The psychological contract in relation to employment equity legislation and intention to leave in an open distance higher education institution

  • Annette Snyman University of South Africa
  • Nadia Ferreira University of South Africa
  • Alda Deas University of South Africa
Keywords: psychological contrac, , intention to leave, employment equity


In recognition of the injustices of South Africa’s apartheid past, employers have a responsibility to ensure that employment equity practices are implemented, without harming important aspects of the employment relationship, such as the psychological contract and the intention to leave. The aim of this study was to determine the relationship between the psychological contract, employment equity legislation practices and the intention to leave (as measured by structured questionnaires comprising standardised scales) in an open distance higher education institution. In this regard, special attention was given to the influence of employment equity on employees’ intention to leave, which forms an important part of the psychological contract. The study also focused on the differences that exist between the three different social groupings (Africans, white males and white females, coloureds and Indians), gender and qualification levels regarding their perceptions about how the psychological contract influences employment equity legislation practices and intention to leave. A quantitative survey was conducted on a stratified random sample of employees (N = 339) who were white (58.4%), male (50.1%) and between the ages of 31 and 60 and were all employed at an open distance higher education institution. Correlational statistics and multiple regression analyses revealed a number of significant relationships between the three variables. In the South African employment equity context, the findings provide valuable information that can be used to inform managers and human resource practitioners on employment equity strategies. The practical implications of the findings also add new insights in terms of the psychological contract, intention to leave and management of the employment relationship.