Social resources and Structural resources: The difference

Social resources and structural resources: The difference


What is the difference between social and structural job resources?

In the world of work psychology, job-crafting and Human Resources there tends to be two types of job resources referred to:

  1. Social Resources, and
  2. Structural Resources

Social job resources largely consist of the network and relationships an individual has at work that provide support and feedback, whereas structural job resources are mainly the job design (what gets done when and how) aspects that provide opportunities for autonomy, creativity and development.



Social Resources 

Social Resources refers to ones network and relationships that are used in order to get the work done. For example in a very simple an individual is likely to be part of a chain in a process of work whereby work is initiated by a manager for instance, then passed to an employee to investigate and write about, who then passes it to a proofreader who then passes it to someone to create the layout and art work. You may find however that the writer frequently confers and bounces ideas of another writer in order to come up with creative ideas for the copy. All of these people are social resources.

Social resources are usually defined in the IO (Work psychology) world through the impact they have, usually on things like feedback and support an individual gets.

Structural Resources

Structural resources on the other hand refers to the design of the job:

  • What gets done
  • How it gets done
  • In what order it gets done in
  • When it gets done
  • Who is involved
  • What tools and equipment is needed
    etc. Structural resources impact the level of autonomy an individual has and what learning and development they need


How to use The Oxford Review in Coaching and Executive Coaching and to get more clients



Bakker, A. B., & Demerouti, E. (2018). Multiple levels in job demands-resources theory: Implications for employee well-being and performance. Handbook of well-being. Salt Lake City, UT: DEF Publishers. DOI: nobascholar. com.

Koning, M. J. (2014). The need for job crafting in a changing work environment (Master’s thesis).

Schaufeli, W. B., & Bakker, A. B. (2004). Job demands, job resources, and their relationship with burnout and engagement: A multi‐sample study. Journal of Organizational Behavior: The International Journal of Industrial, Occupational and Organizational Psychology and Behavior, 25(3), 293-315.

Tims, M., Bakker, A. B., & Derks, D. (2013). The impact of job crafting on job demands, job resources, and well-being. Journal of occupational health psychology, 18(2), 230.

Xanthopoulou, D., Bakker, A. B., Demerouti, E., & Schaufeli, W. B. (2009). Reciprocal relationships between job resources, personal resources, and work engagement. Journal of Vocational behavior, 74(3), 235-244.


Back to the Oxford Review Encyclopaedia of Terms

Be impressively well informed

Get the very latest research intelligence briefings, video research briefings, infographics and more sent direct to you as they are published

Be the most impressively well-informed and up-to-date person around...

Powered by ConvertKit
Like what you see? Help us spread the word