Academic journal article SA Journal of Industrial Psychology

The Job Demands-Resources Model: Challenges for Future Research

Academic journal article SA Journal of Industrial Psychology

The Job Demands-Resources Model: Challenges for Future Research

Article excerpt

Introduction

The Job Demands-Resources (JD-R) model is a theoretical framework that tries to integrate two fairly independent research traditions: the stress research tradition and the motivation research tradition. According to the JD-R model, job demands are initiators of a health impairment process and job resources are initiators of a motivational process. In addition, the model specifies how demands and resources interact, and predict important organisational outcomes. Previous research has shown that the assumptions of the model hold not only for self-reports but also for objective data. Moreover, studies have shown that the JD-R model can predict the experience of burnout and of work engagement (e.g. Demerouti, Bakker, Nachreiner, & Schaufeli, 2001; Schaufeli & Bakker, 2004). However, there are still several open questions related to the processes postulated in the model.

The purpose of this special issue is to bring together innovative studies on the JD-R model, which is relevant for both individuals and organisations at large. We were particularly interested in theory-guided studies that focus on the health impairment and motivational processes as well as possible moderators and mediators (cultural, organisational, and individual characteristics) of these processes. To a large extent this objective was achieved as we received a variety of submissions that add to our knowledge in several respects. The aim of the present editorial paper is threefold. First we will introduce the model. As a second step we will discuss several issues that to our opinion are essential for future research and practice related to the model. Finally, the editorial will end with an introduction of the different studies included in this special issue.

The Job Demands-Resources model

The main assumption of the Job Demands-Resources (JD-R) model (Bakker & Demerouti, 2007; Bakker, Demerouti, De Boer, & Schaufeli, 2003a; Bakker, Demerouti, Taris, Schaufeli, & Schreurs, 2003b; Demerouti, Bakker, Nachreiner, & Schaufeli, 2001) is that every occupation has its own specific risk factors associated with job-related stress. These factors can be classified in two general categories (i.e. job demands and job resources), thus constituting an overarching model that may be applied to various occupational settings, irrespective of the particular demands and resources involved. Job demands refer to those physical, psychological, social, or organisational aspects of the job that require sustained physical and/or psychological (cognitive and emotional) effort or skills and are therefore associated with certain physiological and/or psychological costs. Examples include high work pressure, an unfavourable physical environment and irregular working hours. Although job demands are not necessarily negative, they may turn into job stressors when meeting those demands require high effort from which the employee fails to recover adequately (Meijman & Mulder, 1998).

Job resources refer to those physical, psychological, social, or organisational aspects of the job that are either/or:

1. functional in achieving work goals

2. reduce job demands and the associated physiological and psychological costs

3. stimulate personal growth, learning, and development.

Hence, resources are not only necessary to deal with job demands, but they also are important in their own right. This corresponds with Hackman and Oldham's (1980) job characteristics model that emphasises the motivational potential of job resources at the task level, including autonomy, feedback, and task significance. In addition, this agrees on a more general level with conservation of resources (COR) theory (Hobfoll, 2001) that states that the prime human motivation is directed towards the maintenance and accumulation of resources. Accordingly, resources are valued in their own right or because they are means to achieve or protect other valued resources. …

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