Does what happens abroad stay abroad? Displaced aggression and emotional regulation in expatriate psychological contracts

Tassilo Schuster*, Anna Katharina Bader, Benjamin Bader, Denise M. Rousseau

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


The effects of psychological contract violation are the subject of considerable research. Yet, their effects in work arrangements with more than two parties are largely unknown. Multi-party work arrangements differ from traditional ones because individuals may be vulnerable to psychological contract breach and violation by more than one party, potentially directing negative emotional responses not only towards the responsible party but also displacing it to the other (innocent) party. Primary data from a two-wave survey of 221 current expatriates is used to test the effects of displaced aggression and emotion regulation in multi-party psychological contracts. We find that the negative emotions (violation experiences) associated with breach predict reduced commitment both to the perpetrating organization and the innocent party. However, this spillover effect is asymmetric and follows displaced aggregation theory: Expatriates displace their aggressive behaviour on to the host when the home organization violated the psychological contract, not the reverse.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)867-888
Number of pages22
JournalJournal of Occupational and Organizational Psychology
Issue number4
Early online date1 Oct 2022
Publication statusPublished - 6 Nov 2022

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
Funding received by the German Research Foundation: Project number: 447585650 .

Publisher Copyright:
© 2022 The Authors. Journal of Occupational and Organizational Psychology published by John Wiley & Sons Ltd on behalf of The British Psychological Society.


  • displaced aggression
  • expatriation
  • organizational commitment
  • psychological contract

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