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Semester 1 (2207)

Task 1: Individual Written Essay

Associations between Quantitative, Qualitative Job Insecurity and Well-being

Research questions in BUACC5931 Research and Statistical Methods

De Witte et al. (2010) investigated the association of employees’ perception of quantitative and qualitative job insecurity with job satisfaction, and psychological distress in the Belgium banking sector.

Job insecurity is defined as the employees’ concerns about their work-related future. There are two kinds of job insecurities, quantitative job insecurity and qualitative job insecurity. Quantitative job insecurity is about the threat to the continuation of the job in the future. Qualitative job insecurity is about threats to the various valued aspects of the job, such as job content or working conditions.

Data collection and respondents

In total, there were 69,000 employees working in the 63 Belgian banks affiliated with the sector’s joint industrial committee in 2001. As for questioning all employees would be too expensive, the researchers decided to survey a sample of 15,000 employees (roughly 21%).

All the 63 banks participated in the survey. About 21% of employees in each bank were invited to participate in the survey. Within each bank, the respondents were selected at random with no particular quota for gender, age or employee level. The survey was based on addresses which  had been provided by the banks (name, language, address) and each randomly selected employee received a personalized envelope through regular mail, sent to him/her by the employer. The completed questionnaire needed to be returned (free of charge) through the internal post within each bank. The researchers travelled to each bank to collect the completed survey.

The sample was representative for employees in the banking sector, however, not for the total working population. More men (58.5 percent) than women (41.5 percent) participated. About two in three respondents were between 35 and 44 years old or between 45 and 54 years old, while about one in four was between 25 and 34 years old. Only a minority (4 percent) was younger than 24 or older than 55. Most respondents had an education beyond high school (63.9 percent), had partners with an income and children (72.4 percent), and worked full-time (85 percent). There were about as many white-collar workers (54.4 percent) as executives (45.6 percent).


Quantitative job insecurity was measured with four items developed by De Witte (2000) on a scale from 1 (strongly disagree) to 4 (strongly agree). Sample items were “I feel insecure about the future of my job”’ and “I am sure that I will be able to keep my job” (reverse coded). Reliability (Cronbach’s alpha) equalled .89.

Qualitative job insecurity was measured with ten items from the 17 item measure that was originally proposed by Ashford, Lee, and Bobko (1989). These job features concerned four broad dimensions previously distinguished to describe the various characteristics of a job: job content (autonomy, skill utilization, and specific tasks), working conditions (workload and quality of working conditions), employment conditions (wage, working hours, and opportunities for promotion), and social relations at work (relations with colleagues and supervisors, respectively). Respondents had to indicate whether each of the job features would likely improve or deteriorate in the near future (1 = strongly deteriorate; 5 = strongly improve). We recoded the items so that a high score reflected qualitative job insecurity. Cronbach’s alpha equalled .87.

Job satisfaction was measured with one item: “Overall, how satisfied are you with your current job?” (1 = very dissatisfied; 5 = very satisfied).

Psychological distress was measured with the 12-item version of the General Health Questionnaire (Goldberg, 1978). A sample item was “Have you recently lost much sleep over worry?” Responses varied from 1 (“less than usual”) to 4 (“much more than usual“). Reliability (Cronbach’s alpha) was .89.

Control variables. The following social demographics and work-related factors were included: gender (0 = men; 1 = women), age (1 = 18–24; 2 = 25–34; 3 = 35–44; 4 = 45–54; 5 = 55+),

education (0 = no education beyond high school; 1 = education beyond high school), extra income (0 = no partner with extra income; 1 = partner with extra income), children (0 = no children; 1 = children), occupational position (0 = white-collar worker; 1 = executive), working hours (0 = part-time; 1 = full-time). The demographics were used as control variables in data analysis.

Instructions for answering the questions

Use at least four academic sources in English to answer the questions. The sources can be books or peer reviewed journal articles or a combination of both books and peer reviewed journal articles. The academic sources as well as responding to the questions will be around 1500 words in total.

Q1: Sample size

The sample size for this study is fifteen thousand employees selected from a total of 69,000 bank employees (about 21% of the employees). Is a sample of this size necessary? Give your reasons.

Q2: Sampling method

What is the current method of sampling? What are the advantages and disadvantages of the current sampling method?

Q3: Measures of variables

Give your comments on the reliability and validity of measures of the variables.

Q4: Collection of data on social demographics

The purpose of this research is to find the associations between quantitative and qualitative job insecurity and well-being. However, data on variables such as gender, age, education level, and extra income were also collected. What is the purpose of collecting data on variables such as gender, age, educational level etc.?

Q5: Research design

What research design is used for current research? What is the positive and negative side of the current research design?



Management Journal, 32(4), 803-829. doi:10.2307/256569

De Witte, H. (2000). Arbeidsethos en jobonzekerheid: meting en gevolgen voor welzijn, tevredenheid en inzet op het werk (Work Ethic and Job Insecurity: Measurement and Consequences for Well- Being, Satisfaction, and Performance at Work). In van groep naar gemeenschap, ed. R. Bouwen,

K. De Witte, H. De Witte, and T. Taillieu, 325–350. Leuven: Garant. Goldberg, D. P. (1978).

Manual of the General Health Questionnaire. Windsor, UK: NFER-Nelson.

De Witte, H., De Cuyper, N., Handaja, Y., Sverke, M., Näswall, K., & Hellgren, J. (2010). Associations between quantitative and qualitative job insecurity and well-being: A test in Belgian banks.

International Studies of Management & Organization, 40(1), 40-56. doi:10.2753/IMO0020- 8825400103

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