Can Gossip Buffer the Effect of Job Insecurity on Workplace Friendships?Int J Environ Res Public Health. 2019 04 10; 16(7)IJ
Although previous research has documented a host of negative consequences of job insecurity, workplace interpersonal relationships have rarely been considered. This omission might be caused by the application of broad stress theories to the job insecurity literature without taking a nuanced perspective to understand the nature of job insecurity. To address this issue, we conceptualized job insecurity as a threat to employee social acceptance by their employer. This conceptualization, therefore, allows us to apply the multimotive model of social rejection to investigate a previously-overlooked outcome of job insecurity-workplace friendships. Specifically, we investigated the relationship between both job feature insecurity and job loss insecurity with workplace friendships. Based on stress coping theory and the fundamental differences between job feature insecurity and job loss insecurity, we further proposed that employees' tendency to engage in positive gossip buffers the negative impact of job feature insecurity on workplace friendships, whereas employees' tendency to engage in negative gossip buffers the negative impact of job loss insecurity on workplace friendships. Data collected from 286 working adults from Mturk supported our hypotheses. Our study opens the door for future research to take a more nuanced approach when examining nontraditional consequences of job insecurity.