Abstract for: Psychosocial Risks in Labor – How Occupational Workloads, Life Situations, and Coping Strategies Interact

In the current debate on the future and development of labor, maintaining workers' mental health is one of the most significant challenges. Nevertheless, little is known about the dynamic interactions between occupational workloads, life situations, and individual coping strategies. From the Subject's Standpoint, we state the dynamic hypothesis that psychosocial risks arise when there are critical constellations of occupational workloads, life situations, and individual coping strategies. Working from existing theoretical frameworks, we synthesize the model "Dynamic Evolution of an Individuals' Capacity to Act" that shows how an individuals' capacity to act evolves endogenously when confronted with an exogenous set of conditions. We work on a simulation model that shall i) help to identify psychosocial risks early; ii) serve as a "generative metaphor" (Schön 1979) when "designing a desirable future and inventing ways of bringing it about" (Ackoff 1979); iii) help fostering (double loop) learning and feedback processes among scientists, practitioners and individual's concerned. At the conference, we want to discuss the first draft of a simulation model triangulated with case study data from the project "Psychosocial risks in the world of work," funded by the Swiss National Science Foundation.