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PSY612-Work And Well-Being

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  • Course Code: PSY612
  • University: Murdoch University
  • Country: Australia

Question:

Identify an issue related to one or more of the core areas of organisational behaviour and develop an evidence based intervention strategy (EBIS) that aims to address that issue and apply best practice in evidence based measurement and management.
 
 

Answer:

Outline of the structure:

Stress can be defined as a reaction that human body demands in a particular situation or in certain circumstances. In a specific term, when the reaction is caused, it makes the nervous system to produce hormones that cause fast heartbeat, short and quick breathing and tightening muscles followed by a burst of energy. Stress management is a process that is used to control a person’s stress through different approaches. Stress management is important as chronic stress can have a massive negative impact on body and mind. Over-stressing can contribute to health problems on individual such as headaches, anxiety and depression. In the long term, the following impacts can lead to serious and acute health diseases such as memory loss and heart disease. The present study discusses the concept of stress management and related concepts. This study emphasizes the impact of stress on organizational behaviour and the methods that can be adopted by the organizations to overcome the problem. The present study also discusses various the methods in details to reach the depth of the problem.

Statement of the issue

Stress is a universal experience and it grew rapidly in the workplaces which have made stress management an absolute essential for organizations to consider. The study examines the main reasons that cause stress to the employees in an organization. Employees are faced with various causes of stress in the daily life such as workload, financial issues and many more. Also, the study discusses the ways an organization can help their employees to deal with stress and do successful stress management.

Description of the key population:

The workplace is an area acting as a major source of stress. There are key factors acting as an agent of stress such as complex tasks, lack of breaks, poor physical work condition, long working hour and many more varying as per designation. The focus of the study is on the population who faces difficulty in managing stress and impacted negatively. The population son facing stress become less productive and unhappy in the workplace is the main focus of the study. 

 

Definition of key constructs

The theories of stress management are that have been used in this study are-

Model of Stress

  1. a) Potential source of stress: environment has the capability to influence the design of an organization’s structure and also the capacity to influence the level of stress among the employees. People began to fear when the economy starts contracting. Political uncertainties such as stability of a government or change in political power can contribute in stress level. People tend to feel the stress in situations that are highly affected by the environmental factors.
  2. b) Organizational factors: Often the reason causing stress in an organization can be poor organizational factors such as when employees are pressurized for not committing errors, meeting deadline, overload of work and more. To a person’s job task demand is related relatively including the design of the individual’s job, working conditions and physical work layout.

Role demand is another cause of stress where the employees are expected to perform certain roles as per their job profile. Job role can have significant impact on employees making them stress over their performance. Role conflict occurs making expectations of roles that can be hard to meet for the employees. Role overload is experienced by employees when they are expected to perform more within the limited time.

Interpersonal demands are the pressures that are created by other employees of the workplace. Employees can have positive and negative impact on each other. Often lack of support from colleagues is considered to impose stress on employees.

  1. c) Personal factors: personal factors are the personal financial problems, family issues and natural traits that cause stress to one. Often the company’s rules and regulation can make employees lose family time and such related issues.
  2. d) Individual differences: people vary according to the personality trait. Few people are able to thrive in a stressful situation and few people fail to tackle the stress. Every person’s ability to tackle stress differs depending on various psychological and physical factors. The relevant moderator considers variable including job experience, perception, social support, self-efficiency and belief in the locus. People who are more experienced tend to be more adapted to stress as they have developed the coping mechanism for dealing with stress by remaining for a long time in the organization. Employees are found to be performing according to their perception of reality and not the actual reality. Hence, there is a direct relationship between the way an employee react and the stress it experiences.

Social support help in combating stress by motivation, emotional and mental support. People having moral support find it easier to deal with stress whereas people not finding any oral support find it hard to deal with stress as the person lacks in finding emotional and moral support. The situation for the employees become harder when there are added problem in the personal and social life.

Presence of locus of control internally is an indicator of positive care. People who think of themselves as the controller of their life instead of the environment as the controller of their life tend to be more positive towards life. People lacking internal locus of control find it hard to tackle stress due to their belief that negative things are destined for them.

Self-efficiency is also considered as a major influence on people’s stress. People who possess strong self-efficiency give less negative reaction than the people having a low level of self-efficiency. Self-belief is the key factor of self-efficiency and internal locus of centre. 

 

Consequences of stress

The consequences of stress can take various forms. Stress can manifest itself in many ways in a person involving physical, psychological and behavioral changes. The consequences are listed under the three categories.

  1. Psychological symptoms: Stress can often be the reason for dissatisfaction in life and job. Due to a high level of stress, a person fails to concentrate. This divided attention does not allow a person to provide full productivity. Summing up all the situations and negative perception due to stress shows in psychological states such as anxiety, tension, boredom, procrastination and more. People in a job where the job role is not specified and demands multiple responsibilities stresses people more often. A job declaring clarity in job role is taken to be a better job where the employees are there is clarity of the job role.
  2. Physiological symptoms: stress can have a direct impact on the physiological state of a person.  An excess amount of stress can lead to loss of appetite, metabolism, change in breathing rate, increase in heart rate, frequent headaches and induce heart attacks. Although the relation between particular psychological symptoms and stress is not clear there are predictable physiological symptoms that can result from the excess amount of stress.
  3. Behavioral symptoms: impact of behaviour due to stress is evident when the there is a psychological impact. People who are faced with the increased amount of stress can have changes in their behaviour pattern such as irregular eating habits, increase in smoking and alcohol consumption, sleeping disorder and much more. Only the low and moderate level of stress can be helpful in the performance of task as it stimulates the body and increases the ability to react. However, an excessive amount of stress can have opposite outcomes resulting in poor performance of employees.

Method and design of intervention

Methods of managing stress in an organization can be challenging at the same time absolute important. The methods can be structured as per the organization’s structure however, a general methods of managing stress can be performed in two approaches: 1) Individual approaches and 2) Organizational approaches.

Individual level approach: high level of stress can have direct affect which also affected aspects related to the person such as family and organization or workplace. Therefore, to overcome the negative consequences of stress required amount of stress should be given. Methods of stress management are required for helping individual cope with the organization’s demand and expectations. The individual approaches of stress management include:

  • Time management: time management helps working efficiently by finding times that are often lost without noticing. People suffer from stress when they fail to finish work on time and meet deadline. Therefore, time management is an effective way relieving from stress.
  • Physical exercise: exercise and physical activities helps in reducing stress. When a body does any kind of physical exercise, it forms endorphins, a type of chemical that acts as a natural painkiller for the brain.
  • Training on relaxation: overcoming the impact of stress is possible by relaxation. The relaxation can be the simple relaxation or it can be deep breathing or meditation.
  • Social support: it is observed that positive social support helps dealing with critical situation or tough times through the help of friends and families. Sharing the reasons and causes of stress with supportive people who are good listeners help through motivation.
  • Cognitive therapy: there are several cognitive therapy techniques have been developed by the psychologists due to the growing rate of people suffering from stress.

Organizational level approach: the approaches that are more pro-active in nature and try to remove the existing stressors are the organizational approaches. Also, the aim of the approach is also to prevent any sort of stress that may cause to individual job holders. The organizational approaches include:

  • Organizational role clarity: people feel stressed when they are faced with confusion in a particular job role. The reason for the confusion can be ambiguity in the role or conflict in the role. By offering a clear perception of the job role and the expected role from the job can prevent the employees from going through stress.
  • Setting realistic goal: an organization should be able to analyze its internal and external factors before setting the goals. Setting the right and realistic goals that are possible as per the market situation helps in relieving stress. Employees are often frightened by the impractical goals set by the employers of the organization
  • Increase in involvement with employees: involving employers for important decisions and meeting help in establishing confident in the employees. Therefore, involment of employees will create stress relieved environment in the workplace.
  • Supportive climate in the organization: by providing suitable and supportive climate where employees can freely discuss their problem and reasons that is causing them stress is always a best method of overcoming stress in an organization.
  • Job enrichment: a source of stress is monotonous job role and disinteresting jibs where employees get stressed. Through the help of rational designing, jobs can be enriched that would be able to provide greater jib satisfaction.
  • Career counseling: monetary benefit is not the only concern for the employees of 21st Today, employees are seeking more than that. Employees are often stressed about growth in career and by providing career counseling to employees, organization can help reducing their stress of career growth. 
 

Discussion and rational for each of the strategies

Individual level intervention: Individual level intervention is to help employees develop the skills to cope, manage and reduce stress where organizational-level intervention makes systematic changes in the organization. It is used to change an individual’s perception and help to bring a positive perception. The primary aim of the particular approach works on building a better relationship among individuals. This process helps the individual on a personal level with a process such as mindfulness training, cognitive therapy, meditation, relaxation and so on. The reason that justifies using this method is that it is a process that prevents employees from going through stress. Employees tend to fall under stress when one is lacking self-awareness and self-control with the help of individual-level intervention help the employees control their reaction as act mindfully. The process can be divided into three part, primary, secondary and tertiary. Primary individual-level intervention mainly aims at preventing stress occurrence in an employee. Through the process of pre-employment medical examination, organizations tend to select the applicants who have the skills to manage stress and screen out the applicants who are sceptical of experiencing stress in target roles or highly stressful jobs. The secondary aim of the individual level approach is to equip the employees with relevant skills and abilities that help in managing stress and engage employees with different opportunities to reduce stress. In this process meditation, cognitive therapy, mindfulness training and similar activities are included that helps in promoting well-being. Tertiary individual-level intervention focus on the employees experiencing a high level of stress or tend to be stressful frequently are provided help. The tertiary individual-level intervention provides employee assistance programs or counselling as the stress combater.

Organizational level intervention: according to research, an organization intervention can bring changes in the aspect of the organization that might be the cause of strain. Few debates that organizational intervention produces effects that last longer than the individual interventions. Organization intervention targets directly the entire workforce, hence it has a direct implementation on health. An employee after successful individual intervention might feel the same stress if the organization does not contribute to the same problem. Although the individual-level intervention has positive effects on employees, it does not seem to last longer and diminishes with the passage of time. On the other hand, the number of stress causing people reduces through the Organizational intervention. Hence, this particular approach helps the greater number of individuals. Organizational level interventions are also proved to be more effective due to its focus on the job stressor involving the management of the organization. This includes programs directed to the specific problems causing stress on the employees. Organizational intervention works on three specific points, changing the potential of stress in an organization or reducing the number and the intensity of stressor, changing the perception of individuals in stressful situations and helping the employees cope with the stress in stressful situation.

Evidence

Many organizations believe that job stress can result to severe loss in business and therefore, it is necessary to take required measures to solve the issue. Although stress is evident and can be caused by various reasons, job stress is a major concern for organizations. Reducing job stress in the employees of the organization helps in development and growth of the company. Stress can have both positive and negative impacts on employees. Regarding the maximum evidences, the negative impacts have been found more. Employees get stressed when the workload increases, when there is complication in job roles, when the expectations of the employees are not met or even when it is a target based job. To bring effective result, organizations have now began to implement stress relieve programs that would help the employees to cope with stress and to reduce stress. There are professional methods that have been used by the psychologists to help organizations. Techniques are focused on both individual and the whole organization depending on the other factor of the organization. Along with the growing technology and globalization, the business all over is expected only to grow. Therefore, it is a necessary to consider the stress management programs for the improvement of organizational behavior.  Stress management trials have been implemented for evaluating the best method for stress management. Individual and organizational levels of interventions are two types of interventions with various strategies that have been working efficiently since a long time. It is possible for the organization to deal with stress and manage stress in effective ways with the help of these interventions.

Data Analysis method

To successfully analyze the efficiency of the intervention, the data must be carefully analyzed. For the individual-level intervention, a qualitative process of evaluation is considered appropriate. In this process, in-depth discussion is required where the employee can open up to the professionals conducting the intervention regarding the causes of stress. Longitudinal study can be helpful in analyzing the effectiveness of the program. 

 


In the organizational-level intervention, a quantitative process of evaluation is considered ideal as the whole organization is included in the program. A survey method will be able to give insight regarding the impacts of the organizational- level intervention that is aimed at eliminating stress from the workforce environment.

Measures for evaluation

After the program, it is essential to figure out which measure of evaluation will help understand the effectiveness of the program. There can be two type of evaluation after the programs. The process evaluation and outcome evaluation. The process evaluation will help to determine whether the program has been implemented as it was intended or not. The other evaluation type would be outcome evaluation, which will help measure the effectiveness of the program. The improvement of the target population would be measured by evaluating with the outcome objectives that the programs was designed to achieve.

Criticism

Limitation

According to studies, the work stress is primarily caused by the workload produced by the organization, often the organization intervention is taken as the better approach. However, undertaking the study makes it possible to conclude that approaches are not the matter of concern. The approaches may vary organization to organization. It depends on the organization’s size, field, pattern of work, working hours and workforce environment. For few organizations the individual intervention might be the suitable approach and for few organizations organizational intervention might be helpful. During this study as per the evidences, both the individual intervention and organization intervention aim to reduce work stress in their different approaches. The individual interventions help employees cope through stress through the cognitive therapy, physical therapy on personal level whereas the organization intervention helps the employees cope with stress through staff training, organization changes and more. Also, combining organizational level and individual level approaches might be necessary for few organizations as well. Therefore, understanding the causes of stress is of more important than conducting a program to cope with the stress.

Cautions 

Research shows there are tons of ways and methods that are presence for eliminating stress. There are holistic as well as individual approaches that are determined to diminish the problem. However, there are less or no researches that find ways to prevent the problem from occurring. It is based on the causes that are causing work related stress that needs the attention before deciding the suitable method of eliminating the problem. Also, understanding the causes helps in taking preventing measure that causes work related stress. Causes of stress could be related to relation, health or work, it is identifying the cause that would help in preventing stress from occurring in organization. The two interventions mentioned are based on in-depth studies on human behavior, one faced with such intervention can become capable of passing the experience to others employees lacking the knowledge of intervention’s benefits. It helps in understanding self therefore, a cautions measure would be understanding the core problem and working on it by own self. 

 

References

Abid, Abdul Moeed, Abdul Jabbar, Kashif Saeed, and Abdul Hannan. "A Comparative Study: Commonalities of Job Stress Factors in Conventional Banking vs. Islamic Banking in Southern Punjab (Pakistan)." European Journal of Business and Management 3, no. 3 (2013): 26-36.

Areekkuzhiyil, Santhosh. "Factors Influencing the Organizational Stress among Teachers Working in Higher Education Sector in Kerala: An Empirical Analysis." Online Submission (2014).

Bakker, Arnold B., and Evangelia Demerouti. "Job demands–resources theory." Wellbeing: A complete reference guide(2014): 1-28.

Bakker, Arnold B., Evangelia Demerouti, and Ana Isabel Sanz-Vergel. "Burnout and work engagement: The JD–R approach." Annu. Rev. Organ. Psychol. Organ. Behav. 1, no. 1 (2014): 389-411.

Beehr, Terry A. Psychological stress in the workplace (psychology revivals). Routledge, 2014.

Beehr, Terry A. Psychological stress in the workplace (psychology revivals). Routledge, 2014.

Celik, Adnan, and Nadir Ozsoy. "Organizational change: where have we come from and where are we going." International journal of academic research in accounting, finance and management sciences 6, no. 1 (2016): 134-141.

Dungan, Fallon. "Stressing Over Stress: Making the FMLA Work For Employers Amidst Rising Employee Stress Claims." Penn St. L. Rev. 122 (2017): 573.

Hakansson, Hakan. Industrial Technological Development (Routledge Revivals): A Network Approach. Routledge, 2015.

Hedayati, Batool. "The effect of implementation of family-centered empowerment model on the self-esteem of the old people with hypertension." Journal of education and health promotion 4 (2015).

Huczynski, Andrzej, David A. Buchanan, and Andrzej A. Huczynski. Organizational behaviour. London: Pearson, 2013.

Landsbergis, Paul A., Joseph G. Grzywacz, and Anthony D. LaMontagne. "Work organization, job insecurity, and occupational health disparities." American journal of industrial medicine 57, no. 5 (2014): 495-515.

McTernan, Wesley P., Maureen F. Dollard, and Anthony D. LaMontagne. "Depression in the workplace: An economic cost analysis of depression-related productivity loss attributable to job

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