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Job insecurity and performance: the mediating role of organizational identification

Beatrice Piccoli (Essex Business School, University of Essex, UK and Research Group Work, Organizational and Personnel Psychology, KU Leuven, Belgium)
Antonino Callea (Department of Human Science, LUMSA University, Rome, Italy)
Flavio Urbini (Department of Human Science, LUMSA University, Rome, Italy)
Antonio Chirumbolo (Department of Social and Developmental Psychology, Sapienza University of Rome, Italy)
Emanuela Ingusci (Department of History, Society and Human Studies, University of Salento, Lecce, Italy)
Hans De Witte (Research Group Work, Organizational and Personnel Psychology, KU Leuven, Leuven, Belgium and Optentia Research Focus Area, North-West University, South Africa)

Personnel Review

ISSN: 0048-3486

Article publication date: 6 November 2017



The purpose of this paper is to extend knowledge about theoretical explanations of the job insecurity-performance relationship. Specifically, the authors examine how and why job insecurity is negatively associated with task and contextual performance (i.e. organizational citizenship behavior) and whether organizational identification may account for these relationships.


The mediational hypotheses were examined using structural equation modeling in a heterogeneous sample of Italian employees.


Consistent with social identity theory, results show that job insecurity is related to reduced levels of identification with the organization and, consequently, to low task and contextual performance. These findings suggest that employees’ behaviors in job insecure contexts are also driven by evaluations about the perceived belongingness to the organization.

Practical implications

The research supports initial evidence that it is possible to prevent low performance resulting from job insecurity by designing interventions to boost organizational identification. By ensuring a sense of belonging and providing a positive basis for employees’ social identity, managers may increase involvement and attachment to the organization.


This study provides a deeper understanding of behavioral reactions to job insecurity and adds a path unexplored so far, by introducing a theoretical perspective from social psychology. Job insecurity may represent a specific condition that leads organizational identification to be a key mechanism for employees and their behaviors.



Piccoli, B., Callea, A., Urbini, F., Chirumbolo, A., Ingusci, E. and De Witte, H. (2017), "Job insecurity and performance: the mediating role of organizational identification", Personnel Review, Vol. 46 No. 8, pp. 1508-1522.



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