ISSN 1671-3710
CN 11-4766/R

Advances in Psychological Science ›› 2022, Vol. 30 ›› Issue (11): 2381-2394.doi: 10.3724/SP.J.1042.2022.02381

• Conceptual Framework •     Next Articles

Thinking of change in times of danger: The differential impact of job insecurity on innovative behavior

MA Bing1, YANG Rong1, DU Jing2, MA Guimei1()   

  1. 1School of Management, Xi’an Polytechnic University, Xi’an 710048, China
    2Economics and Management School, Wuhan University, Wuhan 430072, China
  • Received:2022-01-10 Online:2022-11-15 Published:2022-09-07
  • Contact: MA Guimei


Enterprises are experiencing a “dilemma” in employee management and organizational innovation- it is difficult for enterprises to provide stable jobs, though they have to rely on employees to realize organizational innovation. Thus, it is very essential to study the impact of employees' job insecurity on innovative behavior. When employees encounter job insecurity caused by different environmental threats, they show different level of innovative behavior. Previous studies mainly focus on subjective perception in defining the concept of job insecurity, and only pay attention to mechanism of the holistic construction on innovative behavior from the perspective of intrinsic motivation. This study defines and deepens the concept of job insecurity underpinned by the focus of threats, and explores its differential impact on innovative behavior based on the “variable-centered” approach and the “person-centered” approach. Firstly, this study regards job insecurity as subjective perceptions related to environmental threats and divides it into two dimensions, job-focus insecurity and person-focus insecurity. A measurement scale is also developed. Secondly, with the adoption of longitudinal method and the analysis of the subordinate-supervisor dyad data, it is expected to reveal the chain mediating role of situational regulatory focus and work passion in the impact of job insecurity on innovative behavior. Job-focus insecurity has a negative impact on innovative behavior while person-focus insecurity has an inverted U-shaped impact on innovative behavior. Finally, the “person-centered” approach will be adopted to explore the potential types of job insecurity and its impact on innovative behavior by using latent profile analysis. The main contributions of this study at theoretical level are as follow: 1) considering the sources of environmental threats, the definition of the concept of job insecurity, the deconstruction of the dimensions based on threat focus and the development of the measurement scale will promote the conceptual research and measurement development of job insecurity. 2) based on the regulatory focus theory and the dual model of passion, this study adopt the "variable-centered" approach to comprehensively reveal the differential impact of various dimensions of job insecurity on innovative behavior from the process of motivation and emotional response, which will enrich and improve the research of mechanisms. 3) in response to the call of debus et al. (2020), this study adopts the "person-centered" approach and pays attention to the variability between individuals to investigate whether it is possible to identify different job insecurity profiles and whether innovative behavior differs between job insecurity profiles. Thus, how different dimensions are combined within profiles of employees can be uncovered, which can make up for the shortcomings of the previous “variable-centered” approach, and provide a new direction to the in-depth study of job insecurity. In addition, at practical level, the results of this study can equip managers to have a more comprehensive understanding of the threatening nature of job insecurity, and help them have a better view of the differential impact of job-focus insecurity and person-focus insecurity on innovative behavior. What is more, this study can also provide guidance and suggestions for enterprises on effective employee management and innovative behavior promotion in an unstable environment.

Key words: innovative behavior, job insecurity, situational regulatory focus, work passion, environmental threats

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