Objectives: Although temporary work almost inevitably involves job insecurity, recent studies show that not all temporary workers feel job insecure, and also, that job insecurity does not necessarily have negative effects on occupational health and well-being in temporary as compared to permanent workers. The present study probes two possible explanation for this finding related to (a) contract volition and (b) contract prospects, that is, expected prolonged employment after the end of the temporary contract. More specifically, we tested whether high levels of voluntary contract choice associated with lower values of job insecurity feelings, which in turn may explain more positive outcomes (mediation hypothesis). Furthermore, we tested whether contract prospects played an additional role, possibly buffering the proposed negative effects of job insecurity (moderated mediation hypothesis).
Methods: Questionnaire data for this study has been gathered as part of a European project across three sectors (retail, food industry, education) in six European countries (Sweden, Germany, Belgium, the Netherlands, Spain, UK) and Israel. In a total, the sample for this study consists of 1909 temporary workers. The hypotheses of this study were tested with regression analyses applying bootstrapping techniques for more adequate tests of the proposed indirect effects. In these analyses we controlled for country, sector, age, gender and type of temporary contract.
Results: We first tested a simple mediation model, which supported the hypothesis that the association between contract volition and positive outcomes for occupational health and well-being was mediated by (lower levels of) job insecurity. Thereafter, contract expectations were added to this simple mediation model in order to test the moderated mediation hypothesis. This hypothesis was also supported, showing that the association between job insecurity and occupational health as well as work attitudes was affected by high levels of contract expectations. However, the direction of this moderation effect was opposite to the hypothesis: High levels of contract expectations strengthened the positive associations between low levels of job insecurity and occupational health and work attitudes.
Implications and conclusions: The results supported the idea that volition and contract expectations are important factors enhancing our understanding of the development and consequences of job insecurity feelings in the temporary workforce. Also, by testing a parsimonious model, this study offers valuable new insights into the mechanisms that explain associations between job insecurity and well-being for temporary workers.
Nottingham, UK: Nottingham University Press , 2010. 53-53 p.