The ‘Silent Assassin’ in your organization: Can job insecurity climate erode the beneficial effects of a high-quality leader-member exchange?

Irina Nikolova*, Beatrice Van der Heijden, Lena Låstad, Guy Notelaers

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

6 Citations (Web of Science)


The purpose of this paper is to examine the possible role of job insecurity climate as a moderator in the relationship between leader–member exchange (LMX) and organizational citizenship behaviors (OCBs).

Questionnaire data were collected from 466 employees working in 14 organizations from both the private and public sector. Following the core tenets of social exchange theory and occupational stress theories, the authors argue that ideally job insecurity is studied as a climate-level construct, given the fact that intra-group social exchange processes strongly influence the formation of employee perceptions about specific aspects of their work context (e.g. job insecurity).

In line with one of the hypotheses, multi-level analyses revealed that LMX is significantly and positively related to OCBs. In addition, the authors found support for a negative moderation effect, such that LMX has a less strongly positive relationship with extra-role behaviors that are beneficial to the organization when job insecurity climate is high.

The study contributes to the limited empirical scholarly research on job insecurity climate and its correlates. Management and HR professionals in working organizations are advised to focus on preventive measures (e.g. to invest in the professional development of their employees, that is focus on employability enhancement, in order to reduce job insecurity) as well as on participation-based interventions.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1174-1193
JournalPersonnel Review
Issue number6
Publication statusPublished - 2018
Externally publishedYes


  • quantitative
  • leader
  • job insecurity climate
  • moderation model
  • private and public sector

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