Job Insecurity Climate, Knowledge Sharing/Hiding, and Team Outcomes

    Project: Research project

    Project Details


    The dramatic changes in the nature of work and business environment in the past two decades or so have caused heightened levels of uncertainties in the workplaces today. Job insecurity (JI) has become a nearly universal phenomenon in workplaces worldwide. On the one hand, organizations are faced with pressures for change which unavoidably leads to employees’ experience of JI. On the other hand, organizations have to rely more and more on employees’ adaptivity and initiatives to develop their competitive advantage. Although JI has drawn much research attention and robust findings have been accumulated regarding the impact of JI on employees and organizations, JI’s effect has been predominantly examined at the individual level. We do not know much about how JI impacts work teams. This is unfortunate considering the facts that teams are increasingly valued for their potential to perform in today’s complex work environment. In this research, we focus on studying the validity of team level JI and how it influences team adaptivity and proactivity. We first theorize the formation of team JI climate using theories about team cognition and the emotional contagion. We then develop a model that links JI climate to team adaptivity and proactivity through knowledge exchange behaviors in teams. Specifically, we propose two mechanisms: (a) JI climate causes decreased knowledge sharing as a result of threat-rigidity effect. That is, when faced with the threat of losing jobs or desired features of their jobs, members would focus attention on saving their own jobs and at the same time, limit their attention to knowledge from others causing limited knowledge sharing in teams. (b) JI climate causes increased knowledge hiding as a result of a desire for resource control. That is, the uncertainties about job future and perceptions about limited resources associated with members’ experience of JI would drive a strong motivation to keep knowledge to themselves causing increased knowledge hiding in teams. Further, we also propose, based on the goal interdependence theory that team goal and reward structures (competitive versus cooperative) is a boundary condition of the proposed team level JI impact. We plan to collect both interview and survey data from organizations in China to test the model. We believe findings from this project will not only contribute to the literature but have practical implications for managers to better understand the collective impact of JI and knowledge management in teams.
    Effective start/end date1/09/1731/01/21


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