A motivational standpoint of job insecurity effects on organizational citizenship behaviors: A generational study

Scand J Psychol. 2021 Apr;62(2):267-275. doi: 10.1111/sjop.12689. Epub 2020 Nov 6.


Our research reports an empirical analysis of a path model linking job insecurity to organizational citizenship behavior (OCB) via two mediators, that is, intrinsic motivation and job satisfaction. The aim is to evaluate the path model invariance across three generational cohorts, that is, generation X, generation Y, and generation Z. A sample of employees in service companies based in Canada was surveyed. We utilized a partial least square structural equation modeling (PLS-SEM) approach, which included path analysis and multi-group analysis (MGA) to test proposed hypotheses. We found that job insecurity negatively predicted intrinsic motivation which positively related to job satisfaction. Job satisfaction influenced OCBs positively. Both intrinsic motivation and job satisfaction mediated the indirect effects of job insecurity onto OCBs. Generation X was more pronounced in their reaction to job insecurity than later generations given the strong negative effects on intrinsic motivation and hence on their job. However, generation Z employees followed their parents from generation X regarding engaging more in OCBs when they are satisfied with their job than generation Y. In general, therefore, it should come as no surprise that generation X employees' OCBs can be expected to plummet due to the elevated levels of job insecurity during pandemic times (e.g., COVID-19) more intensely than Generation Y. Clearly, with COVID-19 having led many organizations around the world to adopt virtual workplace environments, generational differences amongst employees have to be considered as a matter of crucial concern for these organizations.

Keywords: Generational differences; Job insecurity; job satisfaction; motivation; multigroup analysis; organizational citizenship behavior (OCB); partial least square; self-determination theory; structural equation modeling.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • COVID-19
  • Canada
  • Employment*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Job Satisfaction*
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Motivation*
  • Social Behavior*
  • Young Adult