Division of Labour and Self-Reported Mental Requirements in Human Services: Retail Sale Jobs

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Significant associations between self-reported “whole units” of work and self-reported mental task requirements as well as personal outcomes are well known. Also of interest is, however, whether a significant association also exists between the underlying objective assignment of tasks, i.e. the division of labour, and self-reported mental requirements. Such an association would represent a concrete starting point for job design or redesign. We analyzed this question for retail sale jobs as an example of the numerous human service jobs, which usually consist of customer- and object-centred tasks. The study (N = 558 employees) evaluated the potential association between documented assignments of customer-centred and goods-centred activities and employees’ perceived mental requirements, skill utilisation, and learning on the job, as well as mental difficulties. A significant association of moderate effect size between the objective division of labour and self-reported mental job requirements was shown. Theoretical and practical consequences of this association are also discussed.

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Pietrzyk, U. , Rodehacke, S. & Hacker, W. (2014). Division of Labour and Self-Reported Mental Requirements in Human Services: Retail Sale Jobs. Psychology, 5, 1224-1238. doi: 10.4236/psych.2014.510135.


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