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Magnus Sverke Foto: Datorenheten/HD

Magnus Sverke

Professor i psykologi, särskilt arbets- och organisationspsykologi

Visa sidan på svenska
Works at Department of Psychology
Telephone 08-16 14 19
Email magnus.sverke@psychology.su.se
Visiting address Frescati hagväg 14
Room 14:354
Postal address Psykologiska institutionen 106 91 Stockholm

Publications

A selection from Stockholm University publication database
  • 2019. Carolina Sconfienza (et al.). Journal of Occupational Health 61 (1), 91-100

    Objectives: This longitudinal study aimed to investigate the causal relationships between social support at work and mental health in terms of mental distress. Despite assuming social support at work to be associated with less mental distress, reversed and reciprocal relationships were investigated as well.

    Methods: Self-reports in questionnaires of social support and mental distress were collected longitudinally, with annual measurements over three consecutive years, among 301 office workers (57% women) in Sweden. Cross-lagged structural equation modeling was used to test the hypotheses.

    Results: The reciprocal causation model was considered the best-fitting model. The results suggest that social support and mental distress influenced each other negatively, but with a delayed effect. Specifically, this involves Time 1 levels of social support being negatively associated with Time 2 levels of mental distress, while Time 2 levels of mental distress were negatively associated with Time 3 levels of support.

    Conclusions: The findings partly align with the hypothesis that social support is related to lower levels of mental distress but also suggest that mental distress can reduce levels of social support. While the findings also suggest a mutual interrelation between social support and mental distress, this is not a consistent reciprocal causation. Rather, and due to the variation in reciprocity between time points, it appears to he a cyclical process, which needs further investigation.

  • 2019. Gunnar Aronsson (et al.). International Journal of Workplace Health Management 12 (1), 15-27

    Purpose Social welfare work contains elements that may be difficult for employees to put out of their minds when the working day ends, which may affect the recovery. The purpose of this paper is to analyze the length of recovery in relation to different work characteristics and to two types of welfare work. Design/methodology/approach All 1,365 employees, excluding managers, of two municipality administrations were invited to a survey study. Of these, 673 (49 percent) responded. After adjusting for partial missing, the effective sample included 580 employees (43 percent). Retrospective ratings of four recovery windows were analyzed: recovery after one night's sleep, weekends, shorter holidays and vacations. Findings Employees with a university education were less recovered than those with a shorter education. For those with a university education, the long arm of the job mainly involved failures regarding qualitative job demands (task difficulty). For those with a shorter education, quantitative job demands (too much to do) were most prominent for their prolonged recovery. Feedback from managers had consistent and positive associations with all four recovery windows among employees with a university education, but not among those with a shorter education for whom instead having too much to do and social support had significant spillover effects. Originality/value The identified differences may relate to employees with a university education having more problem-solving tasks, which may result in a higher need of work-related feedback but also in difficulties detaching from work. Thus, education and job characteristics have differential associations with self-rated recovery.

  • 2018. Helena Falkenberg (et al.).

    Lönesättningen i privat sektor sker med olika grad av koppling till den individuellaprestationen. Vissa avtal ger inget eller endast begränsat utrymme för verksamhets- ochindividnära lönesättning. I andra avtal ges stort utrymme, som i varierande gradanvänds av företagen för att koppla samman lön och arbetsresultat. Generellt setthar tjänstemännens avtal betydligt större utrymme för verksamhets- och individnäralönesättning än de avtal som LO-förbunden träffar.

    Syftet med den här rapporten är att undersöka hur anställda i privat sektor, såväl tjänstemän som arbetare, upplever lönesättningen samt att bidra till ökad kunskap om lönens och lönesättningens betydelse för motivation och prestation i arbetet. Någon motsvarande studie av lönesättningen inom privat sektor har inte tidigare gjorts i Sverige. I rapporten beskrivs de anställdas erfarenheter av och uppfattningarom hur deras lön sätts. Här undersöks också hur lön och lönesättning hänger sammanmed motivation och prestation i arbetet. Även andra faktorer – såsom legitimitet ilönesättningen (det vill säga upplevelsen av om lönen sätts på ett sätt som upplevsrättvist), arbetsklimat och personlighet – undersöks i relation till motivation ochprestation.Rapportens resultat baseras på en enkätundersökning som genomfördesår 2016 bland ett nationellt representativt urval av anställda i åldern 20–65 år som arbetade inom fem sektorer: bygg och installation, handel och besöksnäring, industri, service och tjänster samt transport.

    Undersökningen visar att färre än hälften hade haft lönesamtal under det senaste året. Av de som hade haft lönesamtal var det ungefär en tredjedel som inte hade förstått hur chefen hade bedömt deras arbetsinsats. Ungefär 40 procent av samtliga svarande angavatt de inte kände till vilka kriterier deras lön baseras på. Av de som kände till lönekriteriernavar det cirka två tredjedelar som ansåg att lönekriterierna följdes. Resultatenvisar att det fanns en stor variation mellan sektorerna när det gäller erfarenheter avoch uppfattningar om hur lönesättningen går till.

    De flesta ansåg att det fanns skillnader i arbetsprestation mellan anställda med likvärdigaarbetsuppgifter och att skillnader i prestation borde ge skillnad i lön. Närmare60 procent trodde att individuell lönesättning kunde gynna den egna löneutvecklingen.En sådan positiv förväntan var vanligare bland personer med högre lön och bland män.Däremot var det omkring 40 procent som ansåg att löneskillnader mellan anställdamed likvärdig befattning kunde påverka verksamheten i en negativ riktning, medanomkring 40 procent ansåg att sådana skillnader var bra för verksamheten och20 procent inte hade någon åsikt i frågan.

    Anställda som upplevde att den egna lönen i stor eller ganska stor utsträckning varbaserad på deras arbetsutförande var mer nöjda med sin lön än de som inte upplevdeatt lönen var kopplad till prestation. Kvinnor hade en lägre lönetillfredsställelse änmän och rapporterade även generellt något lägre upplevd grad av jämställdhet i lönesättningenän män, oavsett sektor. Graden av legitimitet i lönesättningen (mätt med fyra dimensioner av lönerättvisa) var överlag måttlig till god, men varierade mellan sektorerna. Nivåerna i upplevd rättvisa i lönesättningen var generellt sett högre bland anställda som tyckte att lönekriterierna följdes, som hade haft lönesamtal, som förstodhur chefen hade bedömt deras arbetsinsats och som fick högre grad av återkopplingpå hur de utförde sitt arbete. Chefer rapporterade en högre grad av lönerättvisa jämfört med anställda utan chefsansvar.

    Undersökningen visar att lönen som sådan tycks ha viss betydelse för arbetsmotivationoch arbetsprestation. När hänsyn togs till andra faktorer visade sig olika upplevelser avhur lönesättningen går till, såsom förtroende för chefens bedömning och upplevelser avrättvisa, vara viktigare än lönen i sig. Arbetsklimat, i termer av sådant som autonomii arbetet och tydliga mål, var det område som hade störst betydelse för både motivationoch prestation. Personlighet hade betydelse för arbetsprestationen, men var inte särskiltbetydelsefullt för arbetsmotivationen.

    Undersökningen visar att det finns behov av att arbeta med hur lönesättningen gårtill inom privat sektor om avsikten är att använda lönesättningen för att motivera ochöka de anställdas prestation i arbetet. Även om lönenivån som sådan har viss betydelseför de anställdas arbetsmotivation och arbetsprestation, har upplevelser av hur lönesättningen genomförs, legitimitet i lönesättningen och arbetsklimatet större betydelse. Chefer kan beskrivas som bärare av lönesystemet och har ett ansvar för att skapatransparens avseende hur lönekriterier används och hur anställdas arbetsutförande bedöms, liksom för att forma de anställdas arbetsklimat.

    Sammanfattningsvis visar undersökningen att när lönesättningen fungerar på ett sätt som de anställda upplever som legitimt finns det förutsättningar för att lön och lönesättning kan bidra till ökad motivation och prestation – och därmed även till verksamhetens utveckling. Resultaten antyder att det är viktigt att integrera lönesättningen med andra åtgärder – såsom att främja arbetsklimatet – för att förbättraverksamheten. Lön och lönesättning utgör ett verktyg bland flera i utvecklingen avmedarbetare och företag.

  • 2018. Eva Charlotta Nylén (et al.). Nordic Psychology 70 (3), 179-197

    Knowledge regarding the effects on employees of occupational intervention programs targeting psychosocial factors at work, including job demands, job resources, and personal resources, is limited and existing studies show mixed findings. This study aimed to investigate potential effects on employees’ job demands (i.e., workload, unnecessary tasks, unreasonable tasks), job resources (i.e., feedback, control, goal clarity), and personal resources (i.e., signaling and limit-setting strategies) of an intervention targeting managers’ ways of improving the psychosocial work environment among their staff (SWEActManager). Questionnaire data from employees (n = 40) of a Swedish municipality, whose managers (n = 4) participated in the program, and referents (n = 58 employees), were collected before and after the program. The program included four three-hour workshops delivered during a six-week period. Results from 2(group) × 2(time) ANOVAs showed that all three demands increased over time, while job control decreased. There were no significant group effects. One interaction effect only was significant: Unnecessary tasks increased more among referents than in the intervention group. The few significant short-term effects probably relate to challenges in designing and implementing organizational interventions targeting managers, and evaluating their effects among subordinates. This study adds to the limited research regarding the effects of organizational psychosocial interventions, including managers for their subordinates’ demands and resources in a changing working life.

  • 2018. Johan Simonsen Abildgaard, Karina Nielsen, Magnus Sverke. Work & Stress 32 (2), 105-123

    Although downsizing and reorganisation are recognised as serious threats to the psychological well-being of employees, intervention strategies for addressing these events are limited. This study evaluated the effects of a participatory organisational-level intervention in which employees and managers chose to address the psychosocial consequences, specifically job insecurity, of restructuring. The intervention was conducted among postal service letter carriers in Denmark and was evaluated based on quantitative and qualitative data. Using interviews (N = 24) and observations, the programme theory of the intervention and to what extent the intervention had been implemented were assessed. Using survey data (N = 238), repeated measures ANOVAs were conducted to test for differences in the development of job insecurity between the intervention group and a comparison group. The results indicate that the intervention group had a significantly smaller increase in one dimension of job insecurity as compared to the comparison group. Therefore, we conclude that employees’ experiencing of job insecurity, which typically follows in the wake of restructuring, can be addressed by planned efforts at the workplace level.

  • 2018. Johnny Hellgren, Anders Eriksson, Magnus Sverke. Book of proceedings 13th Conference of the European Academy of Occupational Health Psychology, 329-329

    The private sector in Sweden as well as other industrial countries is rapidly moving towards more performance-oriented pay systems in order to increase employees’ work motivation. In the research literature there has been a long lasting debate on whether pay for performance increases or decreases motivation, especially in relation to intrinsic motivation (the crowding-out effect), and scholars are still debating the effects of pay-for-performance systems on employee motivation and performance. The overall aim of this study is to contribute to an increased understanding of how pay relates to employee motivation and performance within the context of a pay-for-performance system. More specifically, drawing on self-determination theory (SDT) and goal setting theory this study investigates how psychological needs (autonomy and feedback), goal setting (goal clarity), pay level and performance-based pay raise (assessed at Time 1) relate to subsequent motivation (intrinsic and extrinsic) as well as self-rated and supervisor-rated performance (assessed at Time 2), after controlling for demographic factors (age and sex). Questionnaire data was collected in 2015 and 2016 among all employees in a private Swedish industrial company (N=512, response rate approximately 40 percent). This was supplemented with register data on monthly pay level and individual pay raise along with performance ratings from their pay-setting managers. The findings indicate that pay for performance may have a positive impact on employee motivation and performance but that psychological need satisfaction and goal-setting seem to be crucial for both motivation and job performance. The study gives an input to the pay-motivation-performance puzzle with implications for managers and organisations.

  • 2018. Marta Sousa-Ribeiro (et al.). Book of Proceedings 13the Conference of the European Academy of Occupational Health Psychology, 267-268

    Older people represent an increasing share of the population in many countries. While higher life expectancy is a remarkable social achievement, accelerated demographic ageing poses several challenges, particularly to health care, labour market and pensions systems. A greater awareness of the importance to increase the participation of older workers in the labour market and to delay the transition to full retirement has turned retirement into an issue of global significance and an important research topic.

    Notwithstanding the increasing flexibility and heterogeneity in the exit pathways from employment to retirement, most research have focused on the decision regarding when to retire; while fewer studies have investigated the dynamics of engagement in post-retirement work, or bridge employment. This form of employment is becoming more common in several countries, including Sweden, where between 2010 and 2015, the number of employed people aged 66–74 has increased by 36 percent. Furthermore, qualitative studies, allowing for an in-depth understanding of the complexity of the topic, remain scarce.

    This study aimed to explore the transition to retirement, the motivation to engage in bridge employment and experiences of working after retirement among assistant nurses. The study used Interpretative Phenomenological Analysis to analyze data from semi-structured interviews with seven retired assistant nurses working at a Swedish hospital. The interviews focused on retirement decision-making, experiences of working after retirement and ageing issues. The following super-ordinate themes were identified: the retirement process, meaning of retirement, functions and meaning of work, drivers to continue working after retirement, working as an assistant nurse after retirement and the experience of ageing.    

    In this group of assistant nurses, bridge employment seemed to allow for a gradual adjustment to retirement, which in turn contributed to their well-being. Interviewees did not plan for their retirement while some would have preferred to do so. Full-retirement was regarded as stagnation and “the end of the road”, while work was valued positively. Work defined one’s existence and identity, provided a sense of purpose and belonging to the society, was a source of social contact and nurturing, a physical and mental health booster and postponed ageing. Interviewees reflected much on their reasons to continue working: Feeling able to work and the absence of major health problems was, not surprisingly, a major driver, but other factors were of equal importance, such as being intrinsically motivated to work and feeling appreciated and needed at work. Interviewees regarded their job as challenging, varied and not particularly demanding. Their contacts with the patients and being able to help others was perceived as highly rewarding and a prominent reason for continuing to work. Having control over working time and opportunities for recovery were also much valued. Interviewees reported some improvements that came with ageing, but also felt some limitations, which they tried to compensate for at work. These results may contribute to a further understanding of issues motivating people to continue working as assistant nurses, an occupation that plays an important role within the health care sector.

  • 2018. Lena Låstad, Johnny Hellgren, Magnus Sverke. Book of proceedings 13th Conference of the European Academy of Occupational Health Psychology, 288-289

    Purpose: While previous research has shown that job insecurity is linked to job performance, the number of studies exploring this relationship is limited and the results are mixed (Cheng & Chan, 2008; Sverke et al., 2002). This duality is also reflected in theoretical frameworks. For instance, psychological contract theory implicates that job insecurity may result in lower performance (De Cuyper & De Witte, 2006; Vander Elst et al., 2016), whereas impression management theory suggests that performance may increase as a consequence of perceived job insecurity (Huang et al., 2013). Further, the type of performance ratings used in previous studies has been discussed, and the sole use of self-ratings of performance is upheld as potentially problematic (e.g. Probst et al., 2017). In response to previous criticism of studies in this field regarding self-ratings of performance, both self- and supervisor-ratings of job performance are included in this study. Lastly, there have also been calls for more longitudinal studies in job insecurity research, addressing the question of short- and long-term effects of job insecurity (Greenhalgh & Rosenblatt, 2010). Taken together, this study seeks to address the mixed results found in previous research regarding the relationship between job insecurity and job performance. More specifically, the aim is to investigate how job insecurity is related to self- and supervisor-rated performance, both cross-sectionally and over time.

    Design: The study is based on survey data collected among white-collar employees in a large industrial enterprise in Sweden. The data collection had a longitudinal design with 2 data waves. The questionnaire data will be supplemented with supervisor ratings of overall performance.

    Findings: Questionnaire data from employees have been collected, and preliminary results indicate that job insecurity can result in lower job performance. Supervisor-ratings are currently being collected.

    Research limitations: While the study adds to the literature by investigating both cross-sectional and longitudinal associations of job insecurity with self-rated as well as supervisor-rated job performance, it does not unravel the nature of causal associations. In addition, the results need replication in other national and occupational contexts.

    Practical implications: The present study links job insecurity with lower performance. The results thus have important implications for organisations navigating high demands for flexibility and tight business margins. Organisations should make efforts to prevent job insecurity from emerging as a concern among employees in order to avoid reduced job performance.

    Originality: By combining a longitudinal design with self- and supervisor-ratings of task performance, this study adds to previous research in two different ways: We investigate both (1) short- and long-terms associations between job insecurity and job performance, and (2) test these associations using both self- and supervisor-ratings of job performance.

  • 2018. Magnus Sverke (et al.). Book of proceedings 13th Conference of the European Academy of Occupational Health Psychology, 219-220

    Job insecurity, which reflects employees’ concerns about losing one’s job, is generally characterised as a predominant work stressor. The research literature in this field has been steadily growing since the early 1980s and numerous studies have concluded that job insecurity may have detrimental consequences for both employees and organisations. Thus far, two meta-analyses have been published on the consequences of job insecurity for employee work attitudes, work-related behaviour, and health. However, these meta-analyses were published in 2002 and 2008 and contain only a few broad outcomes. Since then, the amount of published job insecurity studies have increased substantially, investigating a wider range of outcomes. There are still a number of important research gaps, including how job insecurity relates to a wide range of potential outcomes, and whether the associations differ between cross-sectional and longitudinal data. The aim of the present meta-analysis was to extend previous knowledge by (1) investigating the effects of job insecurity on a broader spectrum of outcomes than the previous meta-analyses have done, and (2) comparing cross-sectional and longitudinal associations.

    A literature search with the search terms “job insecurity”, “job uncertainty”, “job security”, and “job security satisfaction” in Psycinfo, Web of Science, and EBSCO produced a sample of 553 samples from peer-reviewed papers published between 1980 and June 2017. The associations between job insecurity and various types of work-related and health-related outcomes were coded based on whether the associations reported were cross-sectional and longitudinal.

    The results indicate that job insecurity has a substantial and negative influence on employees’ work-related attitudes, job performance, and mental and physical health, and may also result in impaired safety outcomes and negative spillover effects to life outside work. In general, the cross-sectional and longitudinal associations were of similar magnitude, thus indicating that the negative consequences remain also over time. While the study cannot address the question of direction of the relationships investigated (causality) and the analyses did not control for potential confounding variables, the results indicate that job insecurity may have strong, negative effects on a wide range of individual as well as organisational outcomes, both within and over time. The findings reported in the present meta-analysis both broaden and deepen the understanding of the negative consequences associated with job insecurity.

  • 2018. Stefan Annell (et al.). Nordic Journal of Working Life Studies 8 (4), 3-24

    Selection research has typically focused on how to identify suitable candidates, while less is known regarding the long-term effects of various selection factors once the suitable candidates have start-ed working. The overall aim of this study was to examine the relative importance of selection fac-tors (measured during recruitment), and psychosocial working conditions (once candidates started working) for four outcomes, namely (1) job satisfaction, (2) organizational citizenship behavior, (3) occupational retention, and (4) health. Data came from a longitudinal study of newly hired police officers in Sweden (N = 508), including recruitment data and a follow-up after 3.5 years. Results of hierarchical multiple regression analyses showed that psychosocial working conditions were more important than selection factors in predicting the four outcomes. The findings suggest that employers, to ensure sustainability, need to focus on activities that facilitate newcomers’ enter-ing in the organization and their professions by providing a sound work climate.

  • 2018. Anne Richter, Susanne Tafvelin, Magnus Sverke.

    Job insecurity is a predominant work stressor that has negative effects for individuals and organizations. The purpose of this study is to enhance the understanding of the effect of organizational management, more specifically of production- and employee-oriented leadership, on job insecurity. Moreover, two potential mediators of leadership—goal clarity and trust—are investigated. Cross-sectional questionnaire data (n = 1329) from an acute care hospital in Sweden was used. Both leadership styles were negatively associated with job insecurity. In addition, production-oriented and employee-oriented leadership had indirect effects on job insecurity. More specifically, we found goal clarity to be the prominent mediator of the relation between production-oriented leadership and job insecurity. Organizational actions such as leadership are important for working preventively with job insecurity. It is the mechanisms of leadership that may reduce job insecurity. This is the first study to show how leadership styles may influence employees’ perceptions of job insecurity.

  • 2018. Lena Låstad (et al.). Economic and Industrial Democracy 39 (3), 422-438

    The aim of this study is to examine job insecurity from a multilevel perspective and to investigate the roles of two types of job insecurity - job insecurity climate and individual job insecurity - for work-related attitudes and health outcomes. It further explores the role of the workgroup - as a social context - in shaping job insecurity perceptions. Data were collected from white-collar employees in a Swedish organization, with 126 participants nested in 18 groups. The results show that 19% of the variance in job insecurity climate perceptions, and none of the variance in individual job insecurity perceptions, could be attributed to group membership. Further, compared to other members of their group, those perceiving a stronger job insecurity climate reported lower levels of negative self-rated health and higher burnout scores. These results imply that the workgroup is an important social context for job insecurity climate perceptions.

  • 2018. Marta Sousa-Ribeiro, Magnus Sverke, Joaquim Luís Coimbra. Book of proceedings 13th Conference of the European Academy of Occupational Health Psychology, 75-75

    While in several countries the need of longer working lives has been acknowledged, due to accelerated demographic ageing, many older workers face particular challenges both in keeping their employment and becoming reemployed after redundancy. Due to the high prevalence of negative age-related stereotypes, a central factor that may hinder the employment prospects of older adults is the discrimination on the grounds of age, which may occur as early as age 40. In the absence of job opportunities, a considerable number of older unemployed people eventually withdraw from the labour market earlier than they would like. Job search is currently an integral part of working life, including in mid- and late-career, and there is extensive research evidence for the positive impact job search has on the likelihood of reemployment. While it is plausible that perceived age discrimination plays a significant role in older unemployed people’s job search behaviour, to date this has rarely been investigated.

    In this line, building partially on propositions from the social cognitive model of career self-management (applied to job search behaviour) proposed by Lent and Brown, as well as prior research, the present study aims to contribute to a better comprehension of factors and processes that are associated with job search among older unemployed people. The study investigates a parallel mediational model which proposes a negative relationship between perceived age discrimination and three job search indicators (job search intensity, job search effort and job search intentions) that is mediated by job search self-efficacy, reemployment expectations and perceived control over reemployment.

    The study has a cross-sectional design and the sample comprises 176 Portuguese unemployed people (aged 40-64 years). A MANOVA examined differences in the model’s predictors and outcomes in terms of age (40-54; 55+), gender, educational level (4-10; 11+ years) and length of unemployment (0-11; 12+ months). To investigate the proposed model, ordinary least squares path analyses were calculated using the SPSS macro PROCESS.

    Results suggest that women, those with lower education levels and those aged 55+ are at higher risk of becoming discouraged in their job search. In times when demographic ageing has led to tightened conditions qualifying for early retirement and increased statutory retirement ages, special attention should be paid to these groups to prevent social exclusion. Job search self-efficacy and reemployment expectations were positively related to the three job search indicators and perceived age discrimination was negatively related to reemployment expectations and perceived control over reemployment. The study also found an indirect negative relationship between perceived age discrimination and job search via lower reemployment expectations.

    Whilst the cross-sectional design of the study restricts firm conclusions regarding causality, the mediational model is theoretically well sustained. The findings expose the pervasive effects of age discrimination, which besides limiting the employment opportunities for older workers, has also indirect implications by decreasing job search activity through lowered levels of reemployment expectations, what may lead to premature and involuntary labour market exits. These findings may be useful for policy-makers and practitioners working with unemployed people.

Show all publications by Magnus Sverke at Stockholm University

Last updated: June 10, 2019

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