Academic journal article Social Behavior and Personality: an international journal

Job Security and Work Outcomes in China: Perceived Organizational Support as Mediator

Academic journal article Social Behavior and Personality: an international journal

Job Security and Work Outcomes in China: Perceived Organizational Support as Mediator

Article excerpt

As organizational change, such as downsizing and restructuring, has increased worldwide in a climate of economic instability, job security has become an important research area in recent years. This is especially true in China where expectations of a basic security network that encompasses lifetime employment - the "iron rice bowl" - have been disrupted by economic reforms that have injected market mechanisms (Dong & Xu, 2008). Hence, job security warrants careful consideration by organizations in China (Loi, Lam, & Chan, 2012).

Job security is defined as "a psychological state in which workers vary in their expectations of future job continuity within an organization" (Kraimer, Wayne, Liden, and Sparrowe, 2005, p. 390). Although previous researchers have indicated that job security has an impact on employee behavior and outcomes (Cheng & Chan, 2008), far less is known about the social exchange mechanisms involved. In fact, perceived organizational support (POS) may play a mediating role on the relationship between job security and work outcomes. That is, POS represents an employee's perception of what he or she is currently receiving from the organization, or the quality of the employee's relationship with the organization (Rhoades & Eisenberger, 2002). POS is defined as employees' global beliefs about the extent to which the organization cares about their well-being and values their contributions (Eder & Eisenberger, 2008). If employees perceive the organization as willing to provide job security, they tend to regard the organization as responsible and supportive and, in turn, engage in behavior supporting organizational goals.

In addition, previous researchers of job security and work outcomes have mainly conducted studies in the West, limiting understanding of related phenomena in the context of Chinese culture. Thus, our aim in this study was to advance the understanding of the relationship between job security and work outcomes in China by exploring the mediating role of POS.

Literature Review and Hypotheses Development

According to social exchange theory (SET; Blau, 1964), organizational benefits such as job security may induce in employees a sense of reciprocity and a perception of obligation to commit to an organization. In contrast, employee loyalty and intention to stay with an organization decrease when employers are unable to provide job security (Cavanaugh & Noe, 1999). Because job insecurity leads to a reduced level of organizational commitment (De Witte & Näswall, 2003), lack of job security can be the main cause of employees withholding extrarole behavior (Kang, Gold, & Kim, 2013).

In addition, employee concern about a perceived low level of job security will be a hindrance stressor (Podsakoff, LePine, & LePine, 2007). One way to cope with this emotional stress is to withdraw from the situation by reducing extrarole behavior or engaging in withdrawal cognitions such as forming an intention to leave the job (Bernhard-Oettel, De Cuyper, Schreurs, & De Witte, 2011; Staufenbiel & König, 2010). In contrast, if employees perceive that they have job security, they may invest more effort in their present position and also engage in extrarole behavior. Thus, we proposed the following hypotheses:

Hypothesis 1: Job security will be positively related to extrarole behavior.

Hypothesis 2: Job security will be negatively related to turnover intention.

According to SET (Blau, 1964), assurance that an organization wishes to retain an employee is a strong indication of POS, particularly in recent years when downsizing has been prevalent (Rhoades & Eisenberger, 2002). Employees may view a high level of job security as a form of organizational support, and this tends to increase their commitment to the organization (Allen, Shore, & Griffeth, 2003). Job insecurity is associated with a decrease in POS (Rosenblatt & Ruvio, 1996). …

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