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Organization of Work: Measurement Tools for Research and Practice

NOTE: This page is archived for historical purposes and is no longer being maintained or updated

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

What kind of information is included in the inventory?

The primary purpose of the inventory is to assist researchers in identifying available instruments for measuring organizational characteristics that may be useful for advancing research on the associations between work organization and worker safety, health and well-being. The inventory does not contain proprietary information (i.e., actual measures); it is an information resource that packages descriptive information already in the public domain into a usable and accessible form. This inventory is not comprehensive, and it should only be used in conjunction with other information resources.

Although the inventory is mostly comprised of information about questionnaire-based instruments, reflecting the more common use of this approach, we aim to expand the methodologic scope to include checklists, interview surveys, expert rater methods, and others. Instruments containing measures of single and multi-dimensional constructs or dimensions are represented, as well as instruments containing generic and industry- or occupation-specific measures. Some instruments in the inventory are new, and therefore have limited or no reliability and validity information. Inclusion of these new instruments reflects the goal of sharing information on measurement tools that may be usefully applied in occupational health research. Whether the instrument is newly developed or has well-established reliability and validity, users must apply their own discretion in evaluating and selecting instruments for use in their research and practice. This inventory is a work-in-progress, and periodic updates are expected as we learn of additional work organization assessment tools or instruments.

The inventory record for each instrument contains information about the measurement domains, methodology, reliability and validity (if known), relevant citations, languages, whether the measures are generic or industry and occupational specific, availability, and a contact person. The information provided for each tool or instrument should assist you in deciding if you want to communicate with the listed contact person for more information or to gain access to the instrument.

What are the criteria instruments need to meet for inclusion in the inventory?

To be considered suitable for inclusion in the inventory, instruments must:

  • contain one or more measures for assessing work organization characteristics and/or workplace psychosocial conditions (see What content areas are included in the inventory? )
  • be accessible to prospective users through pubic domain outlets, including commercial vendors, or via user registration procedures with the developer. Proprietary instruments administered through private practice and not accessible for use by researchers are not suitable for inclusion.

Was the quality of the measures in the inventory reviewed?

There are no quality criteria for including measures in the inventory. Therefore, NIOSH does not necessarily endorse use of the assessment tools.

What content areas are included in the inventory?

The content areas suitable for inclusion in the inventory are broad and focused on the measure of the structural, functional, and operational characteristics of the workplace. The inventory will comprise measures of ownership, “systems of work organization” (e.g., high performance work systems, lean production, just-in-time, total quality, continuous improvement, contracting / outsourcing, work teams, matrix organizations), production or process chain characteristics, flexibilization, management technologies (e.g., monitoring and control policies or procedures), and others. Also suitable for inclusion are instruments containing measures of job and task characteristics such as job control, job demands, social support, role strain – what are sometimes referred to as workplace psychosocial variables.

Where did you get the information in the inventory?

Initial entries into the inventory were made via a small contract by a subject-matter expert. Additional instruments were identified for inclusion in the inventory by subject-matter experts within and outside NIOSH, and information about the instrument was then obtained from a knowledgeable informant – usually the instrument developer. Visitors to this Web site are encouraged to nominate work organization assessment instruments for inclusion in the inventory. Instrument developers were notified before their instrument was included in the inventory.

How can the online inventory help me to improve research on the effect of work organization on worker health and well-being?

Using the online search, you can find tools and instruments by measurement domain, methodology, or keywords.

The results of your search can help you:

  • Identify measures in domains of interest for your research or practice.
  • Contact organizations that have developed, or that are developing, measures in domains of interest, to share ideas.
  • Identify work organization topic areas in need of methods development.

How can I get more information about specific measures?

Each tool or instrument in the inventory has a designated contact person or a Web site for more information. The search results will provide this contact information.

I noticed a mistake or outdated information in an entry for my tool or instrument. How can I change or update the information?

To make the inventory as accurate and complete as possible, you are encouraged to submit changes and additions whenever they are necessary. To edit an existing entry, please send your changes or updates to us.

I want to nominate a new tool or instrument for inclusion in the inventory. How do I do this?

Developers and users of Organization of Work assessment tools or instruments are encouraged to nominate new instruments for inclusion in the inventory. The nomination process requires knowledge of the basic descriptive information about the instrument and how the instrument can be accessed by prospective users. Those who nominate instruments included in the inventory will be listed as contributors, unless they elect otherwise.

To nominate an instrument for inclusion in the inventory, please send us an e-mail. In your e-mail message, please provide your name, contact information (e-mail address and phone), name of the instrument being nominated, and the content area(s) measured by the instrument. You will then be contacted so that follow-up information can be obtained about the instrument.

What happens after an instrument is nominated for inclusion in the inventory?

Nomination information will be will be reviewed by a panel of subject matter experts inside and outside NIOSH who will:

  • Ensure that the newly nominated instruments are not redundant with instruments already contained in the inventory;
  • Ensure that the source information provided for accessing the instrument is accurate;
  • Access the nominated instrument to review it for suitability of content and consistency with the organization of work topic (see What content areas are included in the inventory).

How long will it take for a nominated instrument to be included in the inventory?

Every effort will be made to process instrument nominations in a timely manner. The time it takes to include a new instrument in the inventory is expected to vary, depending upon how much descriptive information about the instrument is provided by the nominee, how readily the instrument can be accessed, and how quickly the panel of subject-matter-experts can convene and review the instrument and associated descriptive information.

My search term brought up results for other keywords. Why?

Workers putting puzzle pieces together

Certain words or phrases may be synonyms of your keywords. Therefore, your search will return related keywords. Here are some examples:

  • Entering “job control” will also return results for “decision latitude,” “skill discretion,” “decision making processes,” and “timing control.”
  • Entering “work schedules” will also return results for “work hours” and “shift work.”
  • Entering “organizational structure” will also return results for “work teams,” “lean production,” “high performance work systems,” “downsizing,” “out sourcing,” and “continuous improvement.”