Future work design research and practice: Towards an elaborated model of work design


Australian Graduate School of Management, University of New South Wales, Sydney 2052, Australia (e-mail: sharonp@agsm.edu.au).


Developments in work design theory have not kept pace with the changes occurring in the organizational landscape. We propose a theoretical framework that specifies five categories of work design variables that span individual, group and organizational levels of analysis. Specifically, we propose an elaborated model of work design that includes: systematic consideration of antecedents of work characteristics; expansion of the traditional range of work characteristics to include aspects salient to the modern context; extension of the range of outcome variables beyond the existing narrow focus on affective reactions; analysis of the mechanisms, or processes, that explain why work characteristics lead to particular outcomes; and consideration of contingencies that moderate the effects of work characteristics. We argue that the particular choice of work design variables should be guided by theory and an analysis of the organizational context.