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Stuck in the job: Does helplessness precede being locked-in at the workplace or vice versa? An analysis of cross-lagged effects
Stockholm University, Faculty of Social Sciences, Department of Psychology, Work and organizational psychology.
Stockholm University, Faculty of Social Sciences, Department of Psychology, Work and organizational psychology.
Stockholm University, Faculty of Social Sciences, Department of Psychology, Work and organizational psychology.
Stockholm University, Faculty of Social Sciences, Stress Research Institute.
Number of Authors: 4
2017 (English)In: Journal of Vocational Behavior, ISSN 0001-8791, E-ISSN 1095-9084, Vol. 102, p. 15-27Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

In today's rapidly changing and increasingly competitive labour market individuals need to take control over their own career more actively. However, some employees feel that they lack psychological suppositions to get another job, even though they wish to, and as a result feel stuck in a non-preferred workplace (being locked-in). The aim of this study was to investigate how helplessness are related to being locked-in at the workplace over time, since it can be argued that helplessness precedes, is reciprocally related to, or a consequence of being locked-in at the workplace. The sample consisted of 978 Swedish employees with permanent contracts and the data were collected at two time points (2012 and 2016). Results from a cross-lagged SEM analysis showed best fit statistics for a model of reciprocal relationships over time; helplessness associated with subsequent perceptions of being locked-in at the workplace and an association, although less substantial, was found in the reversed direction from locked-in status to helplessness. Results remained unchanged when job change, reorganization, gender, age and education were controlled for, which lends further credibility to the finding. Implications for future research and theory development are outlined in the discussion.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
2017. Vol. 102, p. 15-27
Keyword [en]
workplace locked-in, involuntary non-mobility, employability, non-preferred workplace, helplessness
National Category
Psychology
Research subject
Psychology
Identifiers
URN: urn:nbn:se:su:diva-146950DOI: 10.1016/j.jvb.2017.06.001ISI: 000408701200002OAI: oai:DiVA.org:su-146950DiVA, id: diva2:1142478
Available from: 2017-09-19 Created: 2017-09-19 Last updated: 2018-04-05Bibliographically approved
In thesis
1. Being stuck in the workplace: Who is locked-in and what are the implications for well-being and health?
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Being stuck in the workplace: Who is locked-in and what are the implications for well-being and health?
2018 (English)Doctoral thesis, comprehensive summary (Other academic)
Abstract [en]

In today’s working life, it has been argued that employees themselves to a large extent are expected to take charge of their own careers. However, some individuals may feel a lack of control over their careers as they feel stuck working in a workplace/organization they do not want to continue to work in, but perceive that they have few if any chances to leave for a better alternative elsewhere. Such a position has been referred to as being locked-in at the workplace. As professional life occupies a large part of the lives of many individuals, it could be argued that being locked-in has negative consequences for the individual. This also means that potential risk factors that lead to a locked-in position need to be identified to prevent such involuntary career non-mobility. However, there is paucity of research on this topic. Consequently, the overall aim of this thesis was to examine the phenomenon of being locked-in in terms of possible determinants related to the individual, and furthermore, consequences for well-being and health. In the present thesis, being locked-in was conceptualized as 1) combining being in a non-preferred workplace/organization with low perceived employability, and 2) adding an additional category including individuals at risk of becoming locked-in. The aim of Study I was to examine determinants of being locked-in. In particular, matching factors between the employee and the work, as well as demographics, were studied. The results indicated that misfit between knowledge/skills and work tasks was related to being locked-in. More specifically, it was revealed that being overqualified or not having enough physical or mental work abilities increased the odds ratios for being or becoming locked-in. Also, both unskilled manual workers and non-manual workers in lower positions were found to have higher odds ratios for being/becoming locked-in. Study II examined the relationship between helplessness and being locked-in, specifically focusing on the cross-lagged relationship between these two factors. The analyses indicated that helplessness worked in both ways, but should primarily be regarded as a determinant of being locked-in. Finally, Study III showed that there were differences in levels of reported depressive symptoms and self-rated health between employees who were stably locked-in compared to employees who were not being locked-in. The ‘risk category’ exhibited an intermediate position, with better well-being and health than those who were locked-in, but with worse well-being and health than those who were not locked-in. Furthermore, a change of locked-in status over time was followed by changes foremost in depressive symptoms. Specifically, positive changes in locked-in status corresponded to positive development, while negative changes in locked-in status were followed by negative development in terms of depressive symptoms and to some extent, self-rated health. In conclusion, this thesis contributes to knowledge of the phenomenon of being locked-in—which is a rather neglected topic in research—by incorporating it into a theoretical perspective of career control and PE fit, as well as by developing its conceptualization/operationalization. Furthermore, this thesis contributes to the research field by examining the relationship between being locked-in and various determinants associated with the individual, and consequences related to health.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Stockholm: Department of Psychology, Stockholm University, 2018. p. 88
Keyword
being locked-in, employability, non-preferred job, career control, PE fit, matching factors, work ability, demographics, helplessness, mental health, well-being, self-rated health, depressive symptoms
National Category
Psychology
Research subject
Psychology
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:su:diva-154757 (URN)978-91-7797-222-8 (ISBN)978-91-7797-223-5 (ISBN)
Public defence
2018-05-25, David Magnussonsalen (U31), Frescati Hagväg 8, Stockholm, 10:00 (Swedish)
Opponent
Supervisors
Note

At the time of the doctoral defense, the following paper was unpublished and had a status as follows: Paper 1: Submitted.

Available from: 2018-05-02 Created: 2018-04-04 Last updated: 2018-04-24Bibliographically approved

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Stengård, JohannaBernhard-Oettel, ClaudiaBerntson, ErikLeineweber, Constanze
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