The world of work has undergone a tremendous transformation since the end of the 18th century. During four industrial revolutions, labour intensive manual work has been gradually replaced by knowledge and service driven occupations ( Nini, 2011; Grant and Parker, 2009; Drucker, 1999). Ever since, occupational health and safety concerns have accompanied this transformation.
These concerns were mainly related to risks arising from physical, chemical, and biological hazards (Houdmont and Leka, 2010) until, in the 1970s, practitioners, scholars, and governmental institutions started to recognize the increasing relevance of psychosocial hazards of work on wellbeing (Sauter and Hurrell, 1999). A recent survey, conducted among managers in the European Union, revealed that work related stress is of some or of major concern to them ranked on third place behind accidents and musculoskeletal disorders (Eurofound and EU-OSHA, 2014).
One aspect of work that has been identified as a stress related hazard is work, specifically participation in decision making, with only a limited amount of control (Leka and Jain, 2012; Leka et al., 2003). This essay will draw on theory and evidence to examine the impact of participation and control on workplace health. In a second step, recommendations for future research, policy, and practice will be presented, and in in later sections, how this relationship looks in more detail, its direction, and what implications can be drawn for the practical domain will be discussed.