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The purpose of this paper is to explore how disadvantaged young adults construct a positive work-related identity in their transition from unemployment to employment, and…
The purpose of this paper is to explore how disadvantaged young adults construct a positive work-related identity in their transition from unemployment to employment, and what enables or constrains a successful transition.
The authors conducted semi-structured interviews with 29 apprentices of a reemployment program (Jamie Oliver’s Fifteen). The qualitative data were complemented by data on participants’ reemployment status one year after the program ended.
Identity construction was not preceded by clear motives or “possible selves.” Rather, serendipitous events led to participation in the reemployment program, after which provisional selves seemed to emerge through different pathways. The data also suggested that disadvantaged young adults had to discard their old selves to consolidate their new identity.
A successful transition from unemployment to employment may require that old selves must be discarded before new selves can fully emerge. Given that our qualitative design limits the generalizability of the findings, the authors propose a process model that deserves further empirical examination.
A clear employment goal is not always required for the success of a reemployment intervention: interventions should rather focus on accommodating the emergence and consolidation of provisional selves. Yet, such programs can be simultaneously effective and unhelpful: especially group identification should be monitored.
Most research assumes that people are driven by specific goals when making a transition. The current study shows otherwise: the factors that enable or constrain a successful transition are not to be found in people’s goals, but rather in the process of identity construction itself.
Economic stressors such as job insecurity, job loss, unemployment, and underemployment cause severe difficulties for the workers affected, their families, organizations…
Economic stressors such as job insecurity, job loss, unemployment, and underemployment cause severe difficulties for the workers affected, their families, organizations, and societies overall. Consequently, most past research has taken a thoroughly negative perspective on economic stress, addressing its diverse negative consequences and the ways that people try to cope with them. And even when following the advice provided by the scientific literature, people affected by economic stress will usually end up being off worse than they were before the onset of the stressor.
The current chapter pays credit to this perspective yet also tries to counterbalance it with an alternative one. While acknowledging the vast amount of literature outlining the negative consequences of economic stress on peoples’ well-being and careers, some literature also points at opportunities for a more positive perspective. More specifically, we argue that affected people can use a wide repertoire of behaviors for handling their current situation. Of particular promise in this regard is the concept of career adaptability, generally defined as the ability to change to fit into new career-related circumstances. Indeed, studies show that under certain conditions, career adaptability can facilitate people's search for not just any job but for a qualitatively better job, thus breaking through the spiral of losses usually associated with economic stress.
For the purpose of this argument, we link career adaptability to the concept of proactive coping, analyzing how and under which conditions career adaptability may present a contextualized form of proactive coping. We then address known personal and situational antecedents of career adaptability and show how career adaptability may be fostered and trained among different types of job seekers. We end this chapter with a discussion of open questions as well as directions for future research.
In our 10th volume of Research in Occupational Stress and Well Being, we offer eight chapters that examine the role of the economic crisis in occupational stress and well…
In our 10th volume of Research in Occupational Stress and Well Being, we offer eight chapters that examine the role of the economic crisis in occupational stress and well being research. The first three chapters are considered more general overviews, and each examines a different aspect of economic stress and well being. Our lead chapter, by Songqi Liu and Mo Wang, provides an in-depth review of perceived overqualification. They develop and present a multilevel model of perceived overqualification that explicitly addresses antecedents, consequences, as well as the intermediating linkages within the relationships. The second chapter by Mindy K. Shoss and Tahira M. Probst also takes a multilevel approach by examining outcomes of economic stress. Specifically, they discuss how employee experiences with economic stress give impetus to emergent outcomes and employee well being. In our third overview chapter, Aimee E. A. King and Paul E. Levy develop a theoretical framework for organizational politics in an economic downturn. Specifically, they propose an integrative model that examines the role of the economic downturn, politics, and well being.
Maximilian Buyken is a PhD candidate at the Department of Work and Organizational Psychology at Justus Liebig University Giessen, Germany. He received his diploma (German equivalent of a Master's degree) from Philipps-Universität Marburg, Germany. His particular research interests are career adaptability – especially in the face of economic stressors – occupational health psychology and the connection between the two research areas, for example, the function of career adaptive behaviors as coping mechanisms with regard to psychological strain.