WSC Network Research Highlight: Job Insecurity and Satisfaction

By: Keaton Fletcher

In the modern workforce, many workers worry about the security of their employment, and this may have negative outcomes for them and their organizations. A team of researchers led by Work Science Center Network Member, Mindy Shoss, published the results of three studies on this topic in a recent issue of the Journal of Business and Psychology. Results of the first study, using data from the International Social Survey Program’s Work Orientations 2005 dataset, suggest that job insecurity is associated with higher intentions to quit and higher levels of exhaustion. Job satisfaction, on the other hand, is associated with lower levels to quit and lower levels of exhaustion, and may help to reduce the negative impacts of job insecurity on these two variables. In the second study, the authors surveyed 300 workers in the United States and found that job insecurity was linked to higher levels of stress and intentions to quit, and lower levels of affective commitment (i.e., feeling an emotional connection to one’s job/organization). Again, work satisfaction showed an opposite pattern of relationships, and although it mitigates the effects of job insecurity, the negative effects of job insecurity are stronger for those who are more satisfied with their jobs. In a final study, the authors surveyed 335 U.S. workers at two different time points. People who were more satisfied with their job at Time 1 were less likely to engage in a job search at Time 2 and more emotionally exhausted. Job insecurity at Time 1 only led to job search at Time 2 for those who had higher levels of job satisfaction. Overall, this paper suggests that even for, and perhaps especially for, people who like their jobs, the threat of losing one’s job has negative consequences ranging from an intention to quit to increased stress

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