Work Redesign: Using Job Control and Psychological Flexibility to Make Change More Successful
What is Job Control?“Job Control is one’s perceived ability to exert some influence over their work environment, in order to make it more rewarding and less threatening”. There are various negative outcomes associated with a decrease in job control, such as:
- Mental and physical health problems
- Job dissatisfaction
- Poor job performance
What is Psychological Flexibility?“Psychological Flexibility is the ability to focus on the present moment and depending upon what the situation affords, persist with or change one’s behavior in pursuit of goals and values” People who are psychologically flexible attend to what is occurring right now. How psychologically flexible an employee is can aid in determining their mental health and how effective the employee will be when faced with change because people who are psychologically flexible are:
- Less emotionally disturbed
- Have more attentional resources for observing and reacting to opportunities that relate to company goals
How Does Job Control Relate to Psychological Flexibility?Employees who are psychologically flexible are thought to be more cognizant of the present situation and the goal at hand. If employees with greater flexibility are given more job control they could possess the ability to recognize where, when and the degree to which they are flexible. Consequently, they will be able to recognize more opportunities to pursue behaviors that are goal-oriented. This will, in turn, make their work more rewarding or at the least, less aversive because they are directing both their attention and behavior towards the goal at hand. The more psychological flexibility an employee possesses, the more they will benefit from increased job control.
Implications for PracticeBelow are some steps an individual can take to improve employees’ mental health and decrease absence rates within their organization: 1. Increase job control. This can be particularly beneficial when employees are psychologically flexible. This can be done through an intervention that allows employees to participate directly in the work redesign. 2. Improve psychological flexibility. This can be done (preferably before the work redesign) through an intervention, such as ACT – Assessment, Crisis Intervention, and Trauma Treatment. This intervention involves allowing employees to asses their internal processes and experiences at the present moment, in a non-judgmental, non-controlling manner, and focus on the present goal or situation, therefore, increasing their psychological flexibility.
The DeGarmo GroupThis was a summary of the research and practice implications from: Bond, F., Flaxman, P., Bunce, D. (2008). The Influence of Psychological Flexibility on Work Redesign: Mediated Moderation of a Work Reorganization Intervention. Journal of Applied Psychology. 93(3), 645-654.