Context specificity in the assessment of psychosocial risk at work: An empirical study on Italian call centre workers

Donatella Camerino, P. M. Conway, Alice Fattori, Maria Grazia Cassitto, Silvia Punzi, G. P. Fichera, Olga Menoni, P. Campanini

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Background: Following EU requirements, in recent years standard procedures for the assessment of work-related stress have been developed in Italy. However, while such standardization has facilitated the spread and use of these procedures, it has brought a lack of specificity in risk assessment. Objectives: To exemplify a method for the assessment of work-related stress that was developed by the University of Milan to allow the definition of risk profiles tailored to the different organizational settings. Methods: We examined risk factors for work-related stress in call centre operators employed by two separate Italian companies. At an early stage of the assessment procedure, we conducted a wide series of consultation and training activities that allowed the identification of context-specific risk factors and homogeneous groups, which fuelled the preparation of both the "objective" and the "subjective" evaluation instruments. Results: Results obtained by means of the standardized "Effort-Reward Imbalance Questionnaire" and "Job Content Questionnaire", interpreted in the light of consultations with key organizational figures and individual interviews with employees, have allowed the detection of different risk profiles and priorities for intervention at both the group and the organizational levels. Conclusions: Findings demonstrated the existence of both common and specific risk factors in the two companies, which would have remained undetected with the exclusive use of standardized approaches.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)130-138
Number of pages9
JournalMedicina del Lavoro
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 2014


  • Call centre
  • Psychosocial risk
  • Work-related stress

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health

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