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The Psychology of the Recession on the Workplace

The Psychology of the Recession on the Workplace

New Horizons in Management series

Edited by Alexander-Stamatios G. Antoniou and Cary L. Cooper

An economic recession can affect the aggregate well-being of a population. This highly regarded and timely book shows a significant increase in the mean levels of distress and dissatisfaction in the work place in recent years. In particular, increasing job demands, intrinsic job insecurity and increasingly inadequate salaries make substantial contributions to psychological distress, family conflict and related behaviors. The contributors reveal that the recession has fundamentally altered the way employees view their work and leaders. With employers and employees still facing a continued period of uncertainty, a severe impact on employment relations is a continuing reality.

Chapter 16: Social support in times of economic stress

Ewelina Smoktunowicz, Roman Cieslak and Charles C. Benight

Subjects: business and management, human resource management, organisational behaviour, strategic management


Breakout of financial crisis in 2008 generated a number of questions, including those about its psychological consequences. Economic meltdown means factual losses for individuals (for example, job loss), threats of such losses in the future (for example, job insecurity) as well as potential failure to gain certain resources (for example, insecurity of previously expected promotion at work). In this chapter we focus on these three sources of economic stress as conceptualized in the conservation of resources theory (COR) (Hobfoll, 1998). We posit that confrontation with actual or potential loss of resources drives an individual to compensate with other resources, one of those being social support. We review existing literature in order to demonstrate different outlooks on the role that social support might play when individuals are faced with economic stress. We also go beyond effects of global financial meltdowns because economic stress can affect individuals not only under such spectacular circumstances as those that began in 2008, but also on a daily basis and when people are confronted with traumatic events.

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