Feeling Weary? Feeling Insecure? Are All Workplace Changes Bad News?

Irina Nikolova*, Karen van Dam, Joris Van Ruysseveldt, Hans De Witte

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

Abstract

Prior research indicates that workplace changes can have both positive and negative consequences for employees. To explore the mechanisms that trigger these different outcomes, we propose and test a mediation model, which builds on the premises of the challenge-hindrance model of work stress. Specifically, we suggest that whereas workplace changes can engender positive outcomes (e.g., learning outcomes) through an increase in learning demands, they can also enhance negative outcomes (e.g., emotional exhaustion) through increased perceptions of qualitative job insecurity. While we made these specific assumptions, we also analyzed the reversed causation relationships. Two-wave data obtained from 1366 Dutch employees were used to test the study hypotheses. The results showed that the reciprocal causation model had the best fit for the data. However, whereas emotional exhaustion was only mediated by qualitative job insecurity, no mediation was found by learning demands. In addition to the hypothesized effects, several reversed causation effects emerged from the analyses, indicating that the relationships between workplace changes and employee learning and strain are not unidirectional. This underscores the need for a broader view on the causes and effects of workplace changes, as the traditional causation relationships (i.e., perceptions of workplace changes impacting employee learning and strain experiences) are insufficient to explain the complex dynamics between the studied phenomena.

Original languageEnglish
Article number1842
Number of pages22
JournalInternational Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health
Volume16
Issue number10
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 2 May 2019

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Keywords

  • workplace changes
  • learning demands
  • qualitative job insecurity
  • competence development
  • emotional exhaustion
  • ORGANIZATIONAL-CHANGE
  • JOB INSECURITY
  • WORK ENGAGEMENT
  • RECIPROCAL RELATIONSHIPS
  • SELF-EFFICACY
  • CHALLENGE
  • RESOURCES
  • DEMANDS
  • STRESS
  • HEALTH

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