Tim Vantilborgh, Jemima Bidee, Roland Pepermans, Jurgen Willems, Gert Huybrechts, & Marc Jegers
Vantilborgh, T., Bidee, J., Pepermans, R., Willems, J., Huybrechts, G., & Jegers, M. (2013). From “getting” to “giving”: Exploring age-related differences in perceptions of and reactions to psychological contract balance. European Journal of Work and Organizational Psychology, 22(3), 293-305.
Publication year: 2013

We assess how age relates to the degree of balance in volunteers’ psychological contracts (PCs). Research on PCs treating age as a substantive variable remains scarce in the literature. Nonetheless, this seems important in light of the increasing age-diversity in the voluntary workforce, as several theories suggest that younger and older individuals may prefer different degrees of balance in their PC. Moreover, previous studies have empirically shown that age influences how people respond to other aspects of the PC, such as breach and fulfilment. We hypothesize that volunteers perceive different levels of PC imbalance depending upon their age. More specifically, we argue that older volunteers tend to perceive organization underobligation, whereas younger volunteers tend to perceive organization overobligation. In addition, we hypothesize that age moderates the effects of PC imbalance on the intention to stop volunteering in an organization. We use polynomial regressions and response surface analysis to examine survey data of 401 volunteers. Our results support our hypotheses, thus emphasizing the importance of including individual differences, such as age, in future research on PC balance.