PSYC 178 LAMC Industrial Organizational Psychology Stress Management Case Study

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PSYC 178

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Paper #2—Ch. 10 (Stress) PSYC178 INDUSTRIAL ORGANIZATIONAL PSYCHOLOGY University of California, San Diego Dr. Dale Glaser You are CEO of a medium size (500 employees) software engineering company, and given some problems with your software, revenues have sharply decreased. The rumor that is circulating around the workforce is that a major layoff is inevitable, with some speculating that up to 50% of the workforce, from clerical to technical to management, may face possible termination. You have tried to quell the rumor-mill insofar you are concerned about an appreciable drop in morale and performance. However, human nature being what it is, employees will attempt to fill in the gaps when there is lack of (or ambiguous) information. Given the unfolding of events, one of the most prominent symptoms you are noticing is an increased reporting of organizational stress. You have brought in an organizational consultant for the express purpose of not only diagnosing the extent (and types) of stress, but also propose interventions that may abate the spreading symptomatology. Given the above (and unfortunately very realistic) scenario, from the perspective of the consultant please answer the following questions: (1) What potential physical/task and psychological stressors do you anticipate will (or have) arisen given the alleged layoff? How will you be able to observe/document the stressors and hence confirm their existence (and ultimate impact on the stress outcome)? (2) What potential behavioral, psychological and physiological consequences do you anticipate will (or have) arisen given the alleged layoff? How will you be able to observe/document the consequences and hence confirm their existence (and their relationship to the stressor)? (3) Describe at least one theory of stress that may aid your understanding (and the CEO’s) of the stressor/stress relationship and evolution. Make sure to not only define the theory but, in practical terms, map how this theory corresponds to the actual stress that has developed in the workplace. (4) Describe at least two stress management strategies/interventions you will employ in response to the ongoing organizational stress. How do you see implementing these strategies, and of utmost importance, what type of evidence will you gather so as to ascertain their efficacy/effectiveness? Aram Nordanyan Professor Dale Glaser PSYCH 178 4 December 2019 Stress Case Stressors at the workplace are detrimental to the well-being and psychological health of an individual. The potential physical and psychological stressors of certain tasks that can be anticipated, are going to arise in the workplace due to the alleged layoff are immense. Sitting for long hours and putting strain on the neck, eyes and lower back region are two examples of physical task stressors, better known as physical stressors. Psychological stressors in this environment can accumulate fast. From interpersonal conflicts within the employees due to workload and lack of control, to role stressors. Employees are going to have double the previous workload.This can cause confusion, role conflicts, and role ambiguity. The large amount of workload handed down to the employee can also cause a lack of control. When the employee is being bombarded with work, psychologically it is difficult to control predictability. With more work needing to be done, employees will be working extra hours, which could potentially create a conflict of work-family stressors. We can especially expect this in women, having to work full-time instead of a part-time shift, to keep the job can cut down the time spent with your children. Significant mental health problems can be acquired by these employees overtime, causing a huge negative skew in job performance. Documenting and observing the stressors of the employee can start with measuring the stress performance of a simple given task. This can be measured by stages and we can eventually determine which stressor is triggered and why. Three stages of stress measurement I would use are initial alarm, resistance, and exhaustion. The way the employee accepts the task, the process of the employee completing the task, and the stress exhaustion exerted by the employee all while observing the workload. Due to the layoffs, the behavioral consequences that I anticipate will arise are information processing, performance and counterproductive work behavior. “Chronic stress correlates to detrimental effects on memory, reaction times, accuracy, and performance of a variety of tasks' ' (Smith 1990). The employees are going to show a lack of performance due to stress. Performance shifts downward as stress shifts upwards. Counterproductive work behavior is anticipated due to the fact that employees are going to have linked stressors with the fact that some of their friends are laid off as well. This can cause negative emotions to build from stressors at the workplace, influencing work behavior for the worse. Psychological consequences of stress that immediately stand out is the risk of an employee having a burnout, “extreme state of psychological strain that responds to a prolonged response to chronic job stressors that exceed an individuals coping resources'' (Maslach, Shaufeli, Leiter, 2001). The Physiological consequences I anticipate to arise are problems with the sympathetic nervous system over activating, due to constant working, which can trigger chronic activation that leads to “wear and tear” in the coronary arteries. I would give out surveys regarding the well-being of my employees. To observe and document the consequences and hence confirm their existence (and their relationship to the stressor), I would measure this by giving the employees a specific task and measure their stress to given task and see how it will affect their work. Using the Yerkes-Dodson Law to measure the relationship between arousal and performance. One theory of stress that aids my stress and stressor relationship and evolution is the Demand-Control model suggested by Karasek (1979). This theory explains that there are three elements in producing job stress, job control and job demand. Job demand can be referred to as how much of a workload you are given and the cerebral requirements that come with the position. Job control can be defined as a person's power to change what happened at their workplace to better influence matters that are self related. This theory perfectly correlates with the actual stress that has developed in the workplace, that explains how the employees have attained their stress and how different factors have attributed to it. Krusak proposed that, “the combination of high work demands and low job control results in a variety of health problems.” We can see this first hand when it comes to this scenario, because with half of the staff laid off, the work place is going to see a huge increase of job demand with a decrease in job control. In 1990, Karasek and Theorell found an increased risk of illness for high demand jobs with low control. with employees attempting to fill in the gaps when there is lack of information is due to the layoff in the software engineering company, this can contribute to stress through overworking. For example, with the companies technical people doing clerical jobs due to the lack of employees, this can cause job dissatisfaction, role stressors, and lack of control/predictability, which can all attain stress. Due to the severity of the work environment, the two stress management strategies and interventions that I will employ in response to the ongoing organizational stress are secondary and tertiary interventions. Secondary interventions is a preventative type of strategy that helps modify an individual's response to a stressor. While Tertiary interventions is a strategy to help you minimize the consequences of stressors by helping individuals cope more effectively. Examples of secondary interventions would be relaxation training, physical fitness, and focusing on nutrition. While examples of tertiary training would be employee assistance programs and actual medical care. I see myself implementing secondary intervention strategies by promoting relaxation and stress management training for the employees. By also offering biofeedback to the employees on behalf of the company, we can reduce stress in the work environment for all employees by gaining a better understanding of the individual and modifying their responses to certain stressors for certain tasks.. For the stress management intervention to work, it must accurately identify the specific stressors causing strain and figure out ways to lessen them. Once the employees have gone through the intervention, it will be easier to adapt and even change the work environment to increase job performance altogether. To ensure the effectiveness of the intervention courses I will have the employees reevaluate their organizational stress and compare their job performance before and after each intervention method is done. ...
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Running head: STRESS MANAGEMENT CASE STUDY

PSYC178 INDUSTRIAL ORGANIZATIONAL PSYCHOLOGY
Stress Management Case Study
Institutional Affiliation
Students Name

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STRESS MANAGEMENT CASE STUDY

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Stress Management Case Study
Organizational stress has grown to become a common occurrence in most workplaces.
Most professionals that stress management is a useful strategy to put in place. However, the
conditions of the workplace and worker characteristics are very vital factors to put into
consideration as the primary cause of stress amongst employees. Several different points of view
have been brought up over time on ways to effectively manage stress at workplaces (Hangrove et
al., 2011). Layoffs of employees are among the factors that cause a strain on the physical and
psychological health. Physical and psychological health encompasses the physical, mental and
emotional well-being of an individual. This strain eventually results in a variety of stress-related
psychological disorders, including anxiety, tension, aggression, and depression. Some of the
physical stressors that I anticipate to have risen in the organization following the alleged lay off
are straining the body over long hours of sitting and working. These physical stressors impact
several parts of the body: eyes, back, and neck (Hangrove et al., 2011). The physical demands in
this environment, including strenuous activities and ...

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