Changing employment relations and perceptions of job insecurity: Challenges for employees and leaders

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    • 00:00

      [APPLAUSE][Changing employment relations and perceptiosnof job insecurity: Challenges for employees and leaders][Magnus Sverke.Professor of Work and Organizational Psychology.Department of Psychology, Stockholm University, Sweden.][Extraordinary Professor, WorkWell, North WestUniversity, South Africa. magnus.sverke@psychology.su.se]

    • 00:06

      MAGNUS SVERKE: Well, thank you very much and thanksfor the introduction, [INAUDIBLE].And I would also like to say that I'm honoredand thankful to be here, to have the opportunityto speak about something that I like to do research about,to speak freely, not having to back everything upby references and maybe try some lies to you

    • 00:28

      MAGNUS SVERKE [continued]: or present some favorite ideas.So I very much look forward to this.Sometimes I wonder, especially early in mornings--and now let's see if I can work this one out.No.

    • 00:54

      MAGNUS SVERKE [continued]: Now I think I need help.I don't even-- I'm not even capable of-- ah.Here it comes.It took awhile, but there it goes.Sometimes I wonder why do we at all get to work.Especially in the mornings, I ask that question to myself.And then I realize that OK, there are some reasons

    • 01:14

      MAGNUS SVERKE [continued]: to get up from bed.One of them might be then that if I go to work,I earn some money.[Why do we at all work?Work gives us money to live.A MANIFEST benefit of work.]We know that money means some kindof manifest benefit of working, according to Marie Jahoda.So we need money, of course.But there are also other aspects of work.

    • 01:36

      MAGNUS SVERKE [continued]: And those are the latent benefits of working.So there are several reasons for usto go to work because by working,we are also fulfilling collective purposes,have the opportunity to make some meaningful contributionto society, to work, to colleagues.

    • 01:59

      MAGNUS SVERKE [continued]: And work also provides us with social contact.It's nice to meet people, engage in social activities.And apart from that, there is a possibilityof gaining some status or at least identity from working.And in addition to that, work helpsus to structure life-- perhaps get up

    • 02:20

      MAGNUS SVERKE [continued]: in the morning-- but also structure life in general.And we need to be active in order to be fully human beings,I would say.So work in itself is important.Work in itself could be fun.It need not be.It could be hell for some people.

    • 02:40

      MAGNUS SVERKE [continued]: I've had a couple of jobs that were not so inspiring,but now I have a job that I think is very inspiringmost of the time.But what happens, then, if we perhapsmay need to drop some of these latent and manifest benefits?I mean, if we lose our job, then we know for sure

    • 03:03

      MAGNUS SVERKE [continued]: that we will be deprived of both the latentand the manifest benefits.[What if these benefits of work risk being deprived?]And unemployment is, of course, nothing fun.But what we know for sure if we lose our jobis that we have to deal with a new situation.And there are some safety nets around us.

    • 03:23

      MAGNUS SVERKE [continued]: There are systems and structures in societyto help us deal with unemployment.But if we do not know that we will become unemployed,but we worry that we might perhaps lose our jobs,then it's another thing.The anticipation of perhaps being deprived of the benefits

    • 03:47

      MAGNUS SVERKE [continued]: is something else than actually being deprived of them.And it means that we are in a sort of powerless situationwhere we feel uncertainty about the future.And that, I would say, is the striking characteristic of jobinsecurity-- the uncertainty, not knowing for sure

    • 04:09

      MAGNUS SVERKE [continued]: whether you will keep your job or whether you will use it.And in that case, whether you willlose or not these latent and manifest benefits.This uncertainty has a lot of implications for usas individuals.But these uncertainties also have implications

    • 04:29

      MAGNUS SVERKE [continued]: for the organization where we workand for, perhaps, other agents as well,such as the society in general in termsof how do we feel if we feel uncertainand what will that mean to our health, well-being, et cetera.But it could also affect people around us

    • 04:49

      MAGNUS SVERKE [continued]: and it could be detrimental in a number of different ways.And I think that's more or less the pointof what I want to say today.And then I will do this in a longer versionas well starting from now.But if you feel that you've already heard enough,then this is the time where I'm going to restart and getinto other stuff.

    • 05:10

      MAGNUS SVERKE [continued]: And I'm going to do the restart by showingone of my favorite slides.And I don't dare looking at my colleaguesto see how they react when they see my favorite slide.[My worldview]But my worldview is a bit square.It's a bit strange.But it's also colorful.And to me, it's very important to emphasize

    • 05:31

      MAGNUS SVERKE [continued]: that motivation and well-being are the most important factorsto care about at work.And I deliberately write in that pink star"motivation and well-being."So you couldn't focus on just motivating peoplefrom a productivity perspective.And you could not either from, say, a stress prevention

    • 05:54

      MAGNUS SVERKE [continued]: perspective, emphasize only well-beingbecause then nothing would perhaps be done at work.So how to achieve a situation thatcreates both motivation and well-being is the key aspect.And I believe that when people feel both motivated

    • 06:14

      MAGNUS SVERKE [continued]: and feel well, that will have important implications,not only for organizational effectiveness,but also for the organization being a healthy one.And of course, motivation and well-being,there are many different explanationsto why they arise in the first place.

    • 06:34

      MAGNUS SVERKE [continued]: Here, the focus will be on job insecurity,but I would like to emphasize that thereare organizational factors and work climate factors playinga major role here in creating thatand perhaps in shaping experiences of job insecurityor helping us deal with such uncertainty

    • 06:55

      MAGNUS SVERKE [continued]: from the organization's perspective,but also from the work climate in itself.So let me return to that also today.But we live in a world that is constantly changing.People say that all of the time, but I dare say it still.And the changing world of work, there

    • 07:15

      MAGNUS SVERKE [continued]: are many different ways of describing it.But one of the most important thingsmight be the globalization of production with increasedcompetition, but also this gradual shift thathas been going on for quite some time from industrial productionto service production.Places different kinds of demands

    • 07:37

      MAGNUS SVERKE [continued]: on organizations and society, meaning, among other things,that people need higher skills in orderto complete their work tasks and need more education.Economic recessions, of course, maybe important to take into accountif we describe the changing world of work, such as budget

    • 07:60

      MAGNUS SVERKE [continued]: cuts in the public sector, but also the competitiveness facingprivate organizations.The aging population might be another important aspect,suggesting that we talk about prolongingworking lives at the same time as we alsohave youth unemployment.[A changing world of work]And perhaps these trends are best summarized

    • 08:22

      MAGNUS SVERKE [continued]: by Hartmut Rosa and colleagues in termsof social acceleration.So things go faster and faster.And acceleration might, in Rosa's words,perhaps be a universalistic principle characterizingtoday's situation.[Challenges for organizations]So against such background then, what kinds of challenges

    • 08:48

      MAGNUS SVERKE [continued]: does this face the organizations with?Well, in a changing world of work,organizations definitely need to do more thingswith fewer resources.They need to do that in order to remaincompetitive or effective.But to achieve all this, they alsoneed to challenge-- at least that's

    • 09:09

      MAGNUS SVERKE [continued]: what we read in textbooks-- they needto challenge the traditional ways of organizing work.And there is where leadership theories come into the picture.The organizations need to motivatethe employees to perform more complex tasksand perform better at work, which is a challenge alsofor management of course.

    • 09:30

      MAGNUS SVERKE [continued]: And it boils down to developing competenciesamong the coworkers, but also extracting those competenciesfrom the individuals.And this should all be done without the employee feelingthat he or she is being exploited,but rather, that he or she is having fun at work.

    • 09:58

      MAGNUS SVERKE [continued]: Many organizations try to deal with this.Now you will have to excuse me for being a bit schematic,but as I said, I take the liberty of doing it my own wayhere now.And I force my worldview up on you.But I would say that what organizations really dois that they elaborate with different parameters

    • 10:19

      MAGNUS SVERKE [continued]: of flexibility in order to increase their effectivenessand remain competitive, et cetera.[Flexibility as the solution?]One of these flexibilities regards time.And temporal flexibility means more or less when do we work.And we see a gradual easening up off work

    • 10:42

      MAGNUS SVERKE [continued]: hours and the possibilities, at least for some occupations,to work at different time points,for instance, in the academia.But another kind of flexibility is the spatial one.Where do we work?So sometimes or for some occupationsyou have the liberty of not only beingbound to your actually workplace,

    • 11:02

      MAGNUS SVERKE [continued]: but you could work from home or from a cafeor from a conference in Oslo or whatever.And there's also the functional aspects of flexibility.What kind of competencies do different employees possess,and how could these be used in the best possible waysby the organization?

    • 11:22

      MAGNUS SVERKE [continued]: And for today's talk, perhaps the most important flexibilitytype is the numerical flexibilityin dealing with who are to work and howdo organizations staff in order to changethe staffing according to different fluctuationsin demands, for instance.

    • 11:45

      MAGNUS SVERKE [continued]: I would say that these types of flexibilityare inherent or important aspects of a variety of changesthat we can see in the changing organizational landscape, wherewe have seen over the past years, a number of downsizings

    • 12:06

      MAGNUS SVERKE [continued]: and layoffs, but also changes of ownershipin organizations like mergers, acquisitions, privatizations,et cetera.And these types of changes, of course,sometimes involve changes in the staffing of organizations.But then we also have other aspects characterizing

    • 12:27

      MAGNUS SVERKE [continued]: the changing landscape, such as outsourcing, whereorganizations focusing on core activitiesand outsourcing other aspects of their work.And also flexible employment or insourcingthe use of temporary employees or contingent workersof a variety of kinds.

    • 12:47

      MAGNUS SVERKE [continued]: There are new production systems.But I would say that in most cases,all these changes have something in common.And that is reduction of personnel costs.It's easier to decrease costs than to increaseincomes or earnings.

    • 13:09

      MAGNUS SVERKE [continued]: So reducing personnel costs is somethingthat also plays an important role, whichwill have consequences for the individual.[A changing organizational landscape.]So trying to summarize, then, the changingorganizational landscape and justhighlighting some of the potential consequences

    • 13:30

      MAGNUS SVERKE [continued]: for the individual-- one of them is that some peopleget unemployed.And we already know that unemployment is nota good thing.It seems also that some people are forced intoor choose early retirement.But at the same time, we also have this prolongation

    • 13:52

      MAGNUS SVERKE [continued]: of working life and some people work longer and thereis bridge employment, for instance.[The changing organizational landscape and the individual]We have delayed labor market entry,partly because of youth unemployment,but also because of the need for higher levels of educationin the workforce.There is underemployment.Not all people can work to the extent that they wish.

    • 14:14

      MAGNUS SVERKE [continued]: But at the same time, there is also a lot of overtime work.There are lots of temporary employeesof a variety of kinds.And people are reemployed or so forth.And most importantly, what I want to highlight hereis, of course then, job insecurity.So now, job insecurity.[Job insecurity]

    • 14:35

      MAGNUS SVERKE [continued]: What is job security?And in order to explain what it is,I would start by saying what it not is.So this figure says, "Good news!Your job-related stress problems will end today.You're fired."And that is not job insecurity because if you're fired,then you know what will happen and there is no uncertainty

    • 14:59

      MAGNUS SVERKE [continued]: inherent in such a situation.So certainty is not job insecurity.Rather, insecurity has to do with uncertaintyabout the future.This is emphasized in a variety of different definitions of jobinsecurity.For instance, insecurity has been

    • 15:19

      MAGNUS SVERKE [continued]: defined as "expectations about continuity in a job situation."Also as "concerns about the future permanence of the job.""Concerns about the future permanence of the job,"suggesting, again, that concern is something negative

    • 15:39

      MAGNUS SVERKE [continued]: and the future is unpredictable.It has also been defined as the "perceptionof a potential threat to continuityin one's current job."And then the most lovely prose is from our own definition--the "subjectively perceived likelihood

    • 16:00

      MAGNUS SVERKE [continued]: of involuntary job loss."Wow, what a wonderful sentence.I couldn't resist to have it there anyhow.But there are some aspects of these definitions thatare important to highlight.And one of them is that job insecurity,at least when we who are psychologists and care

    • 16:22

      MAGNUS SVERKE [continued]: about what goes on between people's ears,it's the subjective perception that counts.So job insecurity is a perceptual phenomenon.Even though researchers in other disciplinessometimes talk about the average unemployment rate in society,or the number of downsizings, or the average tenure

    • 16:45

      MAGNUS SVERKE [continued]: in one's job, et cetera, or the rate of organizational changeas indicators of job insecurity.But I would like to emphasize that we as individuals tendto perceive and experience the one and same objectiveor factual situation in very different ways.

    • 17:07

      MAGNUS SVERKE [continued]: So it's the subjective perception that counts.The second important aspect is this about uncertainty.And the uncertainty is in contrast to, for instance,unemployment when there is certaintyabout losing one's job.This uncertainty means we don't reallyknow how to cope with the situation

    • 17:28

      MAGNUS SVERKE [continued]: or deal with the situation.In contrast to unemployment when there are safety nets, securitysystems, and institutions to take care of people losingtheir jobs, there are no such corresponding institutionsor safety nets for people who worry about perhaps becomingredundant.We know from stress research that uncertainty

    • 17:50

      MAGNUS SVERKE [continued]: about something negative tends to sometimesbe worse or harder to bear than certaintyabout that negative thing actually happening.And the third aspect I would like to highlightis that if we are to talk about job insecurity,this needs to be involuntary.

    • 18:13

      MAGNUS SVERKE [continued]: If we talk about people who say, ah, good.I might lose my job.I hate this place anyhow, so I look forwardto a change, that would not count inas being an experience of job insecuritybecause that would be a welcome situation or shift or perhapsan anticipation of such a shift.

    • 18:33

      MAGNUS SVERKE [continued]: So there is this discrepancy between what I would preferand what I actually experience that might happen around me.That is important.So I would like to say a few words on what we know thus far

    • 18:54

      MAGNUS SVERKE [continued]: in terms of what may lead to job insecurity or the antecedentsof job insecurity, if you so wish.And I just decided to structure thisin four different categories for the purposes of today.One of them is the so-called objective or actual situation.[What may lead to individuals experiencing job insecurity?]

    • 19:15

      MAGNUS SVERKE [continued]: So there are indeed predictors of job insecurity stemmingfrom, say, how the labor market looks,relating to organizational changes like downsizingor other change types, but also from temporary employment.And we know, for instance, that people who have temporary jobs

    • 19:38

      MAGNUS SVERKE [continued]: tend, on average, to feel more uncertainty or more jobinsecurity than permanent employees.Also, uncertainties regarding the organization'sfuture competitiveness and financial situationis an important factor stemming from this objective situation.

    • 19:59

      MAGNUS SVERKE [continued]: If we talk about the individual characteristics,there are a couple of aspects thatare important to highlight.One of them is education or/and competence.Another one is employability.And that's one of the important issues,I think, for future research.

    • 20:19

      MAGNUS SVERKE [continued]: What about employability?Can employability make us more resistance to experience jobinsecurity?Or is employability something thatalso might come into play after the experienceof job insecurity, such as job insecurityerodes employability.There is some research on personality,

    • 20:42

      MAGNUS SVERKE [continued]: but I would dare say that we cannot blame everythingon personality.Personality plays a certain role, but a very small roleI would like to say, just as also employee's workorientation might do.Another block of important characteristics,

    • 21:02

      MAGNUS SVERKE [continued]: if we talk about antecedents of job insecurity,has to do with the employee's financial situation,like whether or not I'm a breadwinner,if I'm dependent on my job, if I have familyresponsibilities, et cetera.And there is a growing amount of studies coming out addressingthese kinds of aspects as well.

    • 21:23

      MAGNUS SVERKE [continued]: And then there is also the organizational factors,like what does the organization do in terms of communicatingwith their staff; in terms of other aspectsof the psychosocial work environment;and how do they treat employees in terms of fairness, justice;

    • 21:45

      MAGNUS SVERKE [continued]: and is there some kind of trust between employeesand management.There is a growing amount-- but still this is, I would say,an under-researched area-- the antecedents of job insecurity.So that would be a welcome area for more research, and perhapswith also more holistic views addressing many factors

    • 22:09

      MAGNUS SVERKE [continued]: at the same time.One of the things that I think would be important to highlightif we also talk about antecedents--but it's partly also about the consequences of jobinsecurity-- is we could say that we have a quitesegregated workforce.

    • 22:29

      MAGNUS SVERKE [continued]: Some people are more mobile than others.And there are both voluntary and involuntary reasonsfor being mobile and for being non-mobile, that is,embedded in the organization.So if we talk about voluntary mobility,that is, what we typically mean whenwe talk about career development--

    • 22:50

      MAGNUS SVERKE [continued]: but there are also people who are voluntary embeddedin their organizations.They like it in the organization.But I would say if people who are voluntarily embeddedexperience job insecurity, and they alsobelieve in their capability of finding a new job,then the risk of them becoming voluntarily mobile

    • 23:12

      MAGNUS SVERKE [continued]: is very high.And already Pfeffer noted that whenthere are changes in organizations,the most competent people, if they have the chance,will be likely to leave first.In terms of involuntary aspects, wehave a group of people who involuntarily become mobile,

    • 23:33

      MAGNUS SVERKE [continued]: perhaps because they get redundant in an organization.But we also have people who are involuntarilyembedded in organizations.They stay because there are no other options for themwhere to go or what to do.And I think that here we have a lot moreto do if we want to know more about how job insecurity can

    • 23:55

      MAGNUS SVERKE [continued]: affect the workers, and what would the antecedents be,and what would be the consequences of job insecurityfor people in various groups.And it might be important here to consider aspectssuch as education, skills, employability, the labor marketsituation, the occupational types, age aspects, gender,

    • 24:16

      MAGNUS SVERKE [continued]: et cetera, et cetera.I think this would be an area for stimulating,interesting research actually.[Consequences of job insecurity]Now I want to change more into talking about consequences.And if we deal with consequences,we need know that job insecurity is a bad thing.I was sitting at the back today, so I

    • 24:38

      MAGNUS SVERKE [continued]: realized it's difficult to read some of the slides.Here it says, "I understand you have a fear of boiling water.But believe me when I tell you, thereare a million lobsters out there just begging for your job."Job insecurity can have consequencesof a variety of types.

    • 24:59

      MAGNUS SVERKE [continued]: And we can make a distinction between consequencesthat are psychological, somatic, or behavioral.We could also think about who is affectedby these consequences-- the individual,him or herself, organization, the union, the family,or other actors.

    • 25:19

      MAGNUS SVERKE [continued]: And when does such a consequence occur?Based on this long ago, we provided a very small typology.And I felt I really needed to haveone more two by two table in this presentation,so I included it.But we can make a distinction between consequencesthat are quite immediate and those that are more long-term.

    • 25:43

      MAGNUS SVERKE [continued]: And in this limited typology, we made the distinctionbetween those that primarily affect the individual and thosethat also are really relevant for the organization.[A Limited Typology]And these eight factors-- work attitudes,organizational attitudes, aspects of well-being,and behavior at work-- were also included in a meta analysis

    • 26:07

      MAGNUS SVERKE [continued]: that we reported in 2002, and that was replicatedin 2008 by Cheng and Chan.And as you can see from these briefly summarized results,job insecurity is associated with the impaired jobsatisfaction, impaired job involvement, impairedorganizational commitment, impaired trust

    • 26:28

      MAGNUS SVERKE [continued]: in management, impaired performance,at least to some extent.And the brackets around our minus 0.17is because we only found this not in the whole sample,but just among one half of it.Then we have associations with the intentionto turn over from the job and also with impaired physical

    • 26:52

      MAGNUS SVERKE [continued]: as well as mental health.So that was one of the indicationthat job insecurity might have consequences,but there are many different types of consequencesof job security.And I would like to just mention a few wordsabout individual health, well-being,organizational outcomes, third-party persons, unions,

    • 27:15

      MAGNUS SVERKE [continued]: and life outside of work.So let me start by individual health and well-being.And it's important to note also that there is a growingamount of research now showing that job insecurity isassociated with health and well-being.That is not only self-reported in questionnaires, but alsoin terms of more objective health

    • 27:38

      MAGNUS SVERKE [continued]: indicators, such as anxiety, depression, but alsoin terms of blood pressure, the use of medical service,or the use of medication, and alsothe association with coronary heart disease.So job insecurity, we could say, has negative implications

    • 27:58

      MAGNUS SVERKE [continued]: for individuals health and well-being.I've said the most of the things regardingthe potential organizational outcomes,but it's worth noting that when people experience reductionsin job satisfaction, other work attitudes, trust in management,and report lower performance, that

    • 28:19

      MAGNUS SVERKE [continued]: is, of course, likely to affect the organization as well.And then I would like to emphasize alsothat job insecurity can affect also third parties becauseof health-related aspects.But because also of organizational and workattitudes.But also because of job insecurity

    • 28:41

      MAGNUS SVERKE [continued]: appearing to affect safety aspects like safety behavior.But also absenteeism and tardiness.So safety climate, safety compliance, and safety behaviorwould be relevant to consider more, I would say,than this alone where the organizational andhealth-related outcomes is, of course, very likely to have

    • 29:04

      MAGNUS SVERKE [continued]: important implications for third parties,such as customers, clients, patients, pupilsat school, et cetera.But job insecurities could also have consequences for unions.I have a personal interest in labor unions.

    • 29:24

      MAGNUS SVERKE [continued]: And I think it's important to also note not only what unionsperhaps might do to help individuals cope with jobinsecurity, but also to think about how could unionsthemselves be affected by their members or employees,in general, experiencing job insecurity.And there are some indications in this respect.

    • 29:45

      MAGNUS SVERKE [continued]: For instance, it seems that job insecuritycould result in reductions in union loyalty or unioncommitment, and an increase in the intentionto resign union membership.It could also be associated with a reduction of perceivedsupport from the union and the tendency to blame the union,

    • 30:09

      MAGNUS SVERKE [continued]: and even to low possibilities of influencingthe situation via the union.I think as we talk about psychological contractsbetween employee and employing organization,we could also talk about such a psychological contractbetween employee and union.And if I pay my dues and if I feel that I do not

    • 30:31

      MAGNUS SVERKE [continued]: get the kind of protection from my union that I want,then that could make me feel less loyal,more inclined to resign from membership.But there are also signs saying that the more insecurity thereis, then there is also an increasein non-members intention to seek membership in unions.

    • 30:54

      MAGNUS SVERKE [continued]: And that could be a positive thing for unions.It has been shown to be associatedwith an increase in union membership in general,but also to higher willingness to participate in unionactions, at least as long as these actions havethe goal of reducing the insecuritythat the member experiences.

    • 31:17

      MAGNUS SVERKE [continued]: Then in terms of consequences for life outside of work.These are some of the older references,but there are a number of studies and a growingnumber of studies indicating that job insecurity isassociated with work-family conflictand could crossover even to partners.So it might be that job insecurity is contagious,

    • 31:41

      MAGNUS SVERKE [continued]: even to those we spend our lives together with.And it could end up in experiencesof marital disfunctioning.And also could have effects on children's work beliefs--their belief in work as something good--and in their children's school performance as well,at least there are some indications

    • 32:02

      MAGNUS SVERKE [continued]: pointing in that direction.And that would, in turn, involve other societal costs alsofor the future.Another thing I would like to address is that, OK, so far,I've been talking about the individual'sexperience of uncertainty.But there could also be a climate of job insecurity.

    • 32:24

      MAGNUS SVERKE [continued]: And there are two traditions of addressing such a climate.One of them deals with aggregatingindividual perceptions into an aggregate indicatorof the climate of the unit.And the other aspects is by Lena Lastad--who is sitting there-- but dealing

    • 32:44

      MAGNUS SVERKE [continued]: with that members of a team or a groupcould actually have perceptions of the climate in that group.So I can look out my door, watch the corridor,and actually have a guess about the climate of insecurityamong my colleagues.

    • 33:05

      MAGNUS SVERKE [continued]: The important questions here, I think for the future,would be to address whether these perceptions are sharedamong people in the same group or whether they at all needto be shared, or whether I can have a divergent opinion,but still have an indication or the perceptionof the climate in my group.

    • 33:26

      MAGNUS SVERKE [continued]: I also think we could do a lot more in termsof understanding mechanisms.Under what conditions are consequences of job insecurityless or more likely to occur?When does job insecurity give rise to consequences?When do such consequences emerge?What are the mechanisms underlying this?

    • 33:48

      MAGNUS SVERKE [continued]: And can the consequences be mitigated and perhapseven avoided?Probably not.But more research would be needed here.And in terms of moderators, I wouldlike to just emphasize one of the very, very old models--the Katz and Cohen model-- to saythat there are a variety of individual characteristics,

    • 34:10

      MAGNUS SVERKE [continued]: such as age, gender, personality, employability,coping, family situation, employment contract, et cetera,that are important to consider, and thathave been considered to a smaller or a larger extentin the literature.At the same time, there are also a lot of organizational factorsthat could play a role and that, to some extent,

    • 34:32

      MAGNUS SVERKE [continued]: also have been researched, such a social support, information,turbulence in organizations, fair treatment,participation in decision making,control, leadership, HRM practices, unions, et cetera.The important thing, though, would be when canthese factors have a moderating or buffering effect?

    • 34:54

      MAGNUS SVERKE [continued]: Is it when the experience of job insecurity has arisen,and in reducing the negative consequences?Or could they have a role already whenwe are trying to interpret the situation that weare in at preventing the experience of jobinsecurity to arise or making it less dramatic or less negative.

    • 35:18

      MAGNUS SVERKE [continued]: So that will be important for us to also examine--the protective functions in termsof when and how does the experience of insecurity arise.There are some studies also addressingmediating mechanisms.And here I think that it would bevery relevant to just do more.What are the factors that could transmit the experience of job

    • 35:42

      MAGNUS SVERKE [continued]: insecurity into consequences?Working harder, having control over the situationrepresent some of these aspects.But also a recent study on impression management,suggesting that that could be maybe some way of dealingwith the situation, and which in turn could resultin the employee becoming more favorably

    • 36:02

      MAGNUS SVERKE [continued]: rated by one supervisor.I also think we should do a lot more whenit has to do with causality.Most research is still cross-sectional.There are more and more longitudinal studies,but we need to know more about whatcomes first-- job insecurity or the potential consequence.

    • 36:24

      MAGNUS SVERKE [continued]: So we need not only cross-lagged models, but alsolatent growth curve studies to figuring outmore about the processes-- how these things develop over time.And in this respect, it would alsobe relevant to borrow from Frese and Zapf and Zapf, Dormann,and Frese, and their model about how and when stress

    • 36:47

      MAGNUS SVERKE [continued]: reactions emerge.And so here it's important to distinguishbetween the stressor, which is the thin line, and the stressreaction, which is the thick line.And it could be that the stressor justcontinues to increase, or it could slow down,or it could be increasing over time.

    • 37:07

      MAGNUS SVERKE [continued]: But what happens with the stress reaction?Of course, we don't know, but it would be goodfor us to conceive of different potential developmentalpatterns.So either the reaction just follows the stressor,or the reaction continues even if the stressor declines.Or maybe we learn to adjust to the situation

    • 37:29

      MAGNUS SVERKE [continued]: or maybe there are sleeper effects.And I think we can challenge one anotherwith inventing a lot of different potential patternsof reactions that will have implicationsfor when we do follow-up measurements, of course.[Development of stress reactions?]I would like to, again, return to the problem

    • 37:52

      MAGNUS SVERKE [continued]: inherent in job insecurity.And that is this uncertainty.If we talk about the uncertain or job insecure individual,then it's not a person who is certain about keepinghis or her job and it's not a personwho is certain about losing one's job, but someone who

    • 38:14

      MAGNUS SVERKE [continued]: is squeezed in between these.And that is what makes things difficult.If you don't know whether you will keep or lose your job,and you would like to keep it, what will happen?And we, again, need to remember that there is no real safetynet for those individuals-- no one really

    • 38:36

      MAGNUS SVERKE [continued]: to go and talk to and get help to cope with the situation.So I would like to conclude this sessionby saying that job insecurity has a wide varietyof potential consequences.They are in a variety of domains,affecting not only the individual, but also others.Most importantly, also the organization, the society,

    • 38:59

      MAGNUS SVERKE [continued]: perhaps the unions, perhaps in our family or so.Some of these consequences may be mitigated,but not all of them.And it's also important to rememberthat job insecurity really is a work environment problem.That means that it is an important issue for unions,

    • 39:22

      MAGNUS SVERKE [continued]: but it's also very important for managersbecause it's their responsibilityto provide the workforce with a good and decent workenvironment.It could be relevant to contemplate aroundissues such as short-term productivity in organizations

    • 39:43

      MAGNUS SVERKE [continued]: or maybe a more long-term perspective.What is effective today might notbe the best solution for tomorrow or for next year.We also need to balance corporate profitabilitywith societal costs.What can an organization do and how muchof the potential costs of job insecurity

    • 40:04

      MAGNUS SVERKE [continued]: can be just pushed over to society to take care about?I would like to say that healthy organizations needhealthy workers.And perhaps in the long run, the best thing for organizationwould be to try and avoid job insecurity from ever arising.And I've been to a place where this is possible.

    • 40:26

      MAGNUS SVERKE [continued]: This is a picture from New Zealandwhere this is Paradise Road.And note that if you enter Paradise Road,there is no exits.So thanks for bearing with me.[Let's find a solution to uncertain employment][APPLAUSE]

    • 40:48

      SPEAKER 2: Thank you for these very thoughtful remarksand analyses.And is there somebody who wants to make a comment.We do have some time-- two minutes or something.Yes.

    • 41:02

      SPEAKER 3: Magnus, you were talking about more researchinto the antecedents of job insecurity.I was wondering, have you come across anythingabout the impact of machine learningwhich is basically-- Sorry.You were talking about the research

    • 41:23

      SPEAKER 3 [continued]: into the antecedents of job insecurity.I was wondering if you've come across anything whichlooks at the impact of machine learning,particularly on the increase in job insecurityacross the proficients for the first time ever?

    • 41:41

      MAGNUS SVERKE: No.The quick answer is no.I haven't come across any such research.But I can see that there are many experts on job insecurityin the room, so maybe someone has a response to thatif you wait till after the session.

    • 41:55

      SPEAKER 2: Well, one thought that Ihad was in one of your first slides youhad these combinations of being really in a job insecuresituation, but not perceiving that there is a threat,and other people who were not reallyin an insecure situation, but still perceived a threat.

    • 42:17

      SPEAKER 2 [continued]: I think the first group is very interesting.People who are really in a job insecure situation objectively,but don't perceive that there is a threat.I mean, this could either be because they're simplynot informed, or it could be because they underestimate.

    • 42:37

      SPEAKER 2 [continued]: I mean, this may not be very good situation actually.You could think of it as a good situation,but it could actually be a very bad situationbecause you won't act according to the needs of the situation.

    • 42:58

      SPEAKER 2 [continued]: This is difficult.

    • 42:59

      MAGNUS SVERKE: No, no.I can just say I agree.No, I mean, that's important.And it, of course, may depend on personality.It may be a generational issue.But it also may be an age issue and itmay depend on your financial responsibilities.And it may boil down to a lot of different aspects,

    • 43:20

      MAGNUS SVERKE [continued]: but that would also be interesting to dig down into.

    • 43:24

      SPEAKER 2: OK.Oh, there is one more question.Yeah.

    • 43:34

      SPEAKER 4: Thank you.Thank you for your talk.I found it very inspiring.I'm thinking, as you mentioned in some slides,employee may experience job insecuritybecause of different reasons, like labor market,like financial situation, or organizational factors.I'm thinking it's possible that employee's attribution of job

    • 43:57

      SPEAKER 4 [continued]: insecurity may have an impact on the consequences of jobinsecurity, like if they attribute insecurityto the organization management or theyattribute the insecurity to financial situation.Is it likely that they would perform their work differentlyin terms of the performance or its affection?

    • 44:20

      MAGNUS SVERKE: Yeah.I think there you have a very good researchquestion for a paper.So I can just agree it would be relevant to investigate that.

    • 44:31

      SPEAKER 2: As well, I think we should close the session now.Thank you, particularly thank you to Magnus.And thank you for listening.[APPLAUSE]

Changing employment relations and perceptions of job insecurity: Challenges for employees and leaders

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Abstract

Professor Magnus Sverke explores the causes and consequences of job insecurity for individuals, employers, and third parties. Employees often have physical, mental, and relational outcomes, while businesses may experience decreased productivity and poor long-term outcomes. Third parties may see a decrease in safety and service.

Changing employment relations and perceptions of job insecurity: Challenges for employees and leaders

Professor Magnus Sverke explores the causes and consequences of job insecurity for individuals, employers, and third parties. Employees often have physical, mental, and relational outcomes, while businesses may experience decreased productivity and poor long-term outcomes. Third parties may see a decrease in safety and service.

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