A multi-level mediation model of the relationships between team autonomy, individual task design and psychological well-being


Correspondence should be addressed to Dr Heleen van Mierlo, Erasmus University Rotterdam, Department of Psychology, T12-39, PO Box 1738, 3000 DR Rotterdam, The Netherlands (e-mail: vanmierlo@fsw.eur.nl).


The past decade and a half witnessed a global trend towards the use of participatory team-based interventions. In the present contribution, we address the widespread idea that the resulting increase in team autonomy fosters employee psychological well-being. Specifically, we address the common but mostly implicit rationale for this widespread idea that the well-being effect occurs because the increase in team autonomy is reflected in individual task design. We collected survey data from 733 members of 76 healthcare teams. The results of multi-level mediation analyses were supportive of our theoretical framework. The higher the team autonomy, the more active learning behaviour and the less emotional exhaustion team members reported. These relationships were mediated by the individual job characteristics of autonomy, variety and demands. These results draw attention to individual task design in a team context.