Qualitative job insecurity, job satisfaction, and organizational commitment: the mediating role of control perceptions

Ieva Urbanaviciute, Jurgita Lazauskaite-Zabielske, Tinne Vander Elst, Dalia Bagdziuniene, Hans De Witte


This study analyses job insecurity within the framework of stress theories and psychological contract breach, and focuses on how qualitative job insecurity relates to employee attitudes, such as job satisfaction and organizational commitment. Specifically, it aims to test the mediating role of work-related control perceptions (i.e. organizational control and employability) in the relation between qualitative job insecurity and employee attitudes. The study was conducted in Lithuanian organizations and draws a focus to the Baltic countries, which have rarely been represented in job insecurity research. In total, 1180 employees took part in this study. Mediation analyses were performed to test the hypotheses. The results offer support for the hypothesis that qualitative job insecurity is related to lower positive employee attitudes towards the job and the organization, namely job satisfaction and organizational commitment. It was also found that oorganizational control and employability partially mediated the link between job insecurity and these attitudes.


Job insecurity; job satisfaction; organizational commitment; organizational control; employability

Full Text:



Ashford, S. J., Lee, C., Bobko, P. (1989). Content, cause, and consequences of job insecurity: A theory-based measure and substantive test. Academy of Management Journal, 32(4), 803-829. doi:10.2307/256569

Bal, P. M., De Lange, A. H., Jansen, P. G., & Van Der Velde, M. E. (2008). Psychological contract breach and job attitudes: A meta-analysis of age as a moderator. Journal of Vocational Behavior, 72(1), 143-158. doi:10.1016/j.jvb.2007.10.005

Barling, J., & Kelloway, E. K. (1996). Job insecurity and health: The moderating role of workplace control. Stress medicine, 12(4), 253-259.

Berntson, E., & Marklund, S. (2007). The relationship between perceived employability and subsequent health. Work & Stress, 21(3), 279-292. doi:10.1080/02678370701659215

Berntson, E., Näswall, K., & Sverke, M. (2010). The moderating role of employability in the association between job insecurity and exit, voice, loyalty and neglect. Economic and Industrial Democracy. doi:10.1177/0143831X09358374

Bussing, A. (1999). Can control at work and social support moderate psychological consequences of job insecurity? Results from a quasi-experimental study in the steel industry. European Journal of Work and Organizational Psychology, 8(2), 219-242. doi:10.1080/135943299398339

Cheng, G. H. L., & Chan, D. K. S. (2008). Who suffers more from job insecurity? A meta-analytic review. Applied Psychology, 57(2), 272-303. doi:10.1111/j.1464-0597.2007.00312.x

Chirumbolo, A., & Areni, A. (2005). The Influence of Job Insecurity on Job Performance and Absenteeism: The Moderating Effect of Work Attitudes. South African Journal of Industrial Psychology, 31(4), 65-71.

Chirumbolo, A., & Hellgren, J. (2003). Individual and organizational consequences of job insecurity: A European study. Economic and Industrial Democracy, 24(2), 217-240. doi:10.1177/0143831X03024002004

Coyle-Shapiro, Jacqueline A-M. and Kessler, Ian (2000) Consequences of the psychological contract for the employment relationship: a large scale survey. Journal of Management Studies, 37(7), 903-930. doi:10.1111/1467-6486.00210

Davy, J. A., Kinicki, A. J., & Scheck, C. L. (1997). A test of job security's direct and mediated effects on withdrawal cognitions. Journal of Organizational Behavior, 18(4), 323-349.

De Cuyper N., Bernhard-Oettel C., Berntson E., De Witte H., Alarco B. (2008). Employability and Employees’ Well-Being: Mediation by Job Insecurity. Applied Psychology: An International Review, 57(3), 488-509. doi:10.1111/j.1464-0597.2008.00332.x

De Cuyper, N., Mäkikangas, A., Kinnunen, U., Mauno, S., & Witte, H. D. (2012). Cross-lagged associations between perceived external employability, job insecurity, and exhaustion: Testing gain and loss spirals according to the Conservation of Resources Theory. Journal of Organizational Behavior, 33(6), 770-788. doi:10.1002/job.1800

De Cuyper, N., Notelaers, G., & De Witte, H. (2009). Job insecurity and employability in fixed-term contractors, agency workers, and permanent workers: associations with job satisfaction and affective organizational commitment. Journal of Occupational Health Psychology, 14(2), 193. doi:10.1037/a0014603

De Cuyper, N., & De Witte, H. (2006). The impact of job insecurity and contract type on attitudes, well-being and behavioural reports: a psychological contract perspective. Journal of Occupational and Organizational Psychology, 79(3), 395-409. doi: doi:10.1348/096317905X53660

De Cuyper N., De Witte H. (2007). Job insecurity in temporary versus permanent workers: Associations with attitudes, well-being, and behaviour. Work & Stress, 21, 65-84. doi:10.1080/02678370701229050

De Cuyper, N., & De Witte, H. (2010). Temporary Employment and Perceived Employability: Mediation by Impression Management. Journal of Career Development, 37(3), 635-652. doi:10.1177/0894845309357051

De Cuyper, N., & De Witte, H. (2011). The management paradox: Self-rated employability and organizational commitment and performance. Personnel Review, 40(2), 152-172. doi: 10.1108/00483481111106057

Dekker, S. W. A., & Schaufeli, W. B. (1995). The effects of job insecurity on psychological health and withdrawal: A longitudinal study. Australian Psychologist, 30(1), 57–63. doi:10.1080/00050069508259607

De Witte, H. (1992). Langdurig werkozen: Tussen optimisten en teruggetrokkenen [The longterm unemployed: Between optimism and resignation]. Leuven: Hoger Instituut van de Arbeid.

De Witte, H. (1999). Job insecurity and psychological well-being: Review of the literature and exploration of some unresolved issues. European Journal of work and Organizational psychology, 8(2), 155-177.

De Witte, H. (2005). Job insecurity: Review of the international literature on definitions, prevalence, antecedents and consequences. South African Journal of Industrial Psychology, 31(4), 1– 6. De Witte H., De Cuyper N.,

Handaja Y., Sverke M., Näswall K., Hellgren J. (2010). Associations Between Quantitative and Qualitative Job Insecurity and Well-Being: A Test in Belgian Banks. International Studies of Management and Organisations, 40(1), 40-56.

De Witte, H., De Cuyper, N., Vander Elst, T., Vanbelle, E., & Niesen, W. (2012). Job insecurity: Review of the literature and a summary of recent studies from Belgium. Romanian Journal of Applied Psychology, 14(1), 11-17.

De Witte, H., & Näswall, K. (2003). Objective' vs Subjective' Job Insecurity: Consequences of Temporary Work for Job Satisfaction and Organizational Commitment in Four European Countries. Economic and Industrial Democracy, 24(2), 149-188. doi:10.1177/0143831X03024002002

De Witte, H., Vander Elst, T., & De Cuyper, N. (2015). Job insecurity, health and well-being. In J. Vuori, R. Blonk, & R. H. Price (Eds.), Sustainable Working Lives: Managing Work Transitions and Health Throughout the Life Course. New York: Springer, pp. 109-128.

Eurofound and EU-OSHA (2014). Psychosocial risks in Europe: Prevalence and strategies for prevention. Luxembourg: Publications Office of the European Union, 2014, pp. 102.

Folkman, S., Lazarus, R. S., Dunkel-Schetter, C., DeLongis, A., & Gruen, R. J. (1986). Dynamics of a stressful encounter: cognitive appraisal, coping, and encounter outcomes. Journal of personality and social psychology, 50(5), 992. doi:10.1037/0022-3514.50.5.992

Fugate, M., Kinicki, A. J., & Prussia, G. E. (2008). Employee coping with organizational change: An examination of alternative theoretical perspectives and models. Personnel Psychology, 61(1), 1-36. doi:10.1111/j.1744-6570.2008.00104.x

Green, F. (2011). Unpacking the misery multiplier: How employability modifies the impacts of unemployment and job insecurity on life satisfaction and mental health. Journal of Health Economics, 30(2), 265-276. doi:10.1016/j.jhealeco.2010.12.005

Greenhalgh L., Rosenblatt Z. (1984). Job Insecurity: Toward Conceptual Clarity. The Academy of Management Review, 9(3), 438-448. doi:10.5465/AMR.1984.4279673

Grunberg L., Moore S., Greenberg E.S. (2006). Managers’ Reactions to Implementing Layoffs: Relationship to Health Problems and Withdrawal Behaviors. Human Resource Management, 45(2), 159-178. doi:10.1002/hrm.20102

Hackman, J. R., & Porter, L. W. (1968). Expectancy theory predictions of work effectiveness. Organizational Behavior and Human Performance, 3(4), 417-426. doi:10.1016/0030-5073(68)90018-4

Hartley, A. L. J. (1998). Organizational commitment and job insecurity in a changing public service organization. European Journal of Work and Organizational Psychology, 7(3), 341-354. doi:10.1080/135943298398745

Hayes, A. F. (2009). Beyond Baron and Kenny: Statistical mediation analysis in the new millennium. Communication Monographs, 76(4), 408-420. doi:10.1080/03637750903310360

Hayes, A. F. (2013). Introduction to mediation, moderation, and conditional process analysis: A regression-based approach. New York, NY: Guilford Press.

Hellgren J., Sverke M. (2003). Does job insecurity lead to impaired well-being or vice versa? Estimation of cross-lagged effects using latent variable modeling. Journal of Organizational Behavior, 24, 215–236. doi:10.1002/job.184

Hellgren J., Sverke M., Isaksson K. (1999). A Two-dimensional Approach to Job Insecurity: Consequences for Employee Attitudes and Well-being. European Journal of Work and Organizational Psychology, 8(2), 179-195. doi:10.1080/135943299398311

Lawler III, E. E., & Suttle, J. L. (1973). Expectancy theory and job behavior. Organizational Behavior and Human Performance, 9(3), 482-503. doi:10.1016/0030-5073(73)90066-4

Lawler, E. E. (1968). A correlational-causal analysis of the relationship between expectancy attitudes and job performance. Journal of Applied Psychology, 52(61), 462. doi:10.1037/h0026499

Lazarus, R. S. (1990). Theory-based stress measurement. Psychological Inquiry, 1(1), 3-13. doi:10.1207/s15327965pli0101_1

Lazarus, R. S. (1993). From psychological stress to the emotions: A history of changing outlooks. Annual Review of Psychology, 44(1), 1-22.

Lazarus, R. S., & Folkman, S. (1984). Stress, appraisal, and coping. New York: Springer.

Locke, E. A. (1969). What is job satisfaction?. Organizational behavior and human performance, 4(4), 309-336. doi:10.1016/0030-5073(69)90013-0

Meyer, J. P., Allen, N. J., & Smith, C. A. (1993). Commitment to organizations and occupations: Extension and test of a three-component model. Journal of Applied Psychology, 78, 538-551. doi:10.1037/0021-9010.78.4.538

Näswall, K., & De Witte, H. (2003). Who feels insecure in Europe? Predicting job insecurity from background variables. Economic and Industrial Democracy, 24(2), 189–215. doi: doi:10.1177/0143831X03024002003

Probst, T. M. (2002). The impact of job insecurity on employee work attitudes, job adaptation, and organizational withdrawal behaviors. In J. M. Brett & F. Drasgow (eds.), The psychology of work: Theoretically based empirical research. NJ: Lawrence Erlbaum Associates, pp. 141-168.

Reisel, W. D., Probst, T. M., Chia, S. L., Maloles, C. M., & König, C. J. (2010). The effects of job insecurity on job satisfaction, organizational citizenship behavior, deviant behavior, and negative emotions of employees. International Studies of Management and Organization, 40(1), 74-91. doi:10.2753/IMO0020-8825400105

Robinson, S. L., & Rousseau, D. M. (1994). Violating the psychological contract: Not the exception but the norm. Journal of Organizational Behavior,15(3), 245-259. doi:10.1002/job.4030150306

Rousseau, D. M. (1989). Psychological and implied contracts in organizations. Employee Responsibilities and Rights Journal, 2(2), 121-139. doi:10.1007/BF01384942

Schreurs, B., van Emmerik, H., Notelaers, G., & De Witte, H. (2010). Job insecurity and employee health: The buffering potential of job control and job self-efficacy. Work & Stress, 24(1), 56-72. doi:10.1080/02678371003718733

Silla I., De Cuyper N., Gracia F.J., Peiró J.M., De Witte H. (2009). Job Insecurity and Well-Being: Moderation by Employability. Journal of Happiness Studies,10, 739-751. doi:10.1007/s10902-008-9119-0

Sora, B., Caballer, A., & Peiró, J. M. (2010). The consequences of job insecurity for employees: The moderator role of job dependence. International Labour Review, 149(1), 59-72. doi:10.1111/j.1564-913X.2010.00075.x

Staufenbiel, T., & König, C. J. (2010). A model for the effects of job insecurity on performance, turnover intention, and absenteeism. Journal of Occupational and Organizational Psychology, 83(1), 101-117. doi:10.1348/096317908X401912

Steijn, B. (2004). Human resource management and job satisfaction in the Dutch public sector. Review of Public Personnel Administration, 24(4), 291-303. doi:10.1177/0734371X04269187

Stynen, D., Forrier, A., Sels, L., & De Witte, H. (2015). The relationship between qualitative job insecurity and OCB: Differences across age groups. Economic and Industrial Democracy, 36(3), 383-405. doi:10.1177/0143831X13510326

Sverke, M., & Hellgren, J. (2001). Exit, Voice and Loyalty Reactions to Job Insecurity in Sweden: Do Unionized and Non-Unionized Employees Differ? British Journal of Industrial Relations, 39(2), 167-182. doi:10.1111/1467-8543.00195

Sverke, M., Hellgren, J., & Näswall, K. (2002). No security: a meta-analysis and review of job insecurity and its consequences. Journal of occupational health psychology, 7(3), 242. doi:10.1037/1076-8998.7.3.242

Van den Broeck, A., Sulea, C., Vander Elst, T., Fischmann, G., Iliescu, D., & De Witte, H. (2014). The mediating role of psychological needs in the relation between qualitative job insecurity and counterproductive work behavior. Career Development International, 19(5), 526-547. doi: 10.1108/CDI-05-2013-0063

Vander Elst, T., De Cuyper, N., & De Witte, H. (2011). The role of perceived control in the relationship between job insecurity and psychosocial outcomes: moderator or mediator?. Stress and Health, 27(3), 215-227. doi:10.1002/smi.1371

Vander Elst, T., De Cuyper, N., Niesen, W., Baillien, E., & De Witte, H. (2014a). Perceived control and psychological contract breach as complementary explanations of the relationship between job insecurity, and job strain and coping reactions. Stress and Health. Advanced online publication. doi:10.1002/smi.2584

Vander Elst, T., Richter, A., Sverke, M., Näswall, K., De Cuyper, N., & De Witte, H. (2014b). Threat of losing valued job features: The role of perceived control in mediating the effect of qualitative job insecurity on job strain and psychological withdrawal. Work & Stress, 28(2), 143-164. doi: 10.1080/02678373.2014.899651

Vander Elst, T., Van den Broeck, A., De Cuyper, N., & De Witte, H. (2014c). On the reciprocal relationship between job insecurity and employee well-being: Mediation by perceived control?. Journal of Occupational and Organizational Psychology, 87(4), 671−693. doi: 10.1111/joop.12068

Zhao, H. A. O., Wayne, S. J., Glibkowski, B. C., & Bravo, J. (2007). The impact of psychological contract breach on work-related outcomes: a meta-analysis. Personnel Psychology, 60(3), 647-680. doi: 10.1111/j.1744-6570.2007.00087.x.


  • There are currently no refbacks.

Copyright (c) 2015 Ieva Urbanaviciute

Asociatia de Psihologie Industriala si Organizationala
Strada Grigore Moisil, nr. 42, sector 2, București, cod poștal 023796

Creative Commons License
This work by Psihologia Resurselor Umane is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 4.0 International License.
Based on a work at pru.apio.ro.