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Assessing Workload, Strain and Resources in the Organization – An Integrated Perspective

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Abstract

Assessing mental workload to reach healthy workplaces is an important goal we can find in the laws of different European countries. In the line of different standards (e.g. the ISO 10075-3:2004), the assessment of the workplace has to be done considering both objective workload and subjective strain. However, assessing only risk factors leads to a one-sided view of the working environment. In fact, to recognize if objective mental workload leads to subjective mental strain, the individuals' and the organization's resources have to be identified as well. This integrated approach can further ensure the development of sustainable and effective individual and organizational interventions in occupational health. In present study, 674 persons (a representative sample of the Austrian population) were asked about their experience of workload, strain and recovery at work. Workload was measured with four dimensions: 1) task demands, 2) negative working climate, 3) risky working environment and 4) bad working structures and processes. The results show that especially a negative working climate has a strong effect on subjective strain and lower experience of recovery. Bad working structures and processes are found to have a strong effect on experiences of strain (β= .21) but don't show a significant effect on recovery. A risky working environment at the other hand shows a moderate to low relationship with recovery, but not with strain. The effect of demanding tasks on both strain and recovery are non-significant. The findings suggest that different aspects of workload lead to a different experience of strain and recovery. Regarding workplace interventions in occupational health, assessing the interaction between workload, strain and recovery is essential. These results should further serve as a base for developing specific interventions on individual and organizational level.
Assessing workload, strain and resources in the organization an integrated perspective.
Jiménez, Paul; Dunkl, Anita; Kallus, Wolfgang K.
University of Graz, paul.jimenez@uni-graz.at
Assessing mental workload to reach healthy workplaces is an important goal we can find in the laws
of different European countries. In the line of different standards (e.g. the ISO 10075-3:2004), the
assessment of the workplace has to be done considering both objective workload and subjective
strain. However, assessing only risk factors leads to a one-sided view of the working environment. In
fact, to recognize if objective mental workload leads to subjective mental strain, the individuals’ and
the organization’s resources have to be identified as well. This integrated approach can further
ensure the development of sustainable and effective individual and organizational interventions in
occupational health.
In present study, 674 persons (a representative sample of the Austrian population) were asked about
their experience of workload, strain and recovery at work. Workload was measured with four
dimensions: 1) task demands, 2) negative working climate, 3) risky working environment and 4) bad
working structures and processes.
The results show that especially a negative working climate has a strong effect on subjective strain
and lower experience of recovery. Bad working structures and processes are found to have a strong
effect on experiences of strain (β= .21) but don’t show a significant effect on recovery. A risky
working environment at the other hand shows a moderate to low relationship with recovery, but not
with strain. The effect of demanding tasks on both strain and recovery are non-significant.
The findings suggest that different aspects of workload lead to a different experience of strain and
recovery. Regarding workplace interventions in occupational health, assessing the interaction
between workload, strain and recovery is essential. These results should further serve as a base for
developing specific interventions on individual and organizational level.
... • Erfassung der arbeitsbezogenen Belastungen und Ressourcen, OrgFIt (OrgFit; Jimenez, Bregenzer & Bramberger Christina, 2014;Jiménez, Dunkl & Kallus, 2014;Jiménez, Schmon et al., 2015;Jiménez & Dunkl, 2015a, 2015bJiménez, Dunkl & Wagner, 2016;Jiménez, Bregenzer, Kallus, Fruhwirth & Wagner-Hartl, 2017) Der Fragebogen erhebt physische und psychische Belastungsfaktoren, die zu einer Fehlbeanspruchung führen können. Folgende Aspekte der psychischen Belastung werden mit 54 Items vom OrgFit erfasst: Arbeitsaufgaben und Tätigkeiten, Sozial-und Organisationsklima, Arbeitsumgebung und Arbeitsabläufe und Organisation. ...
Technical Report
Full-text available
Working World in Austria, Germany and Switzerland: Agility in Organizations. A study for assessing mental stress, strain, recovery and satisfaction at the workplace.
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