A participative intervention to improve employee well-being in knowledge work jobs: A mixed-methods evaluation study

Ole Sørensen, David Holman

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

Many workers are employed in knowledge work (i.e. cognitively demanding jobs involving knowledge, such as IT engineers, academics and accountants). Using a mixed-methods approach, this study evaluated a participative organizational-level occupational health intervention designed to improve working conditions and psychological well-being of knowledge workers across six organizations in Denmark. The intervention was conducted over 14 months, including the planning, implementation and evaluation phases. Quantitative surveys were conducted at two time points (Ns: Time 1 = 157, Time 2 = 154, Time 1/2 = 99), and interviews and workshops were conducted at various stages. The qualitative evaluation showed that participants implemented relational and work process initiatives in response to concerns about task uncertainty, task ambiguity, job complexity and task interdependencies. The quantitative evaluation showed significant improvements in relational job characteristics and burnout. The scale of implementation depended upon employee commitment, timely support from senior management, provision of information, change process expertise, and appreciation of the social meanings and relational implications of job change initiatives. The study illuminates the challenges of job redesign in knowledge work jobs and shows that certain strategies (e.g. enriching job discretion) may not be suitable in such jobs because they may increase already problematic levels of task uncertainty and ambiguity.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)67-86
Number of pages19
JournalWork and Stress
Volume28
Issue number1
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 2014

Research Beacons, Institutes and Platforms

  • Work and Equalities Institute

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