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Johanna StengårdForskare



I urval från Stockholms universitets publikationsdatabas

  • Being stuck in the workplace

    2018. Johanna Stengård (et al.).

    Avhandling (Dok)

    In today’s working life, it has been argued that employees themselves to a large extent are expected to take charge of their own careers. However, some individuals may feel a lack of control over their careers as they feel stuck working in a workplace/organization they do not want to continue to work in, but perceive that they have few if any chances to leave for a better alternative elsewhere. Such a position has been referred to as being locked-in at the workplace. As professional life occupies a large part of the lives of many individuals, it could be argued that being locked-in has negative consequences for the individual. This also means that potential risk factors that lead to a locked-in position need to be identified to prevent such involuntary career non-mobility. However, there is paucity of research on this topic. Consequently, the overall aim of this thesis was to examine the phenomenon of being locked-in in terms of possible determinants related to the individual, and furthermore, consequences for well-being and health. In the present thesis, being locked-in was conceptualized as 1) combining being in a non-preferred workplace/organization with low perceived employability, and 2) adding an additional category including individuals at risk of becoming locked-in. The aim of Study I was to examine determinants of being locked-in. In particular, matching factors between the employee and the work, as well as demographics, were studied. The results indicated that misfit between knowledge/skills and work tasks was related to being locked-in. More specifically, it was revealed that being overqualified or not having enough physical or mental work abilities increased the odds ratios for being or becoming locked-in. Also, both unskilled manual workers and non-manual workers in lower positions were found to have higher odds ratios for being/becoming locked-in. Study II examined the relationship between helplessness and being locked-in, specifically focusing on the cross-lagged relationship between these two factors. The analyses indicated that helplessness worked in both ways, but should primarily be regarded as a determinant of being locked-in. Finally, Study III showed that there were differences in levels of reported depressive symptoms and self-rated health between employees who were stably locked-in compared to employees who were not being locked-in. The ‘risk category’ exhibited an intermediate position, with better well-being and health than those who were locked-in, but with worse well-being and health than those who were not locked-in. Furthermore, a change of locked-in status over time was followed by changes foremost in depressive symptoms. Specifically, positive changes in locked-in status corresponded to positive development, while negative changes in locked-in status were followed by negative development in terms of depressive symptoms and to some extent, self-rated health. In conclusion, this thesis contributes to knowledge of the phenomenon of being locked-in—which is a rather neglected topic in research—by incorporating it into a theoretical perspective of career control and PE fit, as well as by developing its conceptualization/operationalization. Furthermore, this thesis contributes to the research field by examining the relationship between being locked-in and various determinants associated with the individual, and consequences related to health.

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  • Stuck in the job

    2017. Johanna Stengård (et al.). Journal of Vocational Behavior 102, 15-27


    In today's rapidly changing and increasingly competitive labour market individuals need to take control over their own career more actively. However, some employees feel that they lack psychological suppositions to get another job, even though they wish to, and as a result feel stuck in a non-preferred workplace (being locked-in). The aim of this study was to investigate how helplessness are related to being locked-in at the workplace over time, since it can be argued that helplessness precedes, is reciprocally related to, or a consequence of being locked-in at the workplace. The sample consisted of 978 Swedish employees with permanent contracts and the data were collected at two time points (2012 and 2016). Results from a cross-lagged SEM analysis showed best fit statistics for a model of reciprocal relationships over time; helplessness associated with subsequent perceptions of being locked-in at the workplace and an association, although less substantial, was found in the reversed direction from locked-in status to helplessness. Results remained unchanged when job change, reorganization, gender, age and education were controlled for, which lends further credibility to the finding. Implications for future research and theory development are outlined in the discussion.

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  • The negative effects on mental health of being in a non-desired occupation in an increasingly precarious labour market

    2017. Catarina Canivet (et al.).


    Precarious employment has been associated with poor mental health. Moreover, increasing labour market precariousness may cause individuals to feel ‘locked-in’, in non-desired workplaces or occupations, out of fear of not finding a new employment. This could be experienced as a ‘loss of control’, with similar negative health consequences. It is plausible that the extent to which being in a non-desired occupation (NDO) or being in precarious employment (PE) has a negative impact on mental health differs according to age group. We tested this hypothesis using data from 2331 persons, 18–34, 35–44, and 45–54 years old, who answered questionnaires in 1999/2000, 2005, and 2010. Incidence rate ratios (IRR) were calculated for poor mental health (GHQ-12) in 2010, after exposure to NDO and PE in 1999/2000 or 2005. NDO and PE were more common in the youngest age group, and they were both associated with poor mental health. In the middle age group the impact of NDO was null, while in contrast the IRR for PE was 1.7 (95% CI: 1.3–2.3) after full adjustment. The pattern was completely the opposite in the oldest age group (adjusted IRR for NDO 1.6 (1.1–2.4) and for PE 0.9 (0.6–1.4)). The population attributable fraction of poor mental health was 14.2% and 11.6%, respectively, for NDO in the youngest and oldest age group, and 17.2% for PE in the middle age group. While the consequences of PE have been widely discussed, those of NDO have not received attention. Interventions aimed at adapting work situations for older individuals and facilitating conditions of job change in such a way as to avoid risking unemployment or precarious employment situations may lead to improved mental health in this age group.

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  • Stuck in a job

    2016. Johanna Stengård (et al.). Work & Stress 30 (2), 152-172


    In this study, being “locked-in” at the workplace is conceptualized as being in a non-preferred workplace while at the same time perceiving low employability. The aim of the study was to investigate how being locked-in or at risk of becoming locked-in (being in a non-preferred workplace yet currently satisfied, combined with perceiving low employability) relates to well-being (subjective health and depressive symptoms). The hypotheses were tested in a Swedish longitudinal sample (T1 in 2010 and T2 in 2012) of permanent employees (N = 3491). The results showed that stability with regard to locked-in-related status (being non-locked-in, at risk of becoming locked-in, or locked-in at both T1 and T2) was related to significant and stable differences in well-being. The non-locked-in status was associated with better well-being than being at risk of becoming locked-in. Moreover, those at risk of becoming locked-in showed better well-being than those with stable locked-in status. Changes towards non-locked-in were accompanied by significant improvements in well-being, and changes towards locked-in were associated with impairments in well-being. The relationships that were found could not be attributed to differences in demographic variables and occupational preference. The findings indicate that being locked-in is detrimental to well-being. This has implications for preventative interventions.

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  • Understanding the determinants of well-being and organizational attitudes during a plant closure

    2015. Johanna Stengård (et al.). Economic and Industrial Democracy 36 (4), 611-631


    The present study investigated to what extent perception of closure management (informational justice, severance package satisfaction) as well as individual resources and barriers (employability, tenure) were associated with well-being and organizational attitudes during plant closure. This was studied in a sample of 129 Swedish workers in a plant undergoing closure. The results showed that those who felt communication to be fair reported higher well-being and more positive attitudes. Those who were satisfied with the severance package reported lower intention to leave but also felt fewer obligations towards the organization. Those with higher employability reported higher subjective health. The results also indicated that tenure moderated the relation between informational justice and felt obligations, and employability moderated the relation between severance package satisfaction and organizational attitudes. It can be concluded that closure management together with employees’ different resources and barriers are vital for organizational attitudes and well-being during the closedown process.

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  • How Are They Now?

    2014. Claudia Bernhard-Oettel, Johanna Stengård, Katharina Näswall. Book of Proceedings, 11th Conference of the European Academy of Occupational Health Psychology, 257-258


    Planned organizational changes often aim to secure organizational sustainability through the means of optimising structures and strategies. However, for employees such organizational changes often imply job changes and the loss of familiar routines. 

    Plausibly, this increases perceived uncertainty and may have negative effects on employees’ organizational attitudes and well-being during the change. If levels of well-being and organizational attitudes are negatively affected in the long run, this may pose threats to the initial aim to secure organizational sustainability. This may even more so be the case if employees such as managers show long-term negative reactions, since managers are in key positions to promote the organizations aims vis à vis employees. Whereas there is much research on employees’ reactions towards organizational change, few studies have specifically analysed managers’ reactions at different organizational levels. Also, many studies focus on certain aspects of uncertainty, but few inspect the consequences of (unwanted) job, task or responsibility changes.

    Accordingly, this study aimed to investigate managers’ well-being and organizational attitudes after organizational changes of management structures. More specifically, it studied how changes in managers’ organizational attitudes and well-being related to changes in job positions, tasks and responsibilities shortly after the organizational restructuring, and more than a year later.

    The study used questionnaire data collected from managers in a Swedish governmental agency undergoing structural changes. During this period all managers had to go through a new recruitment process. Questionnaires were sent out at T1 (summer 2011, one month before the change process started), T2 (spring 2012, two months after the organizational change was finalised) and T3 (summer 2013, 18 months after the organizational change was finalised).

    Data are currently being analysed cross-sectionally (N = 173, 144, and 125) and longitudinally (N = 91 with complete date for t1, t2 and t3). The preliminary findings show the percentage of managers who rated their job positions favorably steadily decreased from T1 to T3, and this related to a significant decrease in self-rated health and job satisfaction. Interestingly, perceptions of tasks and responsibilities of their old and new jobs were still rather similar at T2. How the perceptions of changes in tasks and responsibilities relate to attitudes and well-being a year later (T3) is currently under analysis.

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  • Chefskap, Hälsa, Effektivitet, Förutsättningar i Offentlig Sektor

    2013. Johanna Stengård, Eva Bejerot, Erik Berntson.


    Ur förordet:

    Detta är en deskriptiv rapport från CHEFiOS-projektet. CHEFiOS står för Chefskap, Hälsa, Effektivitet, Förutsättningar i Offentlig Sektor. Projektet har finansierats av Vinnova, Västra Götalandsregionen, Göteborgs stad och Göteborgs universitet samt Previa. De kommuner som deltagit i projektet har också bidragit på många sätt, bland annat med lokala projektledare och alla chefer som ställt upp med sin tid.

    Denna rapport är en deskriptiv, teknisk rapport som syftar till att presentera enkäten och källor till de enkätfrågor som ingår i rapporten. Här redovisas också svarsfrekvenser på frågorna. Enkäten har använts till olika analyser vars resultat finns redovisat i ett flertal publikationer.

    CHEFiOS är ett forsknings- och interventionsprojekt med syfte att undersöka och förbättra förutsättningar för chefskap i offentlig sektor. Totalt har sju kommuner och 28 förvaltningar deltagit i projektet där sex förvaltningar har deltagit i interventionen och 22 har varit med som jämförelseförvaltningar. Totalt har ca 750 chefer besvarat enkäten som besvarades dels 2009, dels 2011.

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  • Importance of incentives and sufficient information level for displaced worker well-being and attitudes during plant closure

    2013. Johanna Stengård (et al.). Imagine the future world: how do we want to work tomorrow?, 554-555


    Purpose: Downsizing and plant closures are becoming increasingly common when organizations reduce expenditure. Research has shown that large organizational changes are associated with stress and negative job satisfaction, but the consequences of plant closure on the displaced workers health and attitudes toward their employer is scarce. The study aims at investigating personal factors, such as optimism and employment history, as well as management strategies, such as information and incentives, and their influence on maintaining workers well-being and facilitating their development of new future personal and careerrelated goals. Another aim is to investigate how management strategies affect the workers attitudes toward their organization during the closure process.

    Design/Methodology: To test these hypotheses, questionnaires from 131 employees working for a Swedish plant that is closing down were collected.

    Results: Data was analysed by means of moderated hierarchical regression analysis with wellbeing, coping goal-construct, felt obligations, and withdrawals cognitions as the outcome variables. In a stepwise procedure, the impact of personal employment history, optimism, perceived employability and management strategies was analyzed. As assumed, associations between the outcome variables and management strategies (information, incentives) as well as personal factors (optimism) were found. Partly, employability acted as a moderator.

    Limitations: Cross-sectional data was used and only one plant was examined.

    Research/Practical Implications: Both information and action package could be positively influenced by management.

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  • Inlåsning, anställningsbarhet och välbefinnande efter en omorganisation

    2013. Claudia Bernhard-Oettel (et al.). Arbetsmarknad & Arbetsliv 19 (4), 101-112


    Under perioder där arbetsmarknaden erbjuder färre alternativ är det troligt att fler människor accepterar arbetsplatser där de inte trivs eller stannar kvar på arbeten som de inte vill ha och känner sig inlåsta i. Tidigare forskning har kopplat inlåsning till sämre välbefinnande. Hur inlåsning och välbefinnande förändras när människor byter jobb är mindre känt. Föreliggande studie belyser förändringar i inlåsning, upplevd anställningsbarhet och välbefinnande vid en svensk myndighet efter en organisationsförändring som medfört organisationsinterna arbetsplatsbyten. Resultaten visar på negativa effekter av inlåsning: att stanna kvar på eller flytta till en arbetsplats som man inte önskar ha i framtiden är inte gynnsamt för hälsan.

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