Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

When identity is tied to former employer, unemployed report higher well-being

Date:
November 9, 2012
Source:
San Francisco State University
Summary:
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 new study. The study is among the first to explore how organizational identification relates to job loss.

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.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by San Francisco State University. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Journal Reference:

  1. Jennifer Tosti-Kharas. Continued organizational identification following involuntary job loss. Journal of Managerial Psychology, 2012; Vol. 27 Iss: 8, pp.829 - 847 DOI: 10.1108/02683941211280184

Cite This Page:

San Francisco State University. "When identity is tied to former employer, unemployed report higher well-being." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 9 November 2012. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2012/11/121109084145.htm>.
San Francisco State University. (2012, November 9). When identity is tied to former employer, unemployed report higher well-being. ScienceDaily. Retrieved April 23, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2012/11/121109084145.htm
San Francisco State University. "When identity is tied to former employer, unemployed report higher well-being." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2012/11/121109084145.htm (accessed April 23, 2014).

Share This



More Science & Society News

Wednesday, April 23, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

High Court to Hear Dispute of TV Over Internet

High Court to Hear Dispute of TV Over Internet

AP (Apr. 22, 2014) The future of Aereo, an online service that provides over-the-air TV channels, hinges on a battle with broadcasters that goes before the U.S. Supreme Court on Tuesday. (April 22) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Is North Korea Planning Nuclear Test #4?

Is North Korea Planning Nuclear Test #4?

Newsy (Apr. 22, 2014) South Korean officials say North Korea is preparing to conduct another nuclear test, but is Pyongyang just bluffing this time? Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Iowa College Finds Beauty in Bulldogs

Iowa College Finds Beauty in Bulldogs

AP (Apr. 22, 2014) Drake University hosts 35th annual Beautiful Bulldog Contest. (April 21) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Sorry, Guys, Only Women Can Make Their Voices Sound Sexier

Sorry, Guys, Only Women Can Make Their Voices Sound Sexier

Newsy (Apr. 21, 2014) According to researchers at Albright College, women have the ability to make their voices sound sexier, but men don't. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:
from the past week

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile: iPhone Android Web
Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins