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Eugenia Stevenson psychology
Work place stress:
Work place stress has been considered one of the major sources of stress for many people
through there day to day life. It is important for organisations to identify and minimise
sources of stress within the work environment, and to help employees cope with them:
Heating, lighting and physical arrangement of the work place are all potential sources
of stress. Many studies have shown that intense noise and increase in temperature
can lead to frustration, stress and in some cases, aggression. The physical layout of
the work place can affect the physiological well being of the employee in terms of
"personal space" and privacy.
With many people having to balance the competing demands of home and work, in
particular parents with small children, this potentially very stressful area has become
the subject of debate. The concept of work-life balance refers to the ideal situation
where an individual has time for both work and home responsibilities, leading to less
stress and better psychological adjustment.
This has been central focus of research into workplace stress. The degree of control a
person has over their workload (sometimes referred to as decision latitude) has been
shown to directly affect the levels of stress experienced. High levels of control lead
to lower levels of stress, while low levels of control, typically experienced by workers
lower down the organisations hierarchy, can increase stress levels.
This is one of the most obvious factors in workplace stress, but interestingly
research shows that it is not just overload that can be stressful (Dewe, 1992) but
that having too little to do can have similar effects.
These factors do not operate independently as the relationship between workload and
control has been extensively studied.
Karasek's (1979) model has been a popular way of picturing the relationship between job
demand (workload) and levels of control. He had suggested that the most stressful jobs
involve high demand and low control, and the least stressful involve low demand and high
The research that supported this is that the idea of the combination of high demand and low
control is the most stressful combination, but also shows that these relationships can be
modified by other factors, such as social support.
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Eugenia Stevenson psychology
RESEARCH STUDY: MARMOT et al. (1997)
A series of long term studies have been passed out that show a relationship between
workplace stress and health. The participants where taken from London based government
civil servants and the studies are therefore referred to as the Whitehall studies.
In the first Whitehall I, clear differences between workers were found with regard to heart
problems and morality rates: workers in lower paid grades had twice the illness rate of
workers in the highest paid grade.…read more