Broken Promises: Implications for the Job Insecurity and Job Performance of Chinese Construction Workers

Ying Yi Chih, Kohyar Kiazad, Min Li, Alessandra Capezio, Lian Zhou, Simon Lloyd D. Restubog

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Construction workers' performance significantly impacts project outcome and ultimately organizational competitiveness. Departing from prior construction process-focused and site condition-focused research on worker performance, this research investigated the interactive effects of psychological contract breach (PCB), organizational justice, and tenure on workers' job insecurity and job performance. Data collected from the construction industry in China revealed that PCB increased workers' perceived job insecurity, which in turn reduced their job performance. These negative effects were stronger for those workers who perceived lower organizational justice (i.e., unfair treatment from the organization) and those with longer organizational tenure. As such, organizations are recommended to understand and continuously manage construction workers' psychological contracts and cultivate fair organizational practices to reduce their job insecurity and enhance their performance. This research contributes to the construction literature by adding a novel social-psychological perspective to understanding worker performance. By integrating the theoretical lens of PCB and organizational justice to investigate construction workers' performance, this paper further highlights the value of an interdisciplinary approach to advancing knowledge in the construction discipline.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number04016114
JournalJournal of Construction Engineering and Management
Issue number4
StatePublished - Apr 1 2017
Externally publishedYes


  • Construction workers
  • Job insecurity
  • Labor and personnel issues
  • Organizational justice
  • Psychological contract breach (PCB)
  • Work performance

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Civil and Structural Engineering
  • Building and Construction
  • Industrial relations
  • Strategy and Management


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