South African Journal of Economic and Management Sciences (2020-10-01)

The anticipatory psychological contract of management graduates: Validating a psychological contract expectations questionnaire

  • Werner G. Gresse,
  • Barend J. Linde

Journal volume & issue
Vol. 23, no. 1
pp. e1 – e12


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Background: It was proposed that if we assess an individual’s mental schema, it may facilitate a better understanding of the psychological contract formation process. This will add a theoretical contribution to the anticipatory psychological contract research, as it will enhance our understanding of the specific terms of the psychological contract, which are only present during the organisation entry phase. Aim: We aimed at developing and validating an instrument to measure the psychological contract expectation of university graduate labour market entrees. This information could enhance our knowledge of both the anticipatory psychological contract and psychological contract development. Setting: The research was conducted on third-year students from two different campuses of a South African university. The sample consisted of a total of 316 participants. Methods: We used an exploratory quantitative research approach to measure prospective employees’ anticipatory psychological contract. The newly developed Psychological Contract Expectations Questionnaire (PCEQ) was administered and analysed. Results: Results indicated that some of the instruments within the PCEQ are reliable and valid to measure the anticipatory psychological contract of graduates. The descriptive statistics and correlation coefficient results clearly enhanced our understanding of how the anticipatory psychological contract works. Conclusion: Our research contributes to anticipatory psychological contract research by introducing the PCEQ questionnaire to effectively measure the anticipatory obligations, anticipatory expectations, entitlement and anticipatory state of the psychological contract of prospective employees’ mental schema.