City Research Online

Towards Mastery and Control

Solomou, G (2010). Towards Mastery and Control. (Unpublished Doctoral thesis, City, University of London)


A redundancy phenomenon triggered by the 2008/2009 global economic recession seems set to continue, representing a risk to all employees. This study has focused on a particular working sector (i.e., the U.K. Financial Services) which has suffered an unprecedented number of involuntary job losses. Notwithstanding diversity in backgrounds, this study has produced findings which show that many City Professionals appear to share similar psychological traits and characteristics which are well suited to working in an intensely competitive, goal driven and pressurised working environment. Namely, high self-esteem and heightened perceptions of mastery and control. Consistent with past research, these psychological resources have been found to be adaptive in relation to coping with the stress of job loss. Concurrently, this study has highlighted that the meanings attributed to involuntary redundancy by individuals who possess those traits appear to present a significant challenge to their psychological well-being.

The proposed holistic model conceives involuntary redundancy as a trajectory which begins with the Awaiting phase (pre-event). The model then progresses to four further phases each of which denote reactions, actions and interactions over time which are described in relation to Lazarus & Folkman‟s (1984) Transactional Model of Coping. The current model demonstrates how an individual with a strong sense of mastery and control may become vulnerable to more serious mental health issues over a prolonged period of unemployment. Drawing on Younger‟s (1991) Theory of Mastery, however, it also shows how an individual may emerge not demoralized and vulnerable but possibly with a stronger sense of mastery and control. Implications for clinical practitioners and recommendations for employers are discussed.

Publication Type: Thesis (Doctoral)
Subjects: B Philosophy. Psychology. Religion > BF Psychology
Departments: School of Health & Psychological Sciences > Psychology
Doctoral Theses
Doctoral Theses > School of Arts and Social Sciences Doctoral Theses
Text - Accepted Version
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