Can a workplace leadership intervention reduce job insecurity and improve health? Results from a field study

  • Amira Barrech
  • Christian Seubert
  • Jürgen Glaser
  • Harald Gündel
Original Article



To examine the effectiveness of an intervention in the workplace designed to reduce job insecurity among employees affected by organizational change.


Supervisors were randomly allocated to an intervention (IG) or waiting-list-control group (CG) and the intervention was administered over a period of 3 months, comprising six group sessions. N = 103 supervisors and their team members (mean age 41.80 ± 9.60 years, 60.19% male) provided data prior to (t0) and 3 months post-intervention (t1) by means of questionnaires and hair samples. Job insecurity (COPSOQ), mental health (HADS) and somatic health (GBB, hair cortisol concentration) were measured.


Job insecurity was reduced to a marginally significant degree in the IG compared to the CG at t1 (B = − 5.78, p = .06, CI [− 11.73, 0.17]). Differential effects for supervisors and team members were not found. No effects on health could be observed overall in the IG, but supervisors in the IG reported a significant decrease in exhaustion tendency (B = − 0.92, p = 0.01, CI [− 1.64, − 0.20]) and a non-significant trend towards higher levels of anxiety (B = 2.98, p = 0.10, CI [− 0.57, 6.54]) compared to team members.


This is the first study to provide some evidence for the effectiveness of an intervention that aimed at reducing job insecurity during organizational change. Health-related effects were observed in supervisors but not in team members. Further intervention studies are needed to add to the current knowledge base.


Job insecurity Workplace intervention Occupational stress Supervisor training Occupational health 



This research project was funded by the hosting company and the Swiss State Secretariat for Economic Affairs (SECO).

Author contributions

A.B. wrote the manuscript. C.S. and A.B. prepared the data and performed the statistical analyses. A.B., C.S., J.G. and H.G. made substantial contributions to the interpretation of results and revised all versions of the manuscript until completion. A.B., C.S., J.G. and H.G. revised the manuscript critically for important intellectual content. J.G. and H.G. conceptualized and planned the study as well as the data collection methodology. A.B. assisted in the planning of the study as well as the implementation at the company.

Compliance with ethical standards

Conflict of interest

The first author was an employee of the hosting company during this research project. The authors declare that they have no conflicts of interest.

Research involving human and animal participants

All procedures performed in studies involving human participants were in accordance with the ethical standards of the institutional and/or national research committee and with the 1964 Helsinki declaration and its later amendments or comparable ethical standards. Informed consent was obtained from all individual participants included in the study.

Supplementary material

420_2018_1302_MOESM1_ESM.docx (166 kb)
Supplementary material 1 (DOCX 166 KB)


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag GmbH Germany, part of Springer Nature 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Psychosomatic Medicine and PsychotherapyUniversity hospital UlmUlmGermany
  2. 2.Institute of PsychologyUniversity of InnsbruckInnsbruckAustria

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