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Special Issue: Job Loss

Call for Papers for a Special Issue of the Journal of Managerial Psychology:

Job Loss

Guest Editor:
Ronald Karren, Isenberg School of Management, University of Massachusetts
[email protected]

Over the last two decades, there have been major changes to the employee-employer relationship such that the newer psychological contract no longer promotes lifetime employment and loyalty to the firm.  This psychological contract changed dramatically when organizations began to increase the downsizing of their workforce.  In fact, mass layoffs have occurred during times when organizations were quite profitable.  Research concerned with layoffs and job loss has included the effects of job loss on those who are part of the layoff (Leana & Feldman, 1994) as well as research concerned with the negative effects on the firm’s survivors (Brockner, 1989).  The effects on survivors have included guilt, poor morale and motivation, increased stress and voluntary turnover.  Research has also included moderating conditions.  For example, if layoffs are perceived to be a violation of the psychological contract, the negative effects may be more profound when organizations utilize high involvement work practices (Zatzick and Iverson, 2006). 

The objective of this special issue is to provide a platform for more micro-oriented research that explores the effects of job loss on the individual.  Although there has been excellent research concerned with the consequences of layoffs on firm performance, this special issue is interested in research related to the consequences of layoffs from the standpoint of employee attitudes and behaviors and/or the effects on those who did not survive the layoff.

Both conceptual and empirical contributions to the special issue are welcome. Empirical contributions should demonstrate research on job loss either in field settings or in controlled laboratory research. There is also a need for longitudinal research. Possible topic areas include, but are not limited to:

• Non-experimental studies conducted in field settings to investigate the effects of downsizing on key outcome variables such as organizational trust, workplace conflict, and voluntary turnover. 

• Studies that assess HR practices that mitigate the negative effects of layoffs such as stress and employee well-being

• Conceptual papers discussing new theoretical models to better understand the effects of job loss

• Papers that focus on effects of alternative HR strategies to layoffs that lessen the organization’s use of employment downsizing

• Papers that focus on problems of engagement when there are layoffs.

• Papers that consider organizational practices or contextual conditions that influence the overall effectiveness of employee downsizing

• Papers that study how job loss affects an individual’s decision to join a firm

• Papers that consider the effects of employment downsizing on the ability of organizations to hire and retain talent

• Impact of job loss on spouses or families of laid-off workers including work-family conflict

• How the lack of job security affects the psychological contract

• Long term consequences of job loss for the individual’s psychological, physiological, and financial well-being

Viable papers specify clear links between process and outcome variables, and provide guidelines and lessons to be learned that guide both practitioners as well as future researchers. 

The deadline for submissions is June 1, 2011.  Please submit manuscripts via e-mail attachment to Kay Wilkinson Editorial Administrator for the Journal of Managerial Psychology, at [email protected] together with a brief note that the manuscript is submitted to the special issue on “Job Loss”.

Manuscripts are expected to follow the JMP submission guidelines: Please make sure that they are 6,000 words of text (not counting references, tables, etc.) or less and the title is 8 words or less.

This special issue is open and competitive. Submitted papers will undergo the normal rigorous, double-blind review process to ensure relevance and quality. Thus, all manuscripts will be subject to double-blind peer-reviews. Interested authors are encouraged to send a short exposé via e-mail to the guest editor to facilitate a timely planning of the special issue: [email protected]

Of course, any other questions about the special issue may be addressed by contacting the guest editor directly.

Brockner, J. (1989).  The effects of work layoffs on survivors: Research, theory, and Practice. In B. M. Staw & L. L. Cummings (Eds). Research in Organizational Behavior (Vol. 10, pp. 213-256). Greenwich, CT: JAI Press.

Leana, C.R. & Feldman, D.C. (1994). The psychology of job loss. In G. R. Ferris (Ed.), Research in Personnel and Human Resources Management (Vol. 12, pp. 271- 302). Greenwich, CT: JAI Press.  

Zatzick, C.D., & Iverson, R.D. (2006). High-involvement management and workforce reduction: Competitive advantage or disadvantage? Academy of Management  Journal, 49, pp. 999-1015.