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Latitude for Activity at Work

Mental Health in the Working World

Exercising control or influence represents a major motive of human action. In the world of work this is reflected in latitude for activity. In numerous industrial science theories and models, latitude for activity is a significant factor for forecasting the consequences of strain.

Latitude for activity is a heterogeneous construct, so that there are various definitions for it, which, partly, have different focuses. For example, latitude for activity is defined with regard to how broadly and diversely work tasks are arranged. It is also understood as the possibility of influencing the course of the work activity or of making decisions. A further characteristic of latitude for activity is the comprehensiveness of work tasks. In this way, latitude for activity comprises job control and assignment variability.

Models and theories on latitude for activity are the job characteristics model (Hackman & Oldham, 1974), the action regulation theory (Volpert, 1985) or the job-demand-control model (Karasek, 1979).

Current state of knowledge

A scoping review by the Federal Institute for Occupational Safety and Health summarises the state of scientific knowledge of latitude for activity and considers its interrelation with (mental) health and well-being. It describes its relation to motivation, job satisfaction and performance and also illuminates interfaces with the concept of complete tasks and the importance of latitude for activity in the modern world of work. Conceptual and methodological considerations are a component of the review as well. In addition, the authors reveal research gaps and discuss options for designing this factor.

The project "Mental Health in the Working World"

The scoping review on latitude for activity is part of the project "Mental Health in the Working World - determining the current state of scientific evidence". The project assesses mental load factors based on the state of scientific knowledge.

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