Multilevel perspectives on the antecedents of work design
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Work design refers to the roles, tasks, and responsibilities that individuals engage in at work (Parker, 2014). Research has established that ‘good’ work designs, those which are high in motivational work characteristics (or resources) such as autonomy, feedback, task significance, and social support, with moderate job demands, are motivating and engaging, and lead to job satisfaction, well-being, and performance (e.g. Fried & Ferris, 1987; Humphrey, Nahrgang & Morgeson, 2007). When demands are high, and particularly when individuals do not have the resources to deal with these demands, strain prevails, which can lead to burnout, poor well-being, and sickness absence (Alarcon, 2011; Crawford, Lepine & Rich, 2010). Good work design is therefore critical for the optimal functioning of employees and organizations alike. Despite the established relationships between good work design and outcomes, poor work designs continue to persist. Little research has yet investigated the causes of this phenomenon. A recent review – and to our knowledge the only review on this topic - highlighted that key antecedents of work design can be situated at multiple levels (Parker, Van den Broeck & Holman, 2017), including the global (e.g., international trade laws), national (e.g., employment regimes), occupational (e.g. values), organizational (e.g., HR practices, technology), group (e.g. team composition) and individual level (e.g., competence). These distal multilevel level factors then influence the proximal antecedents of work design in terms of employee job crafting and managers’ job design behaviours by impacting on their knowledge, skills, abilities, motivation and opportunities. Research on how employees change their job designs by crafting their work is expanding rapidly (Rudolph, Katz, Lavigne, & Zacher, 2017), and an initial experiment investigating the role of managers in the design of work indicated that people tend to design poor quality jobs unless they have experience as an organizational psychologist, work in high autonomous jobs, or are generally open to new experiences (Parker, Andrei & Van den Broeck, 2018). In this symposium, our goal is to take this work forward by further investigating how the multilevel distal antecedents of work design influence employee job crafting and managers’ job design behaviors and also directly affect work design. The included papers highlight novel antecedents of work design at different levels which are currently under-researched but which could have important implications for research and practice. We hope to stimulate conversation on the topic which helps to take this field forward in a timely manner.
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Ward, M.K. ; Parker, Sharon; Hay, Georgia (2019)Entrepreneurs face continual challenges of extremely demanding, stressful, complex, and dynamic work (e.g., de Mol, Ho & Pollack, 2018). As founders grow their start-ups, they re-design existing jobs and create new roles. ...
Applying Complexity Theory to Solve Hospitality Contrarian Case Conundrums: Illuminating Happy-Low and Unhappy-High Performing Frontline Service EmployeesHsiao, J.; Jaw, C.; Huan, T.; Woodside, Arch (2015)Purpose: This paper aims to advance a configural asymmetric theory of the complex antecedents to hospitality employee happiness-at-work and managers’ assessments of employees’ quality of work performance. The study ...
Parker, Sharon; Van Den Broeck, A.; Holman, D. (2017)High-quality work design is a key determinant of employee well-being, positive work attitudes, and job/organizational performance. Yet, many job incumbents continue to experience deskilled and demotivating work. We argue ...