Workplace stress

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  • Created by: Iqra97
  • Created on: 08-11-15 13:37

Workload and control - Marmot et al. (1997)

A - investigated the job strain model of workplace stress. Workplace create stress and illness into ways: high workload and low job control. He suggested that in the civil service high grade employees would experience high workload whereas low-grade civil servant but experience low job control. Therefore both grades are likely to experience high levels of stress but for different reasons.
P - 7372 civil servants completed a questionnaire on workload, job control and amount of social support, they were also checked for signs of cardiovascular disease. They also obtained an independent assessment of workload and controll by checking job specification and role responsibilities with personal management. Were re-assessed 5 years later.
F - those man and a women who had initially reported low levels of job control were more likely to have developed heart disease that those who had reported high levels of job control. This association did not appear to be linked to employment grade nor could it be explained in terms of other risk factors such as smoking.
C - regardless of the grade of job, lack of control was the critical factor in determining the onset of heart disease. There was a positive correlation between lack of control and cardiovascular disease.

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Evaluation

  • The sample used was a representative and bias, only one profession was focused on and therefore cannot be generalised to all workplaces. It also represents a busy, western city and culture as a study was carried out in London, it does not apply to non-western cultures. Also as the participants were volunteers they may have been motivated thus it does not represent all., making the findings biased. Also as this was a longitudinal study, there is a problem of participant attrition, as people can drop out as time goes on, which make the sample even more biased and the findings and unreliable. Overall, the sample lacks population validity.
  • Questionnaires and self-report measures were used to gather information on job control and health. However these methods may be unreliable as participants can give socially desirable answers as well as forget due to memory, and therefore leading us to question the validity of the findings.
  • There are individual difference which was not taken into account, for example not everyone perceives stress in the same way it depends on ones personality.
  • The fact that they checked after five years means that there are more extraneous variables such as the participants could have started to smoke or personal problems etc. therefore we cannot establish a casual relationship between low job control and cardiovascular disease.
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Lack of Control and Role conflict

Lack of control - There is evidence to suggest that people may feel more stressed if they have little or no control in their job e.g. may not be given the freedom over their work hour. Marmot's study supports the idea that low control is associated with high stress. Johanssen et al. Participants were Swedish saw mill, compared two groups of workers:
Finishers - machine paced, repetitive , lower control
Cleaners - self-paced, varied, more control
Finishers secreted higher levels of stress hormones, had higher levels of illnesses and absents.

Role of conflict - When your workload interferes with your home life or when your home life interferes with work. They are struggling to perform adequately in either or dedicate an equal amount of time and effort to both of their responsibilities. Promaki (2007) - 226 doctors, a more demanding job. Role conflict directly associated with emotional exhaustion and depressive symptoms.
Environmental factors - Stress generated by the workplace may be linked to environmental stressors e.g noisy atmosphere. These make workers comfortable so brings about stress which impacts health negatively.
Halpern (1995) - showed an increase in temperature can lead to stress and aggression

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Evaluation

Work under-load: refers to a situation where people are employed in jobs that are beneath their capacities or where they are given tasks that are a lacking in creativity or stimulation. Schultz et al gathered data from 16000 adult employees across 15 European countries. They discovered that employees reporting work overload had the highest level of stress-related illness. However, those who reported work-under load also reported low job satisfaction and significant levels of absence due to stress related illness.
The impact of workplace stressors: Lazarus claimed that studie of stressful factors in the workplace miss the point that there are wide individual difference in the way people react to and cope with stress. He emphasises that the degree to which workplace stressor is perceived as stressful depends largely on the person's perceived ability to cope. Therefore high job demands maybe perceived as stressfully to one person but not to another (high in hardiness)
The evolution of work and work stressors - the changing nature of the work environment with the advent of new technology means that out current knowledge of workplace stressors rapidly become out of date. Psychological research may inevitably lag behind actual work practices, as the ultimate purpose of research in this area is to help people manage the stress of their working day.

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