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Proactivity at work
Örebro University, School of Law, Psychology and Social Work, Örebro University, Sweden.ORCID iD: 0000-0001-5285-8605
2015 (English)Doctoral thesis, comprehensive summary (Other academic)
Abstract [en]

Proactive behaviour implies taking initiative and mastering unexpected situations, and hence, is desirable in different situations. The present thesis includes three empirical studies intended to understand the consequences of proactive behaviour, as well as the factors that contribute to proactive behaviour at work and when facing unemployment. More specifically, whether job design, as measured by objective work task analysis, provides conditions conducive to proactivity in the workplace and when facing unemployment. The results of proactive behaviour during unemployment were also of interest. Study I focused on the influence of job design on individuals’ personal initiative and confidence in their ability when facing unemployment. Participants were employees at a downsizing Swedish assembly plant. Confidence in one’s ability mediated the relationship between job design and personal initiative, and personal initiative affected job search behaviour when advised to be dismissed. Study II, a longitudinal exploration, focused on the predictors of re-employment in the same group as in Study I. Men were more than nine times as likely as women to obtain jobs within 15 months. Individuals without children were more than seven times as likely as those with children to find work within 15 months. The desire to change occupation and willingness to relocate also increased the probability of being re-employed, whereas anonymous-passive job-search behaviour and work-related self-efficacy actually decreased the probability of re-employment. The number of job applications did not impact later re-employment. Study III analysed job design as a predictor of group initiative and self-organisational activities in semiautonomous industrial work groups. An input-process-output model showed that group processes such as reflexivity mediated the impact of job design on proactivity in work groups. Taken together, these studies suggest that work task analysis a useful tool, since it provides access to information that cannot be obtained with self-report measures. Job design indirectly affected proactivity both in the face of unemployment, and in industrial work groups. Further, it is worthwhile to continue identifying the antecedents and consequences of proactivity, as this seems to be an important factor regarding work and unemployment.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Örebro: Örebro university , 2015. , 76 p.
Series
Örebro Studies in Psychology, ISSN 1651-1328 ; 32
Keyword [en]
Job design, work task analysis, proactivity, unemployment, attitudes, personal initiative, job-search behaviour, group initiative, group processes
National Category
Psychology
Research subject
Psychology
Identifiers
URN: urn:nbn:se:oru:diva-45644ISBN: 978-91-7529-092-8 (print)OAI: oai:DiVA.org:oru-45644DiVA: diva2:848860
Public defence
2015-10-16, Filen, Mälardalens högskola, Drottninggatan 12, Eskilstuna, 10:15 (Swedish)
Opponent
Supervisors
Available from: 2015-08-26 Created: 2015-08-26 Last updated: 2015-12-21Bibliographically approved
List of papers
1. Personal initiative at work and when facing unemployment
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Personal initiative at work and when facing unemployment
2009 (English)In: Journal of Workplace Learning, ISSN 1366-5626, Vol. 21, no 2, 88-108 p.Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

Purpose: Learning at work generalises through socialisation into behaviours away from the workplace. The aim of this study is to give empirical evidence of a positive relationship between job design, self-efficacy, competence efficacy and personal initiative at work, and proactive job search while under notice of redundancy and in unemployment.

Design/methodology/approach: The results are based on a detailed work task analysis and self-reported data by individuals who had been made redundant (n = 176).

Findings: The paper finds that the theoretical model received substantial, but not full support. Job design has impact on personal initiative through self-efficacy and competence-efficacy as mediating variables between job design and personal initiative. Personal initiative at work affects proactive job search when facing unemployment.

Research limitations/implications: A limitation is that the respondents in general had jobs that were low-skilled and routine. It is likely that a research group with larger differences in job design would show stronger relations between job design and personal initiative.

Practical implications: Work task analysis identifies conditions at work that minimise and mitigate individual initiative and makes it possible to correct them in order both to enhance organisational effectiveness and the individuals’ long-term employability.

Originality/value: The paper proposes that autonomy and complexity, which are the aspects most predominant in the study of how job design affects personal initiative and self-efficacy, are too limited. The sequential completeness provides a broader or narrower scope of work tasks and more or less feed back which is crucial for learning and mastery-experiences. Demand on cooperation, demand on responsibility, cognitive demand and learning opportunities affect initiative-taking as well.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Emerald Group Publishing Limited, 2009
National Category
Psychology
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:oru:diva-45960 (URN)10.1108/13665620910934807 (DOI)2-s2.0-70349410747 (Scopus ID)
Available from: 2015-09-30 Created: 2015-09-30 Last updated: 2015-09-30Bibliographically approved
2. Predictors of re-employment: A question of attitude, behavior, or gender?
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Predictors of re-employment: A question of attitude, behavior, or gender?
2015 (English)In: Scandinavian Journal of Psychology, ISSN 0036-5564, E-ISSN 1467-9450, Vol. 56, no 4, 438-446 p.Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

This longitudinal study examined the predictive value of attitudes, personal-related variables, job search behaviour, and demographic variables on re-employment among 142 assembly workers who had been made redundant. Participants completed a questionnaire within a week after leaving their jobs, and another 15 months later. Results of hierarchical logistic regression revealed that gender (being male), was the strongest predictor of re-employment. Willingness to relocate and desire to change occupation also increased the odds of re-employment 15 months after dismissal. On the other hand - having children at home and anonymous-passive job-search behaviour, which is more prevalent among women, decreased the odds for re-employment. The study is contributing to research by revealing gender differences in job search behaviour and the importance of focusing qualitative differences instead of merely quantitative measures in job-search behaviour. And even more important, despite attitude and job-search behaviour, there is still differences that seems to be related to gender and family responsibility.

Keyword
Attitudes, family responsibility, gender differences, job-search behaviour, re-employment, work-related self-efficacy
National Category
Psychology
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:oru:diva-45959 (URN)10.1111/sjop.12218 (DOI)000358042800010 ()25959069 (PubMedID)2-s2.0-84929207124 (Scopus ID)
Available from: 2015-09-30 Created: 2015-09-30 Last updated: 2015-09-30Bibliographically approved
3. Group initiative and self-organizational activities in industrial work groups
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Group initiative and self-organizational activities in industrial work groups
2009 (English)In: European Journal of Work and Organizational Psychology, ISSN 1359-432X, E-ISSN 1464-0643, Vol. 18, no 3, 347-377 p.Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

Autonomous work groups are involved in goal setting and planning and hence can define their jobs and the outcome idiosyncratically. Our interest lies in how job design restricts or creates possibilities for groups to redefine their work and thus go beyond formal requirements. The aim was to test a model of the relationships between dimensions of job design, group processes, group initiative, and self-organizational activities. The results are based on work task analyses and questionnaires administered to 31 work groups at four Swedish industrial companies. The theoretical input-process-output model received substantial support. Dimensions of job design affect whether a group, through collective reflexivity, can redefine work and proactively create conditions and organize work so that uncertainty can be handled and new tasks mastered. Group processes such as cooperation and social support enhance group initiative to achieve such meaningful change. In this study, reflexivity does not impact on group initiative, but does explain the major amount of variance in self-organizational activities. Work task analyses can be a useful tool for providing groups with the prerequisites for self-organizational activities. We believe these to be essential for the groups' capacity to be involved in the innovation process from idea to finished product.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Hove: Psychology Press, 2009
National Category
Social Sciences Psychology
Research subject
Psychology
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:oru:diva-8675 (URN)10.1080/13594320801960482 (DOI)
Available from: 2009-12-04 Created: 2009-12-04 Last updated: 2015-09-30Bibliographically approved

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