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Korean Journal of Preventive Medicine 2003;36(1): 71-76.
The Impact of New Work Organizational System on Job Strain, and Psychosocial Distress.
Sang Baek Koh, Sei Jin Chang, Byeong Hwan Sun, Dong Muk Kang, Mia Son, Jong Ku Park, Bong Suk Cha
1Department of Occupational Medicine, Suncheon Hospital, Korea. kohhj@chollian.net
2Department of Preventive Medicine and Institute of Occupational Medicine, Yonsei University Wonju College of Medicine, Korea.
3Department of Occupational Medicine Pusan University, Korea.
4Department of Preventive Medicine, Kangwon University, Korea.
OBJECTIVES: New organizational work systems, and their impact on the mental health of employees, are considered to beone of the most important topics in the area of industrial health. This study was conducted to compare job characteristics (job demand and decision latitude) levels, and psychosocial distress of workers in acompany introducing to new organizational work systems, to those of workers managed by traditional work systems. METHODS: A study sample of 627 shipbuilding workers (446the new work organizational system and 181the traditional system) were recruited for this study. A structured-questionnaire was used to assess general characteristics, job characteristics (work demand, decision latitude), and psychosocial distress. RESULTS: The decision latitude was not significantly higher in the new work system compared to the traditional system. However, the job demand was significantly higher in the new work system than in the traditional system. The psychosocial distress was higher within the new work system than the traditional system, but no significant relationships were found. The proportion of increased strain was significantly greater with the new system than the traditional system. CONCLUSION: These results suggest that increases in the decision latitude did not sufficiently compensate for higher job strain or increased work intensity. If the increase in the decision latitude was temporary, with the typical job demand remaining high, such work can be still be considered to have a job strain. Future research should consider psychosocial distress and fatigue as important problems caused by new work organizational systems, and should be performed to assess their impact through out industry.
Key words: Stress; Work demand; Decision latitude
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