Magnus Sverke Interview

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    • 00:00

      INTERVIEWER: I'm here at the [INAUDIBLE] Congressof Europe with Professor Magnus Sverke, whohas presented a keynote with the title "Changing EmploymentRelationship and Perceptions of Job Insecurity-- Challengesfor Employees and Leaders."Do you want to introduce yourself?

    • 00:18

      MAGNUS SVERKE: No.I can just say that I would like to emphasizethat I'm part of Stockholm University,but also of Northwest University in South Africa.I'm doing the same kind of research in both universities.

    • 00:34

      INTERVIEWER: OK.What is the role of job insecurity, this topic,in the discipline, the work organization psychology?

    • 00:45

      MAGNUS SVERKE: I think job insecurity is a concept thathas received growing attention in connectionwith changes in working life.Earlier on, we did research more on unemployment.We cared a lot about work environment issuesjust for employees at work.

    • 01:06

      MAGNUS SVERKE [continued]: But all of a sudden, with a number of changes at work,also the fear of perhaps losing one's jobhas become a very important research topic.

    • 01:19

      INTERVIEWER: What the organization and the societycan do to get benefit for your research?

    • 01:26

      MAGNUS SVERKE: Hm.That's a big question.Let's start with the organizations.I think that-- I mean one obvious implicationof this kind of research is that organizationsmay risk losing a lot by having an insecure workforce.If people worry about losing their jobs,

    • 01:47

      MAGNUS SVERKE [continued]: they will not be satisfied at work.They will lose trust in management.They will not perform as well.They might be likely to look for other jobs.So it may be very costly for organizationsif they don't stop insecurity from emergingin the first place.It might be impossible to avoid that altogether,

    • 02:09

      MAGNUS SVERKE [continued]: but do as much as you can in orderto avoid job insecurity from being spread in the workforce.For society, I think the important question hereis that if people get unemployed,they have a good safety net.But all these people who don't knowif they will keep their jobs or maybe lose their jobs,

    • 02:31

      MAGNUS SVERKE [continued]: there is no such system for these people.And it is shown since long that job insecurityhas negative consequences not only for workattitudes and behavior, but also for health and well-being.So it could be costly in terms of sickness absencein the long run, I would say.

    • 02:50

      INTERVIEWER: OK.How did you become interested in this topic, in job insecurity?

    • 02:58

      MAGNUS SVERKE: I think I have beeninterested in a lot of issues regarding worksince I started doing research.I worked for-- until I was 27 or 28, before I evenstarted university.But during these years when I worked,I did a lot of different things.

    • 03:19

      MAGNUS SVERKE [continued]: Working in health care, working as a boat builderand having a variety of different occupations,and also meeting a variety of bad employment--or bad employers, and some working conditions thatwere not too good.So I was involved in labor unions, and all of a sudden I

    • 03:40

      MAGNUS SVERKE [continued]: was interested in studying psychologyof work and organizations.And job insecurity is one of these aspectsthat I think are really important to care about.

    • 03:55

      INTERVIEWER: During your speech, your presentation,you mentioned, for example, the important issue, I thinkis the feeling of future.Job insecurity is connected to their future, and the feelingand perception about the future of people.What this is important-- why do you consider that this

    • 04:19

      INTERVIEWER [continued]: is important, your topic?

    • 04:22

      MAGNUS SVERKE: I think what characterizes job insecurity,sometimes people just say that insecurityis the same thing as downsizing occurring in an organization,or unemployment rates being high in this region or cityor country.That's a simplification, I would say,because individuals experience the same situationin a variety of ways.

    • 04:44

      MAGNUS SVERKE [continued]: And what is important about job insecurityis that it concerns an uncertaintyabout the future of one's job.I'm not sure whether I can keep it.I would like to keep it, but I worry about losing my job.So the future orientation is there.And the future is unpredictable for me,

    • 05:05

      MAGNUS SVERKE [continued]: as an individual employee.

    • 05:06

      INTERVIEWER: OK.And in this [INAUDIBLE], you talked about changesin our society.What is your let me say a scenariofor the future in Europe.

    • 05:19

      MAGNUS SVERKE: Wow.I think that, given the global competition and the changesthat take place, we will see more of the kind of changesthat I described today, like organizationswill continue to downsize.They will need to do that in order

    • 05:39

      MAGNUS SVERKE [continued]: to compete with other areas of the world.And there is likely to be an increase in the competitionfor attracting the best employees, or perhapsthe cheapest workforce.We will see a lot of shrinking of organizations,jobs that will just disappear, while others will re-emerge.

    • 06:03

      MAGNUS SVERKE [continued]: And that will mean that we risk having some people thatwill never have the chance to get a decent job,while people with good education I thinkwill have a better situation.So that's unfortunately what I believe.

    • 06:18

      INTERVIEWER: OK.What led you to become a work andorganizational psychologist?

    • 06:24

      MAGNUS SVERKE: Yeah.As I said before, my background with a variety of jobsand in labor unions made me interested in workinglife issues.But actually I think it was good luck to just end upin doing research.Because when I did my studies, I found them very interesting.

    • 06:48

      MAGNUS SVERKE [continued]: I found a professor that I liked his research,and I was lucky enough to be able to spenda semester of internship in his research group.And in that way, I sort of cultivated an interestin doing research.And since then, I've been here.

    • 07:08

      INTERVIEWER: Regarding job insecurity,what could be your suggestions for practitioners, [INAUDIBLE]?

    • 07:18

      MAGNUS SVERKE: You mean like HR?

    • 07:19

      INTERVIEWER: Mhm.

    • 07:22

      MAGNUS SVERKE: I would say rememberthat it's difficult to cope with this uncertainty,and there are no safety nets around people whoworry about losing their jobs.We are very good at taking care of people who lose their jobs.We can help them find new jobs.But one implication would be, of course, if possible,

    • 07:46

      MAGNUS SVERKE [continued]: don't play around where the numerical flexibilityand staffing too much.Be brave enough to keep a larger core of employees,and don't upsize and downsize according to fluctuations.But rather, make sure to have some kind of stabilityand build a long-term employment relationships based on trust.

    • 08:09

      MAGNUS SVERKE [continued]: That's one important thing, I would say.

    • 08:12

      INTERVIEWER: OK.You have also mentioned in your presentationthe role of unions.What is this role in this changing world?

    • 08:26

      MAGNUS SVERKE: I guess it also depends on what countrywe talk about.If we talk about the Scandinavian countrieswith 70%, 75% unionization rates and compare thatto some countries in southern Europe or-- with 5% to 10%,or parts of the world where it's more or less forbidden

    • 08:48

      MAGNUS SVERKE [continued]: to join a union, so that would mean of coursethat unions have different options or possibilities to beactive players depending on country.But I would say the union has an important role in, firstof all, protecting employment security as much as they can.But secondly, also in being active partners to management

    • 09:13

      MAGNUS SVERKE [continued]: in terms of what to do for the future,or is it necessary to go through these changes.Could we do it in slightly different ways.How best to take care of the employees and change processes,et cetera.

    • 09:26

      INTERVIEWER: Let me finish about one questionabout your research and your activity.What achievement in your career are you most proud of?

    • 09:41

      MAGNUS SVERKE: I will cheat and give you more than one answer.I'm-- probably the most important thing for mepersonally is my promise that if I would pass the first examwhen I started university, I will hang on to the studies.And I did.So that's something I'm proud of.

    • 10:02

      MAGNUS SVERKE [continued]: But apart from that, I think the most important things of my jobis taking care of PhD students, arranging money to poor PhDstudents to do their projects.So I'm most proud of all the good PhD studentsthat I've been lucky or fortunate enough

    • 10:23

      MAGNUS SVERKE [continued]: to be able to supervise.And I'm very proud of what they have done.

    • 10:27

      INTERVIEWER: OK.Thank you for your time and your participationon this interview.

    • 10:32

      MAGNUS SVERKE: Thank you, [INAUDIBLE].

Magnus Sverke Interview

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Abstract

Professor Magnus Sverke discusses his work in organizational psychology and job insecurity. Job insecurity studies look at how fear of losing one's job effects employee satisfaction and job performance. Sverke discusses his research on job insecurity, how he got into the field, and future implications of his work.

Magnus Sverke Interview

Professor Magnus Sverke discusses his work in organizational psychology and job insecurity. Job insecurity studies look at how fear of losing one's job effects employee satisfaction and job performance. Sverke discusses his research on job insecurity, how he got into the field, and future implications of his work.

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