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Globalization, workers’ power and the psychosocial work environment—is the demand–control–support model still useful in a neoliberal era?

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Author(s): Jeffrey V Johnson

Journal: SJWEH Supplements
ISSN 1795-9926

Issue: 6;
Start page: 15;
Date: 2008;
Original page

Keywords: job strain | globalization | demand–control–support model | worker | psychosocial work environment | work | workers’ power | psychological demand | work organization | work environment | work control | social support | flexibilization | stress | social class | social movement | occupational stress

ABSTRACT
The demand–control–support model emerged in the 1970s after a period of labor unrest throughout Europe and North America. Workers’ control and workplace democratization became the focus of social movements among labor union activists and scientists. The concepts of workers’ control, workers’ collectivity, and the “limits of adaptation” formed the deep underpinnings of the model. Work changed dramatically with the advent of globalization and flexibilization. Neoliberal globalization has resulted in growing social inequality and an increasing imbalance of political power between economic elites and the working class. Earlier efforts to democratize worklife have been rolled back along with many of the social protections of the Keynesian era. At the same time, new transnational social movements have arisen. Does the demand–control–support model continue to have relevance today? The paper argues that core elements, namely, the intensification of effort, power, and collectivity, continue to provide important ways of viewing the human impact of neoliberal globalization.
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