. The international journal of human resource management, 29(19), 2827-2850.

Savaneviciene, A., & Stankeviciute, Z. (2010). The models exploring the “black box” between HRM and organizational performance. Engineering economics. 21. 426-434.

Shah, I. A., Fakhr, Z., Ahmad, M. S., & Zaman, K. (2010). Measuring push, pull and personal factors affecting turnover intention: a case of university teachers in Pakistan. Review of economic and business studies, 3(1), 167-192.

Sturges, J., Conway, N., Guest, D., & Liefooghe, A. (2005). Managing the career deal: The psychological contract as a framework for understanding career management, organizational commitment and work behavior. Journal of organizational behavior, 26(7), 821–838.

Suazo, M. M., Martínez, P. G., & Sandoval, R. (2009). Creating psychological and legal contracts through human resource practices: A signaling theory perspective. Human resource management review, 19(2), 154-166.

Turnley, W. H., Bolino, M. C., Lester, S. W., & Bloodgood, J. M. (2004). The effects of psychological contract breach on union commitment. Journal of Occupational and Organizational Psychology, 77(3), 421-428.

Van De Voorde, K., & Beijer, S. (2015). The role of employee HR attributions in the relationship between high‐performance work systems and employee outcomes. Human resource management journal, 25(1), 62-78.

Welander, J., Astvik, W., & Isaksson, K. (2017). Corrosion of trust: Violation of psychological contracts as a reason for turnover amongst social workers. Nordic social work research, 7(1), 67-79.

Wright, P. M., & Gardner, T. M. (2003). Theoretical and empirical challenges in studying the HR practice – firm performance relationship. In Holman, D., Wall, T.D., Clegg, C., Sparrow P., & Howard, H. (eds.). The new workplace: People technology, and organization. Sussex, England: John Wiley and Sons.

Zhao, H. A. O., Wayne, S. J., Glibkowski, B. C., & Bravo, J. (2007). The impact of psychological contract breach on work‐related outcomes: A meta‐analysis. Personnel psychology, 60(3), 647-680.



  • There are currently no refbacks.