The importance of organizational level decision latitude for well-being and organizational
2014 – Purpose – This paper aims to focus on participation in the workplace and examines the relative importance of different dimensions of job control in relation to subjective well-being and organizational commitment. These dimensions are job autonomy (within a given job), functional support (from supervisor and colleagues) and organizational level decision latitude (shop-floor consultancy on process improvements, division of labor, workmates, targets, etc.). Interaction with work intensity is looked at as well.
Design/methodology/approach – Measurements and data were taken from the European Working Conditions Survey, 2010. The paper focusses on salaried employees only. The sample was further limited to employees in workplaces consisting of at least 50 workers. There are 2,048 employees in the final sample, from Denmark, Ireland, The Netherlands, Finland, Sweden and the UK. In this paper, the focus is not on differences between countries, and adding more countries would have introduced too many country characteristics as intermediate variables.
Findings – In the regression analyses, functional support and organizational level decision latitude showed stronger relations with the outcome variables than job autonomy. There was no relation between work intensity and the outcome variables. Two-way interactions were found for job autonomy and organizational level decision latitude on subjective well-being and for functional support and organizational level decision latitude on organizational commitment. A three-way interaction, of all job control variables combined, was found on organizational commitment, with the presence of all types of job control showing the highest organizational commitment level. No such three-way interaction was found for subjective well-being. There was an indication for a two-way interaction of work intensity and functional support, as well as an indication for a two-way interaction of work intensity and organizational level decision latitude on subjective well-being: high work intensity and low functional support or low organizational level decision latitude seemed to associate with low well-being. No interaction was found for any dimension of job control being high and high work intensity.
Research limitations/implications – Although this study has all the limitations of a crosssectional survey, the results are more or less in accordance with existing theories. This indicates that organizational level decision latitude matters. Differentiation of job control dimensions in research models is recommended, and so is workplace innovation for healthy and productive jobs.
Originality/value – Most theoretical models for empirical research are limited to control at task level (e.g. the Job Demand-Control-Support model of Karasek and Theorell. The paper aims at nuancing and extending current job control models by distinguishing three dimensions/levels of job control, referring to sociotechnical systems design theory (De Sitter) and action regulation theory (Hacker) and reciprocity (Akerlof). The policy relevance regards the consequences for work and organization design.
Steven Dhondt, Frank Delano Pot, Karolus O. Kraan, (2014),"The importance of organizational level decision latitude for well-being and organizational commitment", Team Performance Management, Vol. 20 Iss 7/8 pp. 307 – 327. The pdf of the article is attached.
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