Reconceptualizing Job Control in Participatory Interventions: Collective Sensemaking as a Missing Link

Esben Langager Olsen*, Christian Dyrlund Wåhlin-Jacobsen, Johan Simonsen Abildgaard

*Corresponding author af dette arbejde

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Participatory organizational-level interventions where employees are invited to voice suggestions for improving the work environment have been claimed to increase job control. However, empirical studies suggest that the relationship is conditional, and the underlying mechanisms are not well understood. To further our understanding, we highlight various weaknesses in current individuallevel conceptualizations of job control and argue that employees’ collective sensemaking relating to their job control is an important, yet overlooked factor. To demonstrate the principles of this sensemaking and how it shapes the participants’ engagement in the intervention, we analyze interactional data from an intervention with blue-collar employees. Based on this analysis, we discuss the implications of adopting a sensemaking perspective for research and practice.
TidsskriftNordic Journal of Working Life Studies
Udgave nummer4
Sider (fra-til)3-23
Antal sider21
StatusUdgivet - dec. 2020


  • Interventions
  • Job control
  • Organizational developmen
  • Participation
  • Qualitative methods
  • Sensemaking
  • Workplace improvements