Stuck at a workplace: What’s work control, demands and learning got to do with it? A longitudinal multilevel study on Swedish permanent employees in situations of ‘workplace locked-in’

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle


Whilst health consequences of being locked-in at the workplace have been documented in several research studies, it is largely unknown how work characteristics and their changes over time relate to risks for becoming locked-in at a certain workplace. Accordingly, this paper studied how perceived control, learning opportunities and quantitative demands at work associate with workplace-locked-in (WPLI). The study included permanent employees who participated in the Swedish Longitudinal Occupational Survey of Health (SLOSH) study in wave 3 through 5 (n = 2918 individuals; n = 7460 observations). Results from multi-level analysis show that there was significant individual variation in WPLI changes over time, even though on average, WPLI decreased slightly. Differences in work characteristics between individuals (L2) and across time (L1) associated significantly with WPLI: higher levels of job control and learning opportunities related to lower odds ratios for WPLI, whereas higher quantitative job demands associated with higher odds ratios of WPLI. Moreover, differences in quantitative job demands, number of job changes and educational achievements explained the individual variations of WPLI developments over time. The result shows that WPLI can – to some extent – be prevented or reduced through good work design, and implications for HR managers and organizations are discussed.


  • Claudia Bernhard-Oettel
  • Johanna Stengård
  • Constanze Leineweber
  • Hugo Westerlund
  • Paraskevi Peristera
  • P. O. Östergren
External organisations
  • Stockholm University
  • National Institute for Psychosocial Factors and Health, Stockholm
Research areas and keywords

Subject classification (UKÄ) – MANDATORY

  • Work Sciences


  • job changes, multilevel modelling, work characteristics, Workplace locked-in status
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1771-1792
JournalInternational Journal of Human Resource Management
Issue number14
Early online date2018 Feb 1
Publication statusPublished - 2020
Publication categoryResearch