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Job Demands, Job Decision Latitude, and Mental Strain: Implications for Job Redesign

Robert A. Karasek, Jr.
Administrative Science Quarterly
Vol. 24, No. 2 (Jun., 1979), pp. 285-308
DOI: 10.2307/2392498
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/2392498
Page Count: 24
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Since scans are not currently available to screen readers, please contact JSTOR User Support for access. We'll provide a PDF copy for your screen reader.
Job Demands, Job Decision Latitude, and Mental Strain: Implications for Job Redesign
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Abstract

A stress-management model of job strain is developed and tested with recent national survey data from Sweden and the United States. This model predicts that mental strain results from the interaction of job demands and job decision latitude. The model appears to clarify earlier contradictory findings based on separated effects of job demands and job decision latitude. The consistent finding is that it is the combination of low decision latitude and heavy job demands which is associated with mental strain. This same combination is also associated with job dissatisfaction. In addition, the analysis of dissatisfaction reveals a complex interaction of decision latitude and job demand effects that could be easily overlooked in conventional linear, unidimensional analyses. The major implication of this study is that redesigning work processes to allow increases in decision latitude for a broad range of workers could reduce mental strain, and do so without affecting the job demands that may plausibly be associated with organizational output levels.

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