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Doctoral thesis2011Open access

A study of affective relationship commitment and the psychological contract

Lövblad, Mikael


Commitment is widely recognized as a crucial component for reaching long term, profitable relationships between firms. This study focuses on one specific dimension of the commitment construct, that of affective relationship commitment, since previous literature has indicated its centrality in achieving positive relationship outcomes. The thesis also explores the psychological contract, a construct derived from the field of organizational psychology, and investigate the content and consequences of the construct in relationships between customers and suppliers on the market for industrial supplies. In this thesis, the conceptual scope of the affective commitment construct is further developed, and it is argued that affective relationship commitment can only occur at the individual level. In order to understand its formation there is a need to incorporate relevant psychological aspects into the theory. By the use of qualitative and quantitative methods, the psychological contracts of individuals involved in customer-supplier relationships on the market for industrial supplies are investigated. Case studies were performed in Sweden and the USA, and a quantitative survey was conducted in Sweden, the United Kingdom and Spain. Findings show that the psychological contract does have value in describing and understanding perceived promises and obligations in the context of customer-supplier relationships, thus complementing established constructs such as relationship norms in the analysis of this type of relationships. It is indicated in the empirical findings that the relational orientation of the psychological contract, as well as the evaluation of it, has influence on the building of affective commitment. The study confirms the central role of trust in predicting the occurrence of affective commitment. It is also indicated that affective commitment, as an individual level construct, does have influence on the organizational level construct of behavioral commitment.


contracts; psychological factors; enterprises; questionnaires; interorganizational relationships; behaviour

Published in

Acta Universitatis Agriculturae Sueciae
2011, number: 2011:12
ISBN: 978-91-576-7547-7
Publisher: Department of Forest Products, Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences

      SLU Authors

    • Lövblad, Mikael

      • Department of Forest Products, Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences

    UKÄ Subject classification

    Social Psychology
    Economics and Business

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