Review

Scand J Work Environ Health 2012;38(4):299-313    pdf

doi:10.5271/sjweh.3307

Systematic review on the association between employee worktime control and work–non-work balance, health and well-being, and job-related outcomes

by Nijp HH, Beckers DGJ, Geurts SAE, Tucker P, Kompier MAJ

Objectives The aim of this review was to assess systematically the empirical evidence for associations between employee worktime control (WTC) and work–non-work balance, health/well-being, and job-related outcomes (eg, job satisfaction, job performance).

Method A systematic search of empirical studies published between 1995–2011 resulted in 63 relevant papers from 53 studies. Five different categories of WTC measurements were distinguished (global WTC, multidimensional WTC, flextime, leave control, and “other subdimensions of WTC”). For each WTC category, we examined the strength of evidence for an association with (i) work–non-work balance, (ii) health/well-being, and (iii) job-related outcomes. We distinguished between cross-sectional, longitudinal, and intervention studies. Evidence strength was assessed based on the number of studies and their convergence in terms of study findings.

Results (Moderately) strong cross-sectional evidence was found for positive associations between global WTC and both work–non-work balance and job-related outcomes, whereas no consistent evidence was found regarding health/well-being. Intervention studies on global WTC found moderately strong evidence for a positive causal association with work–non-work balance and no or insufficient evidence for health/well-being and job-related outcomes. Limited to moderately strong cross-sectional evidence was found for positive associations between multidimensional WTC and our outcome categories. Moderately strong cross-sectional evidence was found for positive associations between flextime and all outcome categories. The lack of intervention or longitudinal studies restricts clear causal inferences.

Conclusions This review has shown that there are theoretical and empirical reasons to view WTC as a promising tool for the maintenance of employees’ work–non-work balance, health and well-being, and job-related outcomes. At the same time, however, the current state of evidence allows only very limited causal inferences to be made regarding the impact of enhanced WTC.

This article refers to the following texts of the Journal: 2004;30(2):139-148  2006;32(6):421-430  2006;32(6):502-514  2006;32(6):482-492  2008;34(3):198-205  2011;37(6):451-453
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