One Big Happy Family? Unraveling the Relationship between Shared Perceptions of Team Psychological Contracts, Person-Team Fit and Team Performance

Front Psychol. 2017 Nov 9;8:1966. doi: 10.3389/fpsyg.2017.01966. eCollection 2017.


With the knowledge that team work is not always associated with high(er) performance, we draw from the Multi-Level Theory of Psychological Contracts, Person-Environment Fit Theory, and Optimal Distinctiveness Theory to study shared perceptions of psychological contract (PC) breach in relation to shared perceptions of complementary and supplementary fit to explain why some teams perform better than other teams. We collected three repeated survey measures in a sample of 128 respondents across 46 teams. After having made sure that we met all statistical criteria, we aggregated our focal variables to the team-level and analyzed our data by means of a longitudinal three-wave autoregressive moderated-mediation model in which each relationship was one-time lag apart. We found that shared perceptions of PC breach were directly negatively related to team output and negatively related to perceived team member effectiveness through a decrease in shared perceptions of supplementary fit. However, we also demonstrated a beneficial process in that shared perceptions of PC breach were positively related to shared perceptions of complementary fit, which in turn were positively related to team output. Moreover, best team output appeared in teams that could combine high shared perceptions of complementary fit with modest to high shared perceptions of supplementary fit. Overall, our findings seem to indicate that in terms of team output there may be a bright side to perceptions of PC breach and that perceived person-team fit may play an important role in this process.

Keywords: complementary fit; person-team fit; supplementary fit; team performance; team psychological contract breach; time.