European Academy of Occupational Health Psychology Conference edition:11 location:London, United Kingdom date:14-16 April 2014
Perceived employability concerns the individual’s perception of the possibility of getting a new job either in the current organization (perceived internal employability) or with another employer (perceived external employability). Previous studies have advanced perceived employability as a resource that promotes well-being and reduces ill-being, and thus it seems important to study antecedents to perceived employability that are malleable in view of identifying possibilities for employability-enhancement. In response, we investigate experience concentration as a potentially important antecedent to perceived employability. We selected occupational expertise for two reasons: expertise is malleable and it is critical in today's knowledge society.
The general hypothesis is that expertise will increase perceptions of perceived employability. We believe this hypothesis is somewhat too straightforward for three reasons. First, it does not account for the distinction between internal and external perceived employability: occupational expertise might be more closely tied to the present job, and thus be more important to internal versus external employability. Second, the relationship between expertise and perceived employability might not be linear. Experience concentration can lead workers to feel locked-in. Due to a “too high” level of very specific expertise, the employee may not perceive to have expertise that can be used also in other organizations. The result is that the relationship between expertise and particularly external perceived employability is curvilinear. Finally, perceived employability may affect occupational expertise rather than vice versa, for example when employable workers have more resources to invest in expertise-enhancing activities. In response, we will (1) test the type of relationship between occupational expertise and perceived internal and external employability (e.g. linear versus curvilinear relationship), and (2) test the causality of this relationship.
We will test the type of relationship through curve estimations and hierarchical regressions, the causal pathways of the relationships between occupational expertise and perceived internal and external employability will be tested through longitudinal analyses with structural equation modelling. We collected data from 4143 employees from 14 organisations for the first wave. In October 2013, we will collect second wave data.