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The health effects of major organisational change and job insecurity

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Listed:
  • Ferrie, Jane E.
  • Shipley, Martin J.
  • Marmot, Michael G.
  • Stansfeld, Stephen
  • Smith, George Davey

Abstract

Since August 1988 an increasing proportion of the executive functions of government in the United Kingdom have been devolved to executive agencies. Transfer to an executive agency involves a period of uncertainty during which the options of elimination or transfer to the private sector are considered, followed by a marked change in management style and further periods of uncertainty when the agency's function is reconsidered for transfer to the private sector. This paper examines the effects of this major organisational change and consequent job insecurity on the health status of a cohort of 7419 white-collar civil servants by comparing groups either exposed to or anticipating exposure to this stressor, with controls experiencing no change. Compared with controls, men both already working in and anticipating transfer to an executive agency experienced significant increases in health self-rated as "average or worse", longstanding illness, adverse sleep patterns, mean number of symptoms in the fortnight before questionnaire completion, and minor psychiatric morbidity. Significant relative increases in body mass index were seen in both exposure groups while exposure to agency status was also associated with significant relative increases in blood pressure. Health-related behaviours, where they differed between exposure and control groups, tended to favour those in the exposure groups. Compared with controls, women in both exposure groups reported small increases in most self-reported morbidity measures and most clinical measurements, accompanied by slight beneficial changes in some health-related behaviours and small adverse changes in others. Significant relative increases were seen in mean number of symptoms, and ischaemia among women anticipating exposure and in body mass index among those exposed to agency status. Policy makers should be aware of the wider consequences of job insecurity when considering the efficiency of changes in employment policy.

Suggested Citation

  • Ferrie, Jane E. & Shipley, Martin J. & Marmot, Michael G. & Stansfeld, Stephen & Smith, George Davey, 1998. "The health effects of major organisational change and job insecurity," Social Science & Medicine, Elsevier, vol. 46(2), pages 243-254, January.
  • Handle: RePEc:eee:socmed:v:46:y:1998:i:2:p:243-254
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    Cited by:

    1. Rohde, Nicholas & Tang, Kam Ki & Osberg, Lars & Rao, D.S. Prasada, 2017. "Is it vulnerability or economic insecurity that matters for health?," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 134(C), pages 307-319.
    2. Italo A. Gutierrez & Pierre-Carl Michaud, 2017. "Whistle While You Work: Job Insecurity and Older Workers' Mental Health in the United States," Cahiers de recherche 1702, Chaire de recherche Industrielle Alliance sur les enjeux économiques des changements démographiques.
    3. Ferrie, Jane E. & Shipley, Martin J. & Newman, Katherine & Stansfeld, Stephen A. & Marmot, Michael, 2005. "Self-reported job insecurity and health in the Whitehall II study: potential explanations of the relationship," Social Science & Medicine, Elsevier, vol. 60(7), pages 1593-1602, April.
    4. Cheng, Yawen & Chen, Chun-Wan & Chen, Chiou-Jong & Chiang, Tung-liang, 2005. "Job insecurity and its association with health among employees in the Taiwanese general population," Social Science & Medicine, Elsevier, vol. 61(1), pages 41-52, July.
    5. Rohde, Nicholas & Tang, K.K. & Osberg, Lars & Rao, Prasada, 2016. "The effect of economic insecurity on mental health: Recent evidence from Australian panel data," Social Science & Medicine, Elsevier, pages 250-258.
    6. Biorn, Erik & Hagen, Terje P. & Iversen, Tor & Magnussen, Jon, 2002. "The Effect of Activity-Based Financing on Hospital Efficiency: A Panel Data Analysis of DEA Efficiency Scores 1992-2000," MPRA Paper 8099, University Library of Munich, Germany.
    7. Bassanini, Andrea & Caroli, Eve, 2014. "Is work bad for health? The role of constraint vs choice," CEPREMAP Working Papers (Docweb) 1402, CEPREMAP.
    8. Thierry Debrand & Pascale Lengagne, 2007. "Organisation du travail et sante des seniors en Europe," Working Papers DT3, IRDES institut for research and information in health economics, revised Feb 2007.
    9. Eve Caroli & Mathilde Godard, 2013. "Does Job Insecurity Deteriorate Health ? A Causal Approach for Europe," Working Papers 2013-13, Center for Research in Economics and Statistics.
    10. repec:crs:ecosta:es403-404b is not listed on IDEAS
    11. Kagamimori, Sadanobu & Gaina, Alexandru & Nasermoaddeli, Ali, 2009. "Socioeconomic status and health in the Japanese population," Social Science & Medicine, Elsevier, vol. 68(12), pages 2152-2160, June.
    12. repec:dau:papers:123456789/13646 is not listed on IDEAS
    13. Menéndez, María & Benach, Joan & Muntaner, Carles & Amable, Marcelo & O'Campo, Patricia, 2007. "Is precarious employment more damaging to women's health than men's?," Social Science & Medicine, Elsevier, vol. 64(4), pages 776-781, February.
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    16. Knut Røed & Elisabeth Fevang, 2007. "Organizational Change, Absenteeism, and Welfare Dependency," Journal of Human Resources, University of Wisconsin Press, vol. 42(1).
    17. Fiori, Francesca & Rinesi, Francesca & Spizzichino, Daniele & Di Giorgio, Ginevra, 2016. "Employment insecurity and mental health during the economic recession: An analysis of the young adult labour force in Italy," Social Science & Medicine, Elsevier, pages 90-98.
    18. Thierry Debrand & Pascale Lengagne, 2007. "Pénibilité au travail et santé des seniors en Europe," Économie et Statistique, Programme National Persée, vol. 403(1), pages 19-38.
    19. Østhus, Ståle, 2012. "Health effects of downsizing survival and job loss in Norway," Social Science & Medicine, Elsevier, pages 946-953.
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    21. Bratberg, Espen & Monstad, Karin, 2015. "Worried sick? Worker responses to a financial shock," Labour Economics, Elsevier, vol. 33(C), pages 111-120.
    22. Gutierrez, Italo A. & Michaud, Pierre-Carl, 2015. "Employer Downsizing and Older Workers' Health," IZA Discussion Papers 9140, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
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