The SMART model of work design: A higher order structure to help see the wood from the trees. By: Parker, Sharon K. and Knight, Caroline. 2024. Human Resource Management. Vol. 63 Issue 2, p265-291.

We propose a new work design model, SMART work design, that identifies five higher order categories of work characteristics, including stimulating work characteristics (task variety, skill variety, information processing requirements, and problem‐solving requirements), mastery work characteristics (job feedback, feedback from others, and role clarity), autonomous work characteristics (decision‐making autonomy, timing autonomy, and method autonomy), relational work characteristics (social support, task significance, and beneficiary contact), and tolerable work characteristics (low levels of: role overload, work–home conflict, and role conflict). Higher order confirmatory factor analysis of working participants provided initial evidence of this structure (Study 1, N = 1107), which was replicated in an additional dataset (Study 2, time 1, N = 709). To provide further evidence, we examined Study 2 data across three waves (N = 573) to show that each higher order factor at time 1 predicted time 3 job satisfaction either directly or via the theorized time 2 mediators (challenge appraisals, work meaningfulness, fulfillment of relatedness needs, and activated negativeaffect). In Study 3 (N = 108), employees’ scores on specific higher order variables correlated with leader ratings of performance in the expected ways. The SMART work design model provides a unique integrating and multidimensional theory of work design that extends beyond existing models. The model can be used to facilitate the synthesis of research knowledge and guide scholars and practitioners to diagnose and address contemporary work design challenges.