Academic Master

Human Resource And Management

Associations between Quantitative and Qualitative Job Insecurity and Well-being

De Witte et al. (2010) investigated the association of employee’s perception of quantitative and qualitative job insecurity with job satisfaction, and psychological distress in the Belgium banking sector.

Job insecurity is defined as the employees’ concerns about their work-related future. There are two kinds of job insecurities, the quantitative job insecurity and the qualitative job insecurity. The quantitative job insecurity is about the threat to the continuation of the job in the future. The qualitative job insecurity is about the threat to the various valued aspects of the job, such as job content or working conditions.

Data collection and respondents

In total, there were 69,000 employees working in the 63 Belgian banks affiliated to the sector’s joint industrial committee in 2001. As for questioning all employees would be too expensive, the researchers decided to survey a sample of 15,000 employees (roughly 21%).

All the 63 banks participated in the survey. About 21% of employees in each bank were invited to participate in the survey. Within each bank, the respondents were selected at random with no particular quota for gender, age or employee level. The survey was based on addresses which had been provided by the banks (name, language, address) and each randomly selected employee received a personalised envelope through regular mail, sent to him/her by the employer. The completed questionnaire needed to be returned (free of charge) through the internal post within each bank. The researchers travelled to each bank to collect the completed survey.


Quantitative job insecurity was measured with four items developed by De Witte (2000) on a scale from 1 (strongly disagree) to 4 (strongly agree). Sample items were “I feel insecure about the future of my job”’ and “I am sure that I will be able to keep my job” (reverse coded). Reliability (Cronbach’s alpha) equalled .89.

Qualitative job insecurity was measured with ten items from the 17 item measure that was originally proposed by Ashford, Lee, and Bobko (1989). These job features concerned four broad dimensions previously distinguished to describe the various characteristics of a job: job content (autonomy, skill utilization, and specific tasks), working conditions (workload and quality of working conditions), employment conditions (wage, working hours, and opportunities for promotion), and social relations at work (relations with colleagues and supervisors, respectively). Respondents had to indicate whether each of the job features would likely improve or deteriorate in the near future (1 = strongly deteriorate; 5 = strongly improve). We recorded the items so that a high score reflected qualitative job insecurity. Cronbach’s alpha equalled .87.

Job satisfaction was measured with one item: “Overall, how satisfied are you with your current job?” (1 = very dissatisfied; 5 = very satisfied).

Psychological distress was measured with the 12-item version of the General Health Questionnaire (Goldberg, 1978). A sample item was “Have you recently lost much sleep over worry?” Responses varied from 1 (“less than usual”) to 4 (“much more than usual“). Reliability (Cronbach’s alpha) was .89.

Control variables. The following social demographics and work-related factors were included: gender (0 = men; 1 = women), age (1 = 18–24; 2 = 25–34; 3 = 35–44; 4 = 45–54; 5 = 55+), education (0 = no education beyond high school; 1 = education beyond high school), extra income (0 = no partner with extra income; 1 = partner with extra income), children (0 = no children; 1 = children), occupational position (0 = white-collar worker; 1 = executive), working hours (0 = part-time; 1 = full-time).

Instructions for answering the questions

Use at least four academic sources in English to answer the questions. The sources can be books or peer-reviewed journal articles or a combination of both books and peer-reviewed journal articles. The academic sources as well as responding to the questions will be around 2000 words in total.

Q1: Sample size

The sample size for this study is fifteen thousand employees selected from a total of 69,000 bank employees (about 21% of the employees). Is a sample of this size necessary? Give your reasons.

A total of 15,000 population is selected in this case from a population of 69,000. The percentage this sample size makes is of about 21% of overall population. The researchers because of one primary reason selected this sample. Taking interviews from the complete population would prove to be expensive. So having a small sample that represents the characteristics of the overall population is the best solution. However, having a sample of 21% is a good representation. It is more than the standard size of sample normally taken for a large population like 69,000.

The issue in this situation is that the population is large and it is not possible to interview and get results from all the population because of budget constraints. The rules followed in this situation are common. The most important thing is to have a sample that is precise and representative of the overall population. If the sample is not representative, it will give biased conclusions because of research. It is not possible to make a sample representative by increasing the sample size. That is the reason that 15000 sample size is taken. There are 63 banks, and it is necessary to take a representative amount of people from every bank to have unbiased results.

Another important reason to have this sample is to increase precision. If the sample is large, this indicates more accuracy. When the number of people varies, it shows all the variability in results. The thing that is measured in this research is job security that differs with different individuals, so it is important to have a large sample of 21% to remove the uncertainty in results.

The determination of a sample size also depends on the degree of a confidence level or precision required in research. The researchers selected 21% sample size because they wanted to be more confident about the results. Having fewer chances of error is their priority for choosing this sample size. Therefore, the application of random sampling is made in this scenario in each bank to have a representative sample. The sample taken at the end is representative, precise and incurs less expense.

The most important things and reasons for selecting this sample are the fewer margins of error and finite population. This sample is necessary because the study is conducted on a prevalence that is the characteristic or feature in a particular population. The chances of having error are more, so the researchers selected this sample to have accurate results.

Q2: Sampling method

What is the current method of sampling? What are the advantages and disadvantages of the current sampling method?

The method of sampling used in this current scenario is simple random sampling. The random sampling is ensured by randomly selecting candidates from each bank, and there was no quota used. It had no discrimination in any sense of employment level, age, or gender. All these things were ensured so that all the individuals have equal chances of being selected. The method used to select this simple random was by the help of data provided by banks about their employees including their address, names and language. It used to select a representative group of people without any error. This sampling method is chosen to incorporate the feature of generalizability. By having this type of sample, the result can easily be applied to the overall population.

The main advantage of this technique is that the chances of error decrease in the data analysis process. Every individual has same chances of being selected. It brings a level of fairness to the overall process. Also, it is helpful for the researcher because he does not have to know about the specifications of complete population. Another advantage of this sampling technique is that this is the simplest form of method to collect data. Many types of randomness can be used in this method to reduce the bias in research. The groups of samples are made easily. The findings taken out of the sample taken by this method can easily be generalised to complete population.

There are many disadvantages of this technique as well. The most prominent one is that there is no extra information considered about the sample. If the data is not taken from the complete sample on a one-on-one basis, this will result in biases because the opinion of one person may affect results of others. To deal with random sampling effectively, high level of skill and experience is needed by the researcher that is not possible for all. However, it is easy to generalise the results, but still, it is not guaranteed that it is a fair representation of the overall population. As the sample is being selected randomly, it may be possible it represents more people from a single bank. It will result in less variation in the selected sample.

Q3: Measures of variables

Give your comments on the reliability and validity of measures of the variables.

Measuring validity and reliability of the measures used to access a variable and its relation to others is important. To measure the variables of quantitative job security, qualitative job security, job satisfaction and psychological distress, this research uses a questionnaire (De Witte et al., 2010). A researcher with some defined items develops each of the questionnaires. These items measure the variables on a Likert scale of 1 to 4 and 1 to 5. As they are standardised research questions, it is evident that they correctly measure the variables in the sample under discussion.

The concepts of reliability and validity should be known clearly to implement them in this scenario. Reliability of a measure means that if the same things are repeatedly tested, the same results will appear. It sums up to be the consistency of the findings. However, validity is about measuring the right thing. If the results are rational, this means they are valid.

In the given scenario, the quantitative job insecurity is measured by the help of 4 items in a questionnaire developed by De Witte that are rated on the scale of strongly disagree to strongly agree from the numbers 1 to 4. People are asked about the security they feel in their current job, and about how they think the future will come out to be, this means that ask people about their right feelings and thoughts about the confidence level on their job. Quality job insecurity is measured by a five-point Likert scale ranging from strongly improve to deteriorate strongly. All the 17 items discussed in this questionnaire measure the level of job insecurity by seeing all the qualitative measures. The employment conditions, work conditions, social relations at the workplace, and job content are measured. All these things are made after proper research and prove to be the best indicators for measuring the insecurity people feel about their job. It shows that once people respond to these items, it will remain the same no matter how many times this research is conducted.

To analyse job satisfaction variable, there is one single item that asks about the rating of a person about the satisfaction he feels about his job on the scale of 5 points from very satisfied to very dissatisfied. It shows the level of satisfaction a person feels about his job. The scale of psychological distress has the reliability of 89% that means it can measure the distress level of a person accurately.

Q4: Collection of data on social demographics

The purpose of this research is to find the associations between quantitative and qualitative job insecurity and well-being. However, data on variables such as gender, age, education level, extra income were also collected. What is the purpose of collecting data on variables such as gender, age, educational level etc.?

The data collected on various other variables is helpful in knowing about the characteristics of the population and their preferences. The behaviour of every individual is different, and it is not easy to generalise the data of sample that is 21% in this case on a large population. Therefore, if some variables like education level, age, extra income, and gender are selected as control variables, it helps in reducing the bias in the result (Ashford et al., 1989). People with variations in these characteristics perceive job security differently.

The purpose of collecting data about gender is to see the preferences of males and females about their job satisfaction. Women and men suffer different consequences. There are dissimilar circumstances and job requirements that determine their level of job insecurity. Such as, if females are provided with a safe, respectful and productive environment to work, it will be motivating for them, and they will feel secure. Having a respectful environment may not be the priority for male individuals or they may place more value on income.

The data about age is collected to see the trend if job insecurity over the period of job. Some people feel secure if they have many years of experience in a job. Especially in the banking sector, the young and newly recruited persons may not consider their job secure because they are not experienced and lack practical exposure. However, this can also be another way around. It may be true that old people feel insecure about their job because they do not know latest technology and new expertise are a requirement of the job. Old people are not flexible, and they cannot acquire some new expertise that becomes the reason for their insecurity in the working environment.

Educational level is also another important determinant to affect job insecurity. The data about this variable is important to collect because it shows the level of knowledge in a person. Banking job is not easy, and the person working in this industry needs to have all the information about how things work out. If the educational level of a person is less, this may become the reason for this job insecurity. Banks now hire people with high level of education and to cope up with the competitive environment; it is important to see the effect of education level. People having a high level of education have a better understanding of the corporate environment, and they do feel secure in their job because they have trust in their abilities. It has a direct influence on the confidence level of a person (De Witte, 2000).

Extra income and bonus also have a great effect on the job security. People who have any other source of income or earn income by collecting bonuses and meeting targets are secure about their jobs because they know they are doing well. As compared to the people who do not have any income source or no extra income feel insecure. This insecurity is because this job is the only source of income and they have to struggle hard to make their position strong at the place.

Q5: Research design

What research design is used for current research? What are the positive and negative side of the current research design?

The research design used in this research project is descriptive statistics. The data collected belongs to a quantitative category and is used to describe the qualitative information about the job insecurity. The data about qualitative as well as quantitative job insecurity is collected, but it is taken by using questionnaire and taking measurements on the Likert scale. The summary is presented in the form of responses to questionnaires and then the results are presented. This research is conducted to identify the relation between variables so that the changes identified can be addressed.

The positive side of this research design is that all the participants are observed in the completely natural environment (Creswell & Creswell, 2017). It provides insight into other variables that can be used for future research in the same area. The data that is collected by using this research will be helpful in identifying the in-depth information that is helpful for further analysis. A rich amount of data is collected from descriptive research design that can further be used for multiple other purposes. It is the best way of identifying the habits, beliefs, behaviours and attitudes of a sample that can then be generalised to the whole population.

The negative side of this research design is that the participants sometimes do not behave logically when they know their actions are observed. Also, the use of this design cannot be done to see the cause and effect relation in different variables. People often have the issue of confidentiality, and it is not easy for the researchers to ensure the security of sample because there are many personal aspects of demographic information collected. The choice of wording used in questionnaires is also an issue because this may become the reason behind raising biases in results and findings. Another negative side of this type of research is that the findings may not be interpreted correctly by the researcher and it is not possible to replicate or repeat this study.


Ashford, S. J., Lee, C., & Bobko, P. (1989). CONTENT, CAUSE, AND CONSEQUENCES OF JOB INSECURITY: A THEORY-BASED MEASURE AND SUBSTANTIVE TEST. Academy of Management Journal, 32(4), 803-829. doi:10.2307/256569

De Witte, H. (2000). Arbeidsethos en jobonzekerheid: meting en gevolgen voor welzijn, tevredenheid en inzet op het work (Work Ethic and Job Insecurity: Measurement and Consequences for Well-Being, Satisfaction, and Performance at Work). In van group naar gemeenschap, ed. R. Bouwen, K. De Witte, H. De Witte, and T. Taillieu, 325–350. Leuven: Garant. Goldberg, D. P. (1978). Manual of the General Health Questionnaire. Windsor, UK: NFER-Nelson.

De Witte, H., De Cuyper, N., Handaja, Y., Sverke, M., Näswall, K., & Hellgren, J. (2010). Associations between quantitative and qualitative job insecurity and well-being: A test in Belgian banks. International Studies of Management & Organization, 40(1), 40-56. doi:10.2753/IMO0020-8825400103

Creswell, J. W., & Creswell, J. D. (2017). Research design: Qualitative, quantitative, and mixed methods approach. Sage publications.



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