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Insecurity and lack of control in a changing organization

Publiceringsår: 2008
Språk: Engelska
Dokumenttyp: Konferensbidrag


The working life of today is characterized by a changing environment with heavier workload, lack of control, temporary work contracts and decreased workplace support. In recent years there has been a growing interest in studying the impact of insecure employment and several studies show that organizational changes and downsizing have negative consequences for the employees. Some authors argue that insecurity at work and threat of job loss can even have more negative effects on health than the experience of being unemployed. The aim of the present study was to examine the main and interaction effects of job insecurity and lack of control at work on employee’s mental health.

An internet-based questionnaire was sent to 1345 female and male employees at both managerial and non-managerial level working in a Swedish telecom company that had recently gone through several organizational changes and reconstructions. The company develops internet based services and products and the work can be compared to call centre work. A total of 950 completed surveys were received, resulting in a response rate of 71%. Of the respondents, 502 were women (82 managers, 407 non-managers, and 13 had not specified their position) and 448 were men (89 managers, 357 non-managers, and two had not specified their position). The mean age of the participants was 47. Job insecurity was measured by four items from Copenhagen Psychosocial Questionnaire (COPSOQ), lack of control at work by three items from the COPSOQ and mental health symptoms were assessed by Hopkins Symptom Checklist-25.

The main and interaction effects of job insecurity and lack of control on employee’s mental health were examined by means of hierarchical multiple regression analyses. In the first step of the regression analyses the demographic variables were controlled for. Among the demographic variables, being manager predicted less health symptoms than being non-manager. In the second step the variables job insecurity and lack of control were entered. Step 2 added a significant amount of variance (19 %) to the prediction of health symptoms. In addition to the main effects on mental health symptoms, an interaction effect between job insecurity and lack of control was found in the third step of the regression analyse. The incremental variance explained by the interaction terms was 1%. The total model explained 23% of the variance of employee’s mental health symptoms. The results of the study clearly show the importance of considering job insecurity and lack of control to prevent mental health symptoms among employees in a changing organization.


  • Psychology
  • control
  • Job insecurity
  • changing organization


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