dimensions have empirical as well as conceptual merit. Finally, these dimensions open useful conceptual windows on the increasing heterogeneity of work, the debureaucratization of work, increased choices for structuring jobs, and increased interdependence among work structures.
The first two dimensions—autonomy-control and task scope—are well established in the job design and analysis literatures (Hackman and Oldham, 1975; Hackman, 1987). Because autonomy-control reflects the vertical division of authority in an organization, it is also found in the organizational design literature and it parallels the legal distinctions that define employee rights and organizational obligations. Task scope has been the subject of considerable debate over the years and focuses on the horizontal division of labor. Ever since scientific management and early industrial engineers formulated narrow specialization as a principle of job design, scholars and practitioners have debated the trade-offs of specialization versus job enlargement, job rotation, team-based work systems, and other means of expanding the scope of a job.
The cognitive complexity dimension is normally treated in job analysis as the depth of expertise one needs to do a job. In comparison with major sociological approaches, our definition of cognitive complexity is nearly identical to the definition used by Kohn and colleagues in their program of research (Kohn and Slomczynski, 1990). They define substantive (or in our terms cognitive) complexity as the degree to which performance of the work requires thought and independent judgment. Our definition is more restrictive than that proposed by Spenner (1990), who includes not only cognitive demands, but also interpersonal demands and task scope in his definition of substantive complexity.
The social interaction dimension includes both relations between workers and their customers or clients, and relations among workers. Although interpersonal work may long have been important in many jobs, it has become more salient for a number of reasons. Relations between workers and customers have become more prominent because of the growth of customer-contact jobs and because of the increased importance that employers give to competing on the basis of customer service (e.g., Albrecht and Bradford, 1989; Reichheld, 1996; Zemke and Schaff,