Jiang, L., Lawrence, A., & Xu, X. (2022). Does a stick work? A meta‐analytic examination of curvilinear relationships between job insecurity and employee workplace behaviors. Journal of Organizational Behavior.

The job insecurity literature has been limited by the dominant linear view on the effects of job insecurity and the misconception that the conceptualizations and operationalizations of job insecurity across studies are homogenous. To challenge these two assumptions, we contrast the integrated perspective based on social exchange theory and job preservation motivation with activation theory and propose competing hypotheses for the curvilinear relationships between job insecurity and employee behavioral outcomes, including task performance, organizational citizenship behavior (OCB), creative performance, safety behavior, and counterproductive work behavior (CWB). We also examine the moderating roles of different conceptualizations of job insecurity (i.e., cognitive vs. affective job insecurity; quantitative vs. qualitative job insecurity) in the proposed curvilinear relationships. Our meta-analysis demonstrates that the negative relationships of job insecurity with task performance and OCB-organization turn positive after inflection points, supporting the integrated perspective of social exchange theory and job preservation motivation but not activation theory. Moreover, the negative relationships of job insecurity with OCB-individual and creative performance turn nonsignificant as job insecurity further increases. Finally, job insecurity has a linear, negative relationship with safety behavior, but a linear, positive relationship with CWB-organization. Interestingly, affective job insecurity has lower inflection points than cognitive job insecurity, and qualitative job insecurity has lower inflection points than quantitative job insecurity. This study provides a deep and fine-grained understanding of the curvilinear relationships between job insecurity and workplace behaviors and pushes the literature forward by focusing on the nuanced differences among various types of job insecurity.