Dependent work

Many studies have focused on the fact that modern managers depend on a range of different actors to get their work accomplished. But few people have tried to assess the psychological impact of such interdependency.

by Journal of Management Studies
Last Updated: 23 Jul 2013

A sample of 125 US managers said that 72% of their work was dependent on others. On average, they calculated, they were interdependent on a daily basis with at least 17 people.

Interdependency was found to increase stress on one of two levels: either in role ambiguity, in which there is uncertainty associated with the goals and means to perform one's tasks; or role conflict, where there is incompatibility between the expectations of other parties or between aspects of a single role.

Companies should help managers cope with the perceived high volume of interdependency by mapping out the interdependencies visually. But they should avoid trying to expose all the interdependent networks when there are too many. While this may make them clearer, it is likely to increase the stress of having to manage them.

Source: The relationship between task interdependency and role stress: a revisit of the job demands-control model

Sze-Sze Wong, Gerardine DeSanctis and Nancy Staudenmayer

Journal of Management Studies, Vol 44 No 2, March 2007

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