Unemployed workers who continue to identify with their former employer report higher well-being even after being fired or laid off from the company, according to a study published Nov. 9 in the Journal of Managerial Psychology.
The study, conducted by San Francisco State University Assistant Professor of Management Jennifer Tosti-Kharas, is among the first to explore how organizational identification relates to job loss.
"These unemployed people have something to cling to by having had very positive associations with their employer in the past," Tosti-Kharas said. "If you never had a positive association with your employer, now you're out of a job and you don't have something positive in your past to make you feel better."
Tosti-Kharas surveyed 1,191 workers after recruiting participants through the alumni office of the university that they had attended. She surveyed the participants in June and December of 2008, and separated the participants into two groups: 45 who were unemployed at the start of the study, and 41 who lost their jobs during the course of the study. Workers who were self-employed, had willingly quit their jobs, or were fully employed throughout the study were discounted.
The unemployed professionals answered questions designed to measure their psychological well-being, self-esteem, continued identification with the company and their judgment of the reason for their job loss. Those who strongly identified with their former employer reported feeling more confident and having a greater sense of purpose and belonging during their unemployment. For example, when someone insulted their former employer, they reported it felt like a personal insult. When referring to the organization, they used the term "we" rather than "they." This strong sense of self that was developed in relation to their company appeared to offset the isolation that is common during a job loss.
The results held only for those employees who attributed their job loss to themselves or their position in the company, rather than blaming the company itself.
"It's well known that when an employee strongly identifies with the organization they work for, they're more likely to go above and beyond and be engaged in their work, which is great for the well-being of individuals and organizations," Tosti-Kharas said. "But that sense of individual well-being had never been assumed to extend to former employees."
"It's all mental," she added. "It's a question of how much is your former organization still a part of who you are and how you define yourself as a person."
Tosti-Kharas noted that the mental benefits the unemployed workers enjoyed were a result of their own perceptions about themselves, not necessarily a continued social connection or interaction with former co-workers. Their positivity and self-esteem extended to their job search as well, further showing links between well-being and success in finding a new job.
The sample of participants was highly educated, and nearly half had worked in the financial industry prior to their job loss. The global economic crisis of 2008 occurred between the two survey dates, possibly contributing to the amount of participants surveyed who had lost their jobs. The study was funded by the Management Department of the NYU Stern School of Business, where Tosti-Kharas earned her Ph.D.
Tosti-Kharas plans to extend the study in the future to a more diverse range of employment fields, economically disadvantaged workers and a longer time span.
SF State is the only master's-level public university serving the counties of San Francisco, San Mateo and Marin. The University enrolls nearly 30,000 students each year and offers nationally acclaimed programs in a range of fields -- from creative writing, cinema and biology to history, broadcast and electronic communication arts, theatre arts and ethnic studies. The University's more than 212,000 graduates have contributed to the economic, cultural and civic fabric of San Francisco and beyond.
Philip Riley | EurekAlert!
The personality factor: How to foster the sharing of research data
06.09.2017 | ZBW – Leibniz-Informationszentrum Wirtschaft
Europe’s Demographic Future. Where the Regions Are Heading after a Decade of Crises
10.08.2017 | Berlin-Institut für Bevölkerung und Entwicklung
Plants and algae use the enzyme Rubisco to fix carbon dioxide, removing it from the atmosphere and converting it into biomass. Algae have figured out a way to increase the efficiency of carbon fixation. They gather most of their Rubisco into a ball-shaped microcompartment called the pyrenoid, which they flood with a high local concentration of carbon dioxide. A team of scientists at Princeton University, the Carnegie Institution for Science, Stanford University and the Max Plank Institute of Biochemistry have unravelled the mysteries of how the pyrenoid is assembled. These insights can help to engineer crops that remove more carbon dioxide from the atmosphere while producing more food.
A warming planet
Our brains house extremely complex neuronal circuits, whose detailed structures are still largely unknown. This is especially true for the so-called cerebral cortex of mammals, where among other things vision, thoughts or spatial orientation are being computed. Here the rules by which nerve cells are connected to each other are only partly understood. A team of scientists around Moritz Helmstaedter at the Frankfiurt Max Planck Institute for Brain Research and Helene Schmidt (Humboldt University in Berlin) have now discovered a surprisingly precise nerve cell connectivity pattern in the part of the cerebral cortex that is responsible for orienting the individual animal or human in space.
The researchers report online in Nature (Schmidt et al., 2017. Axonal synapse sorting in medial entorhinal cortex, DOI: 10.1038/nature24005) that synapses in...
Whispering gallery mode (WGM) resonators are used to make tiny micro-lasers, sensors, switches, routers and other devices. These tiny structures rely on a...
Using ultrafast flashes of laser and x-ray radiation, scientists at the Max Planck Institute of Quantum Optics (Garching, Germany) took snapshots of the briefest electron motion inside a solid material to date. The electron motion lasted only 750 billionths of the billionth of a second before it fainted, setting a new record of human capability to capture ultrafast processes inside solids!
When x-rays shine onto solid materials or large molecules, an electron is pushed away from its original place near the nucleus of the atom, leaving a hole...
For the first time, physicists have successfully imaged spiral magnetic ordering in a multiferroic material. These materials are considered highly promising candidates for future data storage media. The researchers were able to prove their findings using unique quantum sensors that were developed at Basel University and that can analyze electromagnetic fields on the nanometer scale. The results – obtained by scientists from the University of Basel’s Department of Physics, the Swiss Nanoscience Institute, the University of Montpellier and several laboratories from University Paris-Saclay – were recently published in the journal Nature.
Multiferroics are materials that simultaneously react to electric and magnetic fields. These two properties are rarely found together, and their combined...
19.09.2017 | Event News
12.09.2017 | Event News
06.09.2017 | Event News
22.09.2017 | Life Sciences
22.09.2017 | Medical Engineering
22.09.2017 | Physics and Astronomy