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Examination of the Work Organization Assessment Questionnaire in Public Sector Workers

Wynne-Jones, Gwenllian PhD; Varnava, Alice PhD; Buck, Rhiannon PhD; Karanika-Murray, Maria PhD, CPsychol; Griffiths, Amanda PhD, CPsychol; Phillips, Ceri PhD; Cox, Tom CBE, PhD, CPsychol, AcSS; Kahn, Sayeed MB, MRCGP, MIOSH, DM; Main, Chris J. PhD, CPsychol

Journal of Occupational and Environmental Medicine: May 2009 - Volume 51 - Issue 5 - p 586-593
doi: 10.1097/JOM.0b013e31819e9bb0
Original Articles

Objective: To investigate the utility of the Work and Organization Assessment Questionnaire (WOAQ) for public sector data.

Methods: A cross-sectional survey was performed in public sector organizations measuring demographics, work characteristics, work perceptions (WOAQ), sickness absence, and work performance.

Results: Confirmatory factor analysis of the WOAQ showed that factor structure derived for the manufacturing sector, for which the questionnaire was developed, could be replicated moderately well with public sector data. The study then considered whether a better more specific fit for public sector data was possible. Principal components analysis of the public sector data identified a two-factor structure linked to four of the five scales of the WOAQ assessing Management and Work Design, and Work Culture. These two factors may offer a context-sensitive scoring method for the WOAQ in public sector populations. These two factors were found to have good internal consistency, and correlated with the full WOAQ scales and the measures of performance and absence.

Conclusions: The WOAQ is a useful and potentially transferable tool. The modified scoring may be used to assess work and organizational factors in the public sector.

From the Arthritis Research Campaign National Primary Care Centre (Dr Wynne-Jones, Dr Main), Primary Care Sciences, Keele University, Keele, Staffordshire; Centre for Psychosocial Disability Research (Dr Varnava, Dr Buck), School of Psychology, Cardiff University, Cardiff; Department of Psychology (Dr Varnava), School of Human Sciences, Swansea University, Swansea; Institute of Work, Health and Organizations (Dr Karanika-Murray, Dr Griffiths, Dr Cox), International House, University of Nottingham, Jubilee Campus, Nottingham; Institute for Health Research (Dr Phillips), School of Health Science, Swansea University, Swansea; and EEF (Dr Kahn), Broadway House, London.

The centre where RB and AV were based is sponsored in part by a grant From Unum Ltd. The researchers were entirely independent of the sponsor in the design, conduct, analysis, and interpretation of this work, preparation of the manuscript and decision to publish the findings.

Address correspondence to: Gwenllian Wynne-Jones, PhD, Arthritis Research Campaign National Primary Care Centre, Primary Care Sciences, Keele University, Keele, Staffordshire ST5 5BG; E-mail:

©2009The American College of Occupational and Environmental Medicine