COVID-19 moral disengagement and prevention behaviors: The impact of perceived workplace COVID-19 safety climate and employee job insecurity.Saf Sci. 2022 Jun; 150:105703.SS
In response to the COVID-19 pandemic, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention developed recommendations for individual COVID-19 prevention behaviors, as well as guidance for the safe reopening of businesses. Drawing from previous research on occupational safety, business ethics, and economic stressors, we tested the hypothesis that more positive perceptions of the workplace COVID-19 safety climate would be associated with lower employee COVID-19 related moral disengagement. In turn, we predicted that higher COVID-19 moral disengagement would be associated with lower enactment of preventive behaviors both at work and in nonwork settings (i.e., a spillover effect). Further, we investigated whether employee job insecurity would impact organizational socialization processes, such that the relationship between the perceived COVID-19 safety climate and moral disengagement would be weaker at higher levels of job insecurity. By analyzing a three-wave lagged dataset of U.S. employees working on-site during the pandemic using a Bayesian multilevel framework, we found empirical support for the hypothesized moderated mediation model. We discuss the relevance of these findings (i.e., the spillover effect and the role of job insecurity) in light of the extant safety climate literature and outline how our findings have several implications for the scope and conceptualization of safety climate in light of the surge of new working arrangements, infectious diseases, and continuing employment instability.