Work organization interventions: state of knowledge and future directions

Lawrence R. Murphy, Steven L. Sauter

Dr. Murphy is research psychologist and Dr. Sauter is supervisory research psychologist at the National Institute for
Occupational Safety and Health in Cincinnati


Changes taking place in the modern workplace, such as more flexible and lean production technologies, flatter management structures, and nontraditional employment practices fundamentally alter work organization factors and raise concerns about potentially negative influences on worker health and safety. These changes raise concerns about adverse effects on worker safety and health and call attention to the need for interventions to counter these effects. This forum article provides an overview of work organization intervention research, highlights gaps in the research literature, and sets forth an agenda for future intervention research. Research to date has focused primarily on individual-level interventions, with far less attention to interventions at the legislative/policy level, employer/organization level, and job/task level. Future research is recommended to establish the effectiveness of work organization interventions using improved methodological designs and giving increased attention to the circumstances within organizations that promote the adoption of such interventions.

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