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JOB INSECURITY AND PSYCHOLOGICAL WELL-BEING

THE IMPACT OF JOB INSECURITY ON WORKERS’ PSYCHOLOGICAL WELL-BEING IN RUSSIA: DIFFERENCE BETWEEN MANUAL AND NON-MANUAL LABOR WORKERS

General comments: some thoughts in the paper, though they appear commonsense, need justifications from the literature to add more credibility to the paper. Whenever I think you need to add citation, I put [cite] next to the phrase.

 

This is a very interesting and exciting topic, and I think you have a contribution to make above what’s been done. In your literature review, I didn’t see this paper: http://mesharpe.metapress.com/app/home/contribution.asp?referrer=parent&backto=issue,4,7;journal,7,39;linkingpublicationresults,1:110657,1

Check it out to see their theoretical development, etc. – the paper is very close, but they do the test on the banks, and you test the differences between types of labor. Both are important in their own right, but you can see how they’ve organized their paper and see which theories they’ve put to work.

 

In times of economic recessions and uncertainty, job insecurity has becomeis a common feeling among workers, both in manual and non-manual jobs. It is known to have adverse effects on workers’ psychological well-being[cite]. However, it has never been studied in Russia, which has been going through where there has been a difficult economic and social transition over the past twenty years. We explore how quantitative and qualitative different types of job insecurity affect workers at a Russian factory undergoing downsizing, and whether the effects differ for workers of manual and non-manual labor. We [expect to] find negative effects of both types of insecurity on all workersa negative relationship between both quantitative and qualitative types of job insecurity and psychological well-being for all workers, with manual workers being more adversely affected by potential job loss than non-manual workers and more sensitive to quantitative job insecurity than qualitative job insecurity.

Over the past several decades, globalization has brought new challenges to businesses around the world and thus changed the conditions of working life for many employees[cite]. Intensified global competition has forced companies to cut costs and become more flexible, resulting in workforce shifts, and introduce new technologies that limit job options for less skilled workers; besides, a belief in market-driven economies has causedresulted in relaxation of employment legislation in many countries (Davy, Kinicki, & Scheck, 1997; Greenhalgh & Rosenblatt, 1984; Hartley, Jacobson, Klandermans, & Van Vuuren, 1991; Sparrow, 1998). Most importantly, organizational downsizing and close-offs caused by recent economic recessions brought large-scale layoffs in the workforce and increased uncertainty among remaining employees (Burke & Nelson, 1998; Hitt, Keats, Harback, & Nixon, 1994; Kozlowski, Chao, Smith, & Hedlund, 1993). The conditions for those at work have changed as well: companies now tend to employ more workers on the basis of short- and fixed-term contracts rather than long term contracts, while the employees now have to manage their work with fewer resources, larger work-loads and increased uncertainty regarding the expected job performance (McLean Parks, Kidder, & Gallagher, 1998; Burke & Nelson, 1998).



In light of the mentioned changes in the working life, such phenomenon as job insecurity has become increasingly relevant[cite]. Job insecurity is defined as “expectations about continuity in a job situation” (Davy, Kinicki, & Scheck, 1997: 323). There are is a significant number of publications, indicating that indicate that perceptions of job insecurity have been deteriorating detrimental to employees’ attitudes, their psychological well-being, and physical health (Davy, Kinicki, & Scheck, 1997; Rosenblatt, Talmud, & Ruvio, 1999; De Witte, 2010; Sidney, Dekker, & Schaufeli, 1995; Sverke & Hellgren, 2001; Mohr, 2000). Job insecurity has also been linked to problems in workers’ families (Westman, Etzion, & Danon, 2001; Manuno & Kinnunen, 2002). All these effects matter not only at the individual level but may also rise result in to increasedhigh costs to the society as a whole, including negative economic consequences (Benito, 2006). Therefore, they are important to understand and mitigate.

The relationship between perceived job insecurity and workers’ psychological well-being has been studied in various aspects. Overall, job insecurity is associated with lower psychological well-being (Sverke & Hellgren, 2002; Dekker & Schaufeli, 2011). De Witte (1999) found that women were less subject to the harmful consequences of job insecurity than men. In accordance with the psychological contract theory, temporary employees suffer less from psychological effects of job insecurity than permanent employees (De Cuyper & Hans[ĘÂÂ1] De Witte, 2010). Quantitative job insecurity (the continuity of one’s employment) has been shown to have stronger negative consequences for workers’ psychological well-being than qualitative job insecurity (the existence of important job features) (Hellgren & Sverke, 1999). Roskies and Louis-Guerin (1990) indicated the difference between chronic, ambiguous job insecurity and job insecurity associated with firms in acute crisis. In the former case, workers were more worried about qualitative job insecurity while in the latter case, quantitative insecurity mattered more. Self-reported minor psychiatric morbidity was higher among those who lost job security; besides, the residual negative effects for those who gained job security were also observed (Ferrie, Shipley, Stansfeld, & Marmot 2002).

However, little research has been done on the difference in psychological consequences of job insecurity for manual and non-manual labor workers. A meta-analysis by Sverke and Hellgren (2002) showed that the behavioral effects of job insecurity among manual workers are were[V2] more detrimental than among non-manual workers. Orpen (1993) found that security was higher in “safe” managerial jobs among white workers in South Africa than in “unsafe” production jobs among black workers; however, the levels of stress and anxiety were not significantly different between the two groups.

In Russia, the influence of perceived job insecurity on psychological well-being of manual and non-manual labor workers is especially interesting to explore because of the peculiar historical context and the current economic situation[cite]. Historically, Russia has been transitioning from planned to a market economy over the past two decades with high instability in the 90s and more steady development in 2000s. Wage arrears[V3] , unemployment, and job insecurity were prevalent in the 90s due to the disruption of the economy country-wide[cite]. Even though the economy has been recovering, there is currently a sharp deficit of employees in manual-labor occupations (Korovkin, Dolgova, & Korolev, 2006). In this context, understanding the difference in the effects of perceived job insecurity on psychological well-being between manual and non-manual labor[V4] workers may contribute to better understanding of the reasons behind the lack of manual workers in the Russian economy.

Therefore, the first goal of this study is to establish whether there is a relationship between perceived job insecurity (quantitative) and the psychological well-being of manual and non-manual labor workers at a Russian factory. In addition, weSecond goal of this study is to explore how quantitative and qualitative job insecurity affects the psychological well-being of Russian factory workers.

 

JOB INSECURITY AND PSYCHOLOGICAL WELL-BEING

In contrast to the actual job loss, job insecurity refers to a subjective reaction of a worker to the work environment, i.e., it is based on individual perceptions and interpretations that may differ for different workers in the same objective situation (Greenhalgh & Rosenblatt, 1984; Hartley, Jacobson, Klandermans, & Van Vuuren, 1991). The subjective nature of this phenomenon has manifested itself when the perception of job insecurity was correlated with measures of self-esteem and personal control (Orpen, 1994). Workers with high self-esteem and internal control were less negatively affected by job insecurity than their colleagues with low self-esteem and external control. colleagues. Hartley et. al. (1991) argues that job insecurity occurs when there is a difference between the level of security a worker experiences and the level he/she expects.

Systematic research on job insecurity is relatively young. Sverke and Hellgren (2002) state that it has only recently emerged as a function of labor markets; and before, that it was just a variable in broad inventories of the organizational work climate. More cConceptual work on this topic started in 1984 with a paper by Greenhalgh and Rosenblatt. To a large extent, research on job insecurity has been atheoretical (De Cuyper & De Witteand, 2010), and has often used single-item measures and unknown psychometric properties (Sverke & Hellgren, 2002).

The distinction between quantitative job insecurity (fear of terminal job loss) and qualitative job insecurity (fear of losing important job features) has been drawn in several studies (Greenhalgh & Rosenblatt, 1984; Hellgren, Sverke, & Isaksson, 1999; Roskies & Louis-Guerin, 1990). Qualitative job insecurity is related to various aspects of employment, such as deteriorating working conditions, career opportunities, early retirement, decreasing salary development, etc[cite].

Psychological well-being is a key focus of many studies, including those in the field of organizational behavior. This variable was found to b[V5] eIt is not only essential for the general quality of life, but it also has been linked to better performance at work (Wright & Cropanzano, 2000; Daniels & Harris, 2000) Psychological well-being has been traditionally measured using the six dimensions of the structure of psychological well-being: autonomy, environmental mastery, personal growth, positive relations with others, purpose in life, self-acceptance (Bradburn, 1969; Ryff, 1989; Ryff, Keyes, & Corey, 1995).

The causal relationship between perceived job insecurity and lowered psychological well-being has been established in multiple studies (Davy, Kinicki, & Scheck, 1997; Rosenblatt, Talmud, & Ruvio, 1999; De Witte, 2010; Sidney, Dekker, & Schaufeli, 1995; Sverke, & Hellgren, 2001; Mohr, 2000). It is intuitively clear that when a person expects deterioration of the quality of life associated with job loss or worse working conditions, he/she will experience psychological discomfort, which can become chronic. It is consistent with one of the central ideas of stress research: anticipation of a stressful event is an equally, if not a more important, source of anxiety than the event itself (Lazarus & Folkman, 1984).

The effects of qualitative and quantitative job insecurity on psychological well-being have been studied to a small degree. One study indicates that quantitative insecurity is more strongly related to psychological well-being and health complaints while qualitative insecurity has greater effects on work attitudes (Hellgren, Sverke, & Isaksson, 1999). Greenhalgh and Rosenblatt (1984), who introduced the qualitative-quantitative distinction, argue that qualitative insecurity is less important because it does not assume loss of organizational membership and psychological identification.

Therefore, we assume that job insecurity, both quantitative and qualitative, is likely to bring lowered psychological well-being to workers. However, the effects of job insecurity on manual vs. non-manual labor workers’ psychological well-being are likely to differ in that non-manual labor workers would experience more detrimental psychological effects. Because manual labor is considered to require less skilled work and is likely to be replaced with machinery, the employees in the manual labor sector would feel more at risk in case of quantitative job insecurity. More qualified workers (non-manual labor) would feel that they can more easily find another job and may even quit in order to avoid the stress of negative expectations (Greenlagh & Rosenblatt 1984; Hartley, Jacobson, Klandermans, & Van Vuuren, 1991).

 

METHODS

We are going to conduct a quantitative cross-sectional study of the effects of job insecurity on the psychological well-being of workers at a Russian factory located in the Tver’ region. The factory has been experiencing economic difficulties and has recently declared its intentions to undergo downsizing. To date, the news has been circulating among the factory employees for two weeksThe downsizing news were first announced in the beginning of October, 2011[V6] . We are going to conduct a survey among 70 manual workers and 70[V7] non-manual workers of the factory using an anonymous written questionnaire. The survey will consist of two parts: measures of the current psychological well-being of workers and their perceived job insecurity, accordingly.

Job insecurity questions[V8] :

1. [Quantitative] How do you assess the probability of continuing this job in the near future? (1 = highly improbable; 6 = highly probable)

2. [Qualitative]

i. How do you assess the probability of your working conditions remaining the same or improving? (1 = highly improbable; 6 = highly probable)

ii. How do you assess the probability of receiving promotion in the near future? (1 = highly improbable; 6 = highly probable)

iii. How do you assess the probability of regular wage payments in the near future? (1 = highly improbable; 6 = highly probable)

For the second question the responses (scores) for each survey will be averaged [V9] over the three sub-questions giving the measure of this worker’s perceived qualitative job insecurity.

Workers’ psychological well-being will be measured with the help of the Ryff Scales of Psychological Well-Being (Seifert, 2005). The respondent has to rate each of the following statements on a scale of 1 (strong disagreement) to 6 (strong agreement). A high score in each category indicates good psychological conditions for the given aspect. A low score indicates the opposite.

1. Autonomy: I have confidence in my opinions, even if they are contrary to the general consensus.

2. Environmental Mastery: In general, I feel I am in charge of the situation in which I live.

3. Personal Growth: I think it is important to have new experiences that challenge how you think about yourself and the world.

4. Positive Relations with others: Other people would describe me as a giving person, willing to share my time with others.

5. Purpose in Life: Some people wander aimlessly through life, but I am not one of them.

6 Self-Acceptance: I like most aspects of my personality.

For each completed questionnaire, the responses will be averaged[V10] . The resulting average represents the measure of psychological well-being for the given worker.

Then, using regression analysis, we will look for any significant correlations[V11] in the following relationships:

1) Psychological well-being of all workers vs. qualitative job insecurity

2) Psychological well-being of all workers vs. quantitative job insecurity

3) Manual workers’ psychological well-being vs. quantitative job insecurity

4) Non-manual workers’ psychological well-being vs. quantitative job insecurity

5) Manual workers’ psychological well-being vs. qualitative job insecurity

Finally, we will compare which correlations, if any, are stronger: (1) or (2), (3) or (4), (3) or (5). For that purpose, we will calculate Pearson product-moment [V12] correlation coefficients for each relationship and compare the coefficients within the listed pairs.

 

RESULTS

Correlation tables (with mean and standard deviation values) and scatter plots for each pair of variables (1), (2), (3), (4), (5).

[Expected findings] Both qualitative and quantitative job insecurity negatively affect the psychological well-being of all workers with quantitative job insecurity being more detrimental. Manual workers are more negatively affected by quantitative job insecurity than non-manual workers. Manual workers are more negatively affected by quantitative job insecurity than qualitative job insecurity.

 

DISCUSSION

If the hypothesis is confirmed with the empirical data, we find an association of job insecurity and psychological well-being among Russian workers similar to that among their foreign colleagues. Quantitative job insecurity has greater negative effects because it is perceived as a greater social risk than losing some job features (qualitative job insecurity). Manual labor workers are more subject to quantitative job insecurity than non-manual labor workers because their work requires less qualification (or could even be replaced with technologies) and it may lead to greater fears. It is consistent with findings by Linz and Semykina (2008) who established that unskilled and semi-skilled manual labor workers in Russia were among the most vulnerable categories in terms of social security. At the same time, non-manual labor employees may believe they have more opportunities if they lose their jobs. For similar reasons, manual labor workers suffer less from qualitative job insecurity because they keep association with the organization and it makes them feel more secure even in case of the sacrifice of some job features. Therefore, if manual labor is associated with less security and such stereotype persists in the society, it may influence people’s decisions to go into that sector resulting in employee deficitsshortage.

There were certain limitations to our study. If possible, it is best to measure the psychological well-being and stress levels before rumors spread. Depue and Monroe (1986) argue that pre-testing these measures would give far more accurate indicators of the situation and trends. It is also advisable to measure the cross-legged effects of job insecurity for more credible data.

Some suggestions for future research include: how perceived job insecurity influences the creation of social stereotypes and through that affects people’s decisions to choose a profession or take a job opportunity; how such stereotypes in Russia have changed over time. We also recommend conducting more research on long-term effects via longitudinal studies.

 

 


REFERENCES[V13]

Bradburn, N. M. 1969. The structure of psychological well-being. Oxford, England: Aldine[V14] .

 

Burke, R.J, & Nelson, D. 1998. Mergers and acquisitions, downsizing, and privatization: A North American perspective. In M.K.Gowing, J.D.Kraft, & J.C.Quick (Eds.), The new organizational reality: Downsizing, restructuring, and revitalization (pp. 2154). Washington, DC: American Psychological Association.

Davy, J.A., Kinicki, A.J., & Scheck, C.L. 1997. A test of job security’s direct and mediated effects on withdrawal cognitions. Journal of Organizational Behavior, 18: 323-349.

Daniels, K. & Harris, C. 2000.Work, psychological well-being and performance. Occupational Medicine, 50: 304-309.

De Cuyper, N. & De Witte, H. 2006. The impact of job insecurity and contract type on attitudes, well-being and behavioral reports: A psychological contract perspective. Journal of Occupational and Organizational Psychology, 79: 395-409.


Date: 2015-12-24; view: 478


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Mark the correct answer(s) to each multiple choice question and formulate an answer where applicable. | Dekker, S. W. A. & Schaufeli, W. B. 1995. The effects of job insecurity on psychological health and withdrawal: a longitudinal study. Australian Psychologist, 30: 57-63.
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