Introduction to the special issue: Work and organizational psychology issues in South-East Europe
The context for work and organizational (W/O) psychology researchers in South-East Europe (SEE) has significantly changed during the last two and a half decades. On the one hand, problems of the transition to market economies and trends in the labor markets (e.g., high unemployment rates, increasing number of flexible work arrangements) have raised a number of important issues such as psychological consequences of unemployment, employability and job quality. On the other hand, both the transformation of existing companies and increasing number of international corporations in the SEE economies, have largely changed the role of W/O psychology practitioners. Traditional personnel administration has developed into a vibrant field of human resources management characterized by enhanced need for the “old” W/O psychology themes (e.g., personnel selection and career development) but also some new issues (e.g., organizational behavior management).
In this volume, we have collected five papers written by twelve authors com- ing from five research institutions in SEE. In the first paper, Ivana Strizović and Aleksandar Martinković explored differences in latent and manifest benefits of work, life satisfaction, and happiness between employed and unemployed peo- ple. Among other findings, the study reveals importance of work for well-being considering that the employed individuals reported their days to have more time structure, had better financial situation, and were more satisfied with life than the unemployed participants. In the second paper, NebojšaMajstorović, Boris Popov, Jelena Matanović and Vanja Slijepčević reported the results of a study that moni- tored psychophysical health of a group of unemployed individuals on three occa- sions spanning over a more than a year-long period. Their results showed that the unemployed individuals reported fewer symptoms of ill-health at the later meas- urement occasions. Still, women and older participants were identified as more vulnerable subgroups of the unemployed during the whole course of the study. Using a sample of Croatian workers, in the third paper, Mojra Dautović and Zvon- imir Galić explored how Generation Y employees differ from their older counter- parts in the contents of psychological contracts they create with their employers and the reactions to the psychological contract breach. The results of this study revealed that Generation Y employees seem to expect more from their employers and more often react to unfulfilled promises with intentions to leave the organi- zation. In the fourth paper, Zoran Sušanj and Ana Jakopec reported the results of a comprehensive, multisource study that examined the relationship between the extent to which supervisors felt trusted by team members and the team effec- tiveness on a sample of 659 employees nested within 196 teams. Their results showed that supervisors’ feelings about being trusted by their team members are related to higher team effectiveness. The authors identified team members’ supervisory justice perceptions and team work engagement as the mediators of that relationship.Finally, in the fifth paper Toni Babarović and Iva Šverko explored career development among Croatian high school students. The authors showed that, although the older students reported somewhat higher career maturity and lower career decision-making difficulties than their younger colleagues, observed increase was generally small, indicating a need for comprehensive career guid- ance in high school programs.
Judging by the papers reported in this volume, W/O psychology in SEE seems to be alive and well. The studies reported here suggest that the SEE W/O psy- chology researchers have kept pace with international W/O literature but also remained highly sensitive to the social contextin which they live. Moreover, issues covered in this volume remind us how important W/O psychology problems are for enhancing individual, organizational, and even societal outcomes. We believe that this issue will bring W/O researchers from this part of Europe closer together and foster their future collaborations. More importantly, we hope that this vol- ume will attract the attention of SEE psychology students and serve as a tool for recruitment of new generation of W/O psychology researchers and practitioners.
Zvonimir Galic, Ph.D.
Department of Psychology
Faculty of Humanities and Social Sciences
University of Zagreb