Effects of Resource Availability on Social Exchange Relationships: The Case of Employee Psychological Contract Obligations

Prashant Bordia, Simon Lloyd D. Restubog, Sarbari Bordia, Robert L. Tang

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Applications of social exchange theory in organizational research have tended to ignore the resource context and its impact on a focal dyadic social exchange. Integrating insights from the social exchange theory and the conservation of resources theory, we examine the role of resource availability in the social exchange of resources. The type of social exchange we focus on is the psychological contract. Specifically, we examine the antecedents and consequence of breach of employee obligations to an employer. We test our predictions using multisource data obtained from employees over three measurement periods in Sample 1 and matched triads (employee, supervisor, and coworker) in Sample 2. We found that family–work conflict (FWC) and breach of employer obligations are positively, while conscientiousness is negatively, related to employees’ perceptions of breach of their obligations. Conscientiousness moderated the FWC–breach relationship: Employees low on conscientiousness have a stronger positive relationship between FWC and breach of employee obligations. Breach of employee obligations is, in turn, negatively related to employee career progression (a job promotion over the following year in Sample 1 and supervisor-rated promotability in Sample 2). Findings highlight the interconnected nature of demands, resources, and obligations and that dyadic social exchange obligations should be examined in the context of other demands.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1447-1471
Number of pages25
JournalJournal of Management
Issue number5
StatePublished - May 1 2017
Externally publishedYes


  • conservation of resources
  • psychological contracts
  • social exchange theory

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Finance
  • Strategy and Management


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