Purpose and enactment in job design: an empirical examination of the processes through which job characteristics have their effects

Job characteristics are linked with health, safety, well-being and other performance outcomes. Job characteristics are usually assessed by their presence or absence, which gives no indication of the specific purposes for which workers might use some job characteristics. We focused on job control and social support as two job characteristics embedded in the well-known Demand–Control–Support model. In Study 1, using an experience sampling methodology (N = 67) and a cross-sectional survey methodology (N = 299), we found that relationships between the execution of job control or the elicitation of social support and a range of other variables depended on the purposes for which job control was executed or social support elicited. In Study 2 (N = 28), we found that it may be feasible to improve aspects of well-being and performance through training workers on how to use job control or social support for specific purposes.