Effects of exposure to job insecurity on workplace expectations of interns in the United States and Australia

Kathryn L. Fonner, Michael Elwood Roloff

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

6 Scopus citations


Purpose - Linkages between downsizing, job insecurity, and negative employee outcomes have been established, but little is known about the impact they have on interns who observe them. This article aims to examine the relationship between interns' exposure to downsizing and job insecurity and their ongoing workplace perceptions and expectations. Design/methodology/ approach - Two studies analyze the negative workplace experiences that influence interns' vocational socialization and pre-employment schemata. Study 1 surveyed 96 students interning in the United States and Australia, and Study 2 surveyed 100 interns in the United States. Linear regressions were used to test hypotheses. Findings - Study 1 reveals that interns at organizations with low employee morale, previous downsizing, and job insecurity are pessimistic about the organization in which they interned and the typical organizational culture. Study 2 indicates that interns exposed to job insecurity expect less trust and support in future employment relationships. Research limitations/implications - Data were collected using self-report surveys, and may also reflect a uniquely American perspective. Future research should be conducted in additional locations, utilizing a longitudinal approach and various data collection methods. Originality/value - These studies provide insight into the influence negative internship experiences may have on interns' future workplace and job expectations.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)204-224
Number of pages21
JournalInternational Journal of Organizational Analysis
Issue number3
StatePublished - Aug 1 2006


  • Australia
  • Downsizing
  • Motivation (psychology)
  • Psychological contracts
  • United States of America

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Strategy and Management
  • Organizational Behavior and Human Resource Management

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