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Employees' job insecurity perception and unsafe behaviours in human–machine collaboration

Tung-Ju Wu (School of Management, Harbin Institute of Technology, Harbin, China)
Jia-Min Li (School of Business Administration, Northeastern University, Shenyang, China)
Yenchun Jim Wu (College of Humanities and Arts, National Taipei University of Education,Taipei, Taiwan) (Department of Hospitality Management, Ming Chuan University, Taipei, Taiwan)

Management Decision

ISSN: 0025-1747

Article publication date: 25 April 2022

Issue publication date: 30 August 2022




This study aimed to explore the relationship between job insecurity and unsafe behaviour in human–machine collaboration, as well as investigating the mediating roles of emotional exhaustion and moderating roles of psychological detachment.


The authors followed the stressor-detachment model to build our research model. The authors selected manufacturing and service industry employees as samples, and designed three independent studies using the time-lagged method for SPSS and AMOS to test the hypotheses.


The results indicated that emotional exhaustion mediated the relationship between the two types of job insecurity and unsafe behaviours among service industry employees, while psychological detachment moderated the effect of qualitative job insecurity on emotional exhaustion. In manufacturing, psychological detachment moderated the effect of quantitative job insecurity on emotional exhaustion, while emotional exhaustion mediated the relationship between quantitative job insecurity and unsafe behaviours.

Research limitations/implications

The authors enhance understandings of how individual employee characteristics and the work environment jointly influence employees' levels of emotional exhaustion and likelihood of engaging in unsafe behaviours under the stressor-detachment model.

Practical implications

The authors suggest an important role of psychological detachment in human–machine collaboration. The authors also that organisations and managers could encourage employees not to check work-related emails on weekends to achieve full detachment.


This study contributes to both the stressor-detachment model and job insecurity literature. In addition, it investigates the role of detachment and emotional exhaustion by employees in human–machine collaboration.



This research was supported by the Natural Science Foundation of Heilongjiang Province (YQ2021G004), the National Natural Science Foundation of China (72131005, 71702059), and the Fundamental Research Funds for the Central Universities in Harbin Institute of Technology.


Wu, T.-J., Li, J.-M. and Wu, Y.J. (2022), "Employees' job insecurity perception and unsafe behaviours in human–machine collaboration", Management Decision, Vol. 60 No. 9, pp. 2409-2432.



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