How does job insecurity affect performance and political outcomes? Social identity plays a role

2018-10-05T12:49:52Z (GMT) by Eva Selenko Hans De Witte
Can job insecurity, performance and political attitudes be connected? The presented study draws from social identity theory to propose that fearing to lose ones job can threaten a person’s identity as an employed person. This identity threat can then lead people to disengage at their work and also shift their political attitudes. A longitudinal survey study among n = 632 British workers was carried to test these assumptions. Results of time stable, cross-lagged structural equation modelling indicate that people who felt more job insecure, also reported less attachment to the general working population and more similarity to the unemployed population at a later time point. At work, this identity threat was related to less persistency. Outside work, it was related to less endorsement of values of group inequality and a shift in self-identified political standing, more to the politically left. The results illustrate that job insecurity is not only relevant for behavior at work and organizational outcomes, but that they can have wider, societally relevant consequences. By including social identity we offer a theoretically well-established explanatory mechanisms to account for this effect. This study broadens current literature in organizational behavior by connecting it to wider outcomes, outside the work context.