Job Control, Cognitive Demand, and Production Responsibility


 This measure, developed by Jackson, Wall, Martin, and Davids (1993), assesses the extent of job control, cognitive demand, and production respon­ sibility an employee experiences in a job. The measure covers timing con­ trol, defined as the extent to which a job gives an employee the freedom to determine the scheduling of his or her work behavior, and method control, defined as the extent to which an employee has the freedom to choose how to carry out tasks. Cognitive demand is also assessed on two dimensions. The first is monitoring demand, defined as the extent to  which  a job requires an employee to perform passive monitoring tasks. The second is problem­ solving demand, defined as the extent to which a job involves active, cogni­ tive processing to prevent or detect errors. Production responsibility is defined as the extent to which a job involves responsibility for avoiding lost output and damage to expensive equipment.


Coefficient alpha values ranged from .79 to .85 for timing control, .77 to .80 for method control, .73 to. 75 for monitoring demand, .50 to .67 for problem­ solving demand, and .86 to .90 for production responsibility (Jackson et al., 1993). In Wall, Jackson, Mullarkey, and Parker (1996), method and timing control were combined into a single scale with a coefficient alpha of .86. In Jackson et al. (1993), test-retest reliabilities were r = .50 for timing control, r = .57 for method control, r = .5I for monitoring demand, r = .43 for prob­ lem-solving demand, and r = .42 for production responsibility.


The structure of the five dimensions of the measure was confirmed with both exploratory and confirmatory factor analysis in two separate samples (Jackson et al., 1993). Both monitoring and problem-solving demands cor­ related positively with job control, job decision latitude, and employee anxi­ety. Job control correlated positively with employee length of service, job decision latitude, and job satisfaction. Job control correlated negatively with employee depression and employee anxiety (Wall et al., 1996).

In Jackson et al. (1993), the five subscales were used to compare em­ ployees in different job roles working on the same process in a production environment as well as employees in the same roles in processes differing in the extent of computerization. The scales described significant differences between job roles and technology. For example, monitoring demand and production responsibility scores were both higher in a fully computerized process compared to a noncomputerized process.


Jackson, P.R., Wall, T. D., Martin, R., & Davids, K. (1993). New measures of job control, cognitive demand, and production responsibility. Journal of Applied Psychology, 78(5), 753-762. Items were taken from Table 2, p. 757. Copyright © 1993 by the American Psychological Association. Reprinted with permission.


Responses are obtained on 5-point Likert-type scale where 1 = not at all, 2 =

just a little, 3 = a moderate amount, 4 = quite a lot, and 5 = a great deal.

Timing control items:

  1. Do you decide on the order in which you do things?
  2. Do you decide when to start a piece of work?
  3. Do you decide when to finish a piece of work?
  4. Do you set your own pace of work?

Method control items:

  1. Can you control how much you produce?
  2. Can you vary how you do your work?
  3. Do you plan your own work?
  4. Can you control the quality of what you produce?
  5. Can you decide how to go about getting your job done?
  6. Can you choose the methods to use in carrying out your work?

Monitoring demand items:

  1. Does your work need your undivided attention?
  2. Do you have to keep track of more than one process at once?
  3. Do you have to concentrate all the time to watch for things going wrong?
  4. Do you have to react quickly to prevent problems arising?

Problem-solving demand items:

  1. Do you have to solve problems which have no obvious correct answer?
  2. Do the problems you deal with require a thorough knowledge of the production process in your area?
  3. Do you come across problems in your job you have not met before?

Production responsibility items:

  1. Could a lapse of attention cause a costly loss of output?
  2. Could an error on your part cause expensive damage to equipment or machinery?
  3. Could your alertness prevent expensive damage to equipment or machinery?
  4. Could your alertness prevent a costly loss of output?
  5. If you failed to notice a problem, would it result in a costly loss of production?

This content is licensed under a CC-BY license. The CC-BY licenses grant rights of use the scales in your studies (the measurement instrument and its documentation), but do not replace copyright. This remains with the copyright holder, and you have to cite us as the source.

Mohammed Looti, PSYCHOLOGICAL SCALES (2023) Job Control, Cognitive Demand, and Production Responsibility. Retrieved from DOI: 10.13140/RG.2.2.31575.96163