Contemporary working conditions are very different from just 30 years back. Many changes are characterized as new opportunities for personal development and autonomy for the individual employee. However work life researchers report of increased psychosocial strain and dissemination of work related psychological illnesses. This paradoxical tendency questions our basic knowledge about well being at work. For decades employee control has been seen as universal solution to work related psychosocial hazards, but this is now questioned. We find that control is still as important but needs to be studied in new ways. The way work has developed, the concept of time becomes a key to understand the actual degree of employee control. We cannot study control without taking the qualities of time into consideration. Hence to understand control we must study the qualities of time by looking into common routines, habits, breaks, norms and meetings that occur through the inter-personal relationships. Therefore work life research can make use of time sociology concepts to understand and study how control is gained and lost in contemporary work. The results of our study show that individualized time conflicts leave self-managing and empowered workers with feelings of being unable to get control of their work life. Time conflicts due to an increasing amount of social interactions and complexity at work have become a major psychosocial working environment problem because the sense of control erodes.
Advances in Occupational, Social and Organizational Ergonomics, 2010, p. 250-261