EMERGING WORKING RISKS IN INFORMATION SOCIETY

AUTHOR
Mario Arias, Teresa Torres, Mar Souto and Rosa Queralt

ABSTRACT

Nowadays the emergence of new organizational designs are a fact. The working conditions and social consequences of new organizational models should be under revision. An important body of literature on occupational psychosocial factors has identified certain job and organizational characteristics as having deleterious effects on the psychological and physical health of workers. Some of these stressors are high workload demands coupled with low job control, role ambiguity and conflict, lack of job security or poor relationships with coworkers and supervisors among many other (Swanson, Piotrkowski, Keita, & Becker, 1997).

Working life is being transformed, which can give rise to new risk areas or change the way that occupational safety and health needs to be managed (EASHW, 2005). This has implications for workplaces themselves and also for the occupational safety and health system. For this reason the ‘Changing World of Work’ has been a priority topic of the European Agency for Safety and Health at Work. The Council Resolution on a New Community Strategy on health and safety at work (2002-2006) stresses these topics as well. Most of organization based their structures in information and knowledge, and knowledge based work have new potential occupational risks that should be redefined and even discovered. Work has changed from manual to mental in nature. The most striking development is the changing nature of work itself and its increased psychosocial workload. Traditional physical risks are relatively under control in new knowledge environment, but psychosocial risks are increasing and represent an important source of health problems currently (Karasek, Theorell, 1990; Schnall, Landsbergis, Baker, 1994; Theorell, 2000). Work violence, stress, bullying, burnout, and many other problems are increasing dramatically over the last years (Diamantopoulou, 2002).

In order to determine the ICT impact on occupational psychosocial risk, our research has been based on the following steps:

  • To establish a psychosocial occupational risk analysis technique. After a literature review, we used the Copenhagen Psychosocial Questionnaire (COPSOQ) developed by the National Institute of Occupational Health (NIOH). This method is a valid and reliable tool for assessing psychosocial work environment that has been used in many international researches.
  • Based on COPSOQ, we created a new tool to determine the impact of ICT on main psychosocial risk.
  • With the developed questionnaire, we conducted a Delphy study to determine ICT organizational factors that affect the psychosocial labour risk in information society. A broad group of factors were determined, by expert consensus, to be important at the conclusion of this study. These factors are divided into different groups, such as psychological demands, lack of work content control and general working conditions, lack of social support, and quality of leadership or lack of compensations.

In this paper we present exploratory results about the emerging working risk in information society.

REFERENCES

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