An instrument to study the psychosocial work environment

Photo: Göran Olofsson.

(Published 2013-05-31)
Do you want to develop the organization in your workplace? Do you need to document changes in working conditions? Do you want to study the relationship between work, health and productivity? If so, QPSNordic can be of great help.

QPSNordic is a questionnaire which was developed as part of a project started by the Nordic Council of Ministers in 1994. The aim of the project was to improve the scientific quality and comparability of data collected during interventions on the conditions of the psychological, social, and organizational work environment. Researchers from four Nordic countries (Sweden, Denmark, Finland and Norway) worked together to develop QPSNordic, which today is used by both researchers and practitioners in the field of work environment and health.

To develop QPSNordic, a database was constructed, containing questions from 19 other common Nordic questionnaires about work, health, well-being and motivation. Along with this material, questions from comparable international surveys were also included in the database. The QPSNordic questionnaire consists of a total of 129 questions, 80 of these are part of the 26 scales developed, 38 are individual items and 11 are background variables. It is also possible to use a more limited version of the instrument: the QPSNordic 34+.

A characteristic of QPSNordic, and one of its main advantages, is that the instrument includes three levels linked to the psychosocial work environment: the work task, the organization and social relations, and the individual. The task level covers areas like demands and control, role expectations and predictability at work. The organizational and social level concerns questions about social interactions, leadership, communication, group work and organizational culture and climate. At the individual level, there are questions about commitment to organization, mastery of work, preference for challenge, predictability, work motives, work centrality and interaction between work and private life. Thanks to the different types of issues, it is possible to examine the whole organization and various groups within the organization as well as inequalities related to gender and age.

Experience in conducting investigations and basic knowledge in survey methods, statistical analysis and organization development is needed to use the questionnaire in a workplace. The QPSNordic user’s guide gives advice on how to use the instrument and explains how scales and questions are constructed. The guide also contains some information on how to present and implement the survey results.