Coping Strategies mediating the effects of Job Insecurity on Subjective Well-Being, Leading to Presenteeism: An empirical study

Anjana Nath, Sumita Rai, Jyotsna Bhatnagar, Cary Cooper

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Purpose: This study aims to explore how coping strategies (CS) mediate the relationship between job insecurity (JI) and subjective well-being (SWB) leading to presenteeism among millennials. This study has been tested based on the conservation of resources theory (Hobfoll, 2001) and the transactional theory of stress and coping (Lazarus and Folkman, 1984). In India, employees in the information technology (IT) and business process management sectors have been facing increased job insecurity over the last couple of years. The advent of technology has increased job insecurity among millennials, specifically in the IT sector. The Indian IT and information technology–enabled service (ITES) sector witnessed mass retrenchments by companies in 2016–2017. Instead of reskilling, the companies decided to lay off their employees. During the pandemic, the IT and ITES industries witnessed a massive culture shift in terms of technology and work engagement. Postpandemic, the recession is looming large on these industries. In 2022, tech layoffs have witnessed 135,000 employees impacted globally and many may lose their job in the coming year. This study chose Indian millennials because they form a large part of the Indian workforce, especially in the IT and ITES sector. Design/methodology/approach: In this study, cross-sectional design is used where different individuals are part of the study at the same point in time. A sequential mixed method of research is adopted for this study, owing to the kind of research questions and the requirement to include critical realism. A qualitative study was carried out post the quantitative study, to corroborate the results from the quantitative study. Quantitative methodologies address questions about causality, generalizability or magnitude of outcome, whereas qualitative research methodologies explore why or how a phenomenon occurs, describe the nature of an individual’s experience during the study relevant to the context and/or develop a theory (Fetters et al., 2013). Because the study is about the millennial workforce in IT and the ITES sectors, the sample population comprised employees in Delhi and the national capital region (NCR) of Delhi in northern India. Out of a total of 374 ITES companies listed in the national association of software and service companies (2018), 103 are based out of Delhi/NCR; hence, companies from Delhi/NCR were chosen for the study. The other reason for opting for companies based in Delhi/NCR was that many millennials from second- and third-tier cities also are employed in these companies bringing in varied cultural perspectives. This study included 588 employees working in ITES organizations based in the National Capital Region of India. Mediation analysis for statistical verification was carried out with regression-based analysis in SPSS macro process (version 4). Findings: The impact of job insecurity on the positive and negative affects of the subjective well-being of millennials was found to be substantial. Coping strategies moderated the relationship and it was seen that both engaged and disengaged strategies of coping had an impact on the positive affect of subjective well-being but did not have any impact on the negative affect of subjective well-being. The positive affect of subjective well-being was negatively related to presenteeism, and the negative affect of subjective well-being was positively related to presenteeism. Research limitations/implications: This study is carried out only in the ITES industry and on millennials. With the advent of technology, other industries are going through challenges concerning layoffs even though the severity of the same might be less. In times to come, for strategizing employee engagement, it is necessary to understand how the workforce copes with various work-related stress factors. The positive affects and negative affects of well-being and responses have been studied from an employee perspective only. Further research should be conducted to explore responses from both employers and employees to establish presenteeism and the antecedents of presenteeism in conjunction with positive and negative affects of well-being. There is further scope to study the impact of job insecurity on adaptive presenteeism in older generations and various industries given the current job scenario and talent-reskilling issues. Practical implications: This study brings forth original insights into the impact of constant job threats on millennials employed in the IT and/or IT service sectors. The key findings contribute to literature knowledge and help managers recognize the unfavorable consequences of continuous job threats on the well-being of employees. There is an immediate need for managers to recognize the problem and devise various policies and communication strategies to enable millennial employees to cope with the constant changes in the organization, owing to various technological, political and environmental factors. Organizations should be mindful of this impact, which can subsequently have serious consequences on the productivity of the employees, resulting in decreased overall performance and health of the organization. Originality/value: This study of job insecurity as a job stressor, triggering coping strategies in Indian millennials working in the ITES and IT industry, presents original insights. This study explores and presents how the impact of job insecurity may increase presenteeism as a result of coping. This study brings value to practitioners and this study may help organizations improve the overall well-being of their employees, thus improving productivity. On the contrary, it also opens opportunities for exploring the impact of job insecurity as a challenge stressor.

Original languageEnglish
JournalInternational Journal of Organizational Analysis
Early online date27 Mar 2023
Publication statusPublished - 27 Mar 2023


  • job insecurity
  • well-being
  • positive affect
  • negative affect
  • coping
  • coping strategies
  • presenteeism
  • Subjective well-being
  • Positive affect of well-being
  • Coping strategies
  • Negative affect of well-being
  • Positive affect
  • Presenteeism
  • Well-being
  • Job insecurity
  • Coping
  • Negative affect


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