Differentiating cognitive and affective job insecurity: Antecedents and outcomes

Guohua Emily HUANG*, Xiongying Niu, Cynthia Lee, Susan J. Ashford

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

66 Citations (Scopus)
25 Downloads (Pure)


To test a proposed model of the job insecurity (JI) process that treats cognitive JI and affective JI as separate constructs, this study investigates organizational-level employee involvement and communication practices that influence the level of cognitive JI; increasing levels of cognitive JI in turn can create an affective reaction (i.e., affective JI). This affective reaction then influences individual psychological and behavioral outcomes. With two waves of data from three large Chinese organizations, the model test results show that employee involvement decreases cognitive JI perceptions. This reduction then leads to lower affective JI. Affective JI in turn relates negatively to employee psychological well-being but positively to both supervisor-rated job performance and affective JI six months later. The effect of cognitive JI on employee outcomes is partially through affective JI. Cognitive JI has a direct impact on psychological well-being but not on job performance. These findings offer key theoretical and practical implications.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)752-769
Number of pages18
JournalJournal of Organizational Behavior
Issue number6
Publication statusPublished - Aug 2012

Scopus Subject Areas

  • Applied Psychology
  • Sociology and Political Science
  • Psychology(all)
  • Organizational Behavior and Human Resource Management

User-Defined Keywords

  • Affective job insecurity
  • Cognitive job insecurity
  • Employee communication
  • Employee involvement
  • Job insecurity


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