New book chapter! The changing face of work design research: Past, present, and future directions
To appear in:
Wilkinson, A., Bacon, N., Lepak, D., & Snell. S. (Eds.). The Sage Handbook of Human Resource Management, (2nd Ed). Sage, London.
Sharon Parker, Caroline Knight, and Sandra Ohly have just published a new book chapter which highlights how work design research has changed over the years and important avenues for future research. Contemporary workplace settings are often characterised by change and instability and it is important to understand how work can be designed optimally for individual and organisational outcomes including well-being and performance.
In our chapter, we identify three important avenues for future research which have thus far been relatively neglected:
1. To think about organisations in terms of ever changing, dynamic processes, rather than static entities. Understanding how work characteristics might relate to processes such as the development and the sustainability of trust, communication and collaboration is important for organisations to achieve optimal outcomes.
2. To focus work design research on knowledge workers and professionals rather than the typically researched contexts of manufacturing and call centres. Work is characterised more and more by these former types of workers and new questions have to be answered, such as how work can be designed to promote effective performance in challenging contexts.
3. The role of work design interventions for improving work design, well-being and performance. Current reviews investigating work design interventions and well-being are inconsistent, and performance in the context of interventions has been little assessed, partly owing to difficulty measuring it and comparing different measures across organisations. Nevertheless, some studies show promising results, such as job crafting interventions on performance, but more research is needed to find out what works and why.
To find out more about this research, and how work design is changing, please read the chapter!