Rethinking work-health models for the new global economy: a qualitative analysis of emerging dimensions of work.
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Technology change, rising international trade and investment, and increased competition are changing the organization, distribution and nature of work in industrialized countries. To enhance productivity, employers are striving to increase innovation while minimizing costs. This is leading to an intensification of work demands on core employees and the outsourcing or casualization of more marginal tasks, often to contingent workers. The two prevailing models of work and health - demand-control and effort-reward imbalance - may not capture the full range of experiences of workers in today's increasingly flexible and competitive economies. To explore this proposition, we conducted a secondary qualitative analysis of interviews with 120 American workers . Our analysis identifies aspects of work affecting the quality of workers' experiences that are largely overlooked by popular work-health models: the nature of social interactions with customers and clients; workers' belief in, and perception of, the importance of the product of their work. We suggest that the quality of work experiences is partly determined by the objective characteristics of the work environment, but also by the fit of the work environment with the worker's needs, interests, desires and personality, something not adequately captured in current models.
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