Journal of Occupational Health Psychology © 2019 American Psychological Association 1076-8998/20/$12.00 2020, Vol. 25, No. 3, 159 –175 http://dx.doi.org/10.1037/ocp0000162 This document is copyrighted by the American Psychological Association or one of its allied publishers. This article is intended solely for the personal use of the individual user and is not to be disseminated broadly. All About the Money? Exploring Antecedents and Consequences for a Brief Measure of Perceived Financial Security Timothy P. Munyon Andrew M. Carnes The University of Tennessee Western Carolina University Laci M. Lyons Ingo Zettler University of Central Arkansas University of Copenhagen As often theorized in economics and organizational psychology, attaining and maintaining financial security is a universal, but often elusive, goal for workers. Yet, a thorough exploration of how financial security operates within the nomological network of occupational and relational phenomena has been lacking. This study enhances our understanding of financial security by exploring its dispositional and relational antecedents, work attitude and strain correlates, and relational consequences at home and work. Using a multidisciplinary, cross-context approach, this 3-study investigation provides construct validity evidence for a brief measure of financial security and assesses its psychometric properties for employed adults, dual-career couples, and salespeople. Results show acceptable internal consistency reliabilities for the measure of financial security (with Cronbach’s ␣ ranging from .88 to .94) and evidence of convergent and criterion-related validity. Specifically, we found that negative affectivity and number of dependents were inversely related to financial security, whereas family income and partner reports of financial security demonstrated convergent validity with financial security. We also find that financial security is positively related to job satisfaction in 2 of 3 studies, relationship satisfaction in dual-career couples, and client-reported relationship quality for salespeople, whereas financial security is negatively related to burnout. These findings suggest that financial security is a useful construct with multidisciplinary implications. Keywords: financial security, job satisfaction, burnout, relationship satisfaction, dual-career cial security. For example, SunTrust recently enacted a support program to help its employees become more financially secure, and anecdotal evidence has linked participation in this program to gains in employee satisfaction, productivity, and retention (PRNewsWire, 2017). Indeed, SunTrust managers found such great success with the financial security program that they made it available to corporate banking customers, and companies like Delta Airlines, Home Depot, McKee Foods, and Waffle House have now adopted this program to enhance the financial security of their own employees (PRNewsWire, 2017). Recent scholarly evidence suggests that financial security plays an important role in bridging the domains of work and home. For example, Lawrence, Halbesleben, and Paustian-Underdahl (2013) conceptualized financial security as a resource state, finding it was negatively related to work–family conflict following a lost-time accident. Their investigation found that lost-time accidents drained family financial resources, reducing financial security and increasing work–family conflict at home. These anecdotal and empirical findings accord with the theory of Brief and Atieh (1987), who conceptualized financial security as a key influence on stress and strain processes over 30 years ago. Specifically, drawing on appraisal theory (Lazarus & Folkman, 1984), Brief and Atieh viewed threats to financial security as a harm–loss, proposing that such threats would elicit a strain re- Employees often labor under difficult financial circumstances, reflected by low personal savings rates, high levels of household debt, and the threat of bankruptcy (Abate, 2006; Cussen, 2010). In realization of these circumstances, organizations are increasingly intervening to help their employees realize a better state of finan- This article was published Online First July 11, 2019. Timothy P. Munyon, Department of Management, The University of Tennessee; Andrew M. Carnes, Department of Economics, Management, and Project Management, Western Carolina University; Laci M. Lyons, Department of Marketing and Management, University of Central Arkansas; Ingo Zettler, Department of Psychology, University of Copenhagen. Portions of this article were presented at the 68th Annual Meeting of the Academy of Management. We wish to acknowledge helpful feedback from Lane Morris, Tom Wright, Annelis van Vianen, Marjan Gorgievski, Jack Fiorito, Betsy Becker, Denise Breaux, Wayne Hochwarter, and James Meurs. Finally, Study 2 is based on data from Timothy P. Munyon’s dissertation, directed by Gerald Ferris. Andrew M. Carnes, Laci M. Lyons, and Ingo Zettler contributed equally; the order of authorship is alphabetical. Correspondence concerning this article should be addressed to Laci M. Lyons, Department of Marketing and Management, University of Central Arkansas, 201 Donaghey Avenue, Conway, AR 72035. E-mail: llyons@ uca.edu 159 MUNYON, CARNES, LYONS, AND ZETTLER This document is copyrighted by the American Psychological Association or one of its allied publishers. This article is intended solely for the personal use of the individual user and is not to be disseminated broadly. 160 sponse in employees (see also Kim, Gutter, & Spangler, 2017). Yet, although practice and theory all position financial security as a key influencer in work and home domains, empirical inquiry has lagged beyond the anecdotal and theoretical contributions. Furthermore, there is a need to extend the nomological network of financial security, including understanding its antecedents and consequences at work and home. Consequently, the purpose of this investigation is to explore antecedents and consequences of financial security at work and home. First, we discuss the nature of financial security. Second, we hypothesize about the dispositional and relational antecedents to financial security, considering how negative affectivity and relational dependents impact estimates of financial security. Third, we shed new light on the nomological network and operation of financial security at work, exploring its effects on job satisfaction, job tension, and burnout. Fourth, we test the direct relational consequences of financial security at home and work, representing the first study, to our knowledge, to do so. Specifically, we test how financial security affects relationship satisfaction within dualcareer couples and also model the effects of salesperson financial security on client reports of relationship quality, bridging occupational health psychology and marketing literatures. Finally, we model these effects by incorporating dyadic reports and multilevel analyses, representing a methodological contribution intended to improve the rigor of the findings.
Financial Security Strumpel (1976) was among the first to consider the effects of financial security, finding that financial security encompassed traditional assessments of income and savings, but also a sense of material security. Herzog and Rodgers (1981) explored the concept of financial security further, finding that an individual’s perceived ability to meet financial obligations was the most powerful influence on subjective well-being in the General Society Survey. On the basis of these findings, Brief and Atieh (1987) postulated that financial security would play a key role in stress and strain processes at work, particularly as events threatened or enhanced financial security. Finally, Porter and Garman (1993) found that access to credit, the presence or absence of other assets, and the ability to manage emergencies all contributed toward perceived financial security. Several inferences may be gleaned from this body of existing literature. Notably, research in financial security has extended across decades of employment, changing work conditions, sometimes turbulent politics, and technological shifts, suggesting that it remains an important life goal for workers. Similarly, although multiple approaches have been used to measure financial security, the literature generally characterizes financial security based on the adequacy of a respondent’s current income, liquidity, and assets for current and unforeseen demands. Finally, financial security would be expected to be generally stable across time, but also subject to events (Brief & Atieh, 1987; Lawrence et al., 2013) and conditions (Hobfoll, Halbesleben, Neveu, & Westman, 2018) that change it positively or negatively. For example, relationship status changes, the addition or loss of dependents, job changes, chronic illness, inheritances, and even natural disasters would all be expected to modify a respondent’s sense of financial security. Therefore, given these precedents in the literature, we define financial security as a subjective state reflecting the adequacy and stability of monetary assets relative to liabilities. This conceptualization of financial security incorporates individual perceptions of income, access to credit, personal savings, and other assets (Howell & Howell, 2008; Joo & Grable, 2004), and also considers the adequacy of these resources for present and future financial contingencies (Brief & Atieh, 1987; Gorgievski-Duijvesteijn, Bakker, Schaufeli, & van der Heijden, 2005; Porter & Garman, 1992). Thus, individual estimates of financial security implicitly account for current assets and liabilities and also perceived future threats or opportunities that may impact this state (Brief & Atieh, 1987). Given the multiple influences that affect these perceptions, financial security can be considered phenomenological in nature (Chan, Ofstedal, & Hermalin, 2002), acknowledging that perceptions of reality are often more important than the objective conditions of reality in understanding cognition and behavior (Lewin, 1936). Hence, although we expect objective financial circumstances (e.g., income, expenses, assets, and liabilities) to covary with financial security, such relationships should generally be only modestly correlated. Furthermore, specialization within personal relationships implies that certain individuals may manage household finances and be responsible for financial decisions, creating information asymmetries for partners who are less involved in financial decision-making (Fonseca, Mullen, Zamarro, & Zissimopoulos, 2012). Therefore, we expect discrepancies within personal and familial relationships regarding estimates of financial security, even as partner estimates should show modest convergence with one another. Having defined financial security, it is important to differentiate it from related constructs. First, financial security is distinct from income (Brett, Brief, Burke, George, & Webster, 1990; George & Brief, 1990); although, income has been shown to positively influence perceptions of financial security (Joo & Grable, 2004). Likewise, financial security is conceptually distinct from pay satisfaction (Brett et al., 1990; George & Brief, 1990). For example, an individual may be highly dissatisfied with his or her pay (i.e., low levels of pay satisfaction) and still report high levels of financial security, perhaps due to other sources of income and assets, low levels of liabilities, or even optimistic perceptual biases (Cassar, 2010). Finally, financial security is conceptually distinct from financial need, which describes the extent to which employees rely on financial rewards to support life activities (Brett, Cron, & Slocum, 1995; Doran, Stone, Brief, & George, 1991; George & Brief, 1990; Shaw & Gupta, 2001). Specifically, financial need, also referred to as financial requirements and economic dependence, primarily captures consumption patterns (e.g., marital status, number of children in the household) and alternative income sources (e.g., number of income earners, number of hours worked per week) to isolate the relative importance of a given job to an employee. However, it does not measure access to credit, the presence and absence of other assets, and the ability to manage emergencies, which all conceptually contribute toward financial security (Porter & Garman, 1992). Antecedents of Financial Security Having described the financial security construct, we now consider dispositional and relational antecedents to financial security. This document is copyrighted by the American Psychological Association or one of its allied publishers. This article is intended solely for the personal use of the individual user and is not to be disseminated broadly.
FINANCIAL SECURITY Specifically, we consider how individual personality, captured by negative affectivity, influences financial security, and also how dependents affect estimates of financial security. In sum, these factors represent theoretical examples of dispositional and relational antecedents to financial security. Negative affectivity. Negative affectivity reflects the extent to which individuals generally experience high levels of anxiety, fear, hostility, and anger (Watson & Clark, 1984). Negative affectivity is important in the current context because it shapes how individuals perceive the environment around them (Hochwarter, Perrewé, Hall, & Ferris, 2005; Spector, Chen, & O’Connell, 2000; Spector & Jex, 1998). Prior research also suggests that high levels of negative affectivity facilitate a hyperresponsiveness to psychosocial stressors, meaning that even small exposures to stressors can result in significant strains for individuals high in negative affectivity (Hochwarter et al., 2005). In sum, negative affectivity leads individuals to perceive the environment around them negatively, which may reduce estimates of financial security. Similarly, the hyperresponsiveness of negative affectivity may make individuals high in this trait sensitive to slight changes and fluctuations in their financial standings, leading them to perceive low levels of financial security even when their actual financial standing may be secure. Negative affectivity also theoretically influences the incomeearning potential and available financial resources of individuals. In support, Watson, Wiese, Vaidya, and Tellegen (1999) noted that negative affectivity heightens anxiety and restricts the ability of individuals to form high-quality relationships. Relatedly, Iverson, Olekalns, and Erwin (1998) found that negative affectivity is negatively related to social support, and in a study of work teams, Lam, Van der Vegt, Walter, and Huang (2011) found that negative affectivity was inversely related to cooperative team goals and positively related to harming behavior and relational conflict within the team. Consequently, individuals high in negative affectivity may have access to fewer financial resources and assets they can leverage because of poor relational connections, reducing their ability to manage emergent financial contingencies. Poor performance on teams and other work groups may also limit incomeearning potential through bonuses. Thus, in sum, individual negative affectivity should affect both the perception and objective reality of one’s financial security, and we propose the following: Hypothesis 1: Individual negative affectivity is negatively related to financial security. Dependents. Dependents reflect the number of individuals that rely on the income and assets generated by a given individual or family unit, and dependents exert several important influences on financial security. Barnes, Lefter, Bhave, and Wagner (2016) suggested that the number of dependents maintained by an individual impacts the temporal resources available to that person. By extrapolation, as the number of dependents increases, available time for work endeavors will decrease, reducing the incomeearning potential of an individual or family unit. Similarly, as the number of dependents increases, so do the financial requirements of caring for these dependents (Porter & Garman, 1993). Thus, the expenses and liabilities of an individual grow as his or her dependents increase in number. Finally, as the number of dependents increases, so does the risk of financial contingencies that may 161 affect the individual or family unit, decreasing the stability of financial resources available to an individual or family unit. In combination, we anticipate that the number of dependents will be inversely related to financial security, and propose the following: Hypothesis 2: Respondent number of dependents is inversely related to financial security. Convergent Validity Convergent validity reflects the extent to which a measure relates to similar constructs. Prior research has positively linked income and financial security (Joo & Grable, 2004; Strumpel, 1976). Income is earned through wages, retirement accounts, interest or dividends from investments, trusts, and the sale of products or services, and may reflect the income of an individual, dyadic relationship, and family unit. Thus, as income increases, individuals generally experience greater financial security (cf., Porter & Garman, 1993), and we propose the following: Hypothesis 3: Family income is positively related to financial security. Similarly, family systems theories would predict that financial security is a shared perception among family members who are cognizant of the family’s resources (Kim et al., 2017; White, Klein, & Martin, 2014). Specifically, although individual differences, such as negative affectivity, and participation in financial decision-making (Kim et al., 2017) theoretically influence perceptions of this state, we would expect that partner assessments of financial security would be positively related to one another if financial security is linked to the objective financial conditions of the family unit. Thus, we propose the following: Hypothesis 4: Within a marital relationship or committed partnership, partner reports of financial security are positively related to one another. Criterion-Related Validity: Work Attitudes and Strains Having theorized about the antecedents and correlates of financial security, we now pivot to consider the consequences of financial security at work and home.
Job satisfaction. Job satisfaction is defined as a “positive (or negative) evaluative judgment one makes about one’s job or job situation” (Weiss, 2002, p. 175). Job satisfaction is one of the most important work-related attitudes (Freeman, 1978) and is positively related to employee performance (Bateman & Organ, 1983; Fassina, Jones, & Uggerslev, 2008; Judge, Thoresen, Bono, & Patton, 2001), with important ramifications for organizational functioning (Harter, Schmidt, & Hayes, 2002). Locke (1969, 1970) theorized that job satisfaction reflects the ability of employees to realize their goals at work. As such, employees are more satisfied with their jobs as they realize personal and professional goals (Munyon, Hochwarter, Perrewé, & Ferris, 2010). Given that most employees work to satisfy financial needs (for a related discussion, see Mitchell & Mickel, 1999), we anticipate that the realization of financial security will elevate job satisfaction for the employee. Conversely, the inability to become financially secure may reduce job satisfac- 162 MUNYON, CARNES, LYONS, AND ZETTLER tion, as employees are unable to realize this desired state, despite engaging in work intended toward this aim. Consequently, we propose the following: This document is copyrighted by the American Psychological Association or one of its allied publishers. This article is intended solely for the personal use of the individual user and is not to be dissemi …
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