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Indispensable, Expendable, or Irrelevant? Effects of Job Insecurity on the Employee Reactions to Perceived Outsourcing in the Hotel Industry

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Cornell Hospitality Quarterly

Published online on


This study examines the role of job insecurity as a moderator that may trigger destructive responses by employees to perceived outsourcing of labor services. Although some studies have suggested that outsourcing might not be viewed favorably by the hotel staff, the article first argues that because outsourcing of labor can be a useful strategy for the effective functioning of a hotel, mere perceptions of outsourcing by internal employees should lead them to react favorably to the hotel in the form of citizenship (organizational citizenship behavior–organization [OCB-O]) and decreased deviance (deviant workplace behavior–organization [DWB-O]). We invoke unitarism theory, which emphasizes the shared interests of all the members of an organization. The article then argues that these reactions to outsourcing may become negative when internal employees note the presence of job insecurity, triggering decreased OCB-O and DWB-O. Data were collected from 215 in-house employees working concurrently with outsourced employees at 14 hotels in Gran Canaria (Spain). Structural equation modeling (SEM) results suggest that, contrary to expectations, perceived outsourcing leads employees to significantly increase their DWB-O, but not vary their OCB-O. Unlike OCB-O, these DWB-O reactions to perceived outsourcing became stronger among employees who were high rather than low in job insecurity. The findings suggest that job insecurity plays an expendable, but relevant, role in reactions to outsourcing that harm their success.