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How do Job Insecurity and Organisational Injustice relate to Mental Health Problems? A Multilevel Study on Synchronous and Delayed Effects
Stockholm University, Faculty of Social Sciences, Department of Psychology, Work and organizational psychology.
Stockholm University, Faculty of Social Sciences, Stress Research Institute.
2018 (English)In: Book of Proceedings 13th Conference of the European Academy of Occupational Health Psychology: Adapting to rapid changes in today’s workplace / [ed] K. Teoh, N. Saade, V. Dediu, J. Hassard, L. Torres, Nottingham: European Academy of Occupational Health Psychology , 2018, p. 216-217, article id O15Conference paper, Oral presentation with published abstract (Refereed)
Abstract [en]

Background: With the continuous changing world of work towards more automatisation, and global competition that requires organisations to cut costs wherever possible, job insecurity is a concern of workers across many different occupations. Job insecurity is a stressful experience and its negative impact on wellbeing and health is well-documented. However, the exact mechanisms for the link between job insecurity and health need further study.

We argue that job insecurity is a breach of the psychological contract for permanent workers, leading to perceptions that the employer acts unfairly, which is related to immediate (synchronous) and long-term (two years delayed) negative health effects. Thus, we firstly hypothesise indirect effects between job insecurity on depressive symptoms and sleep difficulties via organisational injustice at the within person level. Furthermore, because employees who often experience job insecurity may no longer have security expectations in their psychological contract, we suggest that the strength of the job insecurity-injustice relationship differs between individuals, such that the relationship is weaker for individuals with higher average levels of job insecurity over time. Finally, we hypothesised that the relationship between organisational injustice and depressive symptoms and sleep difficulties is stronger for individuals who experience more over time-variation in organisational injustice. We expect this pattern because recent research shows that injustice has stronger effects for individuals whose justice experiences vary as opposed to relatively stable injustice perceptions.

Method: The study population consisted of participants in the Swedish Longitudinal Occupational Survey of Health (SLOSH) study, a nationally representative longitudinal cohort survey. We selected only permanent workers over four consecutive data waves (2010, 2012, 2014, 2016) and analyzed the data with multilevel analysis.

Results: At the within-person level, we found significant direct effects of job insecurity on organisational injustice. Job insecurity and organisational injustice displayed direct synchronous effects on both health outcomes, but few delayed effects were found. The indirect effects were significant for synchronous but not for delayed health outcomes. Significant cross-level interactions were found for between-individual differences in job insecurity, but not for between- individual differences in organisational justice. In particular, as hypothesised, the link between job insecurity and organisational injustice at each wave was weaker for individuals with higher average levels of job insecurity perceptions but stronger for those who rarely experienced job insecurity during the time of the study.

Discussion: This study is one of the few studies investigating within- and between-person mechanisms that link feelings of job insecurity to the experience of organisational injustice and health outcomes over time. It also adds to the debate whether job insecurity and organisational injustice associate with health via mediation or moderation mechanisms by showing that both mechanisms may operate simultaneously yet on different levels. Furthermore, this study highlights that permanent workers view their organisation as less fair when they experience job insecurity, the more so if their psychological contract is largely intact and builds on security expectations. Both job insecurity and injustice have rather direct effects for health.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Nottingham: European Academy of Occupational Health Psychology , 2018. p. 216-217, article id O15
Keywords [en]
job insecurity, organisational injustice, mental health
National Category
Psychology
Research subject
Psychology
Identifiers
URN: urn:nbn:se:su:diva-164000ISBN: 978-0-9928786-4-1 (print)OAI: oai:DiVA.org:su-164000DiVA, id: diva2:1277584
Conference
13th European Academy of Occupational Health Psychology Conference 2018, Lisbon, Portugal, September 5-7, 2018
Available from: 2019-01-10 Created: 2019-01-10 Last updated: 2019-01-28Bibliographically approved

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