Job Demand Control Theory

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The job demand-control theory falls under interactional theories of stress. Interactional theories of stress focus on the way in which situations arise that give rise to the experience of stress (Leka, 2010). The job demand-control theory models jobs into four frameworks, of different combinations of low or high demand and control in jobs. The two testable components: high job demands with low control and high demand and control have different impacts on well-being (Karasek, 1979).
High demand and low control are referred to as high strain jobs which are known to be the most risky in terms of health, being associated with psychological and physical strain (Leka, 2010). Low strain jobs have a low demand and high levels of control are linked
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This framework would explain why Mr van der Weisthuizen often worked 70-100 hour weeks without asking for help. To a large extent Mr van der Weisthuizen did not have any social support this was evident in his colleagues labelling him as a “6,4” when the impact of not coping began to become apparent and his perception of what would happen to him if it were known that he was not coping.
The combination of high demand in terms of work overload, time pressure, physical and emotional demand with minimal control easily results in burnout, stress and depression (Karasek, 1979). This is the case with Mr Van der Weisthuizen, according to Karasek (1979) overload is a result of demands being posed on an individual that exceed their capability of meeting them. Such conditions not only manifest in psychological but physical way as well (He, Zhao, & Archbold,
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In addition to this, job-related skills training theory tells us that if an individual is better equipped in skill to handle a new situation they are less likely to find it stressful (Leka, 2010). Applying this theory to the case study, if the police or HR practitioners did a skills assessment and development plan where Mr Van der Weisthuizen was equipped to handle the demands on him for being a psychologist on top of the job that he was doing would help reduce his stress.
The tertiary level intervention that is recommended would be to implement an employee assistant programme to help employees recover from situations causing stress and/or a negative effect on physical wellbeing, be it at home or work situation (Leka, 2010). Specifically Mr van der Weisthuizen should be offered counselling within the department for his marital as well as job-related stressors with an HR professional and psychologist to discuss his workload as well as his role
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