Information Processing

How Information Processing Enhances Job Satisfaction

In job design Opens in new window framework, Information processing refers to the degree to which a job requires attending to and processing data and information.

The amount of information processing needed at work reflects the degree to which a job requires attending to and processing data or other information. Some jobs require higher levels of monitoring and active information to process than others, such as air traffic controller (Wall & Jackson, 1995).

Similar to job complexity Opens in new window, high levels of information processing requirement may be motivating, as successfully accomplishing them signals possession of higher levels of job-related abilities and skills.

In general, information processing is positively related to job satisfaction. Because it requires fluid intelligence, however, it may be detrimental to older workers.

Workers in mid and late careers may be at a disadvantage when facing high levels of information processing requirements, because usually their cognitive abilities are not at developmental peak any more due to the normal aging process

Information processing demands may lead to increased strain; older workers may not perform as well as younger workers in jobs requiring high levels of information processing, and recognition of this inability may cause older workers stress (Griffiths, 2000) and decreased self-efficacy Opens in new window.

Therefore, for older workers in jobs characterized by high information processing demands, they are in particular need of using technological aids to help them process the information to perform the job.

It should be noted that compared to technological aids, SOC strategies may be less effective to use in dealing with jobs that have high information processing demands. This is because information processing often requires both processing speed and capacity, which is difficult to strategize and optimize in real-time (Martin & Wall, 1989).

It is important to note, however, that information processing may not be a problem for all older workers, especially if there are few time constraint. In fact, Morgeson and Humphrey (2006 ) noted that jobs higher in information processing require higher levels of knowledge, which generally increases with age.

Thus, to the extent that information processing requires the use of acquired knowledge, older workers may be more successful than younger workers and experience positive outcomes, such as decreased stress and turnover intentions.

This is aligned with SOC theory, which posits that older workers can engage in compensation strategies (in this case, utilizing knowledge versus fluid intellectual abilities) to maintain certain levels of functioning (Baltes and Baltes, 1990).