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.
Founded in 1956 by James Thompson, the Administrative Science Quarterly is a peer-reviewed, interdisciplinary journal publishing theoretical and empirical work that advances the study of organizational behavior and theory. ASQ publishes articles that contribute to organization theory from a number of disciplines, including organizational behavior and theory, sociology, psychology and social psychology, strategic management, economics, public administration, and industrial relations. ASQ publishes both qualitative and quantitative work, as well as purely theoretical papers. Theoretical perspectives and topics in ASQ range from micro to macro, from lab experiments in psychology to work on nation-states. An occasional feature is the "ASQ Forum," an essay on a special topic with invited commentaries. Thoughtful reviews of books relevant to organization studies and management theory are a regular feature. Special issues have explored qualitative methods, organizational culture, the utilization of organizational research, the distribution of rewards in organizations, and critical perspectives on organizational control.
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Administrative Science Quarterly © 1979 Johnson Graduate School of Management, Cornell University