Coping processes linking the demands-control-support model, affect, and risky decisions at work

As a model of job design, the demands-control-support model (DCSM) indicates that dynamic processes involving individual agency underpin the effects of job characteristics. Specifically, the DCSM indicates that control and social support facilitate effective coping with work demands. To examine such processes in detail, 32 nuclear design engineers participated in an experience sampling study (no. observations = 456). Findings indicate that enacting problem-focused coping by control and support across situations may be beneficial for affect. Problem-focused coping enacted by control was also related to fewer decisions that bear risks to design safety. Although higher levels of risky decisions were related to consistent use of emotional-approach enacted by control coping across situations, this form of coping used in specific demanding episodes was related to less cognitive error and fewer risky decisions two hours later. Emotional-approach enacted through support in specific episodes had a mixed pattern of relationships with outcomes. Theoretically, the findings indicate the importance of understanding the purpose for which job characteristics are enacted. Practically, the findings indicate the importance of shaping both problem-solving and emotional processes alongside job redesign.