Job insecurity and wellness of employees in a government organisation
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The work environment in which South African employees have to function in is highly demanding, offering them little in terms of job security, but simultaneously expecting them to give more in terms of inter alia flexibility, competency, and effort. Tracking and addressing government employees' functioning in areas that could affect their wellness and consequent standard of service is essential. Job insecurity, affectivity, burnout and work engagement are specific focus areas in this research. It is important to use reliable and valid measuring instruments to measure these constructs. It appears that job insecurity may affect employees' levels of burnout and work engagement and that affectivity may also influence the stress outcome relationship. A lack of South African research exists regarding job insecurity and wellness of employees, hence the importance of this research. The objectives of this study were to investigate the relationship between job insecurity, affectivity, burnout, and work engagement of employees (N = 297) in a government organisation. A cross-sectional survey design was used. Constructs were measured by means of the Job Insecurity Inventory (JII), the Affectometer 2 (AFM 2), the Oldenburg Burnout Inventory (OLBI) and the Utrecht Work Engagement Scale (UWES). The research method for each of the three articles consists of a brief literature review and an empirical study. Exploratory factor analyses, as well as Cronbach's alphas were computed to assess the reliability and validity of the OLBI, UWES and AFM 2. Structural equation modeling was used to assess the construct validity of the JII, while alpha coefficients were computed to assess the internal consistency of its scales. Descriptive statistics were used to analyse data and Pearson product moment correlation coefficients, as well as regression analyses were used to examine the relationships between the constructs employed in this research. Structural equation modeling results confirmed the two-factor structure of the JII, consisting of an affective and cognitive dimension, although a one-factor model also resulted in a good, but not superior fit. Exploratory factor analyses of the OLBI resulted in a two-factor model of burnout, consisting of exhaustion disengagement and engagement subscale and the UWES resulted in a one-factor model of engagement. Exploratory factor analyses of the AFM 2 resulted in a two-factor model, consisting of a negative and positive affect scale. All scales used in this research demonstrated adequate internal consistencies. It was found that white participants experience higher levels of cognitive job insecurity and lower levels of engagement (OLBI) compared to black participants. Shorter tenure was associated with increased engagement (OLBI). It was furthermore found that participants who had been working in the organisation for less than one year and those who worked for two to five years demonstrated higher levels of positive affect compared to employees who had been working in the organisation for 11 years and longer. Regarding negative affect, it was established that participants with tenure less than one year presented lower negative affect levels compared to participants who had been employed in the organisation for longer. Job insecurity and burnout were found to be statistically significantly correlated. Cognitive and affective job insecurity demonstrated a practically significant relationship with work engagement. Positive and negative affectivity showed a practically significant correlation with both the affective and cognitive job insecurity scales and work engagement. Positive affectivity partially mediated the relationship between cognitive job insecurity and exhaustion disengagement. Furthermore, both positive and negative affectivity partially mediated the relationship between cognitive job insecurity and work engagement. Conclusions are made, limitations of the current research are discussed and recommendations for future research are put forward.