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Reexamining the Relationship Between Flexibility and Insecurity

Comparing European Workers Part A

ISBN: 978-1-84950-946-6, eISBN: 978-1-84950-947-3

Publication date: 25 April 2011


Purpose – In this chapter, we examine individual- and country-level differences in perceived job insecurity in the 27 European Union countries (EU27) within a multilevel framework.

Design/methodology/approach – We primarily focus on cross-national differences in perceived job insecurity in the EU27 and consider several possible explanations of it, including flexible employment practices, economic conditions, labor market structure, and political institutions. We examine both individual- and country-level determinants using multilevel partial proportional odds models based on individual-level data from the 2006 Eurobarometer 65.3 and country-level data from a variety of sources.

Findings – We find that European workers feel most insecure in countries with high unemployment, low union density, low levels of part-time and temporary employment, relatively little social spending on unemployment benefits, and in post-socialist countries.

Research limitations/implications – The findings from this study suggest that flexible employment practices do not necessarily cause workers to feel insecure in their jobs. This is likely due to the different nature of part-time and temporary employment in different institutional contexts.

Originality/value – This study is one of the most comprehensive accounts of perceived job insecurity in Europe given the focus on a larger number of countries and macro-level explanations for perceived job insecurity.



Fullerton, A.S., Robertson, D.L. and Dixon, J.C. (2011), "Reexamining the Relationship Between Flexibility and Insecurity", Brady, D. (Ed.) Comparing European Workers Part A (Research in the Sociology of Work, Vol. 22 Part 1), Emerald Group Publishing Limited, Leeds, pp. 9-41.



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