The Influence of Psychological Contracts in Knowledge Sharing Through Startups


  • ROBERTA DUTRA DE ANDRADE University of Beira Interior - UBI
  • Paulo Gonçalves Pinheiro NECE – Research Center in Business Sciences, University of Beira Interior, Covilhã, Portugal
  • Luisa Cagica Carvalho Institute Polytechnic of Setúbal, Research Center for Advanced Studies in Management and Economics - CEFAGE



Psychological contracts, Startups, Knowledge management, Knowledge sharing


Informed by exchange and social capital theories, reasoned action, and psychological contract frameworks, this paper seeks to elucidate the intricate interplay between psychological contracts and their impact on knowledge-sharing motivations within the context of startups. The research adopts a qualitative approach, employing in-depth personal interviews and focus groups, with subsequent content analysis facilitated by NVivo software. Through a comprehensive exploration encompassing startups spanning diverse industries and maturity levels, the investigation draws upon insights from founding partners, directors, and employees. Notably, this study stands apart from the literature primarily examining established enterprises in Anglo-Saxon nations. Conversely, it distinguishes itself by its novel examination of how psychological contracts exert influence on knowledge sharing across individual, intra-organizational, and inter-organizational strata within startups operating in emerging economies, taking into account their distinctive characteristics. The findings shed light on employees' core perceptions of their reciprocal obligations and the organization's corresponding commitments. Moreover, the research unveils the nuanced impact of contextual factors on the cultivation of social bonds, consequently moulding knowledge-sharing dynamics within startups, thereby directly shaping individual and organizational outcomes.