New Horizons in Management series
Edited by Alexander-Stamatios G. Antoniou and Cary L. Cooper
Chapter 12: The effects of not working: a psychological framework for understanding the experience of job loss
Although nearly everyone feels the impact of an economic downturn, it is arguably the unemployed and underemployed who suffer the most, as they are forced to make significant life changes, often involving tremendous financial and psychological losses (for example, Jahoda, 1988). Research on unemployment and underemployment has largely focused on the mental health implications of losing one’s job or enduring long-term unemployment or underemployment. Although this literature has been instrumental in describing the psychological consequences of job loss, it loses sight of other potential consequences, including the impact on social relationships, work and career-related attitudes and behavior, and cognitive processes. Furthermore, it often lacks a comprehensive theoretical focus, resulting in an incomplete understanding of the psychological mechanisms underlying the effects. Finally, the literature offers a limited account of the dynamics of unemployment and underemployment and fails to recognize important social and contextual factors affecting the experience of job loss. In this chapter, we begin to address these limitations by introducing a comprehensive, empirically and theoretically-based framework designed to guide future research on unemployment and underemployment (see Figure 12.1).
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