Impact of Organizational Justice on Psychological Contract Violations, Organizational Exclusion & Job Satisfaction


In today's fast changing competitive business world, the management approach that focus on employee performance leaps forward and this situation affect the attitudes and behaviors of the employees in the organization structure. Particularly, when an employee experience organizational exclusion or psychological contract violation, it also effects the performance of the organization. At the same time, a decrease in the job satisfaction leads to an increase in the employee turnover and it brings additional cost to the organization. The process of departure of trained staff and recruitment of new personnel generates a cost element. In this study, a questionnaire was applied to 220 white-collar workers from 5 high-performance companies operating in the production sector in Turkey in 2017. The data obtained has been analyzed by SPSS statistical software package and the results show that organizational exclusion and psychological contract violations have an impact on organizational justice, and also the organizations that provide organizational justice increase the job satisfaction level.

Keywords: Organizational exclusionpsychological contract violationorganizational justicejob satisfaction


In today's world, the companies need to develop and renew themselves in order to gain competitive advantage, as a result of the increasing globalization. To do this, the companies were first focused on their structural and technical competence, but then they realized that this was not enough. It is not possible to gain success if the employees do not adopt organizational goals and objectives and work in that direction, regardless of the size, technology, and the financial strength of the organization. Initiatives undertaken without considering the employees do not gain intended results. For this reason, it is extremely important to understand internal dynamics of the employees and interrelated relations between them. To ensure effective operation of the organization, the social relations between employees should be examined.

When we examine the related studies, we see that psychological contract violations and organizational exclusion perceived by employees are two important factors affecting the work life of employees but these concepts have only been started to be examined recently. It is determined that these two factors affects important elements such as organizational justice, job satisfaction, performance, productivity and even intention to leave work (Scott, Brody, & Tank, 2013; Robinson, O’Reilly, & Wang, 2013). As a result of these influences, the companies may not get efficient work from their highly competent employees or may not make the necessary changes or if they do, they may not fulfill intended purpose and this process may result in the departure of the staff opposite to company’s wishes (Robinson & Morrison, 1995; Carter-Sowell et al., 2008). We will examine how these two important factors have an impact on the job satisfaction of employees and how the concept of organizational justice influence this relationship.

Literature Review and Theoretical Framework

Psychological Contract Violation

There are number of elements in the business life, which are not written in the contracts, which show mutual obligations of the parties, but assumed to be accepted. At this point, the concept of a psychological contract emerges. The concept of psychological contract was first introduced in the studies of Argyris (1960). Psychological contract violation is an emotional condition that reflects the belief of a person who thinks the promises were given to him/her were not fulfilled sufficiently or not at all (Morrison & Robinson, 1997). The theory of reciprocity states that the employees work for the benefit of the organization when they think that it is beneficial to them, otherwise they show negative attitudes towards the organization (Gouldner, 1960).

The psychological contract violation is based on the theory of reciprocity. Employees make a comparison between what was promised to them before starting to work and what has been happening in the company. If an employee thinks that the promises were not kept, he/she will perceive sense of violation (Robinson & Rousseau, 1994; Rousseau, 1995; Robinson & Morrison, 1995). This is a phenomenon is not written but shaped by cognitive and perceptual perceptions. Although, it sometimes reflects the truth, but it is also possible for a person to get such a perception when in fact there are no real violations (Morrison & Robinson, 1997; Nikolaou, Tomprou, & Vakola, 2007). The studies are focused on violations perceived by the individuals rather than actual violations. Because what is important here is how people evaluate the situation (Rousseau, 1995).

The violation may be about the working conditions, salary, personal issues or career development (De Vos, Buyens, &Chalk, 2003). The studies show that psychological contract violations can lead to number of negative consequences. Some of these are related to the individual, while others are directed to the organization. Pate and Malone (2000) determined that the people who are subjected to violations become more emotional, show sudden reactions and rapid anger and suffer agony. In addition, the psychological contract violations increase the organizational cynicism but decrease the organizational citizenship, organizational commitment and organizational trust at significant level (Robinson, 1996; Herriot et al., 1998; Pate et al., 2000). The studies measuring the strength of the psychological contract violations reveal that if the perception of violations increase, the intensity of the consequences also rise (McLean Parks & Kidder, 1994). As we have seen from the results of the studies, the examination and prevention of psychological contracts violations will provide several benefits and advantages for both the organization and the employees.

Organizational Exclusion

Although the concept of exclusion has been explored many times in the field of social psychology, the exclusion in the work environment has only examined in the recent studies (Ferris, Brown, Berry, & Lian, 2008, Robinson et al., 2013; Kouchaki & Wareham, 2015). The exclusion is a major obstacle for establishing and maintaining relationships among people, therefore its impact is significantly important for employees and the organizations.

A study conducted on 5000 employees reported that 13% of the employees had experienced organizational exclusion within the last 6 months. This result shows that organizational exclusion is a phenomenon that cannot be ignored. Examples of organizational exemption can be listed as not sharing information, not establishing an eye contact, not being included in conversations, not being called at important meetings, not being promised, and hiding necessary resources (Wu, Wei, & Hui, 2011). The studies show different results of organizational exclusion. For instance, some researchers point out that organizational exclusion leads the individuals to make more effort and show positive behaviors in order to create favorable outlook and make themselves accepted (Carter-Sowell et al., 2008). However, most researchers are underlined the negative effects of organizational exclusion. According to the results of these studies, number of physiological and psychological problems were experienced by the individuals who think that they are excluded by the organization (Thau, Aquino, & Marijin Poortvliet, 2007; Gómez et al., 2011). These problems include poor performance, emotional depression, depression, anxiety, headache and heart disorders intention to leave work (Heaphy & Dutton, 2008).

At the same time, organizational exclusion can cause serious damage to the organization which include interrupted flow of information within the organization, inability to act organized matter, the retaliation among individuals within the organization. These behaviors harm the targeted person, but also damage the organization's overall structure (Williams, 2001; Robinson et al., 2013). Belonging to a group is one of the most basic needs of human beings, and the organizational exclusion deprive the individual from this necessity in a social environment which he/she spends significant part of his/her day. Therefore, the studies we examine show that the organizational exclusion causes reciprocal negative effects.

Organizational Justice

The concept of justice is very old phenomenon and widely seen in every field from social life to law. People want to live in a just system and receive fair treatment. Because, the justice ensures that the individuals follow norms of society, know the consequences of certain situations, and are not discriminated in the society and it also provides a sense of trust. Justice belief is not just about the individual himself/herself, but also about the observations he/she makes in his/her environment (Ellard & Skarlicki, 2002; Spencer & Rupp, 2006). Organizational justice can be defined as the justice in the organization where employee works (Robbins & Judge, 2013).

The organizational justice is based on the theory of equality of Adams (1965). The theory of equality implies that the employees show tendency to compare himself/herself to a person in the same or other organization and evaluate the justice as a result of this comparison. Organizational justice focuses on the awards distribution in the organization, how the awards are allocated and if the approach was based on equality (Cihangiroğlu, Şahin, & Naktiyok, 2012; Paşamehmetoğlu & Yeloğlu, 2014). It is useful not to forget that these cases may differ according to the individual and depend on the perception of the person (Leung, Tong, & Ho, 2004). The studies evidently show that if the justice exists in the organization, the employees show positive attitudes. Furthermore, if the employees think that they are treated fairly, they adopt the goals and objectives of the organization and show more effort than expected (Rupp & Cropanzano, 2002). Otherwise, if the employees believe that there is an injustice in the organization, they do not show necessary interest and effort and it leads to a decrease in quality of product and services (Robbins & Judge, 2013). The effects of organizational justice is as old as humanity, therefore it will be included in our study as an intervening variable. In other words, it will be discussed that how the organizational justice will affect the connection between relationships.

Job satisfaction

The studies of job satisfaction are based on the research about the motivation of the employees, carried out by Taylor and Fayol in the early 1900's. Afterwards, studies on job satisfaction have gained speed when Hawthorne Research reported that managers and employees are positively affected by the good working environment (Cropanzano, Bowen, & Gilliland, 2007). There are different definitions of job satisfaction.

In general, the common expression of these definitions is positive emotions towards the job and organization (Mottaz, 1985). According to Davis (1988), the job satisfaction is a state when employee defines his/her job as pleasurable. Schwab and Cummings (1970) argues that job satisfaction can be evaluated in two different ways; emotionally and cognitively. The emotional evaluation is focus on the individual’s feelings towards the organization. However, the cognitive evaluation asses the employees' thoughts towards the organization. The studies state that individuals need two different groups of motivations to gain job satisfaction. The first group consist of motivations that provide external satisfaction such as economic factors, the other group is formed of spiritual motivations that creates 'internal satisfaction' and makes the individual feel good emotionally (Deniz, 2005). It should not be forgotten that the significant issue here is what the individual considers important. Individual differences and assessments become prominent. However, whatever factors are important for the job satisfaction of a person, if the individual have positive feelings, he/she will feel more peaceful in the business environment (Örücü et al., 2006). The results of the studies show that there is a close relationship between job satisfaction and performance (Çetin, Güleç, & Kayasandık, 2015). In addition, there is a negative relationship between job satisfaction, work alienation and stress; but there is a positive relationship between organizational trust and organizational belonging (Schwab & Cummings, 1970; Steinmann & Schreyogg, 1993; Reinhold, 1998).

We must state that job satisfaction is a subject that should be examined for all employees and every organizations. In this study, we aim to study the premises of job satisfaction in order to determine the factors affecting it. In the literature review detailed above, we have seen how the job satisfaction is important in business life. In this context, human resources and other related departments should target to provide peaceful environment at work in order to create job satisfaction. In studies of psychological contract violations, it has been found that it negatively influence the employees’ commitment to organization, work relations, and specially the job satisfaction which is in framework of our study (Robinson & Rousseau, 1994; Robinson, 1996; Anderson & Schalk, 1998). If the employees believe that there is organizational justice, they declare that they are satisfied with their jobs and there are no psychological contract violations (Cohen-Charash & Spector, 2001; Cropanzano, Prehar, & Chen, 2002). Therefore, we examined organizational justice as an intervening variable between this relationship.

Hypothesis 1: Organizational exclusion has an impact on job satisfaction.

Hypothesis 2: Psychological contract violation has an impact on job satisfaction.

Zadro, Williams and Richardson (2004) conducted an experiment and found out that individuals experiencing organizational exclusion have higher levels of negative emotions. It is stated that these individuals have low self-esteem, difficulty in controlling themselves and cannot make sense of their work. At the same time, there is a negative relationship between organizational exclusion and organizational belonging and job satisfaction (O'Reilly, Robinson, Banki, & Berdahl, 2011). In recent years, significant interest was placed on the subject that how the employees, who are considered as the most important resource of the organization, were affected if he/she experience organizational exclusion (Aykaç, 2010). In our study, we will examine the relationship between organizational exclusion with job satisfaction and also how the organizational justice affects this relationship.

Hypothesis 3: Psychological contract violation has an impact on organizational justice.

Hypothesis 4: Organizational exclusion has an impact on organizational justice.

Hypothesis 5: Organisational justice has an impact on the job satisfaction.

Research Method

Sample and Data Collection

In this research, we aim to determine the effects of the intervening variable of organizational justice on the relationship between psychological contract violation and organizational exclusion and job satisfaction as shown in Figure 01 . A survey was conducted using a questionnaire to test our hypotheses. The survey was conducted with a questionnaire applied to 220 employees. The data obtained were evaluated using SPSS 23.00 Statistical Package Program. While "descriptive" analysis was used for analyzing the demographic information, factor analysis and reliability analysis were performed on the questions of the questionnaire. The hypotheses were tested with correlation analysis and regression analysis.


The questionnaire consists of two sections. The first section contains the demographic and work information of the person. In the second part of the questionnaire includes scales related to organizational exclusion, psychological contract violation, organizational justice and job satisfaction. Organizational exclusion scale is based on a 10-items organizational exclusion questionnaire developed by Ferris et al. (2008); psychological contract violation is based on 7-items scale prepared by Robinson and Rousseau (1994); organizational justice is based on 6-items inventory developed by Niehoff and Moorman (1993); job satisfaction is measured by 7-items inventory developed by Fernandes and Awamleh (2006). All scales have five alternatives ranging from (5) Strongly Agree to (1) Strongly Disagree.


In our Likert-scale survey, the sample consist of 220 white-collar workers working in various departments of different companies. The survey was participated by 78 women, 142 male white-collar employees. 32.7% of the participants were between the ages of 20-30 (72 participants), 47.7% of them were between the ages of 31-40 (105 participants), 6.8% were between the ages of 41-50 (15 participants) and 12.7% of them were 51 and over (28 Participants). 48.6% of the employees work in public sector (107 employees) and 51.4% of them work in the private sector (113 employees). Furthermore, 35.4% of the employees have been working for the organisation between 1-5 years (78 employees), 21.8% of them between 6-10 years (48 employees), 16.8% of them between 11-15 years (37 employees), 25.9% of them 16 years and over (57 employees). 1.8% of the participants were graduated from High School (4 Participants), 2.7% of them were graduated from Vocational School (6 Participants), 32.7% of them have university bachelor’s degree (72 participants), 59.9% of them have master degree (130 participants) and 3.6%’ of them have doctorate degree (8 participants). Distribution of survey respondents (total of 220) according to their departments as follows; 13.6% in the Marketing Department (30 employees), 8.1% in the IT (Information Technology) Department (18 employees), 9.9% in the Accounting / Finance Department (20 employees), 8.1% in the Human Resources Department (18 employees), 15.4% in the Production Department (34 employees), 4.5% in the Import / Export Department (10 employees), 19.5% in the R & D Department (43 employees), 10% in management (22 employees) and 11.3 in other departments (25 employees).

Figure 1: Final Research Model
Final Research Model
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In our study, the variables prepared according to the 5-point Likert Scale and were measured by a questionnaire with 38 questions. Independent variables (Psychological Contract Violation and Organizational Exclusion), and intervening variable (Organizational Justice) and dependent variable (Job Satisfaction) were subjected to factor analysis. As a result of factor analysis, 13 questions did not show factor distribution and fall into different factors and reduce the reliability and therefore they were eliminated from the scale. The remaining 25 questions were divided into 4 factors. The variables are subjected to factor analysis and are shown in the Tables 1 . and 2 ., together with factor loads.

Table 1 -
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Table 2 -
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Reliability analysis is defined as the internal consistency of the measurements of the average relations between the questions. In the literature, the Cronbach's alpha coefficient of 0.50 and above is considered to be sufficient, as defined by Nunnally (1978), Hair, Robert and David (2000) Büyüköztürk (2007). The Results of Reliability Analysis are shown in the Table 3 .

Table 3 -
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The results of regression analysis about the effects of independent variables on dependent variables are shown in the table 4 .

Table 4 -
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As seen in Table 6 , Correlation analysis examine one-to-one relationships between Organizational Exclusion, Psychological Contract Violation, Organizational Justice and Job Satisfaction. As mentioned before, the previous analyses (factor analysis, reliability analysis, descriptive analysis) were carried out on 220 questionnaires obtained from the organisations. Table 5 shows the averages of the variables, standard deviation values and correlation coefficients and Table 6 presents the correlation coefficients of the measurement variables in the upper diagonal of the matrices.

Table 5 -
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Table 6 -
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There is a significant relationship between Organizational Justice and Job Satisfaction at p<0.01 level. However, there is an inverse and significant relationship between Organizational Justice, Psychological Contract Violation and Organizational Exclusion at p<0.01 level. This proves that when organizational justice is provided, psychological contracts violation decreases and organizational exclusion dies out.

Regression analysis was used to test the research hypotheses and five supported hypotheses are shown in the Table 7 , except the effect of the intervening variable.

Table 7 -
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As a result of the hypothesis tests of the variables of our research model (except intervening variable), the hypotheses were supported by regression analysis. It is determined that the relationship between variables are statistically significant as a result of regression analysis.

As seen in Table 7 , H1 hypothesis, the relationship between dependent variable Job Satisfaction and independent variable Organisation Exclusion (β=-,147***; ,000) is supported according to the regression analysis. H2 hypothesis, the relationship between dependent variable Job Satisfaction and independent variable Psychological Contract Violation (β=-,523; ,000) is supported according to the regression analysis. H3 hypothesis, the relationship between dependent variable Organisational Justice and independent variable Organisational Exclusion (β=-,241***; ,000) is supported. H4 hypothesis, the relationship between dependent variable Organisational Justice and independent variable Psychological Contract Violation (β=-,457***; ,000) is supported. H5 hypothesis, the relationship between dependent variable Job Satisfaction and independent variable Organisational Justice (β=,649***; ,000) is supported according to the regression analysis.

The hypotheses support that if psychological contract violation and organizational exclusion are exist in the organisations, the job satisfaction decrease and employees are affected negatively. Furthermore, the hypotheses support that if the organisations provide organizational justice, psychological contract violations and organizational exclusion began to disappear.

Our research model was built to search if Organizational Justice plays an intervening variable role and if it has an impact on the relationship between variables of Psychological Contract Violation, Organizational Exclusion and Job Satisfaction and hypotheses were developed as a results of the analyses.

Regression analysis results of the effects of intervening variable are shown in Table 8 .

Table 8 -
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Accepted / Rejected Research Hypotheses are shown in Table 9 .

Table 9 -
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If there is Psychological Contract Violations and Organizational Exclusion in the organisation, Organizational Justice affects the dependent variable Job Satisfaction, as an intervening variable. Hypothesis support that if the employees perceive Organisation Exclusion and/or Psychological Contracts Violations, but the organisation start to implement Organizational Justice principle, the employees’ level of Job Satisfaction of are positively affected.

Conclusion and Discussions

Psychological contract violation is associated with the opportunities provided to the employee by the organization. One of the reasons that employees intend go to other companies, which offer good career opportunities and better social facilities, is contract violations. If the organizations do not actually offer the opportunities they promised during the recruitment process, the employees become uncomfortable and start to look for a new job.

Furthermore, if the organizations are unaware of this situation, they face constant personnel turnover and that causes financial loss. The same situation occurs when employees experience organizational exclusion. If the employees feel lonely and there is lack of communication, it damages regular flow of information and prevents achieving targeted performance. Organizational exclusion is often seen as a result of groupings among the employees or when an individual is not accepted by his/her colleagues and feel lonely, that causes psychological problems and led him/her to be dissatisfied of the organizational environment and reduce his/her performance. These situations affect the performance of the employees and damage the organization and cause conflicts among the employees. If there is psychological contract violations and organizational exclusion in an organization, it decrease the employee performance and cause higher employee turnover and therefore the organizations can not to achieve their specified goals and even stay behind of their competitors. It is also determined that if there is organizational justice and if the employees feel fair treatment, they show positive attitudes and are become more willing to carry out activities in direction of the goals and objectives of the organization.

Otherwise, if the employees believe that there is an injustice in the organization, their performance decrease and they stop showing necessary interest and making effort. Although, there are individual differences and diverse assessments, and different factors might be important for the job satisfaction of each employee, if the individual have positive emotions towards the organization, he/she will be more peaceful in the work environment. We must state that job satisfaction is a subject that needs to be examined for all employees and organizations. In this study, we aim to determine the factors affecting job satisfaction by studying the premises of job satisfaction.


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