Date of Completion


Embargo Period


Major Advisor

Steven Mellor

Associate Advisor

R. James Holzworth

Associate Advisor

Carrie A. Bulger

Field of Study



Doctor of Philosophy

Open Access

Open Access


Background and Objectives: The recent recession impacted the U.S. workforce in many ways. One of the significant changes that occurred was an increase in part-time employment. Research has shown that part-time employees who are satisfied with their organizations display similar positive organizational behaviors as their full-time peers, such as increased productivity, organizational citizenship behaviors, and intent to stay with the organization. Because of this, understanding how to fulfill the needs of part-time employees can impact organizational success. In this study, a psychological contract framework was used to examine the reciprocal relationship between part-time employees and their organizations. This study explored (1) what components are prioritized when forming a psychological contract, and (2) whether part-time employees prioritize different components than full-time employees.

Methodological Approach: A multi-level methodology was used. First, a policy-capturing approach was applied to examine the relative importance of psychological contract components in relation to perceptions of fulfillment and commitment. Second, a between-subjects analysis examined pattern differences based on employment status. An additional between-persons analysis explored the interactive relationship between employment status and job involvement.

Findings: The proposed psychological contract components all receive a significant weight by respondents when rating fulfillment and commitment. Additionally, differences were evident by employment status. Of note, part-time respondents gave much greater weight to the ability to control their own schedule and work-life balance. Results for the interaction between employment status and job involvement were less conclusive.

Conclusions: This study suggests that part-time employees do have distinct psychological contracts from full-time employees. Researchers and practitioners can use this information to create more fulfilling work experiences for this growing segment of the workforce.