Job Insecurity


  • Stephen Sweet

Document type: Encyclopedia Entry

Appears in: Work and Family Encyclopedia

Year: 2006


  • Alternative Work Arrangements
  • Flexible Work Arrangements/Flexibility
  • Stress
  • Work Design/Redesign


  • Sociology


Job insecurity is a condition wherein employees lack the assurance that their jobs will remain stable from day to day, week to week, or year to year. Depending on the discipline and political leanings of authors, job insecurity can be referenced in a variety of ways. For instance, “boundaryless careers,” “flexibility,” “new employer-employee contracts,” and “organizational restructuring” can sometimes be used as euphemisms for the dismantling of workplace protections for secure employment (Pollert, 1988; Sweet, Moen, & Meiksins, Forthcoming). But these terms can also be used to highlight positive aspects of job and organizational redesigns, some of which workers find liberating (Heckscher, 1988; Piore & Sabel, 1984). Some types of “non-standard” employment contracts, including temporary work and contingent work, add complexity to the analysis of job insecurity because workers in these jobs have explicit understandings that their jobs are unlikely to last long, but also lump these workers with other workers who are inter-organizationally mobile and secure in their careers (Kalleberg, 2000). As a result, some of these workers may be secure in the knowledge that their current employment situations are unlikely to remain stable.

Link:Job_Insecurity encyclopedia