Delegation and consultation on operational and tactical issues: Any difference in their potentialities for a healthier psychosocial work environment?

Clara Llorens-Serrano, Sergio Salas-Nicás, Albert Navarro-Giné, Salvador Moncada Lluís

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BACKGROUND: Despite the growing number of studies on direct participation labor-management practices, little is known about the role of their different discretionary degrees (delegation or consultation) and topics in their relationship with the psychosocial work environment by occupational groups.

METHODS: Cross-sectional study on the relationship between direct participation and work-related psychosocial risks (using COPSOQ-ISTAS21 v3) on a representative sample of the salaried and wage-earning employees in Spain (n = 1807). Prevalence ratios were calculated using adjusted Poisson regression models, controlling for 10 other labor-management practices, sex, and age, and stratified by occupational group.

RESULTS: The use of direct participation was either associated consistently with a healthier psychosocial work environment (mostly in manual occupations, which presented twice as many positive associations as nonmanual occupations, and of greater strength, mostly in the control and social support dimensions) or there were no significant associations (mostly among nonmanual occupations and in relation to work pace). More frequent and stronger associations were observed when consultation and delegation were used in combination. If used separately, consultation achieved better results among manual occupations and delegation among nonmanual occupations. Direct participation topics were not important for results in manual occupations whereas results were better on tactical (vs. operational) issues in nonmanual occupations.

CONCLUSIONS: Direct participation does not change power structure, but it may be a useful intervention at the company level to reduce work-related psychosocial exposures and associated diseases among workers in manual occupations, and consequently for decreasing occupational exposures and health inequalities.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)800-812
Number of pages13
JournalAmerican Journal of Industrial Medicine
Issue number10
Publication statusPublished - Oct 2022


  • Cross-Sectional Studies
  • Humans
  • Occupational Exposure
  • Occupations
  • Referral and Consultation
  • Workplace/psychology


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