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Work design and management in the manufacturing sector: development and validation of the Work Organisation Assessment Questionnaire


Objectives: To examine the factor structure, reliability, and validity of a new context-specific questionnaire for the assessment of work and organisational factors. The Work Organisation Assessment Questionnaire (WOAQ) was developed as part of a risk assessment and risk reduction methodology for hazards inherent in the design and management of work in the manufacturing sector.

Method: Two studies were conducted. Data were collected from 524 white- and blue-collar employees from a range of manufacturing companies. Exploratory factor analysis was carried out on 28 items that described the most commonly reported failures of work design and management in companies in the manufacturing sector. Concurrent validity data were also collected. A reliability study was conducted with a further 156 employees.

Results: Principal component analysis, with varimax rotation, revealed a strong 28-item, five factor structure. The factors were named: quality of relationships with management, reward and recognition, workload, quality of relationships with colleagues, and quality of physical environment. Analyses also revealed a more general summative factor. Results indicated that the questionnaire has good internal consistency and test-retest reliability and validity. Being associated with poor employee health and changes in health related behaviour, the WOAQ factors are possible hazards. It is argued that the strength of those associations offers some estimation of risk. Feedback from the organisations involved indicated that the WOAQ was easy to use and meaningful for them as part of their risk assessment procedures.

Conclusions: The studies reported here describe a model of the hazards to employee health and health related behaviour inherent in the design and management of work in the manufacturing sector. It offers an instrument for their assessment. The scales derived which form the WOAQ were shown to be reliable, valid, and meaningful to the user population.

  • GWBQ, General Well-Being Questionnaire
  • HSE, Health and Safety Executive
  • SMS, Stress Management Standards
  • WOAQ, Work Organisation Assessment Questionnaire
  • stress
  • work and organisational factors
  • health
  • risk assessment
  • UK HSE Stress Management Standards

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