Psychosocial work environment in human service organizations: a conceptual analysis and development of the demand-control model

Soc Sci Med. 1996 May;42(9):1217-26. doi: 10.1016/0277-9536(95)00231-6.


This paper concerns two models that were introduced in two different research domains during the 1970's. The first model regards human service organizations (HSO) as a specific type of organization. The second model, the demand-control model (DC model), concerns the joint effects of job demands and job control on worker health. In the HSO model, there are analyses of the content of jobs, considering the specific characteristics of HSOs, but little is said about the health effects of such work. Those effects stand in focus in the demand-control model. The aim of this paper is to analyze the relevance of the DC model for human service organizations. The paper argues that the object of human service work-the client relation-makes a difference for demand and control in the job. Demand is analyzed into work load, emotional demands and role conflict. Control is divided into administrative control, outcome control, choice of skills, closeness of supervision, control within and over a situation and ideological control. The conclusion is that in applications on HSOs, the basic concepts of the DC model must be developed.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Burnout, Professional / etiology
  • Conflict, Psychological
  • Decision Making, Organizational
  • Female
  • Health Personnel / psychology
  • Helping Behavior
  • Hierarchy, Social
  • Humans
  • Interpersonal Relations
  • Job Satisfaction
  • Middle Aged
  • Models, Theoretical
  • Occupational Health*
  • Occupations / classification*
  • Personnel Management
  • Power, Psychological*
  • Professional-Patient Relations
  • Psychology, Industrial / methods
  • Role
  • Social Responsibility*
  • Social Work* / organization & administration
  • Stress, Psychological*
  • Workload / psychology*
  • Workplace / organization & administration
  • Workplace / psychology