Organizational change in the public sector: augmenting the demand control model to predict employee outcomes under New Public Management

Andrew Noblet, John Rodwell, John McWilliams

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

62 Citations (Scopus)


This study identifies the environmental and personal characteristics that predict employee outcomes within an Australian public sector organization that had, under New Public Management (NPM), implemented a variety of practices traditionally found in the private sector. These are more results-oriented, and their adoption can be accompanied by increased strain for employees. The current investigation was guided by two complementary theories, the Demand Control Support (DCS) model and Conservation of Resources (COR) theory, and sought to examine the benefits of building on the DCS to include both situation-specific stressors and internal coping resources. Survey responses from 1,155 employees were analysed. The hierarchical regression analyses indicated that both external and employee-centred variables made significant contributions to variations in psychological health, job satisfaction, and organizational commitment. The external resources, work based support and, to a lesser extent, job control, predicted relatively large proportions of the variance in the target variables. The situation-specific stressors, particularly those involving harmful management practices (e.g., insufficient time to do job as well as you would like, lack of recognition for good work), made significant contributions to the outcome measures and generally supported the process of augmenting the generic components of the DCS with more situation-specific variables. In terms of internal resources, problem and emotion-based coping improved the capacity of the model to predict psychological health. The results suggest that the impact of NPM can be ameliorated by incorporating the dimensions of the augmented DCS and coping resources into the change programme.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)335-352
Number of pages18
JournalWork and Stress
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - 2006


  • New Public Management
  • organizational change
  • job strain
  • Demand Control Support model
  • conservation of resources
  • coping
  • work-related stress

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