Publications by Author: Lam, Jack

Lam J, Moen P, Lee S-R, Kelly EL, Buxton OM. Boomer and Gen X Managers and Employees at Risk: Evidence from the Work, Family and Health Network Study. In: Beyond the Cubicle: Job Insecurity, Intimacy, and the Flexible Self. New York: Oxford University Press ; 2016. pp. 51-73. Publisher's VersionAbstract

How does the insecurity of work affect us? We know what job insecurity does to workers at work, the depressive effect it has on morale, productivity, and pay. We know less about the impact of job insecurity beyond the workplace, upon people's intimate relationships, their community life, their vision of the good self and a good life. This volume of essays explores the broader impacts of job precariousness on different groups in different contexts. From unemployed tech workers in Texas to single mothers in Russia, Japanese heirs to the iconic salaryman to relocating couples in the U.S. Midwest, these richly textured accounts depict the pain, defiance, and joy of charting a new, unscripted life when the scripts have been shredded. 

Across varied backgrounds and experiences, the new organization of work has its largest impact in three areas: in our emotional cultures, in the interplay of social inequalities like race, class and gender, and in the ascendance of a contemporary radical individualism. In Beyond the Cubicle, job insecurity matters, and it matters for more than how much work can be squeezed out of workers: it shapes their intimate lives, their relationships with others, and their shifting sense of self. Much more than mere numbers and figures, these essays offer a unique and holistic vision of the true impact of job insecurity.


Fan W, Lam J, Moen P, Kelly EL, King RL, McHale SM. Constrained Choices? Linking Employees' and Spouses' Work Time to Health Behaviors. Social Science & Medicine [Internet]. 2015;(126) :99-109. Publisher's VersionAbstract

There are extensive literatures on work conditions and health and on family contexts and health, but less research asking how a spouse or partners' work conditions may affect health behaviors. Drawing on the constrained choices framework, we theorized health behaviors as a product of one's own time and spouses' work time as well as gender expectations. We examined fast food consumption and exercise behaviors using survey data from 429 employees in an Information Technology (IT) division of a U.S. Fortune 500 firm and from their spouses. We found fast food consumption is affected by men's work hours-both male employees' own work hours and the hours worked by husbands of women respondents-in a nonlinear way. The groups most likely to eat fast food are men working 50 h/week and women whose husbands work 45-50 h/week. Second, exercise is better explained if work time is conceptualized at the couple, rather than individual, level. In particular, neo-traditional arrangements (where husbands work longer than their wives) constrain women's ability to engage in exercise but increase odds of men exercising. Women in couples where both partners are working long hours have the highest odds of exercise. In addition, women working long hours with high schedule control are more apt to exercise and men working long hours whose wives have high schedule flexibility are as well. Our findings suggest different health behaviors may have distinct antecedents but gendered work-family expectations shape time allocations in ways that promote men's and constrain women's health behaviors. They also suggest the need to expand the constrained choices framework to recognize that long hours may encourage exercise if both partners are looking to sustain long work hours and that work resources, specifically schedule control, of one partner may expand the choices of the other.

Lam J, Fox K, Fan W, Moen P, Kelly EL, Hammer LB, Kossek EE. Manager Characteristics and Employee Job Insecurity around a Merger Announcement: The Role of Status and Crossover. The Sociological Quarterly [Internet]. 2015. Publisher's VersionAbstract

Most existing research theorizes individual factors as predictors of perceived job insecurity. Incorporating contextual and organizational factors at an information technology organization where a merger was announced during data collection, we draw on status expectations and crossover theories to investigate whether managers' characteristics and insecurity shape their employees' job insecurity. We find having an Asian as opposed to a White manager is associated with lower job insecurity, whereas managers' own insecurity positively predicts employees' insecurity. Also contingent on the organizational climate, managers' own tenure buffers, and managers' perceived job insecurity magnifies insecurity of employees interviewed after a merger announcement, further specifying status expectations theory by considering context.

Moen P, Lam J, Ammons SK, Kelly EL. Time Work by Overworked Professionals: Strategies in Response to the Stress of Higher Status. Work Occup. 2013;40 (2) :79-114.Abstract

How are professionals responding to the time strains brought on by the stress of their higher status jobs? Qualitative data from professionals reveal (a) general acceptance of the emerging temporal organization of professional work, including rising time demands and blurred boundaries around work/ nonwork times and places, and (b) time work as strategic responses to work intensification, overloads, and boundarylessness. We detected four time-work strategies: prioritizing time, scaling back obligations, blocking out time, and time shifting of obligations. These strategies are often more work-friendly than family-friendly, but "blocking out time" and "time shifting" suggest promising avenues for work-time policy and practice.

Moen P, Kelly EL, Lam J. Healthy work revisited: do changes in time strain predict well-being?. J Occup Health Psychol. 2013;18 (2) :157-72.Abstract
Building on Karasek and Theorell (R. Karasek & T. Theorell, 1990, Healthy work: Stress, productivity, and the reconstruction of working life, New York, NY: Basic Books), we theorized and tested the relationship between time strain (work-time demands and control) and seven self-reported health outcomes. We drew on survey data from 550 employees fielded before and 6 months after the implementation of an organizational intervention, the results only work environment (ROWE) in a white-collar organization. Cross-sectional (wave 1) models showed psychological time demands and time control measures were related to health outcomes in expected directions. The ROWE intervention did not predict changes in psychological time demands by wave 2, but did predict increased time control (a sense of time adequacy and schedule control). Statistical models revealed increases in psychological time demands and time adequacy predicted changes in positive (energy, mastery, psychological well-being, self-assessed health) and negative (emotional exhaustion, somatic symptoms, psychological distress) outcomes in expected directions, net of job and home demands and covariates. This study demonstrates the value of including time strain in investigations of the health effects of job conditions. Results encourage longitudinal models of change in psychological time demands as well as time control, along with the development and testing of interventions aimed at reducing time strain in different populations of workers.