In resource-based models of job design, job resources, such as control and social support, are thought to help workers to solve problems. Few studies have examined this assumption. We analyzed 80 qualitative diary entries (N=29) and interviews (N=37) concerned with the in-role requirements of medical technology designers in the UK for problem solving. Four themes linked to using the resources of job control and social support for problem solving emerged. These were: (1) eliciting social support to solve problems; (2) exercising job control to solve problems; (3) co-dependence between eliciting social support and exercising job control to solve problems; and (4) using job resources to regulate affect. The results were largely supportive of the assumptions underpinning resource-based models of job design. They also indicated that the explanatory power of resource-based models of job design may be enhanced by considering interdependencies between various factors: how different job resources are used, workers' motivation to use resources, workers' knowledge of how to use resources and the use of resources from across organizational boundaries. The study provides qualitative support for the assumption that social support and job control are used to cope with demands.
Bibliographical noteThis work was supported by the UK Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (grant no. EP/F02942X/1). The authors would like to thank Darren Clark, Steve Cook, Carl Edwards, Julie Holland, Jennifer Martin, Beverly Norris, Dygby Symons and David Williams for their participation in various industrial stakeholder steering groups related to this research. We would also like to Eva Demerouti for her helpful thoughts on this work.
- job design
- problem solving
- job control
- social support