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Voice and silence as immediate consequences of job insecurity

Kimberley Breevaart (Department of Psychology, Education and Child Studies, Erasmus Universiteit Rotterdam, Rotterdam, The Netherlands)
Sergio Lopez Bohle (Departamento de Administración, Facultad de Administración y Economía, Universidad de Santiago, Santiago de Chile, Chile)
Jan Luca Pletzer (Department of Psychology, Education and Child Studies, Erasmus Universiteit Rotterdam, Rotterdam, The Netherlands)
Felipe Muñoz Medina (Departamento de Tecnologías de Gestión, Facultad Tecnológica, Universidad de Santiago, Santiago de Chile, Chile)

Career Development International

ISSN: 1362-0436

Article publication date: 30 January 2020

Issue publication date: 19 March 2020

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Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this paper is to examine the weekly effects of job insecurity on employee voice and silence. Specifically, the authors argue that because employment fulfils important needs, employees’ needs are less fulfilled when they feel that their job is at risk (i.e. high job insecurity). Consequently, the authors argue that employees engage in less voice and more silence because when employees’ needs are not fulfilled, they are less committed to the organization and/or protect their personal resources.

Design/methodology/approach

The authors tested their hypotheses in a five-week long diary study among 97 employees.

Findings

The authors found that employees reported lower need fulfilment in those weeks and the week after job insecurity was higher, which, in turn, decreased employee voice and increased employee silence in those weeks and the week after.

Research limitations/implications

The study shows that feelings about one’s job insecurity fluctuate from week to week and that the weekly negative effects associated with increased job insecurity can be explained from a needs fulfilment perspective. The study also highlights the importance of studying voice and silence simultaneously.

Practical implications

Managers could indirectly increase employees’ voice and decrease employees’ silence by reducing feelings of job insecurity to increase employees’ feelings of predictability of and control over their future.

Originality/value

The authors studied short-term effects of job insecurity on both employee voice and silence, and examined need fulfilment as an underlying mechanism to explain the effects of job insecurity.

Keywords

Acknowledgements

This research was supported by a Proyecto Dicyt USACH (Grant No. 031861LB), Vicerrectoría de Investigación, Desarrollo e Innovación de Universidad de Santiago de Chile granted to the second author.

Citation

Breevaart, K., Lopez Bohle, S., Pletzer, J.L. and Muñoz Medina, F. (2020), "Voice and silence as immediate consequences of job insecurity", Career Development International, Vol. 25 No. 2, pp. 204-220. https://doi.org/10.1108/CDI-09-2018-0226

Publisher

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Emerald Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2020, Emerald Publishing Limited

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