The way employees behave in the workplace has a direct impact on the organisation’s culture and success. The continuous and rapidly changing employment environment of today’s world, and the inherent need some people have to find purpose in their work, has created a need for understanding how an employee’s purpose in work modifies their behavioural response when dissatisfied with their employee-organisation relationship.

Aditi Jamil, PhD candidate at the Department of Business Strategy and Innovation is conducting research to address that need by exploring employees’ behavioural responses to organisational actions using psychological contract (PC) theory and the Exit-Voice-Loyalty-Neglect (EVLN) behavioural response framework. Her thesis, titled The Relationship between psychological contract breach and employees’ behavioural responses in a moderated mediation model: the role of PC violation, PC type and work as calling examines the effect that an employee’s sense of work as a calling has on their perception of and behavioural reaction to failure by the organisation to fulfil its obligations.

This study, believed to be the first of its kind conducted in the Australian tertiary education setting, has significant practical implications for understanding the behavioural responses of employees to dissatisfaction with organisational actions in an organisational context, especially during and immediately after this unprecedented time of COVID-19.

Research has shown that employees perceiving a breach or violation of their relationship with the organisation is a very serious issue and is more common than anticipated. In these complex and uncertain times, with COVID-19-related increases in organisational change, restructuring, and global economic change, the probability of employees’ perception of this breach and violation by their organisation is likely to increase significantly.

As research has proven that the perception of an organisation as having failed to live up to its side of the employment deal can have a significant negative impact on trust, commitment, and organisational citizenship behaviour, it is crucial to understand the impact of the type psychological relation the employee has with the organisation as well as the influence of employees’ sense of work as a calling on their behavioural responses to the negative perceptions toward the organisation.