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Computers and types of control in relation to work stress and learning.

Kraan, K.O., Dhondt, S., Houtman, I.L.D., Batenburg, R.S., Kompier, M.A.J., Taris.T.W. Computers and types of control in relation to work stress and learning. Behaviour and Information Technology: 2014, 33(10), p. 1013-1026.
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Traditional machine-paced work shows adverse effects on worker health and learning. It is hardly known whether technological pacing shows the same effects in computer work. Hypotheses on work stress and learning were formulated regarding the effects of technological pacing, in the context of computer work performed during at least half of the working day, especially. Further, method–order (m–o) autonomy was conceived as another control and standardisation mechanism and taken into account as a potentially important modifier of the effects. As hypothesised, this study's secondary analyses of a European survey of 18,723 employees revealed that the level of adverse work stress for technological pacing among computer workers was almost equal to the level found for ‘traditionally machine-paced’ workers. Distinct interactions with m–o autonomy were also shown. For instance, lack hereof was especially problematic for work stress among technologically paced computer workers. Software's flexible nature and its relatively easy adaptability to chosen work organisation modes may explain this. Lastly, in technologically paced work, m–o autonomy appeared to reinforce learning. In sum, many hypotheses were supported especially on the main and interaction effects regarding work stress, but less so regarding learning. Recommendations for future research and practical implications are discussed. (aut. ref.)