Inderscience Publishers

Job design trade-offs between stability, clarity and autonomy in interdependent work systems

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It is well established that increasing the stability of demands, the clarity of work, and autonomy in individual jobs enhances motivation and well-being. However, jobs are often interconnected which makes it difficult to change one single job, without negatively influencing other jobs. Existing research has paid only scant attention to these kinds of dynamics. We start filling in this gap by discussing trade-offs relating to the stability of demands and the clarity of one person's work, and another person's autonomy. We argue that increasing autonomy in one job may simultaneously decrease the stability and clarity in a connected job (and vice versa), thus decreasing motivation and well-being in the second job. The emerging conceptualisation allows job designers to simultaneously consider the effects of a job design change on both the focal job and the connected jobs. The model is inferred from 27 interviews with knowledge workers from three organisations.

Keywords: job interdependence, job design, qualitative research, autonomy, stability, clarity, interdependent work systems, job trade-offs, motivation, well-being

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