Worker well-being: What it is, and how it should be measured

Indy Wijngaards, OC King, Martijn Burger, Job van Exel

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17 Citations (Scopus)
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Worker well-being is a hot topic in organizations, consultancy and academia. However, too often, the buzz about worker well-being, enthusiasm for new programs to promote it and interest to research it, have not been accompanied by universal enthusiasm for scientific measurement. Aim to bridge this gap, we address three questions. To address the question ‘What is worker well-being?’, we explain that worker well-being is a multi-facetted concept and that it can be operationalized in a variety of constructs. We propose a four-dimensional taxonomy of worker well-being constructs to illustrate the concept’s complexity and classify ten constructs within this taxonomy. To answer the question ‘How can worker well-being constructs be measured?’, we present two aspects of measures: measure obtrusiveness (i.e., the extent to which obtaining a measure interferes with workers’ experiences) and measure type (i.e., closed question survey, word, behavioral and physiological). We illustrate the diversity of measures across our taxonomy and uncover some hitherto under-appreciated avenues for measuring worker well-being. Finally, we address the question ‘How should a worker well-being measure be selected?’ by discussing conceptual, methodological, practical and ethical considerations when selecting a measure. We summarize these considerations in a short checklist. It is our hope that with this study researchers – working in organizations, in academia or both – will feel more competent to find effective strategies for the measurement worker well-being and eventually make policies and choices with a better understanding of what drives worker well-being.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)795-832
Number of pages38
JournalApplied research in quality of life
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 2022

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
Indy Wijngaards and Owen King was funded by grant (652.001.003) from the Netherlands Organization for Scientific Research (NWO).

Publisher Copyright:
© 2021, The Author(s).

Research programs

  • ESE - AE


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