IRSST - Institut de recherche Robert-Sauvé en santé et en sécurité du travail

Étude exploratoire des facteurs de la charge de travail ayant un impact sur la santé et la sécurité : Étude de cas dans le secteur des services

Exploratory study to identify workload factors that have an impact on health and safety: a case study in the service sector


The new types of work organization (technological innovations, new human resource management policies, innovative types of organization, etc.) could impact negatively on individuals (fatigue, chronic stress, musculoskeletal disorders, etc.) and on establishments (absenteeism, employee turnover, etc.). The scientific literature designates workload as the common denominator in this situation, except that the evidence on the conceptualization of this phenomenon is limited and does not take into account its complexity.To define and characterize it, the researchers wanted to determine the dimensions as well as the dynamics and underlying organizational processes, by studying the case of customer-service agents. The results show that certain factors, inherent in work organization, are sources of constraints that require additional actions and circumvention strategies, with consequences on the individual and on the effectiveness of his work. While several constraints seem justified from the standpoint of management or control, they often take a completely other direction in the daily reality of people who provide customer service. However, the daily presence of these constraints does not mean that there is too much or too little work. It would seem instead that, based on the situations encountered and developed over time, people find themselves in an ineffective situation that becomes a source of exhaustion and frustration. The authors believe that other studies on actual workload in various job sectors are necessary before the results can be generalized.

Additional Information

Collection: Scientific reports
Category: Report
  • Pierre-Sébastien Fournier
  • Sylvie Montreuil
  • Jean-Pierre Brun
  • Caroline Bilodeau
  • Julie Villa
Research Project: 0099-7210
Publication no.: R-668
Translated publication no.: R-701
Language: French
Published: November 08, 2010
Format: Text