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Testing Karasek’s learning- and strain hypothesis on young workers in their first job

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  • H. DE WITTE
  • E. VERHOFSTADT

    ()

  • E. OMEY

    ()

Abstract

Both hypotheses of Karasek’s ‘Job Demand-Control’-model are tested: an imbalance between demands (workload) and control (autonomy) increases strains (job dissatisfaction; strain hypothesis), whereas a balance between both job characteristics increases learning and development in the job (here: learning new skills in the first job; learning hypothesis). Both hypotheses are tested in two ways: (a) the mere combination of both job characteristics is associated with the expected outcomes, and (b) a statistical interaction between both job characteristics occurs. A large scale dataset (n = 2.439) of young workers in their first job is used to test all hypotheses. The results confirm both the strain and the learning hypothesis. Evidence is found for a combined effect of both job characteristics, as well as for a statistical interaction between both variables. The lowest level of job satisfaction is found in the ‘high strain’ job, whereas the highest increase in skills is found in the ‘active’ job. All predictions of Karasek’s JDC-model are thus corroborated. The consequences of these findings for theory and practice are discussed.

Suggested Citation

  • H. De Witte & E. Verhofstadt & E. Omey, 2005. "Testing Karasek’s learning- and strain hypothesis on young workers in their first job," Working Papers of Faculty of Economics and Business Administration, Ghent University, Belgium 05/326, Ghent University, Faculty of Economics and Business Administration.
  • Handle: RePEc:rug:rugwps:05/326
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    File URL: http://wps-feb.ugent.be/Papers/wp_05_326.pdf
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. W. Bruggeman & P. Everaert & S. R. Anderson & Y. Levant, 2005. "Modeling Logistics Costs using Time-Driven ABC: A Case in a Distribution Company," Working Papers of Faculty of Economics and Business Administration, Ghent University, Belgium 05/332, Ghent University, Faculty of Economics and Business Administration.
    2. Cheung, Chau-kiu & Ngai, Steven Sek-yum, 2013. "Reducing youth's drug abuse through training social workers for cognitive–behavioral integrated treatment," Children and Youth Services Review, Elsevier, vol. 35(2), pages 302-311.
    3. P. Windels & J. Christiaens, 2005. "Management Reform in Flemish Local Authorities: Testing the Institutional Framework," Working Papers of Faculty of Economics and Business Administration, Ghent University, Belgium 05/331, Ghent University, Faculty of Economics and Business Administration.
    4. Maarten Dossche & Gerdie Everaert, 2005. "Measuring Inflation Persistence: A Structural Time Series Approach," Computing in Economics and Finance 2005 459, Society for Computational Economics.
    5. M. Vanhoucke & B. Maenhout, 2005. "Characterisation and Generation of Nurse Scheduling Problem Instances," Working Papers of Faculty of Economics and Business Administration, Ghent University, Belgium 05/339, Ghent University, Faculty of Economics and Business Administration.
    6. Jan Lepoutre & Nikolay Dentchev & Aimé Heene, 2007. "Dealing With Uncertainties When Governing CSR Policies," Journal of Business Ethics, Springer, vol. 73(4), pages 391-408, July.
    7. H. Ooghe & C. Spaenjers & P. Vandermoere, 2005. "Business failure prediction: simple-intuitive models versus statistical models," Working Papers of Faculty of Economics and Business Administration, Ghent University, Belgium 05/338, Ghent University, Faculty of Economics and Business Administration.
    8. E. Verhofstadt & H. De Witte & E. Omey, 2007. "Are young workers compensated for a high strain job?," Working Papers of Faculty of Economics and Business Administration, Ghent University, Belgium 07/436, Ghent University, Faculty of Economics and Business Administration.
    9. A. Karas & K. Schoors, 2005. "Heracles or Sisyphus? Finding, cleaning and reconstructing a database of Russian banks," Working Papers of Faculty of Economics and Business Administration, Ghent University, Belgium 05/327, Ghent University, Faculty of Economics and Business Administration.
    10. N. Geeroms & P. Van Kenhove & W. Verbeke, 2005. "Health Advertising to promote Fruit and Vegetable Intake: Application of need-related Health Audience Segmentation," Working Papers of Faculty of Economics and Business Administration, Ghent University, Belgium 05/336, Ghent University, Faculty of Economics and Business Administration.
    11. B. Maenhout & M. Vanhoucke, 2005. "New Computational Results for the Nurse Scheduling Problem: A Scatter Search Algorithm," Working Papers of Faculty of Economics and Business Administration, Ghent University, Belgium 05/341, Ghent University, Faculty of Economics and Business Administration.
    12. J. Albrecht & M. Neyt & T. Verbeke, 2005. "Bureaucratisation and the growth of health care expenditures in Europe," Working Papers of Faculty of Economics and Business Administration, Ghent University, Belgium 05/335, Ghent University, Faculty of Economics and Business Administration.
    13. De Spiegelaere, Stan & Van Gyes, Guy & Vandekerckhove, Sem & Van Hootegem, Geert, 2012. "Job design and innovative work behavior enabling innovation through active or low-strain jobs?," MPRA Paper 41105, University Library of Munich, Germany.
    14. L. Pozzi, 2005. "Income Uncertainty and Aggregate Consumption," Working Papers of Faculty of Economics and Business Administration, Ghent University, Belgium 05/334, Ghent University, Faculty of Economics and Business Administration.
    15. E. Verhofstadt & H. De Witte & E. Omey, 2007. "Starting in a high strain job…short pain?," Working Papers of Faculty of Economics and Business Administration, Ghent University, Belgium 07/437, Ghent University, Faculty of Economics and Business Administration.
    16. W. Buckinx & D. Van Den Poel, 2005. "Assessing and exploiting the profit function by modeling the net impact of targeted marketing," Working Papers of Faculty of Economics and Business Administration, Ghent University, Belgium 05/330, Ghent University, Faculty of Economics and Business Administration.
    17. E. Labro & M. Vanhoucke, 2005. "A simulation analysis of interactions between errors in costing system design," Working Papers of Faculty of Economics and Business Administration, Ghent University, Belgium 05/333, Ghent University, Faculty of Economics and Business Administration.

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    Keywords

    JDC-model; Karasek; Learning hypothesis; Strain hypothesis; Young workers;

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