Beyond top-down and bottom-up work redesign: Customizing job content through idiosyncratic deals

Authors

  • Severin Hornung,

    Corresponding author
    1. Department of Management and Marketing, The Hong Kong Polytechnic University, Hung Hom, Kowloon, Hong Kong
    • Department of Management and Marketing, The Hong Kong Polytechnic University, Hung Hom, Kowloon, Hong Kong.
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  • Denise M. Rousseau,

    1. Heinz School of Public Policy and Management and Tepper School of Business, Carnegie Mellon University, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, U.S.A.
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  • Jürgen Glaser,

    1. Institute and Outpatient Clinic for Occupational, Social, and Environmental Medicine, Ludwig-Maximilians-University, Munich, Germany
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  • Peter Angerer,

    1. Institute and Outpatient Clinic for Occupational, Social, and Environmental Medicine, Ludwig-Maximilians-University, Munich, Germany
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  • Matthias Weigl

    1. Institute and Outpatient Clinic for Occupational, Social, and Environmental Medicine, Ludwig-Maximilians-University, Munich, Germany
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Abstract

Two established approaches to work redesign are formal top-down interventions and proactive bottom-up job crafting. Top-down approaches are limited in their ability to create individually optimized work characteristics, whereas bottom-up processes are constrained by the latitude workers have to modify their own jobs. Following recent research on the idiosyncratic deals (i-deals) individuals negotiate with their employer, task i-deals customizing job content are suggested as a third approach to work redesign. Hypotheses on antecedents and consequences of task i-deals were tested in two studies conducted in the United States and Germany using structural equation modeling. LMX related positively to the extent of successfully negotiated task i-deals, which, in turn, was associated with a more positive evaluation of work characteristics—specifically, higher complexity and control and lower stressors. Work characteristics mediated positive indirect effects of task i-deals on employee initiative and work engagement. Denied requests for task i-deals were associated with a more negative assessment of work characteristics. We conclude with theoretical, practical, and research implications for better understanding and implementing work redesign through i-deals. Copyright © 2010 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.

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