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Unit 3, Lecture 5: Quality of Work Life QUALITY OF WORK LIFE


Unit 3, Lecture 5: Quality of Work Life QUALITY OF WORK LIFE Prof. John Kammeyer-Mueller MGT 4301 The Importance of Climate in Improving Safety Behavior A climate for ... – PowerPoint PPT presentation

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Title: Unit 3, Lecture 5: Quality of Work Life QUALITY OF WORK LIFE

Quality of Work Life
  • Prof. John Kammeyer-Mueller
  • MGT 4301

  • Where we are
  • Understand what motivates workers in general
  • Where we want to be
  • Understand how health and stress work into the
    picture of employee satisfaction and engagement
  • How we know how were doing
  • How does stress tend to affect employee
  • What are the consequences of employee safety and
  • What is OSHA and how does it regulate the
    structure and function of the workplace?

Safety, Health, Stress and the Bottom Line
  • Why should employers care about employee safety
    and health as a performance management issue?
  • What responsibilities do employers have to look
    out for their employees well being?

Safety, Health, Stress and the Bottom Line
  • Physiological
  • Increased use of sick days and vacations
  • Low levels of energy and motivation
  • Drug/alcohol abuse symptoms
  • Psychological
  • Difficulty concentrating
  • Reduced creative output
  • Dissatisfaction and resentment
  • Behavioral
  • Lower performance
  • Anger and violence toward co-workers
  • More grievances in union settings

Stress at Work
  • Think about the ways that the workplace or school
    can be stressful
  • How do you personally cope with these stressors?
  • What does your organization do to help reduce the
    extent to which you experience stress?

Integras 2000 Survey Showed
  • 65 of workers said that workplace stress had
    caused difficulties
  • 10 said they work in an atmosphere where
    physical violence has occurred because of job
  • 29 had yelled at co-workers because of workplace
  • 14 said they work where machinery or equipment
    has been damaged because of workplace rage
  • 2 admitted that they had actually personally
    struck someone
  • 19 had quit a previous position because of job
  • 62 routinely find that they end the day with
    work-related neck pain
  • 44 reported stressed-out eyes
  • 38 complained of hurting hands
  • 34 reported difficulty in sleeping because they
    were too stressed-out
  • 12 had called in sick because of job stress

What are the Most Prevalent Stressors in the
  • On the job
  • Job or task demands, like workload and
  • Interpersonal conflict
  • Management practices
  • Physical risks
  • Off the job
  • Financial distress
  • Childcare needs
  • Source NIOSH Publication No. 2008136, Exposure
    to Stress Occupational Hazards in Hospitals

Work-Life Conflict as a Stressor
  • Definition
  • Competing demands from work and family roles
  • Became a larger issue when dual career couples
    and shifting expectations for family life
  • Examples of conflicts include scheduling
    problems, exhaustion, taking home to work with
    you, and taking work home with you
  • Stress isnt compartmentalized
  • Stress at work leads to stress at home
  • Stress at home leads to stress at work

Work-Life Conflict as a Stressor
  • Research investigating negative work-family
  • Examined over 18,000 Finnish workers
  • Medically certified absences as an outcome
    variable, with self-reported work-family conflict
    as a predictor
  • Results
  • Those who reported high levels of work-family
    conflicts took 1.4 times more certified sickness
    absences than those who reported low levels of
    work-family conflicts
  • Effects were especially strong among blue-collar
    and lower level white-collar workers
  • Source Vaananen et al., Work-Family
    Characteristics as a Predictor of Sickness
    Absence, JOHP, 2008

Work-Life Conflict as a Stressor
  • Research investigating work-life conflicts
  • Examined database of 1,367 individuals working in
    126 different occupations
  • Surveys were conducted over a number of years
  • Occupational demands that increased work-life
  • Work that is highly interdependent
  • Responsibility for others
  • Inflexible schedules
  • Strong time demands
  • Home demands that increase work-life conflict
  • Number of children
  • Source Dierdorff and Ellington, Its the Nature
    of the Work, JAP, 2008

Physical Stages of the Stress Response
  • The biological stress response is studied by
    removing glands from animals and injecting them
    with hormones to determine when and how various
    physiological responses are produced
  • These mechanisms have been found in all mammals,
    and analogous mechanisms found in many animals
    without these basic systems of response

Hypothalamus and pituitary
Thymus lymph node
White blood cells
Notice that the nervous system is not involved at
all. The stress reaction described by Selye is
entirely an action of the endocrine system.
Terminology for Stress Researchers
  • Stress
  • A non-specific physical response to a large
    variety of both positive and negative
    environmental pressures
  • Eustress good stress, associated with challenges
    and pressures that can be met
  • Distress bad stress, associated with hindrances
    and problems that cannot be resolved in a
    satisfactory way
  • Stressor
  • Something in the environment which is perceived
    as either a threat or opportunity
  • Strain
  • The negative physical and emotional consequences
    of exposure to stressors

Important Stress Concepts
  • Hindrance stressors
  • Induced by hassles, boredom, red tape, confusion
    about responsibilities, and other factors that
    reduce productive responses
  • Related to negative physical symptoms,
    dissatisfaction, and poor performance
  • Challenge stressors
  • Induced by difficult assignments, pressure to
    perform, autonomy, and other factors that
    increase productive responses
  • Related to satisfaction and positive performance

Both produce physiological arousal and
psychological tension the difference is in
interpretation and resolution of stressors
Reacting to Stress Coping
  • Primary appraisal
  • Severity of problem
  • Immediacy
  • Immediate effects
  • Physiological
  • Emotional
  • Behavioral
  • Enduring effects
  • Physical health
  • Mood/well-being
  • Social effects
  • Coping response
  • Problem-focused
  • Emotion-focused
  • Avoidance
  • Secondary appraisal
  • Personal resources
  • Available assistance

Lazarus, Delongis, Folkman and Gruen, 1985
What Makes Stress Less Stressful?
  • Predictability
  • Individuals in central London during WWII
    experienced only low grade stress illness in
    response to bombings those in the suburbs, who
    experienced infrequent and unpredictable
    bombings, had more stress-related illnesses
  • Individuals who are undergoing challenging
    working conditions (e.g., soldiers, police)
    initially show the full set of physiological
    shifts related to stress, but with repeated
    exposure, arousal decreases as the organism

What Makes Stress Less Stressful?
  • Control
  • Rats who have a lever to turn off shock
    experience much less stress than those who are
    shocked for the same duration without a lever
  • If you take the lever away from a rat who is used
    to it, stress goes through the roof
  • Similar results with humans exposed to very loud
  • Verified in occupational samples demands are
    much less related to strain when control is high

Control and Stress
  • Demands
  • Workload
  • Time deadlines
  • Physical demands
  • Control (lack of)
  • Ambiguity
  • Threat of termination
  • Lack of participation opportunities

Level of Stress
Low control
High control
Level of Demand
What Makes Stress Less Stressful?
  • Outlets for stress
  • Rats who are shocked are less likely to get
    ulcers if they have a piece of wood to gnaw on
  • Rats who are shocked will attack other rats in
    present, which also reduces stress in the short
  • This appears to satisfy the fight or flight
  • Also found for physical exercise among humans
  • the most reliable technique for reducing the
    relationship between stressors and physical
    symptoms of stress illness
  • Source Why Zebras Dont Get Ulcers

What Makes Stress Less Stressful?
  • Social contact
  • Among baboons, the physiological response to
    stressors is much lower for those who have
    frequent social interactions
  • Similarly, among humans, responses to stress
    (including depression, heart disease, ulcers, and
    even mortality) are less acute among those who
    have a social support network

Discrete Reactions to Events Social Support and
Perceived Demand
Level of Stress
Low support
Low support
High support
High support
Level of Demand
Perceived Demand
Buffer Effect
Direct Effect
So, to Summarize
  • If you can predict and control a situation,
    youre less likely to experience strain
  • If you have an opportunity to express your
    stress, either physically or socially, youre
    less likely to experience strain
  • How can this be useful to managers?

Coping Mechanisms to Reduce Stress
  • Problem focused coping
  • Directly attempting to change the sources of
  • Examples include working harder, discussing
    problems with people who can fix the problem, or
  • Reappraisal/emotion coping
  • Focusing on changing the appraisals
  • Focusing on your strengths and capabilities,
    trying to consider the opportunities, and
    discussing issues with others just for a release
  • Avoidance
  • Focus is entirely on reducing symptoms
  • Trying not to think about the problem,
    fantasizing about alternatives, drinking, drug use

NIOSH Recommendations for Stress Reduction
  • Primary appraisal focus
  • Problem solving (i.e. cognitive psychology)
  • Time management
  • Secondary appraisal focus
  • Relaxation training
  • Interpersonal training
  • Coping focus
  • Training people about methods to reduce stress

Creating a Stress Reduction Program
  • Develop a program for reducing stress among
    university students in small groups
  • What will you do to improve primary appraisals of
  • What will you do to improve secondary appraisals
    of stress?
  • How will you use social buffers?
  • Think back to measurement and training
  • What are the things you want to improve?
  • How will you measure the effects of this program?

Important Reminders for Stress Reduction
  • Conduct focus groups and surveys first
  • Dont just copy what someone else needed to do
  • Make certain youre not just trend-hopping
  • Ensure that continuous monitoring is provided
  • Is the intervention actually successful?
  • Does the intervention work long-term?
  • Be prepared to modify the system over time
  • Recognize that eliminating stress is a bad idea
  • Probably impossible to achieve
  • Stress motivates action

Data on Occupational Safety and Health
  • In a typical year
  • there are over 1 million cases of occupational
    injury and illnesses requiring lost work time
  • nearly 6,000 people have fatal occupational
  • nearly half of all fatal workplace injuries are
    in construction and extraction (i.e. mining) or
    transportation and material moving (e.g.,
    trucking, driving, rail, flight) industries
  • there are between 400-500 homicides on the job
  • note that per capita injury rates are declining
    over time
  • Source Bureau of Labor Statistics

(No Transcript)
Differences in Injury Rates by Ethnicity and
Differences in Injury Rates by Education Levels
Legal Requirements for Safety and Health OSHA
  • Occupational Safety and Health Act (1970)
  • To assure safe and healthful working conditions
    for working men and women by authorizing
    enforcement of the standards developed under the
    Act by assisting and encouraging the States in
    their efforts to assure safe and healthful
    working conditions by providing for research,
    information, education, and training in the field
    of occupational safety and health and for other
  • The Congress finds that personal injuries and
    illnesses arising out of work situations impose a
    substantial burden upon, and are a hindrance to,
    interstate commerce in terms of lost production,
    wage loss, medical expenses, and disability
    compensation payments.
  • Offsets a potential legal and economic quagmire
  • Companies can save money by investing less in
    safety and health practices
  • Because of the workers compensation system,
    employers cannot be sued by workers who are

Legal Requirements for Safety and Health OSHA
  • Some of the major workplace changes brought about
    by OSHA
  • Guards on all moving parts of equipment
  • Limits on employee exposure to chemicals and
    requirement to inform employees about exposure to
    hazardous chemicals
  • Requirements for personal protecting equipment
    (e.g., respirators, gloves, goggles, ear
  • Requirements to avoid bloodborne pathogens in

Some of Your Rights Under OSHA
  • You have the right to notify your employer or
    OSHA about workplace hazards. You may ask OSHA to
    keep your name confidential.
  • You have the right to request an OSHA inspection
    if you believe that there are unsafe and
    unhealthful conditions in your workplace.
  • You can file a complaint with OSHA within 30 days
    of retaliation or discrimination by your employer
    for making safety and health complaints or for
    exercising your rights under the OSH Act.
  • You have a right to see OSHA citations issued to
    your employer.
  • Your employer must correct workplace hazards by
    the date indicated on the citation and must
    certify that these hazards have been reduced or
  • Source OSHA Workplace Poster

Reducing Hazards in the Workplace Safety
  • Types of safety and health interventions commonly
  • Ergonomic training
  • Safe use of equipment
  • Violence prevention
  • Defensive driving
  • Employee assistance programs
  • Stress reduction

The Importance of Climate in Improving Safety
  • A climate for safety reflects employee responses
    to safety rules and regulations
  • Do employees agree with the policies and
  • Do they believe these policies are for their
  • Do they see these policies and procedures as a
  • Climate for safety is a result of
  • Organizational attitudes towards safety and
  • Supervisor behavior encouraging safety
  • Organizational routinization and formalization

Zohar and Luria Study
  • Research design
  • Measure supervisor safety facilitation,
    organizational policies, and observations of
    employee safety behaviors from 401 work units in
    36 different companies
  • Results showed
  • Climate for safety at a local level affects
    employee behaviors BUT
  • A strong organizational climate reduced
    variability across work units
  • Routinization and formalization of safety
    procedures also reduce variability, but not as
    much as organizational climate
  • What does this imply for managers?
  • Source Zohar and Luria, Multilevel model of
    safety climate, JAP, 2005

Wrap Up
  • Where we are
  • Understand how companies establish pay policies
    for jobs
  • Understand how companies provide benefits for
  • Where we want to be
  • Understand how pay can be modified to fit the
  • How we know how were doing
  • What do each of the following theories say about
    incentive compensation plans?
  • Expectancy
  • Agency
  • Goal setting
  • Cognitive evaluation
  • Risk aversion
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