In the eye of the beholder: How proactive coping alters perceptions of insecurity.
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Why do some workers experience less insecurity than others even when facing the same objectively insecure work situation? Combining appraisal theory with the construct of proactive coping, we propose that proactive career behavior represents a form of resource accumulation that mitigates the extent to which insecure work situations result in perceived insecurity. We hypothesize that proactive career behavior moderates the effect of an acute insecure work situation (time remaining before contract expiration) and a chronic insecure work situation (probability of digitalization) on control appraisals of these situations and, in turn, perceptions of job and employment insecurity. We tested this moderated mediation model in a 3-wave field study with 2 samples. First, workers in unstable temporary jobs (with no renewed contract, N = 227) perceived higher lack of control and hence higher job insecurity as their contract got closer to expiring. As hypothesized, this process was mitigated by proactive career behavior. Second, workers in stable jobs (with a renewed contract or a permanent contract, N = 205) perceived higher lack of control and hence higher employment insecurity, as their occupation had a higher probability of digitalization. In contrast to our hypothesis, proactive career behavior did not mitigate this effect. Results further replicated established relationships between perceived insecurity and later stress and career dissatisfaction. By moving up the causal chain and focusing on the emergence of insecurity rather than the more common emphasis on consequences of insecurity, our study uncovers the role of proactive coping in the job insecurity process. (PsycInfo Database Record (c) 2020 APA, all rights reserved)
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