The Link between Individual Occupational Stress and Organizational Effectiveness as shown by Performance Evaluation, Productivity Measures, and

Employee Satisfaction

By

Julie A. Cincotta

B.A. 1991, University of Wisconsin at Milwaukee M.A. 1997, University of Texas at El Paso

A Dissertation submitted to The Faculty of The Graduate School of Education and Human Development of The George Washington University in partial satisfaction of the requirements for the degree of Doctor of Education

May 22, 2005

Dissertation directed by:

Dr. Carol Hren Hoare, Chair Professor of Human Development and Human Resource Development Dr. Richard Lanthier Associate Professor of Human Development Dr. Michael Marquardt Professor of Human Resource Development

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UMI Number: 3161576

Copyright 2005 by Cincotta, Julie A.

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ABSTRACT

This study was based on the responses of 213 employees at six geographic Logistics Centers within a medium-sized Fortune 500 company that is a distributor of microcomputer hardware and software products headquartered in the Southeastern United States. Most participants were White, male, and worked in skilled maintenance occupations. The purpose of the study was to investigate the relationship between employees’ occupational stress levels and the effectiveness of their organizational unit. Perceived stress was measured using the Job Stress Survey (Spielberger, 1994), while organizational effectiveness measures included overall employee satisfaction, employee motivation, and turnover intention questions from the corporation’s annual employee survey; performance appraisal ratings; and monthly audit defect ratings of picking, packing, putaway, and receiving activities. This quantitative study followed a nonexperimental, correlational design, and data were analyzed using Pearson product moment correlation, Analysis of Variance, and multiple regression. The results found that there was an inverse relationship between employees’ individual occupational stress levels and the effectiveness of the Logistics Center in which they were employed. Further, the results found that Logistics Centers whose employees reported high levels of occupational stress had lower results on measures of organizational effectiveness than those Logistics Centers whose employees reported low levels of occupational stress. Exploratory multiple regression analyses showed that the three Job Stress Survey scales (Job Stress Index, Job Pressure Index, and Lack of Support Index) were significant predictors of turnover intention, overall satisfaction, motivation, and performance appraisal ratings.

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ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS There are many people that I want to acknowledge for their continued encouragement, guidance, and efforts in helping me see this research study from its initial concept through to its fruition. First, I would like to thank my dissertation chairperson, Dr. Carol Hoare, for her availability, guidance, encouragement, and seemingly endless readings of my dissertation. I would certainly not have accomplished this project without her continual attention, ideas, and sound advice. I would also like to acknowledge the expertise and guidance of my committee members, Dr. Richard Lanthier and Dr. Mike Marquardt. Rich’s assistance with the design and analysis of this study, and willingness to read the seemingly constant revisions of my results, and Mike’s expertise of the subject matter and prompt feedback truly enhanced this dissertation. I also thank those individuals who served as external examiners, Dr. Maria Cseh and Dr. Douglas Palmer, whose insightful questions and thought-provoking discussion improved the dissertation and provided me with new ideas to pursue. I sincerely thank my colleagues and friends from ELP 11, especially Andrew Fenniman, Dr. Banu Golesorkhi, Dave Flarper, Dr. Kathleen Cavanaugh, and Lawrence Hamilton who provided me with much needed humor and wonderful memories during our coursework, and advice and encouragement as I conducted this study. In addition, this entire process would never have been the same without the other two members of the “Three J’s,” Dr. Jane Thall and Dr. Julie Wallace Carr. Jane’s intelligence, motivation, and dedication are only surpassed by her friendship, quick wit, and concern. Similarly, Julie provided me with a refuge when I needed a place to escape, and I will be forever grateful for her kindness, camaraderie, and humor.

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Given the longevity of this dissertation process, much of my success was due to the enduring support and love of my entire family. In particular my parents, August and Patricia, who have always encouraged my endeavors, even when they didn’t particularly understand why I was taking them on, and have provided me with a wonderful example of generosity, kindness, and wisdom, as well as the benefits of hard work and dedication. A special thank you also goes out to my brother Steve and sister-in-law Sara, for their optimism, interest, and availability to me when I needed to vent. Their never ending confidence and support throughout my successes and setbacks are largely responsible for my continued academic efforts. Finally, and most important to me personally, was the unwavering support, encouragement, and understanding of Rafael, with whom I am fortunate to share my life. I could not have achieved all that I did without his unconditional love, confidence in my abilities, patience, and wisdom.

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TABLE OF CONTENTS CHAPTER 1: INTRODUCTION............................................................................................1 Problem Statement.....................................................................................................................5 Statement of Purpose.................................................................................................................6 Research Question.....................................................................................................................7 Hypotheses................................................................................................................................ 7 Significance of Study.................................................................................................................8 Conceptual Framework............................................................................................................. 9 Delimitations........................................................................................................................... 12 Limitations................................................................................................................................13 Definition of Term s.................................................................................................................14 CHAPTER 2: REVIEW OF RELATED LITERATURE...................................................16 Definitions and Types of Stress..............................................................................................21 Stress Defined....................................................................................................................22 Taxonomies of Stress ......................................................................................................27 Correlates and Moderators of Stress................................................................................ 31 Effects of Occupational Stress................................................................................................41 The Occupational Stress-Peformance Link.................................................................... 41 Organizational Effectiveness..................................................................................................43 Approaches to the Evaluation of Organizational Effectiveness....................................44 Organizational Climate and Effectiveness .................................................................... 46 Employee Attitudes and Organizational Climate ..........................................................47 Organizational Climate and Employee behaviors .........................................................48 Consequences for Organizational Effectiveness............................................................ 51 Summary.................................................................................................................................. 54 CHAPTER 3: RESEARCH METHODOLOGY................................................................. 55 Research Design......................................................................................................................55 Design................................................................................................................................ 55 Sample and Population..................................................................................................... 55 Instrumentation........................................................................................................................ 56 Job Stress Survey...............................................................................................................56

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Reliability and Validity of Job Stress Survey........................................................................57 Job Pressure and Lack of Organizational Support Scales............................................. 60 Demographics....................................................................................................................62 Measures of Organizational Effectiveness..................................................................... 63 Data Collection Procedures....................................................................................................65 Procedure........................................................................................................................... 65 Data Analysis........................................................................................................................... 66 CHAPTER 4: RESULTS...................................................................................................... 67 Overview................................................................................................................................. 67 Descriptive Characteristics of the Sample.............................................................................67 Description of Responses on Study Variables.......................................................................70 Job Stress Survey.............................................................................................................. 70 Employee Survey.............................................................................................................. 72 Performance/Work Outcomes......................................................................................... 73 Reliability of Job Stress Survey Instrument for Study Sample........................................... 74 Job Stress Scale.................................................................................................................74 Job Pressure Scale............................................................................................................ 74 Lack of Organizational Support Scale.............................................................................75 Research Question and Hypotheses Analyses.......................................................................76 Research Question...................................................................................................................76 Hypothesis O n e.................................................................................................................76 Analysis of Hypothesis 1 and Findings...........................................................................77 Hypothesis Two.................................................................................................................82 Analysis of Hypothesis 2 and Findings...........................................................................82 Job Stress Index.................................................................................................................82 Job Pressure Index............................................................................................................ 83 Lack of Organizational Support Index............................................................................85 Organizational Effectiveness Measures...........................................................................86 Additional Analyses............................................................................................................... 92 Turnover Intention............................................................................................................ 93 Overall Employee Satisfaction........................................................................................ 94 Employee Motivation....................................................................................................... 94

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Performance Appraisal.....................................................................................................95 Chapter Summary....................................................................................................................96 CHAPTER 5: DISCUSSION AND CONCLUSIONS........................................................98 Summary of the Research Study........................................................................................... 98 Discussion...............................................................................................................................101 Relationship between Occupational Stress and Organizational Effectiveness 101

Turnover Intention...........................................................................................................101 Overall Employee Satisfaction..................................................................................... 103 Employee Motivation..................................................................................................... 105 Performance..................................................................................................................... 107 Organizational Consequences of Occupational Stress.................................................112 Conclusions........................................................................................................................... 115 Limitations of the Study....................................................................................................... 118 Implications and Recommendations for Future Study....................................................... 119 Implications for Practice................................................................................................. 119 Implications for Research............................................................................................... 122 REFERENCES...................................................................................................................... 125 APPENDIX A: Letter of Introduction to Participants........................................................ 152

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LIST OF TABLES

1. Scale Reliabilities for the Job Stress Survey.................................................................. 59 2. Factor Analysis of JSS Items and Subscale Development............................................ 61 3. Location, Occupational Group, and Educational Level Demographics.......................68 4. Gender and Age Demographics....................................................................................... 69 5. Marital Status and Ethnicity Demographics................................................................... 70 6. Mean, Range, Standard Deviation, and Chronbach’s Alpha for Job Stress Survey Scales.................................................................................................................................. 75 7. Pearson Correlations of the Job Stress Survey and Individual-Level Organizational Effectiveness Measures.................................................................................................... 80 8. Pearson Correlations of the Aggregate Job Stress Survey Scores and OrganizationalLevel Effectiveness Measures......................................................................................... 80 9. Descriptive Statistics for Job Stress Index Scores for each Logistics C enter............. 83 10. Descriptive Statistics for Job Pressure Index Scores for each LogisticsCenter...........84 11. Descriptive Statistics for Lack of Organizational Support Index Scores for each Logistics Center.................................................................................................................86 12. Descriptive Statistics for Turnover Intention for each Logistics Center....................87 13. Descriptive Statistics for Overall Satisfaction for each Logistics Center..................87 14. Descriptive Statistics for Employee Motivation for each Logistics Center...............88 15. Descriptive Statistics for Performance Appraisal Ratings for each Logistics Center................................................................................................................................ 89 16. Descriptive Statistics for Aggregate Productivity Measures for each Logistics Center................................................................................................................................ 90 17. Simultaneous Multiple Regression Analysis of Job Pressure and Lack of Organizational Support Subscales on Turnover Intentions........................................... 93 18. Simultaneous Multiple Regression Analysis of Job Pressure and Lack of Organizational Support Subscales on Overall Employee Satisfaction......................... 94 19. Simultaneous Multiple Regression Analysis of Job Pressure and Lack of Organizational Support Subscales on Employee Motivation........................................ 95 20. Simultaneous Multiple Regression Analysis of Job Pressure and Lack of Organizational Support Subscales on Performance Appraisal Ratings........................ 96

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CHAPTER 1 INTRODUCTION Occupational stress is a chronic condition caused by situations in the workplace that may negatively affect an individual’s job performance and/or overall well being. Although people commonly complain of anxiety, there is no way to objectively measure stress or to accurately determine its causes and effects. In fact, situations that create severe stress for some individuals actually stimulate others. Most people, however, seem to have firsthand knowledge that stress seems pervasive in modem society. Concern about the effects of occupational stress on health has increased dramatically in recent years. An examination of the titles that have appeared in the psychological, organizational, and medical literature over the past 20 years shows a dramatic increase in the number of published studies on stress. In addition to the growth of literature, there have also been major developments in terms of interdisciplinary groups coming together in an attempt to address the emerging problem of occupational stress. For example, the American Psychological Association (APA) and the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) of the Center for Disease Control (CDC) joined forces in 1990. Since their joining, the APA and NIOSH have launched a series of initiatives to promote the new field of Occupational Health Psychology, which is dedicated solely to the identification and prevention of organizational risk factors for stress, illness, and injury at work. Thus, it appears that the problem of occupational stress will continue to receive attention in future years. Numerous studies have shown that the prevalence of occupational stress has been increasing at an alarming rate (Berry, 1998; Leiter & Harvie, 1997; Marks &

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Mirvis, 1986; Marshall et al., 1997; Matteson & Ivancevich, 1987; Mirvis, 1985; Vagg & Spielberger, 1998; Weaver, 2003; Wojcik, 1999). Some sources have proclaimed that occupational stress is now the nation’s leading adult health problem (Humphrey, 1998). A study conducted by Princeton Survey Research found that 75% of American workers believe there is more on-the-job stress now than there was a generation ago (Princeton Survey Research Associates, 1997). In addition, in a recent Harris Associates (2001) poll of 11,000 Americans, over two thirds said stress is diminishing their enjoyment of life and over one half say it is harming their health. The same survey shows that the people who suffer the greatest stress are aged 35-54, college-educated, and earning over $35,000 per year. In other words, severe stress affects a large segment of the corporate workforce. Moreover, much of that stress appears to be a product of employment itself. A majority of office workers in the Harris survey named work as the primary cause of stress in their lives - ahead of financial concerns, domestic relationships, and illness. Stress in the workplace has been shown to have a tremendously negative impact on the functioning of individuals in organizations. Several studies over the past 20 years have provided support for the involvement of stress as a risk factor in illness and disease (Cooper & Cartwright, 1994; Danna & Griffith, 1999; Dyck, 2001; Lazarus & Folkman, 1984; Panagiotakos, Chrysohoou, Pitsavos, Anotniou, Vavaouranakis, Stravopodis, Moraiti, Stefanadis, & Toutouzas, P, 2004; Quick, Quick, Nelson, & Hurrell, 1997). Findings from these studies suggest that a person who experiences long term or chronic stress may potentially experience such debilitating illnesses as hypertension, coronary heart disease, stroke, or ulcers. In addition, Humphrey’s (1998)

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review of the medical literature found that prolonged tension developing from psychological stress might result in psychosomatic disorders that can lead to serious diseases, including cirrhosis of the liver, high blood pressure, cancer, and heart disease. When an employee suffers from stress on the job, organizations have a vested interest in minimizing its adverse effects in the workplace. It is estimated that occupational stress has cost organizations billions of dollars through increased health care costs, higher rates of absenteeism and turnover, and lower levels of performance (American Institute of Stress, 2002; NIOSH, 1999). In addition to the monetary costs, the study of stress is also important because many believe that organizations have a moral, and increasingly legal, obligation to provide a work environment where stress is kept to manageable levels (Jex, 1998). While the volume of research conducted in the occupational stress arena has increased within the past few decades (Barling, Kelloway, & Frone, 2005), the majority has been focused almost exclusively at the individual level of analysis. Researchers have primarily been interested in whether individuals who experience job-related stress also tend to experience physiological, psychological, or behavioral problems as a result (Lee and Ashforth, 1996; Vagg and Spielberger, 1998; Williams and Cooper, 1998; Zohar, 1995). Much less is known about the effect of occupational stress on the actual performance of an individual or organization. Some have argued that this type of stress research suffers from a “trivial findings” problem - reporting relationships between theoretically similar constructs such as perceptions of tension or subjective reports of poor health (Frese & Zapf, 1988; Kasl, 1978). In addition, research designs are often

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confounded by common method variance where both independent and dependent measures are taken from questionnaires completed by the same individual. The difficulties associated with measuring effective performance may be another factor that hinders research in this area (Jex, 1998; Pritchard, 1992). As with individual performance (Campbell, 1990), there are numerous ways in which organizational effectiveness can be assessed (such as profit, stock value, sales volume, or customer service), but it is unclear which is the most appropriate. Finally, and perhaps more importantly, there is very little theory to guide such examinations (Jex & Crossley, 2005). Regardless of the difficulties associated with conducting research on occupational stress and performance, specifically at the organizational level, a growing body of research has begun to link a variety of organizational factors to organizational effectiveness (Druckman, Singer, & Van Cott, 1997; Schneider, 1990). Organizational factors that may influence organizational effectiveness include (but are not limited to) job satisfaction (Birdi, Allen, & Warr, 1997), trust (Carnevale & Wechsler, 1992; Ostroff, 1993), and organizational commitment (Deluga, 1994). Research has shown that these types of attributes are important predictors of work-related behaviors that result in heightened organizational effectiveness (Davy, Kinicki, and Scheck, 1997; Organ and Ryan, 1995). The current study begins to address the paucity of research in these areas. Designed to overcome common method variance problems, occupational stress measures were collected from job incumbents, while measures of organizational effectiveness were obtained from a variety of sources. Furthermore, the research

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question stems from practical management concerns; insight into the influence of occupational stress on organizational effectiveness will benefit managers and organizations as a whole as they tackle the difficulties related to measuring and enhancing organizational effectiveness. Problem Statement Although the financial impact of occupational stress on organizations is staggering, the social sciences literature has only recently shown an interest in occupational stress. While the number of studies investigating occupational stress has increased in recent years, most have focused on the individual level of analysis. For instance, research has investigated how stress influences individuals’ health, well being, and job performance. Recent studies of so-called healthy organizations suggest that policies benefiting worker health also benefit the bottom line (Delaney and Huselid, 1996; Ransom, Aschbacher, and Burud, 1989). A healthy organization is defined as one that has low rates of illness, injury, and disability in its workforce and is also competitive in the marketplace (Browne, 2002; Cooper & Cartwright, 1994; Murphy, 1995). NIOSH (1999) research has identified organizational characteristics associated with both healthy, low-stress work and high levels of productivity. Examples of these characteristics include the following: (1) an emphasis within the organization on strategic planning, continuous improvement, and career development among employees; (2) an organizational culture/climate that emphasizes innovation, conflict resolution, and employee sense of belonging; and (3) organizational values that

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emphasize commitment to technology, employee growth and development, and valuing the individual. Ongoing research, including the current study, is necessary to further explore and explain the link between occupational stressors and effectiveness at the group or organizational level of analysis. For instance, do organizations perform poorly when individual employees, as a group, experience many occupational stressors? Answers to this question could provide great benefit and insight to human resource development practitioners and organizations as a whole as they encounter issues related to organizational effectiveness. Statement of Purpose The purpose of this study was to examine the nature of occupational stress within the various organizational units of the research site and its relationship to measures of organizational effectiveness. Overall occupational stress, as well as the two major components of occupational stress as outlined by Spielberger and Vagg (1999), job pressure and lack o f organizational support, was the construct utilized to determine the nature of occupational stress in this study. Overall employee satisfaction, employee motivation, turnover intention, and performance appraisal ratings were utilized as individual measures of the construct of organizational effectiveness. The study also investigated the potential relationships between aggregate occupational stress levels and organizational unit productivity measures. The adverse consequences of occupational stress have been frequently highlighted in the literature. Adverse individual outcomes that have been reported include poor psychological and mental health outcomes (e.g., anger, depression,

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anxiety, bumout), physical disease (e.g., hypertension, stroke, cancer, ulcers), and detrimental behavioral outcomes (e.g., sleep disturbance; alcohol, tobacco, and illicit drug use; poor eating habits; violence). Adverse organizational consequences, which have been less frequently investigated, included poor psychological and emotional outcomes (e.g., job dissatisfaction, low organizational commitment), indicators of poor physical health (e.g., absence due to illness, workers’ compensation claims), and workrelated behavioral impairment (e.g., injuries, poor performance) (Barling, Kelloway, & Frone, 2005). While the examples provided above illustrate how the occupational stress literature has grown in recent decades, most of the research investigating outcomes has been limited to the individual level of analysis. The current study will address this gap in the literature by examining the important, yet understudied, issue of organizational consequences of occupational stress. Research Question The current study explored the following question: 1. Is there a relationship between individual employees’ occupational stress levels and the performance of organizational units as shown by employee performance appraisal ratings, quality metrics, and employee satisfaction? Hypotheses For the purposes of systematically testing the relationship between occupational stress and organizational effectiveness, the following hypotheses were tested: 1. There is a significant, negative relationship between employees’ reported level of occupational stress and organizational effectiveness as shown by

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employee performance appraisal ratings, quality metrics, and employee satisfaction. 2. Organizational units whose employees report high levels of occupational stress will have lower results on measures of organizational effectiveness than those divisions whose employees report low levels of occupational stress. Significance of Study The current study is significant in that it moves the level of analysis in occupational stress research from the individual to the group. The majority of research in this area has focused on the individual level of analysis (for instance, the influence of occupational stress on individual performance, attitudes, employee behaviors); this research will enable researchers and practitioners to gain insight into how the stress levels of a group of employees (a departmental unit) influence organizations in terms of performance. In addition, investigating the relationship between occupational stress and organizational effectiveness may actually be more practical than research on occupational stress and individual performance. While there are a number of objective organizational effectiveness criteria (financial performance, customer satisfaction ratings, voluntary turnover rates), fewer absolute criteria measures exist in terms of what constitutes effective individual performance. Similarly, many more variables may confound the relationship between occupational stress and individual performance (e.g., demographics, Type A behavior). Various authors have indicated that there are too many constraints on individual performance to find a consistent relationship between occupational stressors and

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performance (Fried & Ferris, 1987; Jex, 1998; Spector, 1986). In contrast, at the organizational level, fewer constraints may exist. The common stressors at work (e.g., ambiguity, role overload, inadequate feedback and opportunity for advancement, poor interpersonal relationships) are typically under the control of organizations, which supports the notion that opportunities for significantly affecting occupational stress exist primarily at the group and organizational levels (Quick & Quick, 1984; Zaccaro & Riley, 1987). Organizational-level research, such as this study, may be more useful to management in their efforts to reduce employee stress levels and, therefore, to improve organizational effectiveness. In many cases, it is more efficient to intervene at the organizational level (e.g., increasing employee participation, decreasing interruptions) rather than solely teaching individual employees to cope more effectively with the stressors they encounter (Hurrell, 1995; Murphy & Cooper, 2000). Conceptual Framework The conceptual framework for this study is grounded in occupational stress theory, individual performance, and organizational effectiveness research. The framework creates a unique model that describes the stress factors investigated in this study that are believed to relate to measures of organizational effectiveness. The model captures the hypothesis that there is a relationship between employees’ reported level of occupational stress and the effectiveness of the organization in which they are employed. Investigating the relationship among these factors will provide clarification and explanation of the influence of stressful work situations on the performance of organizations.

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Stress is considered to be an integral part of everyday life and simply cannot be avoided. People encounter stressful stimuli many times a day in their personal and social domains, and, since work is an essential aspect of human existence, they encounter stress in the workplace as well. According to McGrath’s (1976) Process Model, the situations employees encounter on the job are perceived via an appraisal process. When these perceptions are negative, the existence of a stressor is indicated. Following this appraisal, individuals make decisions as to how they will respond. Once a response is selected, individuals then engage in some form of behavior and, by doing so, may alter the original situation. When an employee perceives a stressor in the work environment, he or she may engage in behaviors that detract from his or her job performance (e.g., withdrawal from work, reduced effort). For example, if an employee perceives unjust treatment at work as a stressor, he or she may decide to not put forth as much effort on the job. If the employee ultimately does withhold effort, this will likely reduce his or her job performance. If numerous employees within the organization behave in a similar fashion, one can imagine the consequences on the functioning of the organization. Fluman resource strategies suitable to organizational effectiveness represent one component of the conceptual framework. The management literature has recently been accumulating evidence that human resource outcomes (e.g., employee satisfaction, employee motivation, turnover intention) are related to organizational outcomes (e.g., customer satisfaction, productivity). Fluman resource management and organizational behavior theories suggest that the proper use of employees heightens organizational effectiveness. Most of the empirical studies testing this proposition have assumed a

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causal chain that states that management practices influence human resource outcomes, which, in turn, influence organizational outcomes. For example, some studies have shown significant relationships between human resource strategies (e.g., high performance and high commitment work systems) and organizational effectiveness (Huselid, 1995; Tsui, Pearce, Porter & Tripoli, 1997). Others have shown relationships between specific human resource activities (e.g., training, competitive pay, advancement opportunities) and organizational effectiveness (Delaney & Huselid, 1996; Ulrich, Halbrook, Meder, Stuchlik, & Thorpe, 1991). Whether or not the individual perceptions of employees influence the functioning of a group is an intermediate component in the conceptual framework. However, this is a question that has not been fully explored in the organizational sciences’ literature. Some researchers speculate that a group or organizational unit can develop shared meaning because of social interactions (James, Joyce, & Slocum, 1988; Jex, Adams, Bachrach, & Sorenson, 2003). For example, the attitudes of individuals within a group may come to be shared because of common experiences. An intolerable supervisor, poor working conditions, or inadequate salaries may often be a shared experience of a group, and will be reflected through shared attitudes of those group members. The framework for this study presumes that there is a relationship between group-level employee attitudes and organizational effectiveness, even though the empirical evidence has shown only a weak relationship (r = . 17) between individual level employee satisfaction and individual level performance (Iaffaldano & Muchinsky, 1985). Drawing on a number of sources, Ostroff (1992) provided strong theoretical

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justifications for adopting an organizational level of analysis. These justifications suggested that satisfied workers contribute to organizational productivity by engaging in collaborative efforts toward organizational objectives (Kopelman, Brief, & Guzzo, 1990), whereas dissatisfied and less committed employees may direct little effort toward collaboration, or engage in disruptive activities such as sabotage (Fisher, 1980). Similarly, Ryan, Schmit, and Johnson (1996) argued that organizational effectiveness is not simply a sum of individuals’ performance; therefore, it may be influenced by factors others than those affecting individual level performance. One of these factors may be “shared values.” If a unit’s employees share positive attitudes, they should have norms of cooperation and collaboration, which, in turn, enhance group-level productivity (Ryan et al., 1996). These attitudes will likely produce work-related behaviors that result in improved organizational effectiveness (Davy, Kinicki, and Scheck, 1997; Delaney & Huselid, 1996; Johnson, 1996; Organ and Ryan, 1995). Delimitations The current study is an exploration into the link between occupational stress and organizational effectiveness within a single division in a large-sized private-sector organization in the high-technology industry. This study serves as an initial step in further examining the role that occupational stress plays in the performance of organizations in general. Since the study is limited to employees of a single division within a private-sector organization, the results will not be generalizable to the organization as a whole, or to other private-sector organizations. Additionally, the study is focused on employee perceptions of occupational stress and will not include

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other means of assessing occupational stress levels (for example, observational reports or physiological measures). Limitations One limitation of this study is its use of a correlational design. The correlational design entails the measurement of relationships between dependent and independent variables. The current study is non-experimental and did not involve random assignment of participants into groups or manipulation of the independent variable. Therefore, any relationships found between occupational stress levels and organizational unit effectiveness in this study may not be inferred as causal. The use of an aggregate score for the measure of organizational unit occupational stress poses another limitation of this study. Although the absence of a valid and reliable organizational-level measure precludes a more accurate assessment of organizational unit stress, utilizing a composite score of individual employee perceptions may not accurately reflect the stress level of the unit as a whole. However, as Bliese and Jex (2002) note, aggregation is not without value. In many cases individual strains are partially a function of the work group to which the individual belongs. All possible multivariate explanations were not explored in this study. The literature review specifies that genetic factors (e.g., intelligence, sex), acquired factors (e.g., socioeconomic status, education), and dispositional factors (e.g., personality, coping style, self-esteem) are among the variables that may influence employees’ occupational stress levels. These attributes will not be investigated in this study.

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Another limitation is that measures of occupational stress are based on employees’ self-reports. Self-report instruments are particularly vulnerable to subjects’ distortion, either consciously or unconsciously (Gynther & Green, 1982). The instrument selected for this study, however, was selected because its items are worded in a manner that gives consideration to impression management issues.

Definition of Terms Occupational Stress - The harmful physical and emotional responses that occur when the requirements of the job do not match the capabilities, resources, or needs of the worker (NIOSH, 1999). Organizational Effectiveness —Refers to the success with which organizational components complete the task of transformation. Key measures of effectiveness include costs, timeliness, quality, productivity, employee moral, and turnover (Riley & Zaccaro, 1987). Role - A set of behaviors that are expected of a person occupying a certain position. In social systems such as organizations, roles serve to coordinate individual members’ behavior (Katz & Kahn, 1978). Role Ambiguity - A stressor that occurs when role-related information is unclear to an individual (Katz & Kahn, 1978). Role Conflict - A stressor that occurs when role-related information provided by one member of a role set may conflict with the information provided by another member (Kahn, Wolfe, Quinn, Snoek, & Rosenthal, 1964).

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Role Overload - A stressor that occurs when an employer demands more of an employee than he or she can reasonably accomplish in a given time (Jones, Flynn, & Kelloway, 1995). Stress - The generalized, patterned, unconscious mobilization of the body’s natural energy resources when confronted with a stressor (Quick & Quick, 1984). Stressors - Any demand, either of a physical or psychological nature, encountered in the course of living (Quick & Quick, 1984).

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CHAPTER 2 REVIEW OF RELATED LITERATURE Introduction ... work is, by its very nature, about violence - - to the spirit as well as to the body. It is about ulcers as well as accidents, about shouting matches as well as fistfights, about nervous breakdowns as well as kicking the dog. It is, above all (or beneath all), about daily humiliations. To survive the day is triumph enough fo r the walking wounded among the great many o f us. (Studs Terkel, 1972) The literature concerning occupational stress and organizational health has experienced rapid growth during the past few decades due to changes in the workplace. Driven by technological change and innovation, uncertainty over the nature of work experienced during the past decade is expected to continue (Cascio, 1995; Williams & Cooper, 1998). In addition, a shift from manufacturing to a service- and informationoriented economy has intensified occupational stress and employee burnout in the United States (Marshall, 1997; Posig & Kickul, 2003). The loss of job security is another facet of the current workplace that may lead to increased occupational stress. These factors, among others, have led to mounting interest in occupational stress by researchers and by organizational leaders. The literature presented in this review will provide a rationale for the research questions addressing the relationships between occupational stress and organizational effectiveness that are the focus of this study. The research clearly indicates that high levels of occupational stress and the resultant phenomenon of employee burnout are common in contemporary private-sector organizations, enacting human and financial tolls that have a direct effect on the bottom line (Adkins, 1999). An increase in occupational stress has spillover effects both on the job and at home (Crouter, Bumbus, Maguire, & McHale, 1999; Standen, Daniels, &

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Lamond, 1999). Many have observed that organizational change and occupational stress are related and are responsible for billions of dollars of lost income to business and industry, measured in lost employee work days (Hobfoll & Shirom, 1993; Marshall, Barnett, & Sayer, 1997). According to estimates by the National Institute of Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH), approximately 11% of all workers’ compensation claims in the United States are related to occupational stress, generating employer costs of $150-200 billion each year (Quick, 1998; Wolf, 1995). In the United States the number of stress claims tripled between 1999 and 2000, with attributed organizational costs lying anywhere between 200 and 300 billion dollars per year as a result of high staff absenteeism and turnover, increased health and workers’ compensation claims, and decreased productivity (Wojcik, 2001). The European Agency for Safety and Health at Work (2002) reported that over half of the 550 million working days lost annually in the U.S. from absenteeism are stress-related and that one in five of all last-minute no-shows is due to occupational stress. If this occurs among key employees it can have a domino effect that spreads down the line to disrupt scheduled operations. Unanticipated absenteeism is estimated to cost American companies $602 per worker per year, and the price tag for large corporations could approach $3.5 million annually. In addition, recent figures from Great Britain have indicated that approximately 70,000 workers are absent from work due to occupational stress every year, costing the nation approximately £7 billion in lost productivity, worker entitlements, and health care. An indirect result of these factors is the loss of 40 million working days per year (Shergold, 1995).

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As startling as these costs are, empirical studies demonstrate that the less visible effects of employee stress have an even greater negative impact on organizational effectiveness through their adverse influence on employee attitudes, efforts, and behaviors. For example, a 1995 survey conducted by Northwestern Mutual Life Insurance Company found that 34% of American workers in the sample reported that they had considered quitting their jobs during the past year due to excessive occupational stress (Wolf, 1995). An investigation by Northwestern National Life Insurance reported that the proportion of highly stressed workers more than doubled from 1985 to 1990 (Vagg & Spielberger, 1998). These data show that occupational stress is likely here to stay, at least for the foreseeable future. Since occupational stress tends to increase during periods of critical change (Winum, Ryterband, & Stephenson, 1997), it is important for organizations to plan ahead to offset these reactions. However, many organizations ignore or fail to fully consider the psychological impact of change in their organizations, although these negative outcomes can be prevented through deliberate change management strategies (Parker, Chmiel, & Wall, 1997). During a major organizational change, employees look to leaders for security. However, the ability of leaders to understand their subordinates’ stress - what causes it, reduces it, or increases it - is generally out of synchrony with the subordinates’ actual perceptions of stress (Offermann & Hellmann, 1996). Adkins (1999) suggested that occupational stress comes from many different areas, which are considered to be life domains. Bourbonnais, Comeau, and Vezina (1999) concluded that emotional exhaustion can result from increased job demands,

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suggesting that occupational stress has a stronger relationship to psychological disorders than has been previously understood. As the facets of occupational stress have come to light, organizational theorists have constructed new models to describe, explain, and analyze their causes, mechanics, and effects. For example, the stress-related syndrome of employee burnout was originally identified in the mid-1970s (Freudenberger, 1974; Freudenberger & Richelson, 1980). Subsequently investigated by various researchers (Maslach & Jackson, 1982; Posig & Kickul, 2003), this syndrome has become the focus of much occupational stress research. Employee burnout is marked by chronic fatigue, depersonalization, and reduced achievement. As Greenberg (1993) and earlier researchers (Golembiewski, Munzenrider, & Stevenson, 1986) have observed, it is now evident that burnout is the result of a process that begins long before the manifestation of symptoms and overt behaviors. Occupational stress can be acute or chronic; burnout is always chronic. Changes in the nature and composition of modem organizations have undoubtedly contributed to the current epidemic of occupational stress and bumout. Williams and Cooper (1998) were among the first researchers to discuss the stress of the millennium computer bug. Earlier, Briner and Hockey (1988) reported “the introduction of computers into the workplace is frequently cited as a major source of occupational stress” (p. 115). The perceived loss of job security and the psychological contract has been another force behind expanded interest in occupational stress and bumout (Cascio, 1995; Mauno & Kinnunen, 2002).

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Until the mid-1980s, a largely industrialized U.S. workforce labored under the assumption of lifetime job security. As long as workers met employer performance expectations and their organizations remained profitable, they went about their daily work activities with the understanding that their diligence would leave them immune to involuntary terminations (Gabriel, 1999). This assumption no longer holds true. Organizations still expect employees to be hard-working and loyal but are asking for more flexibility and more accountability from their workforce in this era of technological development. At the same time, employers offer limited (or no) guarantees or expectations of job security and career development. Occupational stress is increased by chronic insecurity and downsizing (Gabriel, 1999; Kets de Vries & Balazs, 1997; Tourish, Paulsen, Hobman, & Bordia, 2004). Since the late 1980s, virtually all Fortune 1000 firms have engaged in some form of downsizing, featuring a wholesale elimination of redundant workers (Kets de Vries & Balazs, 1997). This radical change from a traditionally secure working environment to a rapidly changing and insecure one could be expected to have an impact not only on the well being of individuals but also on their work attitudes and behavior and, in the long run, on the effectiveness of the organization. Change resulting from mergers and acquisitions is also a formidable stressor (Judge, Thoresen, Pucik, & Welboume, 1999). Although it has been viewed as necessary for survival, consolidation and the subsequent streamlining of private-sector organizations have unleashed powerful stressors in the corporate world (Bardhan & Kroll, 2003; Berry, 1998; Leiter & Harvie, 1997; Marks & Mirvis, 1986; Marshall et al., 1997; Mirvis, 1985). Behavioral scientists now use terms such as “merger syndrome”

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and “downsizing syndrome” to designate the effects on “survivor” employees. Shaw and Barrett-Power (1995) defined corporate downsizing as “a constellation of stressor events.. .which place demands upon the organization, work groups, and individual employees and require a process of coping and adaptation” (p. 5). The evidence suggests that merger/downsizing syndromes generate chronic stressors that ultimately lead to employee bumout. The actions of organizations compelled by competitive forces to consolidate their operations and improve their bottom line performance through workforce cutbacks have increased the attention devoted to occupational stress today. Levi, Sauter, and Shimomitsu (1999) argued that there is an immediate need to improve stress awareness and research. According to Offermann and Gowing (1990), the way to survive what the new millennium brings in terms of stress is to educate and train all individuals. Others argue that the stressful effects of organizational change can be minimized through procedural justice and communication strategies (Parker, Chmiel, & Wall, 1997). The research on stress over the past twenty-five years has resulted in increased attention to its origins in the workplace and its outcomes (Jex & Crossley, 2005; Quick, Murphy, & Hurrell, 1992; Warr, 2005). The next objective of this review is to discuss the literature on types of stress. Earlier works are cited as a foundation for more current research in the field. Definitions and Types o f Stress Despite the attention given to occupational stress in recent years, there is still no scholarly consensus about what stress is and how it should be defined. Stress has both physiological and psychological dimensions, arises from a multitude of causes (Beehr,

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1996; Leong, Fumham, & Cooper, 1996), and has a myriad of consequences for both physical and emotional well being (Berry, 1998). Because of the complexity of the nature, etiology, and consequences of stress, a universally accepted definition of the term is nearly impossible (Shaw & Barrett-Power, 1997). Stotland (1984) outlined four types of stress definitions: (1) those that emphasize stress as an organism’s response to a situation; (2) those that focus on a situation that is defined independent of the individual’s reaction to it; (3) those that underscore the intervening role that variable perceptions play in generating stress; and (4) those that conceive of stress within an interactive person-environment framework. Stress Defined Although his work has been significantly revised, Hans Selye is most closely identified with the early description of stress as an organism’s physiological response to a situation. Beginning his research on human stress in the early 1950s, Selye (1976) first defined stress as “the nonspecific response of the body to any demand” and then expanded this to include “efforts to cope with the wear and tear in the body caused by life at any one time” (p. 398). From this perspective, environmental factors, or “stressors,” do not cause stress, but the stress response is understood as a consequence of an organism’s effort to maintain its internal equilibrium in response to environmental factors. As such, stress is “usually the outcome of a struggle for the self-preservation (homeostasis) of parts within a whole” (Selye, 1976, p. 367). Symptoms are often understood to develop as a result of the strain on an organism in its effort to adjust to stressors. However, as noted by Smither (1997), “stress can be considered in terms of either factors in the environment or dispositional

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qualities in the individual worker” (p. 483). This distinction illustrates how individual stress factors may be internally or externally derived. Agreeing with Selye’s (1976) original conception, Executive Health Examiners (1983) argued, “stress can be looked upon as any disturbance which causes the body to make adjustments” (p. 43). In the case of internal dispositional qualities, these disturbances may have little to do with the work environment. Researchers investigating both the physical and psychological dimensions of stress have mostly adopted Selye’s physiologically based conceptualization (Cox, 1978; Daniels & Guppy, 1997; Shaw & Bartlett-Power, 1995; Smither, 1997). Of the remaining three categories of stress definitions identified by Stotland (1984), it is the fourth (interactional) perspective that has proven most useful to the study of occupational stress. Adopting this perspective, Cox (1978) conceptualized stress as an intervening variable within a complex and dynamic system of exchanges between the individual and his or her work environment. Subsequently, many researchers have asserted that stress does not derive from the individual or from the work environment, but rather from the interaction between the two. In other words, stress arises from the situational context of an event, and many contextual elements (e.g., social or work environments) contribute to the experience of stress (Appley & Trumbull, 1986; Radeke & Mahoney, 2000; Westman & Etzion, 1999). It is this interaction that is critical for the development of stress and bumout. While there is relative consensus on a physiologically-based definition of human stress, few definitions of occupational stress exist. Jex (1998) defined occupational stress as the overall process by which job demands affect employees and proposed two

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process components, stressors and strains. Stressors are conditions that require adaptive responses, whereas strains are the negative outcomes that result from those response attempts. Nearly everyone agrees that job stress results from the interaction of the worker and the conditions of work. Views differ, however, on the importance of worker characteristics versus working conditions as the primary cause of job stress. These differing viewpoints are important because they suggest different ways to prevent stress at work. According to research by Daniels and Guppy (1997), poor psychological well being has a direct effect on one’s assessment of workplace conditions. In some cases, negative assessments result in cases where changes had occurred recently in the workplace (Daniels & Guppy, 1997; NIOSH, 1999). According to Cooper and Payne (1991), it is the interaction between stressors inherent within a particular job (e.g., overload, poor working conditions) and individual differences (e.g., gender, locus of control) that determine how an individual responds to occupational stress and thus determines the outcome of experienced stress. A cognition-based explanation of occupational stress considers how individuals perceive life within their environment. Objects are cognitively appraised based on the characteristics that may or may not be permanent (Best, 1992). This perspective assumes that the perception of stress is qualitatively different from one individual to another. Sources of stress require us to “concentrate our senses to gather information” (Best, 1992, p. 39). Cognitive processes, therefore, are important factors in the development of stress reactions in the individual.

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While most researchers currently ascribe to the cognition-based theories, few theoretical models within the occupational stress arena examine the performance implications of occupational stress. McGrath’s (1976) Process Model perhaps best describes the performance implications of job-related stressors. McGrath conceptualized occupational stress as a four-stage, closed-loop process. The first stage represents situations that employees encounter in organizations. These situations are then perceived via an appraisal process. When these perceptions are negative, the existence of a stressor is indicated. Once a situation is appraised, individuals may, either consciously or unconsciously, respond to the situation. Once a response is selected, individuals then engage in some form of behavior and, by doing so, may alter the original situation. When such behavioral responses are negative (e.g., withdrawal from work, reduced effort), they are considered to be strains. The relevance of this model to the proposed study is quite clear. When employees perceive a stressor in the work environment, they may decide to engage in behaviors that detract from their job performance. For example, if an employee perceives unjust treatment at work as a stressor, he or she may not put forth as much effort on the job. If the employee ultimately does withhold effort, this will likely reduce his or her job performance. Beehr and Bhagat (1985) proposed an extension of McGrath’s (1976) model that is also helpful for understanding the performance implications of occupational stress. According to the authors, many stressors in organizations are due to employee uncertainty with respect to the following factors: (1) whether their effort will lead to high levels of job performance and (2) whether high levels of job performance will lead

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to outcomes that are valued by the organization. Furthermore, such uncertainty must last for a relatively long duration in order to be harmful to employees. Since the Process Model only pertains to the influence of occupational stress on the individual level of performance, additional theoretical grounding is necessary to bridge the gap between individual performance and organizational effectiveness. In this context, Lazarus (1995) proposed a metatheory that holds that understanding, researching, and intervening in aspects of occupational stress necessitates a transactional, process-focused, meaning-based orientation that takes into account the individual within the work context. Taken from this perspective, occupational stress is the perception of threat, pressure, demand, or challenge requiring change and adaptation associated with work hazards experienced within the broad, context of the organizational environment, including the interface between work and non-work issues in living. Researchers frequently discuss excessive occupational stress and bumout within the analytical framework of “fit.” Person-fit models were developed to reflect the individual issues that define one’s work-life strategies and preferences (Bamett, Gareis, & Brennan, 1999). Person-Environment fit approaches include a “panel of variables encompassing sources of occupational stressors and a panel of variables dealing with individual differences” (Burke, 1988, p. 78). Proponents of the Person-Environment fit paradigm assert that stress occurs when there is a significant discrepancy between the person’s available resources and the environmental demands placed upon those resources (Berry, 1998; Harrison, 1978; Osipow & Fitzgerald, 1996; Quick, Nelson, Quick, & Orman, 2001). For example, an individual’s job description may require that he or she carry out a technical task for which he or she has not been adequately trained.

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This disparity between task demand and individual capabilities generates stress, which may further weaken the individual’s capacity to complete the specified task. It should be noted that not all theorists share this precise understanding of occupational stress. Hobfoll and Shirom (1993) have delineated a conservation of resources (COR) theory that differs from conventional models of stress. This theory regards occupational stress as a state in which demands outstrip coping resources and sees stress as a consequence of the loss of things an individual considers valuable. These things include (1) objects, such as a car or a house; (2) personal characteristics, such as self-esteem; (3) conditions, such as a happy marriage or job stability; and (4) energies, such as credit, money, and favors. According to the COR theory, stress may be the result of circumstances that involve some type of significant outcome. Examples include circumstances in which individuals are threatened with loss, lose resources, or fail to gain resources following resource investment (Hobfoll & Shirom, 1993). Because these outcomes vary with the individual, excessive levels of psychological stress remain a matter of the interaction between external stressors and individual characteristics. Taxonomies o f Stress Literature in the field is filled with theories and models of occupational stress (Barling, Kelloway, & Frone, 2005; Cooper & Marshall, 1976; Quick & Quick, 1984; Shuler, 1982). Taxonomies developed over the past 25 years comprise structured clusters that function as guides to investigating and analyzing occupational stress. One of the earlier models (Cooper & Marshall, 1976) classified occupational stressor clusters under five headings: (1) those intrinsic to the job, (2) those resulting from the

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employee’s role in the organization, (3) career development factors, (4) relationships with others, and (5) organizational structure and climate. Similarly, Ivancevich and Matteson’s (1980) model of occupational stressors was a four-level clustering of factors related to: (1) the physical environment; (2) an individual’s concern with role and career development; (3) interpersonal relationships; and (4) organizational factors such as work climate, culture, structure, job design, and task characteristics. Building on these schemes, Quick and Quick (1984) offered a four-fold division of occupational stressors organized as (1) task demands, (2) role demands, (3) physical demands such as task and work environment, and (4) interpersonal demands. Schuler (1982) divided occupational stressors into seven sources: (1) job qualities, (2) relationships, (3) organizational structure, (4) physical qualities of the job, (5) career development, (6) change, and (7) role in the organization. Most recently, The National Institute on Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH, 1999) identified six working conditions that may lead to occupational stress. These six conditions are (1) design of tasks (heavy workload, hectic and routine tasks); (2) management style (lack of participation by workers in decision making, poor communication in the organization, lack of family-friendly policies); (3) interpersonal relationships (poor social environment, lack of support); (4) work roles (conflicting or uncertain job roles); (5) career concerns (job insecurity, limited opportunities for advancement, rapid changes); and (6) environmental conditions (unpleasant or dangerous physical conditions such as noise, ergonomic problems). In a variety of studies, these six conditions identified by NIOSH have been shown to influence perceptions of occupational stress. Vagg and Spielberger (1998)

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designed the Job Stress Survey (JSS) to assess generic sources of occupational stress encountered by employees in a wide variety of work environments and to address aspects of job stress that had not been evaluated by previously used measures. The 30item JSS measures both the perceived intensity (severity) and frequency of occurrence of working conditions that are likely to negatively affect the well being of employees who are exposed to them. The authors performed factor analyses of the responses of 1,791 university and corporate employees to 30 severity items on the JSS. The analyses identified two strong factors that positively correlated with responses for both males and females: job pressure, which is comprised of items such as frequent change (M = .59, F = .69), assignment of new duties (M = .77, F = .63), insufficient personal time (M = .55, F = .59), and lack of organizational support, which is comprised of items such as lack of participation in decisions (M = .67, F = .66), lack of opportunity for advancement (M = .58, F = .69), and lack of recognition for good work (M = .63, F = .62). Williams and Cooper (1998) developed the Pressure Management Indicator (PMI) to provide an integrated measure of occupational stress. Factor analyses produced eight factors: (1) sources of pressure, (2) factors intrinsic to job, (3) managerial role, (4) interpersonal relations, (5) career and achievement, (6) organizational structure, (7) organizational climate, and (8) home-work interface. In addition to the factors identified above, research has investigated the role of perceived fairness in incidents of occupational stress. Heaney (1999) conducted an exploratory study of the nature of employee perceptions of unfairness and the extent to which they are related to occupational stress, perceptions of employee control, and social support. Semi-structured and in-depth interviews were conducted with employees

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enrolled in stress reduction classes offered by their organizations. Employees reported that fair treatment, clear expectations, consistent treatment, respect, reasonable demands, and workloads contributed to their perceptions of fairness. Further analyses suggest that perceptions of organizational unfairness are related to (1) heightened employee distress related to exposure to worksite stressors, (2) increased feelings of powerlessness when worksite stressors are experienced, and (3) increased use of withdrawal or avoidance coping strategies. Similarly, Zohar (1995) investigated whether work role injustice predicted job strain, intention to withdraw, and actual turnover among a sample of 213 hospital nurses. Role justice was measured using a four-point index developed by the author that assessed the degree to which a sender’s role was negatively affected when employees (1) were not informed of their responsibilities or told exactly what was expected of them, (2) had to satisfy contradictory requests or work with incompatible guidelines, (3) did not have enough time to complete assignments properly, and (4) didn’t have the freedom to organize their work or the necessary authority to control events. Participants reported that role justice was negatively related to job strain, intention to leave the organization, and actual turnover. Hierarchical regression analyses also showed that role justice accounted for variability in strain (AR = .06, p<.001), intention to leave (AR2 = .05, p<.001), and actual turnover (AR2 = .05, p<.001) after accounting for the effects of role conflict, role ambiguity, decision latitude, and role overload. Although the general categories of occupational stressors have been supported in the literature, it is widely known that stressors will not affect all individuals in the same

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way. The next section of this review will focus on the individual and organizational variables that moderate individual responses to occupational stressors. Correlates or Moderators o f Occupational Stress Both individual and organizational variables have been investigated as moderators, or buffers, of occupational stress. Payne (1988) distinguished three kinds of individual differences: (1) genetic, relating to physique, constitution, reactivity, sex, and intelligence; (2) acquired, as in social class, education, and age; and (3) dispositional variables, such as trait anxiety, neuroticism, Type A/Type B personality, self-image/esteem, locus of control, flexibility, coping style, and extraversionintroversion. It should be noted, however, that correlations between any of these variables, particularly those in the dispositional category, and occupational stress are open to challenge due to the confounding influence of factor overlap (Payne, 1988). For example, since there is an established association between trait anxiety and internal locus of control (LoC) orientation, reported associations between LoC intemality and psychological stress may actually reflect (in part or in full) the influence of the greater or more prevalent trait anxiety, rather than an internal locus of control orientation. The inverse association between a worker’s chronological age and experienced stress in employees was firmly established in the first decade of stress research by Gurin, Verdoff, and Feld (1960), Langner (1962), and Indik, Seashore, and Slesigner (1964) through analyses of demographic correlates of stress symptoms. The research demonstrates an unambiguous negative correlation between a worker’s age and his or her level of reported occupational stress. These authors report that occupational stress is generally lower among older employees. Indik et al. (1964), in their sample of 8,234

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industrial employees, report that the amount of decline in occupational stress is greater

for those employees with less education but find an exception among women with some education beyond high school who show an increase in stress with advanced age and among women with college education or more who show no age trend at all. Whether this is a function of chronological age - or some other variable such as tenure, experience, or stage of career development - is unclear. More recently, various authors (Bames-Farrell, Rumery, & Swody, 2002; Cascio, 1995; Chandraiah, Agrawal, Marimuthu, & Manoharan, 2003; Jameison & O’Mara, 1991) have reported conflicting results; many older workers may experience higher levels of occupational stress than younger workers due to technological advances that they may not feel competent in and the threat of forced “early retirement” found in this era of increased downsizing. With the increased entrance of women into the American workforce, and their advancement into nontraditional occupations, several researchers have investigated the role of gender in relation to occupational stress (Barling & Sorenson, 1997; Cooper & Cartwright, 1994; Gianakos, 2002; Jick & Mitz, 1985). Sexual harassment and gender discrimination have been linked to more frequent physical and psychological symptoms of stress, according to Goldenhar, Swanson, Hurrell, Ruder, and Deddens’s (1998) investigation of female construction workers. The researchers conducted telephone interviews with 211 female laborers, and results indicated that having responsibility for others’ safety and supervisory and male co-worker support was related to greater job satisfaction. Increased responsibility, skill underutilization, and overcompensation at work were positively associated with self-reports of insomnia, and sexual harassment

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and gender discrimination were positively related to reports of increased nausea and headaches. Harassment need not be confined to sexual advances for it to have distressing consequences for women. Piotrkowski (1998) tested the hypothesis that gender harassment is related to decreased job satisfaction and increased distress. Of the 694 female office workers responding to a one-item questionnaire, 72% reported that they had been exposed to gender harassment at work. Consistent with the hypothesis, more frequent gender harassment was associated with both lower job satisfaction and greater distress. Feminist researchers (Franke, Crown, & Spake, 1997) have speculated that female administrators are subject to greater role conflict, more intense task performance demands, and greater work/personal life conflicts than are their male counterparts. Edson (1988) asserted that in order for females to advance professionally, they must deal with these conflicts and perform “exceptionally well” under pressure (p. 140). According to most researchers, the general finding has been that female administrators experience lower levels of stress than their male peers (Burke, 1976; Burke & Weir, 1980; Golembiewski, 1977). Such differences have generally been attributed to either one or both of two reasons: (1) the fact that women were usually employed in less responsible and demanding jobs and/or (2) that a woman viewed her job as secondary to her natural role as a mother, wife, and homemaker. In the most robust empirical investigation of gender as a correlate of stress in women, Tung’s (1980) central finding was that female educational administrators experienced lower levels of perceived occupational stress than did men in the same position; “women administrators

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experienced lower levels of stress than their male counterparts on all four factors, particularly with respect to boundary-spanning stress and conflict-mediating stress, both of which relate to stress arising from the management of the organization-external environment interface” (p. 353). Comparisons of occupational stress levels may be made between individuals with an external locus of control orientation and those with an internal locus of control orientation (Gianakos, 2002; Schultz & Schultz, 1998). People who believe that events affecting their lives are beyond their control are oriented externally, whereas individuals with an internal locus of control orientation believe that what affects their lives is subject to their control. Schultz and Schultz maintain that individuals with an internal locus of control show higher levels of job involvement than do employees with an external locus of control. In terms of their capacity to deal with stressful events, “internals” appear to manage and cope with stress more effectively than do “externals.” As Lefcourt (1982) noted, the empirical data suggest “internals seem better able to survive their ordeals. They do not as readily succumb to dysphoric feelings and cease their efforts to succeed at their various tasks as do those who hold external control expectancies” (p. 109). With few exceptions, studies have found that locus of control acts as a moderator of stress (Lefcourt, 1982). For example, in his interviews with approximately 90 business owners whose businesses had been disrupted by a hurricane, Anderson (1977) found that externals perceived their circumstances to be more stressful than did internals and had a tendency to rely more on emotional means of coping with stress (e.g., anger) than internals, who were more likely to use problem-solving methods of coping.

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Krause and Stryker (1984) analyzed interview data obtained from the National Longitudinal Study of Middle-Aged Men, a national probability sample of 2,090 men who were between the ages of 45 and 54 in 1966. Specifically, the researchers investigated LoC orientation and stress in a sub sample of 2,000 men (1,339 internals and 751 externals). As hypothesized, they found that men with external LoC orientations “experienced higher levels of psychophysical distress because of stressful events (job and economic events) than men with an internal LoC” (p. 786). But, when they further divided their sample into extreme internal, moderate internal, moderate external, and extreme external, their analyses yielded a more complicated set of results. Both extreme groups (internal and external) reported greater psychological stress than did the moderate groups. The researchers concluded that “extreme externals are vulnerable to stress because they are less likely to bother taking positive actions, while the high internals are paralyzed by their own guilt since they believe their failure to cope is their own fault” (Krause & Stryker, 1984, p. 787). During the past two decades, organizational sciences researchers have investigated the relationship between an individual’s level of organizational commitment and his or her experienced level of occupational stress (Jamal & Babba, 2000; Kobasa, 1982; Mathieu & Zajac, 1990; Mowday, Porter, & Steers, 1982). Such studies have yielded contradictory results. A meta-analysis of 200 empirical studies on organizational commitment conducted by Mathieu and Zajac (1990) reported that individuals who had higher scores on an organizational commitment scale suffered higher levels of perceived occupational stress than those with lower scores of commitment. On the other hand, Kobasa (1982) studied a group of 157 attorneys in

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general practice, many of whom had experienced serious challenges at work and, in some instances, severe stresses at home. While Kobasa found a strong relationship between symptoms such as headaches, nervousness, and sleep disturbances and the attorneys’ attitudes at work, she also discovered commitment to be an important determinant of an individual’s response to stress. Similar results were reported by Begley and Czajka (1993) who distributed questionnaires comprised of items measuring organizational commitment, stress, job satisfaction, intention to quit, and depression at two points in time to 155 mental health professionals in a large Midwestern city. The authors found that organizational commitment moderated the relationship between occupational stress and job displeasure (comprised of job dissatisfaction, intention to quit, and work-related irritation) during periods of organizational turmoil. More recently, Leong, Furnham, and Cooper (1996) investigated organizational commitment as a moderator of stress outcomes in a sample of 106 professional and administrative personnel in a public-sector organization. Responses to four measures (Occupational Stress Indicator, Organizational Commitment Questionnaire, intention to quit, demographic questionnaire) showed that stress was a significant predictor of job satisfaction, poor mental health, poor physical health, and intention to quit. Nevertheless, there was no significant correlation between the participants’ commitment to the job and any of these four outcome variables. Thus, Leong et al. concluded that their study “failed to show any substantial moderating effects of organizational commitment on the stress-outcome relationships” (p. 1358).

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Organizational factors have also been approached as potential moderators of occupational stress. Zaleznik, Kets de Vries, and Howard (1977) concluded that some occupations and corresponding work settings are more stressful than others. For example, police officers, emergency service workers, and executives working in fastpaced industries are at an abnormally high risk for adverse occupational stress. In line with the stressor cluster of organizational roles discussed above, Zaleznik, Kets de Vries, and Howard (1977) investigated stress within three groups of employees in a corporate organization: managerial employees, clerical staff, and production employees. Through a combination of participant observation, in-depth interviews, and survey responses from 3,000 employees, the researchers concluded: The management group appears better equipped to handle ritualistic attachment to rules, depersonalization of work, the avoidance of faceto-face confrontation and apathy....Therefore, they are less susceptible to uncertainty and feelings of helplessness... .On the other hand, the staff and operations groups experience high accountability, red tape, uncertainty, lack of coordination, and ambivalence about leadership and performance evaluation. Their perceived inability to act on the work environment seems to contribute to the high incidence of stress reactions, (p. 160-161) Since the publication of this report, some scholars have questioned its conclusions, asserting that managerial employees are exposed to more environmental stressors than are those employees further down in the organizational hierarchy.

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Two years after this study was published, one of its coauthors, Manfred Kets de Vries (1979), stated: “the manager, for all appearances sake in pursuit of rational action, is continually confronted with irrational behavior, ambiguity, and stress” (p. 3). In addition, recent management practices, including 360-degree feedback, suggest a newly acquired stressor: discrepant feedback (Dalton, 1996). When discussing occupational stress, Quick (1998) and his colleagues (Quick, Nelson, & Quick, 1990) affirmed that middle level managers are much more vulnerable to stress-related physical problems than are those at the very top of the organizational hierarchy. In addition, Williams and Cooper (1998) found that the level of people in the organizational hierarchy has a direct bearing on the amount of occupational stress they experience. Just as interpersonal conflicts on the job are a source of stress, an employee’s participation in a supportive social network at work has been identified as a moderator of occupational stress. Saranson, Saranson, and Pierce (1990) argued that social support is a critical resource in many stressful situations. Winnubst and Schabracq (1996) believed that social networks function as a mediator of occupational stress, especially through the channel of increased access to information that can be useful in reducing employee uncertainty about the organization and his or her place within it. Schabracq and Cooper (1998) argued that being part of a social network may give employees pleasant personal contacts that may reduce tension and increase emotional support. They also noted that an adequate network contributes to employees’ perceived control over their work activities, environment, and future options. As stated earlier in this review, many organizations have undergone consolidation through mergers or acquisitions since the mid-1980s. Mirvis (1985)

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found increased levels of reported occupational stress among employees of a small company after an announcement that it would be acquired by a larger organization. Subsequently, Marks and Mirvis (1986) reported increased occupational stress among all employees within a sample of recently merged organizations. They referred to a “merger syndrome” in the wake of such unions, with many employees displaying a defensive, fearful response to the uncertainties of their job tenure in the merged organization. Similarly, Jick (1983) found that employees in organizations undergoing cutbacks following a merger or acquisition were subject to the intensified occupational stressors of role uncertainty, job insecurity, role overload, career plateau, inadequate incentives, office politics, lack of participation in decision making, tense organizational climate, and increased role conflict. Under the broad heading of “downsizing,” both organizations that have experienced consolidation and those that are struggling in the face of increased competition have decreased their workforces. According to a survey conducted by the American Management Association, between 1988 and 1993, at least one third of all large- and medium-sized organizations incorporated in the United States had reduced their payrolls as part of a downsizing exercise (Henkoff, 1994). Applebaum, Simpson, and Shapiro (1987) and Custer (1994) reported that many organizations experiencing downsizing enjoy an initial increase in productivity, followed by a sharp decline. Henkoff (1990) cited the results of a study carried out by the Society for Human Resources Management in which over 50% of the 1,468 firms surveyed reported that employee productivity remained the same or deteriorated in the wake of downsizing. In

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addition, 74% of senior executives in these downsized organizations reported increased problems with employee morale, trust, and/or productivity. Most research results substantiate Brockner’s (1988) conclusion that organizational downsizing is a stress-inducing factor. Kets de Vries and Balazs (1997) conducted open-ended interviews with 200 individuals drawn from one public-sector and one private-sector organization, each of which had been downsized within the past year. They found that, instead of the poor performers being terminated first through downsizing, star performers are usually the first to voluntarily leave the organization. This drains an organization’s human capital and organizational memory. Further, those who remain often face an increased workload, which results in a group of unhappy, overworked employees, some of whom have to do tasks for which they are not trained. Several researchers have corroborated these findings of “survivor” stress (Brockner, 1988; Brocker, Davy, & Carter, 1992; Burke, 2001; Mone, 1994; Toumish, Paulsen, Hobman, & Bordia, 2004). Among the survivors interviewed by Burke (1988), “managers and professionals who are currently employed but see that it is increasingly harder to get and hold managerial and professional jobs will become increasingly insecure about their own jobs” (p. 97). Clearly, the heightened threat of job loss, increased workload, role conflict/ambiguity, and lowered expectations for advancement generate increased stress among managerial employees in organizations that initiate downsizing as a follow-up to a merger or acquisition, or for the sake of enhancing cost efficiencies.

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Effects o f Occupational Stress As Bergin and Solman (1998) noted, “stress can be both a stimulant to growth and development and a major causal factor in a wide variety of physical and emotional disorders” (p. 5). While the term “stress” generally evokes negative connotations, it can also perform a positive function; in fact, a certain amount of stress is thought to be necessary and beneficial for the individual because it acts as a motivator for positive change directed toward restoring one’s equilibrium. Still, research has consistently demonstrated that excessive occupational stress has adverse effects for both physical and psychological well being (Cooper & Cartwright, 1994; Danna & Griffith, 1999; Dyck, 2001; Quick, Quick, Nelson, & Hurrell, 1997). The Occupational Stress-Performance Link In general, stressors are assumed to impair performance. Although some authors have suggested a negative linear relationship (performance declines as stress increases), others have argued for an inverted U-shaped relationship (performance improves until an ideal level of stress is achieved, then deteriorates) (Jex & Crossley, 2005; Kahn & Byosiere, 1992; McGrath, 1976; Sullivan and Bhagat, 1992; Tubre & Collins, 2000). Both direct and indirect effects can explain the negative linear relationship between stress and performance. Direct impairment of performance occurs when, for example, an organizational stressor such as inadequate or broken equipment hinders successful task completion. Pace of working can sometimes be increased to make up for the time lost (time needed to repair equipment), but this can require a tradeoff with regard to work quality. Noise can similarly reduce performance directly when high background noise masks signals relevant for task accomplishment. Stressors can further impair

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performance indirectly when they tax regulation capacity required for task execution. Humans’ regulatory capacity is limited; stressors consume regulation capacity, and therefore have the potential to impair performance (Hockey & Hamilton, 1983; Kahneman, 1973; Mansfield, 2001). There is empirical evidence for a negative linear relationship between stressors and performance, in which prolonged exposure to stressors decreases performance; role stressors in particular have been studied extensively. Meta-analyses have reported small negative relationships, for example, illustrating decreased performance in cases of increased role conflict and role ambiguity (Abramis, 1994; Jackson & Schuler, 1985; Tubre & Collins, 2000). Jamal (1985), in a study of 227 middle managers and 283 blue collar workers in a large Canadian manufacturing firm, found negative effects of role overload. In contrast, in a study of 181 female secretaries from the University of South Florida, no relationship between the secretaries’ reports of workload and their supervisors’ performance ratings was found, but the secretaries’ reports of constraints and role ambiguity were negatively related to performance (Spector, Dwyer, & Jex, 1988). Focusing on a typical supervisory task, Fried and Tiegs (1995) found that supervisors’ role stressors decreased the accuracy with which they made performance ratings of their subordinates: Role conflict was positively associated with actual performance ratings, indicating a leniency error. For three different levels of managers of a convenience store organization, O'Connor, Peters, Pooyan, Weekley, Frank, & Erenkrantz (1984) reported a negative relationship between situational constraints and performance ratings. Similar results were found in a financial services company (Steel & Mento, 1987). Fisher and White (2000) reviewed the downsizing literature, in terms

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of its contribution to stress, and proposed that the potential damage to an organization’s learning capacity is great. In other words, much of the literature assumes that there is no “optimal” stress level that enhances the performance of employees. Instead, increased workload and occupational stress results in decreased learning and performance. Drawing from the Yerkes-Dodson Law, other researchers have suggested a curvilinear relationship between stressors and performance (McGrath, 1976). What this means is that a moderate level of arousal is necessary to keep an individual alert and focused on the task. When there is too little arousal, performance is diminished. As stressors have an activating function, they can increase arousal to a level optimal for performance; but once arousal exceeds this optimal level, performance deteriorates, resulting in an inverted U-shaped curve. Empirical support for the inverted U-shaped relationship outside of the laboratory is limited (e.g., Anderson, 1976; Srivastava & Krishna, 1991). There is more evidence for a linear negative relationship than for a curvilinear relationship between stressors and performance (Jamal, 1984; 1985; Tutena & Neidermeyerb, 2004). However, this is not surprising considering that the optimal level of arousal depends on the type of task and on the individual (McGrath, 1976). Organizational Effectiveness The vast majority of occupational stress research and theory building over the years has been focused at the individual level of analysis. Researchers and theorists have been interested in whether individuals who experience job-related stressors also tend to experience physical or psychological detriments as a result. It is just as important, however, to examine whether the experience of occupational stress results in

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decreased organizational effectiveness. One reason that may explain the paucity of research in this area is the difficulty associated with defining and measuring organizational effectiveness (Jex & Crossley, 2005; Pritchard, 1992). As with individual performance, (Campbell, 1990), there are numerous ways in which organizational effectiveness can be assessed (such as profit, stock value, sales volume, customer service), but it is unclear which is the most appropriate. Second, and perhaps more importantly, there is very little theory to guide such examinations. As a result, the mechanisms by which job-related stressors may affect organizational effectiveness is largely unknown. This section of the literature review will focus on organizational effectiveness, specifically how it is evaluated and what factors influence it. Organizational effectiveness has often been described as a contradictory concept (Quinn & Cameron, 1983), has been studied using multiple notions of criteria (Gelade & Gilbert, 2003; Robbins, 1990), and is often included as an integral aspect of organizational analysis (Cameron, 1980). Despite these difficulties in agreeing on a definition and criteria for evaluation of organizational effectiveness, this is a topic of increasing importance to organizations and leaders. Approaches to the Evaluation o f Organizational Effectiveness Organizational effectiveness has been studied using a variety of approaches. The five major approaches to examining organizational effectiveness are (1) the systems resource approach, (2) the human resource and internal process approach, (3) the multiple constituencies approach, (4) the competing values approach, and (5) the

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goals approach. These five approaches will be briefly defined and the strengths and weaknesses of each approach discussed in this section. The systems resource approach evaluates organizational effectiveness by focusing on the input processes and determining whether the organization is able to develop necessary exchange relationships with the environment in order to gain resources for high performance. Effectiveness is defined as “the ability of the organization in either absolute or relative terms to exploit its environment in the acquisition of scarce and valued resources” (Yuchtman & Seashore, 1967, p. 898). The human resource and internal processes approach focuses on the throughput processes and evaluates the internal health and efficiency of the organization. Cameron (1980) defines effective organizations as “those with an absence of internal strain, whose members are highly integrated into the system, whose internal functioning is smooth and typified by trust and benevolence toward individuals, where information flows smoothly both vertically and horizontally and so on” (p. 67). An advantage to this approach is that it can be used to compare organizations when outputs are not the same or are not easily identifiable. However, a problem is that many variables are difficult to quantify with this approach, and an organization may have internal problems but, nonetheless, perform effectively. The multiple constituencies approach (Connolly, Conlon, & Deutsch, 1980) focuses on the various stakeholder groups either inside or outside the organization and evaluates the effectiveness of the organization according to how satisfied each group is with performance of the organization. This approach takes into account multiple perspectives of effective performance and the political power of those groups. A

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drawback to this approach is that it may be difficult to identify all of an organization’s constituent groups and determine their criteria for effective performance. The competing values approach (Denison & Spreitzer, 1991) focuses on evaluating an organization from multiple perspectives using multiple criteria. It may be the most comprehensive of the approaches in that it combines all four of the other approaches to determine where the organization is most effectively performing according to its various constituent groups. A weakness of this approach is in determining the most important constituent groups of the organization and in identifying their multiple criteria for evaluating effective performance. One of the earliest approaches used by researchers to evaluate organizational effectiveness is the goals-output approach. This approach focuses on the goals or output of an organization and on evaluating how well the organization meets those goals. This approach is one of the most widely used in a variety of organizations. However, the use of goal attainment as the sole measure of effectiveness can be a problem because goals, in many organizations, may be multiple, overlapping, and contradictory. In other words, effectiveness should not be evaluated on the basis of a single indicator. Organizational Climate and Effectiveness What makes an organization perform effectively? In a review of the organizational climate and culture literature, Schneider (1990) identified 17 organizational process dimensions that are related to organizational effectiveness. As stated previously, organizational climate may not directly influence organizational effectiveness. Research evidence suggests, however, that organizational climate does

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affect organizational effectiveness by directly influencing employee attitudes and behaviors that result in organizational effectiveness. Consequently, this portion of the review will report research linking organizational climate to employee attitudes (e.g., job satisfaction), provide evidence of the linkages between organizational climate and employee behavior (e.g., job performance, turnover), and, finally, review research that links organizational climate to organizational effectiveness. Employee Attitudes & Organizational climate Numerous studies have investigated the impact of organizational factors on employee attitudes such as job satisfaction. Gunter and Furnham (1996) conducted a field survey study using data collected from 1,041 employees in four public sector organizations to determine the links between dimensions of organizational climate and job satisfaction. The results showed that receiving adequate training was positively related to job satisfaction in three of the four organizations and that management recognizing and rewarding good work was positively related to job satisfaction in all four organizations. The results also showed that employee involvement in important decisions was positively related to job satisfaction in all four organizations. Birdi, Allan, and Warr (1997) reported similar results in their field survey study that examined the effects of four different employee involvement activities (mandatory training courses, work-based development assignments, voluntary learning activities, career planning activities) on employee satisfaction. Data were collected from 1,798 employees in a vehicle manufacturing plant in the United Kingdom. The results showed that participation in mandatory training courses and work-based development activities were positively correlated with employee job satisfaction. Mossholder,

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Bennett, and Martin (1998) investigated the effects of individual and workgroup level perceptions of procedural justice (i.e., opportunity to participate in decision-making processes) on employee satisfaction and organizational commitment in their survey of 323 employees at a large savings and loan corporation. Results indicated that both individual and group level perceptions of procedural justice accounted for a significant amount of the variation in employee job satisfaction (R2 = .28, p <. 01 and R2 = .20, p <.001, respectively). Organizational trust is another construct that has received widespread interest within the organizational effectiveness literature (Camevale & Wechsler, 1992; Laschinger, Finegan, Shamian, & Casier, 2000; Ostroff, 1993). Results of these studies have shown that the development of strong supervisor/employee relationships and employee reports of job security were positively related to high levels of employee trust in the organization (r = .67 and .51 respectively). Supervisory behaviors that were related to organizational trust were supervisor confidence and support, feedback, approachability, and fairness in the distribution of rewards and punishments. Organizational Climate & Employee Behaviors Organizational climate influences employee behaviors in a variety of ways. Significant variables include the influence of work/life benefits and favorable treatment of employees on their behavior. Research conducted by Ransom, Aschbacher, and Burud (1989) showed how investment in work-life programs improves certain employee behaviors. The authors investigated the effects of using an on-site childcare center on employee absenteeism and turnover by comparing employees with children under the age of five who used the on-site center to parents with other childcare

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arrangements. Results indicated that users of the on-site center were absent fewer days (4.6) compared to parents with other childcare arrangements (6.3). The authors also reported that users of the on-site center had much lower turnover (2.2%) compared to nonusers (9.5%). Similar results were reported by the Whirlpool Foundation’s survey of 153 North American organizations. They found that efforts related to childcare assistance, while successful in increasing satisfaction and morale, had the greatest impact in increasing retention and reducing absenteeism. Favorable treatment of employees has been shown to lead to increases in organizational citizenship behavior (Deluga, 1994; Organ & Ryan, 1995). Organizational citizenship behavior has been defined as “individual behavior that is discretionary, not directly or explicitly recognized by the formal reward system, and that in aggregate promotes the effective functioning of the organization” (Organ, 1988, p. 4), and includes such actions as helping other employees on organizationally relevant tasks and performing work conscientiously. Deluga (1994) collected data from 86 supervisor-subordinate dyads from a variety of organizations to investigate the relationships among supervisor trust building activity, leader-member exchange, and four types of organizational citizenship behavior (altruism, courtesy, conscientiousness, and sportsmanship). Participants were selected from a pool of employed continuing education students attending evening classes at a college in the northeastern United States, along with their identified supervisors. The results showed that perceived fairness was the supervisor trust-building behavior most closely associated with the different types of organizational citizenship behavior.

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Sheridan (1992) examined whether particular cultural values help or hinder organizations in retaining their most productive employees. The retention rates of 904 (453 female/451 male) recent college graduates hired into entry level positions in six public accounting firms located in the western United States over a six-year period were analyzed using survival analysis. Three firms were characterized as having cultures that emphasized the interpersonal relationship values of team orientation and respect for people. Two other companies were characterized as having cultures that emphasized the work task values of detail and stability. Professionals hired in the companies that emphasized the interpersonal relationship values stayed 14 months longer (45 months) than those hired in the firms emphasizing the work task values (31 months). Cropanzano, Howes, Grandey, and Toth (1997) reported similar results in their investigation of the effects that perceived organizational politics and support have on job involvement, satisfaction, organizational commitment, organizational citizenship behavior, and turnover intention. The authors believed that employees who viewed their workplaces as political would feel that their hard work would not be rewarded, experience lower satisfaction and organizational commitment, be less involved in their jobs, and be more likely to leave their jobs than employees who viewed their workplaces as supportive. Results showed that organizational politics were negatively related to job involvement (r = -.33, p < .01), and satisfaction (r = -.49, p < .01) and positively related to turnover intentions (r = .63, p < .01). Conversely, perceived organizational support was positively correlated with job involvement (r = .22, p < .05), satisfaction (r = .63, p < .01), and organizational commitment (r = .69, p < .01) and negatively related to turnover intentions (r = -.38,p< .01).

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Consequences for Organizational Effectiveness How do employee behaviors affect organizational effectiveness? It has been demonstrated that employees with high levels of satisfaction and commitment to the organization will perform in ways that improve organizational outcomes (Delaney & Huselid, 1996; Fisher, 2001; Reilly, Grasha, & Schafer, 2002; Ryan et al., 1996; Schmidt & Allscheid, 1995). Denison and Mishra (1995) tested the linkage between the cultural traits of adaptability, sense of mission, consistency, and involvement with organizational effectiveness. Results from a survey of top executives in 764 organizations in five major industries (manufacturing, business services, finance, retail, wholesale) were compared to a set of effectiveness measures that included profitability, quality, sales growth, employee satisfaction, and overall performance. The authors reported that the cultural traits were weak predictors of sales growth and profits but strong predictors of quality, employee satisfaction, and overall organizational performance. A number of organizational practices have demonstrated links to customer satisfaction. For example, management support and rewarding and recognizing employees who provide superior service and take a personal interest in resolving customer problems were positively related to higher levels of customer satisfaction, with particular facets of customer service, and with overall customer satisfaction. Koys (2001) investigated whether positive employee attitudes and behaviors influence organizational outcomes or whether positive organizational outcomes influence employee attitudes and behaviors. The author collected data from 1,467 employees (774 in year 1 and 693 in year 2) and 143 managers (64 in year 1 and 79 in year 2) at 28

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stores in a regional restaurant chain over a two-year period. Measures of employee attitudes and behaviors included employee satisfaction, organizational citizenship behavior, and turnover. Employee satisfaction was measured via a 4-item scale based on a restaurant industry study, organizational citizenship behavior was assessed via a 5item survey of the employees’ managers, and turnover rates were based on the number of hourly employee separations divided by the number of hourly employees. Organizational effectiveness was determined by profitability and customer satisfaction measures. Two measures of profitability, “profits after controllable expenses” and “profits after controllable expenses as a percent of sales,” were collected from corporate records while customer satisfaction was measured by a survey of 5,565 customers in year one and 4,338 customers in year two. Regression analyses showed that year one outcomes of employee satisfaction, organizational citizenship behavior, and turnover rates accounted for 14% to 31% of the variance in year two organizational effectiveness. Customer satisfaction data is only one measure of organizational effectiveness. Delaney and Huselid (1996) collected data from the National Organizations Survey of 590 for-profit and nonprofit firms to examine the effects of human resource management practices on perceived organizational effectiveness and marketing performance. Results showed that training, incentive compensation, and vertical hierarchy accounted for 19% of the variance in perceived organizational effectiveness. The results also indicated a positive relationship between human resource management practices and perceived marketing performance.

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Similarly, Russel, Terborg, and Powers (1985) investigated the impact of training on organizational effectiveness. The authors examined the relationships among sales training, organizational support, and store performance of 62 stores belonging to the same merchandising firm. Results showed that training in basic sales procedures was positively correlated with sales volume per employee. Bartel (1994) reported similar findings in her study of productivity gains that resulted from the implementation of a new employee orientation/training program. Data collected from a 1986 Columbia Business School survey of 495 Compustat II business lines indicated that businesses that were operating below their expected productivity levels in one year had a significant increase in their labor productivity after implementing a new employee orientation/training program. Overall, businesses that implemented such training programs experienced a productivity gain of almost 19% over a three-year period. Employee retention can also influence organizational effectiveness because more experienced employees would have greater knowledge of organizational and customer goals (Schneider & Bowen, 1985). Costs are lower because a low turnover rate means fewer hiring and training activities. Empirical studies have shown that employee turnover does have a negative correlation with organizational effectiveness. For example, research conducted at Sears showed that as voluntary turnover decreased, financial performance (i.e., return on controllable assets) increased (Ulrich, Halbrook,
M eder, Stuchlik, & T horpe, 1991). Sim ilarly, O stro ff (1992) reported negative

relationships between high school teacher turnover and student academic achievement, students' satisfaction, administrative performance, and the percent of students who dropped out of high school.

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Summary The notion of stress has been around for decades and has been researched in a variety of environments and in a multitude of ways. While the accumulated knowledge on stress is considerable, there are still many questions unanswered. Much of the research presented in this review highlights the association between occupational stress and a variety of physical and psychological disorders (Berry, 1998; Zohar, 1995). Many researchers have sought to better understand this relationship by trying to identify the factors that moderate the stress process, and some have speculated that the relationship between stress and illness varies with both personal and social characteristics (Goldenhar, Swanson, Hurrell, Ruder, and Deddens, 1998; Gurin, Verdoff, and Feld, 1960; Indik, Seashore, and Slesigner, 1964; Langner (1962); Payne, 1988; Schultz & Schultz, 1998). This review has illustrated the influence of organizational climate on certain employee attitudes and employee behaviors. These factors, in turn, may influence organizational effectiveness. Excessive individual occupational stress has been shown to negatively affect individual employee attitudes and behaviors. Therefore, it stands to reason that a relationship exists between occupational stress and organizational effectiveness, yet there is limited evidence that supports this claim (Allen, Hitt, & Greer, 1982; Jones, Barge, Steffy, Fay, Kunz, & Wuebker, 1988; Moran, Wolff, & Green, 1995). The current study provides additional insight that will further explore and explain the link between occupational stressors and effectiveness at the group or organizational level of analysis.

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CHAPTER 3 RESEARCH METHODOLOGY This chapter outlines the research methodology used in this study. It is comprised of four sections: (1) research design, (2) instrumentation, (3) data collection procedures, and (4) data analysis. The purpose of the study is to investigate the relationship between occupational stress and organizational effectiveness. Research Design Design This quantitative study followed a correlational and non-experimental design, since both random assignment of subjects and manipulation of the constructs were absent (Campbell & Stanley, 1966). The construct of job stress is operationalized in terms of the scale and subscales of the Job Stress Survey (Spielberger, 1994), while the construct of organizational effectiveness is operationalized in terms of “Return on Human Resource” performance appraisal ratings, employee satisfaction ratings from the annual Worldwide Employee Survey, and quality metrics used by the organization. The correlational design involves the measurement of relationships between independent and dependent variables. With the absence of random assignment or manipulation of the independent variable, any relationships found in the study may not be inferred as necessarily causal. Sample and Population The census of 578 employees from the Logistics Division of a medium-sized Fortune 500 distributor of microcomputer hardware and software products headquartered in the Southeastern United States served as the participants for the study.

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Employees in the Logistics Division are dispersed across six geographic locations within the United States, with location sizes ranging from 48 employees to 125 employees. Occupations within the Logistics Division include: (1) Administrative, (2) Cashier, (3) Inventory Control, (4) Packing, (5) Picking, (6) Receiving, (7) Returns, (8) Scheduling, (9) Material Handler, (10) Configuration, and (11) Manager. Each location within the Logistics Division performs the same duties. Instrumentation Job Stress Survey The Job Stress Survey was selected for this study on the basis of its psychometric properties and its ability to provide comparison scores across departments or groups. The Job Stress Survey (JSS; Spielberger, 1994) was designed to assess generic sources of occupational stress encountered by men and women employed in a variety of work settings. Each of the 30 JSS items describes generic, job-related stressor events. The JSS focuses on aspects of work situations that often result in psychological strain and assesses perceived severity (intensity) and frequency of occurrence of 30 stressor events. Most measures of occupational stress evaluate the degree of agreement or disagreement with statements describing sources of workrelated stress. In contrast, the JSS inquires about the severity of specific stressor events as perceived by an individual worker and how often each stressor was experienced during the past six months. Assessing the perceived severity and frequency of each work-related stressor brings to the measurement of occupational stress the state-trait distinction that has proven to be critically important in research on the assessment of emotions and personality (Spielberger, 1983; 1988).

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Items were selected to describe the generic sources of stress in a range of occupational settings for managerial, professional, and administrative employees. Respondents are asked first to rate, on a 9-point scale, the relative amount (severity) of stress that they perceive to be associated with each of the 30 JSS job stressors (e.g., excessive paperwork, poorly motivated coworkers, or frequent interruptions) compared with a standard event (assignment of disagreeable duties), which is assigned a value of 5. Next, respondents are asked to indicate on a scale, ranging from 0 to 9+ days, the number of days in which each stressor was experienced during the previous six months. The JSS provides overall scores on severity of stressful experience (based on the individual’s comparison of each of the 29 severity items with the standard stressor item that is assigned a constant mid-scale value of 5), frequency of stressful experience (representing the average frequency of occurrence of the 30 JSS stressor events during the past six months), and a Job Stress Index (provides an estimate of the overall level of occupational stress based on the sum of the cross products of the severity and frequency scores). There are also job pressure and lack of organizational support subscales (10 items each) for which severity and frequency scores can be computed. In addition to providing information about specific work-related stressors that affect individual employees, the JSS can also be used to identify sources of occupational stress for groups of workers and to evaluate and compare the stress levels of employees in different departments or divisions within the same organization. Reliability and Validity o f the Job Stress Survey Normative data for the JSS were obtained by administering the survey to heterogeneous samples of 2,173 adults (1,218 males, 955 females) employed in

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business and industry (393 managerial, professional, and clerical employees working at the corporate headquarters of two large industrial companies), university (1,398 administrators, faculty, and associates with a large state university located in an urban setting), and military (382 senior military officers who were participating in a program for high-ranking officers considered as qualified for possible promotion) settings (Spielberger & Vagg, 1999). The alpha coefficients for the Job Stress Index (JS-X), Job Stress Severity (JSS), and Job Stress Frequency (JS-F) indicated a high level of internal consistency for all groups (a range = .77 to .93; median a = .88), except for the small sample (n=24) of female military officers. Test-retest reliability coefficients for the JSS scales and subscales are substantially lower than the measures of internal consistency, ranging from .48 to .75 over various time intervals. No significant occupational level or gender differences were found for either the JS-X or JS-S scores based on all 30 JSS items. However, managerial/professional level employee groups reported experiencing the 30 stressor events more frequently than clerical/skilled maintenance employee groups (F[l, 1781] = 13.60, p< .001). In similar analyses, senior military personnel groups reported experiencing the JSS stressor events more frequently than the managerial/professional groups (F[l, 1361] = 13.25, p < .001); no differences were found for the JS-X and JS-S scores of these groups. One large-scale study (N=2389) conducted by Spielberger & Reheiser (1994a) reported reliabilities for the severity, frequency, and index measures in three occupational groups (university, corporate, military) as high, suggesting a good level of internal consistency (see Table 1). Content and construct validity for the JSS are

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described as good; the measure uses a frequency based response scale with a specified time period, and exploratory factor analyses support the proposed structure of two distinct subscales measuring job pressure and organizational support. Table 1 Scale Reliabilities for the Job Stress Survey Sector University Gender Male Female Corporate Male Female Military Male Female Severity Scale .91 .93 .88 .90 .84 .81 Frequency Scale .89 .92 .88 .89 .82 .74 Job Stress Index .89 .93 .85 .88 .79 .71

Tumage and Spielberger (1991) administered the JSS and Rotter’s (1966) Locus of Control (LOC) scale to 775 employees working at the headquarters of a large industrial corporation. A total of 322 employees responded to a series of voluntary biographical questions and were classified as Managers, Professional/Engineers, or Clerical personnel. The managerial group was 97% male (Mage = 50 years), the professional group was 87% male (Mage = 42 years), and the clerical group was 23% male (Mage = 26 years). In this study, small but significant (p < .01) positive correlations of the LOC scale were found with three of the five JSS scales. Employees who reported less internal control had higher overall JS-X Index and LS-F Frequency scores and rated the 10 Job Pressure stressor events as more stressful than employees with stronger internal control. These findings were consistent with previous research

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guided by Karasek’s (1979) model in which employees who reported less control over their work environment reported higher levels of occupational stress. Spielberger and Reheiser (1994b) administered the JSS to 1,588 faculty, administrative, and clerical staff associated with a large state university (648 males, 940 females) and compared their JSS scale and subscale scores with those of the corporate employees tested by Turnage and Spielberger (1991). For the university employees, internal consistency alpha coefficients were .89 or higher for the JS-X, JS-S, and JS-F scale scores, based on all 30 items, and .80 or higher on the 10-item JP and LS subscales. Job Pressure and Lack o f Organizational Support Subscales Construct validity of the JSS was established on the basis of a large combined sample of corporate and university employees (931 females, 857 males). Item 1A, the standard against which the other severity items were compared, was not included in the validity analyses because of its constant value of five. The ratings of the remaining 29 JSS Severity items were evaluated in separate principal components factor analyses for females and males. The eigenvalues in the factor analyses of responses to the JSS items for the combined sample indicated that two relatively strong factors could be extracted (see Table 2). Factor analyses of the Frequency and Index scores verified the factor structure that was found in the analyses of the Severity items. Based on the content of the items with the highest loadings, the two factors were labeled Job Pressure (JP) and Lack of Organizational Support (LS).

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Table 2 Factor Analysis of JSS Items and Subscale Development Severity Ratings Job Pressure Item 4AB 7AB 9AB 11AB 16AB 23 AB 24AB 25AB 26AB 27AB 3AB 5AB 6AB 8AB 10AB 13AB 14AB 18AB 21AB 29AB Eigenvalue Principal Promax F .53 .47 .51 .70 .56 .67 .59 .71 .79 .52 M .58 .64 .46 .77 .77 .46 .57 .37 .67 .48 .42 .54 .92 .60 .32 .76 .67 .43 .69 .47 .46 .48 .78 .58 .38 .65 .58 .62 .59 .52 Lack of Support F M Frequency Ratings Job Pressure F .49 .63 .53 .64 .67 .70 .42 .69 .70 .42 M .47 .74 .47 .57 .80 .69 .41 .63 .73 .35 .35 .41 .88 .68 (.28) (.20) .69 .50 .49 .78 .46 .44 .44 .81 .65 (.20) .66 .51 .52 .71 .47 Lack of Support F M Item Index Scores Job Pressure F .44 .63 .40 .65 .66 .65 .35 .67 .72 .41 M .46 .73 .34 .52 .82 .59 .39 .53 .68 .34 .38 .39 .88 .67 (.27) .66 .52 .51 .74 .44 .45 .46 .78 .65 (.24) .63 .51 .58 .65 .49 Lack of Support F M

6.9 5.3

5.7 4.3

2.1 5.2

2.4 4.2

6.16 4.71

5.88 4.53

2.3 4.4

2.48 4.08

5.90 4.37

5.4 3.8

2.3 4.2

2.52 3.92

Alpha coefficients for the three Job Pressure measures (Index, Severity, Frequency) ranged from .75 to .88 (median a = .83) for the three employee groups. The mean JP-X and JP-F scores of the managerial/professional groups were significantly

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higher than those of the clerical/skilled maintenance employee groups (p < .001) due primarily to the consistently higher Frequency scores of the managerial/professional employees. Significant gender main effects (p < .01) were also found, reflecting the higher Frequency scores of females at both occupational levels. The JP-X scores of the senior military officers were substantially higher (p < .001) than those of the managerial/professional groups, due to their higher Frequency scores. The Lack of Organizational Support alpha coefficients for the managerial/ professional and clerical/skilled maintenance groups were all .80 or higher (median a = .83) but were somewhat lower for the more homogeneous senior military officers (a ranged from .75 to .83; median a = .75). The LS-S scores of the managerial/professional groups were significantly higher (p < .02) than those of the clerical/skilled maintenance groups; males in the managerial/professional and clerical/skilled maintenance groups had higher (p < .05) LS-S scores than females. In contrast, the male military officers had lower LS-X scores than any other group, primarily due to their relatively low LS-F scores. Demographics Demographic information was collected from survey respondents so that the findings can be better interpreted in light of some of their demographic and background characteristics. Specific demographic information collected on the survey included age,
gender, educational level, m arital status, ethnicity, and jo b type (e.g., m an agerial/

professional, clerical, skilled maintenance).

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Measures o f Organizational Effectiveness Historical data on measures of organizational effectiveness were analyzed on a number of organizational units (geographically dispersed Logistics Centers) within a medium-sized division of a Fortune 500 technical products provider. The indicators of organizational effectiveness were chosen for a number of reasons: (1) to overcome potential method variance issues by collecting data from a variety of sources; (2) for their fit to the conceptual framework (i.e., individual attitudes— * individual outcomes— » shared group attitudes— * group outcomes/organizational effectiveness) and goals of the study; and (3) for their relevance to the research site. The following indicators of organizational effectiveness were analyzed for this research study. Employee Motivation. The Employee Motivation rating is based on employee responses to the question “I am motivated to help [employer] be successful'’'’ on the company’s annual organizational climate survey administered in November 2003. Employees rated this question on a 5-point scale, where a rating of 1 reflects “strongly disagree” and a rating of 5 reflects “strongly agree.” Employee Satisfaction. The Employee Satisfaction rating is based on employee responses to the question “ Overall, I am satisfied with my jo b ” on the company’s annual organizational climate survey administered in November 2003. Employees rated this question on a 5-point scale, where a rating of 1 reflects “strongly disagree” and a rating of 5 reflects “strongly agree.” Picking Audit Defect Percentage. The Picking Audit Defect Percentage reflects the results of monthly audits on the accuracy in picking specified products from inventory.

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The scores were collected for each Logistics Center and reflect the percentage of inaccurate picks for the month of April 2004. Packing Audit Defect Percentage. The Packing Audit Defect Percentage reflects the results of monthly audits on the accuracy in packing specified products into shipment containers. The scores were collected for each Logistics Center and reflect the percentage of inaccurate packing activities for the month of April 2004. Putaway Audit Defect Percentage. The Putaway Audit Defect Percentage reflects the results of monthly audits on the accuracy in activities related to the receipt of material, determination of its storage or other destination, movement to that location and the stocking and physical arrangement as required. The scores were collected for each Logistics Center and reflect the percentage of inaccurate putaway activities for the month of April 2004. Receiving Audit Defect Percentage. The Receiving Audit Defect Percentage reflects the results of monthly audits on the accuracy of processing incoming material against purchase orders, customer returns, verifying proper item, quantity and physical condition, moving to stocking locations, and performing receipt update and documentation duties. The scores were collected for each Logistics Center and reflect the percentage of inaccurate receiving functions for the month of April 2004. Return on Human Resources Rating. The Return on Human Resources Rating is the company’s semi-annual employee performance evaluation ratings, which were performed in December 2004. Employees are rated on a 6-point scale where a rating of 1 reflects an evaluation of “too new” and a rating of 6 reflects an evaluation of “consistently exceeds expectations.”

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Turnover Intention. The Turnover Intention rating is based on employee responses to the question “Iplan on staying at [employer] fo r at least the next 12 months'’’ ’ on the company’s annual organizational climate survey administered in November 2003. Employees rated this question on a 5-point scale, where a rating of 1 reflects “strongly disagree” and a rating of 5 reflects “strongly agree.” Data Collection Procedures Procedure The collection of data took place from January 2004 to April 2004, and the researcher complied with the University’s policies regarding the protection of human subjects. Study participants were initially notified about their role in the study during monthly “all hands” meetings in October and November 2003. Subsequently, employees received a notification letter in January 2004, which explained the purpose of the study and their employer’s commitment to understanding the sources of stress that employees face (see Appendix A). This letter, along with an Informed Consent Form, Job Stress Survey packet, and return envelope, was attached to employees’ biweekly paycheck. In addition to publicity flyers posted at each location to encourage participation, the names of each employee who returned the survey to his or her location’s Human Resources Department were entered into a drawing for an American Express Gift Cheque. Human Resource Managers from each of the Logistics Centers mailed the packet of completed Job Stress Surveys from their locations to the researcher. All completed JSS questionnaires were scored via the JSS computerized scoring program, and the T-scores for the JSX, JPX, and LSX scales were entered into SPSS for analysis.

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Data Analysis Initial analyses consisted of a descriptive overview of the study sample characteristics, including the frequencies, means, and standard deviations related to the various demographic variables obtained as well as the results achieved from the Overall, Severity, Frequency, Job Pressure, and Lack of Occupational Support scales and subscales of the Job Stress Survey. Hypothesis 1 was tested by calculating bivariate Pearson Product Moment Correlations between the various JSS scales and subscales and the measures of organizational effectiveness to explore the relationship between occupational stress and organizational effectiveness. Hypothesis 2 was tested by conducting Analyses of Variance (ANOVA), to test for organizational unit differences in occupational stress levels and measures of organizational effectiveness. Given the final sample size, a series of exploratory regression analyses were performed to investigate the explanatory power of the different components of occupational stress (job pressure, lack of organizational support) on various measures of organizational effectiveness (turnover intention, employee satisfaction, employee motivation).

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CHAPTER 4 RESULTS Overview This chapter presents the quantitative research findings of this study investigating the relationship between occupational stress and organizational effectiveness. A significant, direct relationship between individual employees’ occupational stress levels and various performance indicators was hypothesized in Hypothesis 1. In Hypothesis 2, it was hypothesized that organizational units whose employees reported high levels of occupational stress would have lower scores on measures of organizational effectiveness than those divisions reporting low levels of occupational stress. Information in this chapter is presented in three sections. First, a detailed description of the demographic characteristics of the participants in the study is provided followed by the mean scores for each of the variables included in the study. Next, the internal consistency of each of the JSS scales used in the study is examined. Finally, the results for each of the proposed research hypotheses and exploratory analyses are addressed. Descriptive Characteristics of the Sample From the initial solicitation of 578 study participants, 226 returned the Job Stress Survey questionnaire. Thirteen surveys were eliminated from the final sample because they were returned with insufficient responses to obtain valid Job Stress scale and subscale scores. The final sample size achieved for the study was 213 participants. Thus, valid responses were received from 36.9 % of the potential participants who were sent the questionnaire.

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As shown in Table 3, respondent location was nearly equally distributed among the six Logistics Centers participating in the study. Respondents from Location D comprised the largest portion of participants (18.8%) with 40, while those from Locations B and E comprised the smallest portion (15%) with 32 each. Given the type of work performed in the Logistics Centers, it is not surprising that the majority of workers identified themselves as belonging to the Skilled Maintenance occupational group (49.3%), while the remaining participants were nearly evenly split between the Managerial/Professional (29.6%) and Clerical (21.1%) occupational groups. The majority of respondents reported that they had attended two years of college or less (65.4%). Table 3 Location, Occupational Group, and Educational Level Demographics Characteristic Location A B C D E F Managerial/Professional Clerical Skilled Maintenance 8th grade or less 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16+ Missing data Group % 16.9% 15% 16.9% 18.8% 15% 17.4% 29.6% 21.1% 49.3% 1.9% .5% .5% 2.8% 31.5% 14.1% 14.1% 6.6% 16.9% 11.2% N 36 32 36 40 32 37 63 45 105 4 1 1 6 67 30 30 14 36 24

Occupational Group

Years of Education

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As shown in Table 4, a slight majority of the study participants identified themselves as male (51.6%), and less than one-half (43.2%) identified themselves as female. Study participants varied in age from 21 to 57 years. The mean age of the entire sample was 36.65 years (SD=9.23), with females and males being nearly the same age (Mfemak= 37.09, SDfem aie= 8.38; Mm a]e= 36.44, SDm aie= 10.00). Table 4 Gender and Age Demographics Characteristic Gender (+ row above Group Male Female Missing data 21-25 26-30 31-35 36-40 41-45 46-50 51-55 56-60 Missing data % 51.6% 43.2% 5.2% 7.5% 7.5% 11.3% 11.3% 7.5% 6.1% 4.7% .5% 43.6% N 110 92 11 16 16 24 24 16 13 10 1 93

Age

The majority of respondents were married (46.5%) or single (33.8%), and they predominantly identified themselves as Caucasian (45.5%); of the remainder, 23.9% identified themselves as Hispanic, 11.3% identified themselves as African American, 1.4% identified themselves as Asian, and 6.6% identified themselves as “other” (see Table 5).

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Table 5 Marital Status and Ethnicity Demographics Characteristic Marital Status Group Single Married Widowed Separated Divorced Missing data African American Asian Hispanic Caucasian Other Missing data % 33.8% 46.5% .5% .5% 9.4% 9.4% 11.3% 1.4% 23.9% 45.5% 6.6% 11.3% N 72 99 1 1 20 20 24 3 51 97 14 24

Ethnicity

Description of Responses on Study Variables Job Stress Survey There were a total of 213 employees whose responses on the Job Stress Survey permitted the calculation of scale scores. The possible T-scores on each of the various Job Stress Survey (JSS) scales range from 0 to 100, with higher scores indicating higher levels of perceived stress. The mean score on the Job Stress Index (JSX), which was used to assess participants’ perceived level of overall occupational stress, was 50.47 (SD=11.81) for the entire sample. The mean score on the Job Stress Severity (JSS) scale, which was used to assess participants’ perceptions about the severity of occupational stressors, was 48.88 (SD=11.94) for the sample; and the mean score on the Job Stress Frequency (JSF) scale, which was used to assess participants’ perceptions about the frequency with which they experienced occupational stressors, was 50.34 (SD= 10.77) among all participants. Since each of these scale scores was near the

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midpoint of the JSS ranges, these scores indicate that, when taken as one group, participants reported “average” levels of overall occupational stress in terms of the presence of occupational stressors, their severity, and their frequency. The mean score on the Job Pressure Index (JPX), which measures components of occupational stress associated with the job itself, was slightly lower, at 47.00 (SD=10.81), as were corresponding scores on the Job Pressure Severity (JPS) and Job Pressure Frequency (JPF) scales (M=48.04, SD=12.44; M=46.92, SD=9.92 respectively). These scores, which are below the midpoint of the range, indicate that participants’ perceived occupational stress attributed most directly to aspects of their job’s structure, design, or duties (e.g., overtime, meeting deadlines, excessive paperwork) was still near “average,” but was slightly lower than perceived stressors attributed to other work-related factors. Mean scores on the Lack of Organizational Support Index (LSX), which measures perceived lack of support from supervisors, coworkers, or the policies and procedures of the organization, were slightly higher at 52.27 (SD=10.93). Mean scores on the Lack of Organizational Support Severity (LSS) and Lack of Organizational Support Frequency (LSF) scales were 48.62 (SD=10.96) and 52.42 (SD=10.24), respectively. These scores, which are slightly above the midpoint of the range, indicate that participants’ perceived occupational stress related to events involving other people (e.g., difficulties with supervisor or co-workers) or organizational policies and procedures was higher than their perceived occupational stress related to specific aspects of the job itself, as evidenced by scores on the JPX that were slightly below the midpoint (M=47.00). In sum, while there was some variability among the scores on the

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various scales of the Job Stress Survey, each of the scale scores was within the range of the normative sample. Specific differences that were found in the scores among the six Logistics Centers will be discussed later in this chapter. Employee Survey The mean score on the turnover question from the employee survey, which assessed employees’ agreement with a statement that they plan to stay with their employer for the next 12 months, was 3.97 (SD=1.02). The possible scores on this item can range from 1 (“disagree strongly”) to 5 (“agree strongly”), with higher scores indicating greater intentions to remain with the company. Although the responses of participants at each location suggest their intent to remain with their employer, there was some variability in the degree of their intent. Specific differences among the turnover intentions of the six Logistics Centers will be discussed in greater detail later in this chapter. The mean score on the overall satisfaction question from the employee survey was 3.56 (SD=1.28). The possible scores on this item can range from 1 (“disagree strongly”) to 5 (“agree strongly”), with higher scores indicating higher overall job satisfaction. In general, the results reflect that most participants were at least somewhat satisfied with their jobs, with scores ranging from 3.00 to 4.06. The mean score on the employee motivation question from the employee survey, which assessed their motivation to help the company be successful, was 3.55 (SD=.99). The possible scores on this item can range from 1 (“disagree strongly”) to 5 (“agree strongly”), with higher scores indicating higher levels of motivation toward aiding the company’s success. Although the responses of participants at each location suggest they are motivated to

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help their employer succeed, there was some variability in the degree of their motivation, which will be discussed later in this chapter. Performance/Work Outcomes The mean score on participants’ semi-annual performance appraisal ratings was 3.55 (SD=.99). The possible scores on this item range from 1 (“too new”) to 6 (“consistently exceeds requirements”), with higher scores indicating higher performance appraisal ratings. In general, the results reflect that most participants were near the average rating of “meets requirements,” although there was some variability among the locations, which will be discussed in greater detail later in this chapter. The percentage of inaccurate picks of items from inventory in one month across all Logistics Centers was 5.16%, with one location reporting the highest picking defects percentage of 18.84% and another reporting the lowest percentage of picking defects (.40%) for the month. The percentage of inaccurate packing of items for shipment in one month across all Logistics Centers was .30%, with the highest percentage of packing defects being .74% and the lowest percentage of packing defects being 0% for the month. The percentage of inaccurate putaway activities in one month across all Logistics Centers was 1.35%, with one location reporting the highest putaway defect percentage of 6.49% and another location reporting the lowest percentage of putaway defects (0%). Finally, the average percentage of inaccurate receiving activities across all Logistics Centers in one month was .31%, with one location reporting the highest percentage of receiving defects (1.35%) and other locations reporting no (0%) receiving defects for the month.

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Reliability of Job Stress Survey Instrument for Study Sample Job Stress Scale The Job Stress Scale is made up of three components: (1) Job Stress Index, (2) Job Stress Severity, and (3) Job Stress Frequency. The internal consistency of these three components for this sample, as measured by Chronbach’s alpha, were .93, .94, and .92, respectively, which is slightly higher than previously cited reliability coefficients of .89, .91, and .89 (Spielberger & Reheiser, 1994b). Nunnally and Bernstein (1994) recommend instruments with reliability coefficients above .70. Therefore, the Job Stress Scale for this study met the requirement for internal consistency. For an overview of the mean, range, standard deviation, and Chronbach’s alpha for this scale, refer to Table
6.

Job Pressure Scale The Job Pressure Scale is made up of three components: (1) Job Pressure Index, (2) Job Pressure Severity, and (3) Job Pressure Frequency. The internal consistency of these three components for this sample, as measured by Chronbach’s alpha, were .87, .91, and .84, respectively, which is slightly higher than previously cited reliability coefficients, which were between .75 and .88 (Spielberger & Reheiser, 1994a). Thus, the requirement for internal consistency was met. For an overview of the mean, range, standard deviation, and Chronbach’s alpha for this scale, refer to Table 6.

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Lack o f Organizational Support Scale The Lack of Organizational Support Scale is comprised of three components: (1) Lack of Organizational Support Index, (2) Lack of Organizational Support Severity, and (3) Lack of Organizational Support Frequency. The internal consistency of these three components for this sample, as measured by Chronbach’s alpha, were .85, .86, and .84, respectively, which is slightly higher than previously cited reliability coefficients, which were between .75 and .83 (Spielberger & Reheiser, 1994a). These were above Nunnally and Bernstein’s (1994) recommendation of .70. Thus, the Lack of Organizational Support Scale for this study met the requirement for internal consistency. For an overview of the mean, range, standard deviation, and Chronbach’s alpha for this scale, refer to Table 6. Table 6 Mean, Range, Standard Deviation, and Chronbach’s Alpha for Job Stress Survey Scales
Scale Mean Range Standard Deviation Chronbach’s Alpha

Job Stress Index Severity Frequency Job Pressure Index Severity Frequency Lack o f Organizational Support Index Severity Frequency

50.47 48.88 50.34

31-99 18-80 30-81

11.81 11.94 10.77

.93 .94 .92

47.00 48.04 46.92

32-91 22-80 29-72

10.81 12.44 9.91

.87 .91 .84

52.27 48.62 52.42

36-88 18-73 34-80

10.93 10.96 10.24

.85 .86 .84

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Research Question and Hypotheses Analyses A review of the occupational stress and job performance literature highlighted the fact that little is currently known about the influence of individual employees’ occupational stress levels on the effectiveness of the organization in which they are employed. In order to address this void in the literature and to overcome method variance problems, an occupational stress measure was collected from job incumbents, while measures of organizational effectiveness were obtained from a variety of sources. Furthermore, answers to the following research question and hypotheses will provide researchers with insight into the influence of occupational stress on organizational effectiveness and will benefit human resource development practitioners, managers, and organizations as a whole as they strive toward creating a healthy workforce while tackling the difficulties related to measuring and enhancing organizational effectiveness. Research Question Is there is a relationship between individual employees’ occupational stress levels and the performance of organizational units as shown by employee performance appraisal ratings, quality metrics, and employee satisfaction? Hypothesis One There is a significant, negative relationship between employees’ reported level of occupational stress and organizational effectiveness as shown by employee performance appraisal ratings, quality metrics, and employee satisfaction.

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Analysis o f Hypothesis One and Findings Organizational effectiveness measures obtained for this study were collected at two levels of analysis (individual and organizational), which necessitated the use of two types of analyses. The magnitude and direction of the relationship between employees’ reported levels of occupational stress, as shown by individual scores on the three JSS scales and four measures of organizational effectiveness at the individual level of analysis (turnover intention, employee satisfaction, employee motivation, performance appraisal ratings), were tested using a Pearson Product Moment correlation. For organizational level analyses, an aggregate score for the various JSS scales was calculated using the “AGGREGATE” command in SPSS for each Logistics Center and compared with the four measures of organizational effectiveness at the organizational level of analysis (audit defect picking percentage, audit defect packing percentage, audit defect putaway percentage, audit defect receiving percentage). In support of Hypothesis 1, scores on the Job Stress Index were significantly correlated with each of the four individual-level organizational effectiveness measures. There was a significant, negative correlation between the Job Stress Index and employee intention to remain with the organization (r=-.500, p<.01), employee overall satisfaction (r=-.632, p<.01), employee motivation to help their organization succeed (r=-.640, p<.01), and employee performance appraisal ratings (r=-.219, p<.01). These results suggest that participants who had higher levels of overall occupational stress had lower scores on the various measures of organizational effectiveness (see Table 7). Although a small sample size among the aggregate Job Stress Index scores for each location (N=6) prohibited an adequately powerful statistical test of the correlation

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among the organizational-level measures, an examination of the magnitude of the correlations indicates a positive relationship between location scores on the Job Stress Index and audit defect putaway percentage (r=.717) and audit defect receiving percentage (r=.817) (see Table 8). These results suggest that when participants at a given location had higher levels overall occupational stress, they had a higher percentage of defects in putaway and receiving activities. In support of Hypothesis 1, scores on the Job Pressure Index were significantly correlated with all four of the individual-level measures of organizational effectiveness. There was a significant, negative correlation between the Job Pressure Index and employee intention to remain with the organization (r=-.489, p<.01), employee overall satisfaction (r=-.607, p<.01), employee motivation to help their organization succeed (r=-.585, p<.01), and employee performance appraisal ratings (r=-.170, p<.05). These results suggest that participants who had higher levels of occupational stress levels associated with the job itself had lower scores on the various measures of organizational effectiveness (see Table 7). An examination of the aggregate data reveals that there was a positive relationship between location scores on the Job Pressure Index and audit defect putaway percentage (r=.652) and audit defect receiving percentage (r=.750) (see Table 8), which suggests that when participants at a given location had higher levels of occupational stress levels associated with the demands of the job itself, there was a higher percentage of defects in putaway and receiving activities at that location. Scores on the Lack of Organizational Support Index were significantly correlated with the four individual-level measures of organizational effectiveness, in support of Hypothesis 1. There was a significant, negative correlation between the

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Lack of Organizational Support Index and employee intention to turnover (r=-.440, p<.01), employee overall satisfaction (r=-.567, p<.01), employee motivation to help their organization succeed (r=-.604, p<.01), and employee performance appraisal ratings (r=-.244, pc.Ol). These results suggest that when participants had higher levels of occupational stress associated with perceptions about supervisory and coworker support and organizational policies and procedures, they had lower scores on the various measures of organizational effectiveness (see Table 7). An examination of the aggregate data indicates a positive relationship between location scores on the Lack of Organizational Support Index and audit defect putaway percentage (r=780) and audit defect receiving percentage (r=.878) (see Table 8). These results suggest that when participants at a given location had higher occupational stress levels associated with perceptions about supervisory and coworker support, they had a higher percentage of defects in putaway and receiving activities at that location as well.

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Table 7 Pearson Correlations of the Job Stress Survey and Individual-Level Organizational Effectiveness Measures
Variable 1. Job Stress Index 2. Job Pressure Index 2. Job Pressure Index 3. Lack of Support Index 3. Lack of Support Index 4. Turnover Intention 4. Turnover Intention 5. Overall Satisfaction 5. Overall Satisfaction 6. Employee Motivation
.

1 1.000
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2

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625
** *

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1 .0 0 0

.625*** -.489*** -.489***

1.000 -.440*' -.440*'

-.500*** -.500*** -.632***

1.000 1.000
.658*** .658*** 1.000 1.000

-.607*** -.607***

-.567*' -.567*'

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Table 8 Pearson Correlations of the Aggregate Job Stress Survey Scores and Organizational-Level Effectiveness Measures
Variable 1. Job Stress Index 2. Job Pressure Index 2. Job Pressure Index 3. Lack of Support Index 3. Lack of Support Index 4. Picking Defects 4. Picking Defects 5. Packing Defects 5. Packing Defects 6. Putaway Defects

1 1.000
.992** .992** .968** .968** .039

1.000 1.000
.934** .934** 1.000 1.000

-.001 -.001 -.316

.106 .106 -.322

1.000 1.000
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.039 -.323

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Hypothesis Two Organizational units whose employees report high levels of occupational stress will have lower results on measures of organizational effectiveness than those divisions whose employees report low levels of occupational stress. Analysis o f Hypothesis Two and Findings Descriptive statistics highlighted differences in the occupational stress and organizational effectiveness scores among the six Logistics Centers. To test for significant differences among these scores, one-way Analyses of Variance (ANOVAs) were performed with Logistics Center as the grouping variable. In partial support of Hypothesis 2, the data indicate that higher mean scores on the various Job Stress Survey scales were associated with significantly lower scores on approximately one half of the organizational effectiveness measures. Job Stress Index As stated previously in this chapter, the Job Stress Index measures participants’ perceived levels of overall occupational stress. Table 9 illustrates that Logistics Centers reported varying levels of occupational stress, as evidenced by scores on the Job Stress Index (JSX). With possible JSX scores ranging from 0 - 1 0 0 , and low JSX scores indicating lower levels of occupational stress, the mean score for the total population was 50.47, indicating an “average” level of overall occupational stress with a moderate level of variability among participants’ ratings, as evidenced by a standard deviation of 11.81. When compared to all respondents of the Job Stress Survey (Spielberger & Vagg, 1999), the occupational stress levels of participants from Location B and Location D correspond to scores in the 85th and 65th percentiles, respectively.

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Conversely, the occupational stress levels of participants from Location C and Location E correspond to scores in the 40th and 30th percentiles, respectively. Table 9 Descriptive Statistics for Job Stress Index Scores for each Logistics Center Logistics Center Location A Location B Location C Location D Location E Location F Mean 49.56 60.81 46.39 54.45 43.75 47.92 SD 11.66 16.03 7.93 8.50 7.90 9.87 N 36 32 36 40 32 37

While some of the differences between the means of Logistics Centers on JSX scores may appear small, examination of ANOVA results indicates that there was a statistical difference between the JSX scores among organizational units, F(5,207)=T 1.38, p<.05. The Tukey post-hoc test for pairwise comparisons revealed that participants from Location B (M=60.81) reported significantly higher levels of occupational stress than their counterparts at Location A (M=49.56), Location F (M=47.92), Location C (M=46.39), and Location E (37=43.75). In addition, participants from Location D (M=54.45) reported significantly higher occupational stress levels than participants from Location C and Location E. Participants from Location E reported significantly lower occupational stress levels than their counterparts at Location C. All differences were significant at the .05 level. Job Pressure Index As stated previously in this chapter, the Job Pressure Index measures participants’ perceived occupational stress pertaining to the job itself, which can be

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attributed most directly to aspects of their job’s structure, design, or duties. Table 10 illustrates that Logistics Centers reported varying levels of occupational stress pertaining to the job itself, as evidenced by scores on the Job Pressure Index (JPX). With possible JPX scores ranging from 0 - 1 0 0 and low JPX scores indicating lower levels of occupational stress pertaining to the job itself, the mean score for the total population was 47.00, indicating an “average” level of occupational stress pertaining to the job itself, with a moderate level of variability among participants’ ratings, as evidenced by a standard deviation of 10.81. When compared to all respondents to the Job Stress Survey (Spielberger & Vagg, 1999), the occupational stress levels associated with the job itself of participants from Location B and Location D correspond to scores in the 70th and 55th percentiles, respectively. Conversely, the occupational stress levels of participants from Location E and Location C correspond to scores in the 25th and 35th percentiles, respectively. Table 10 Descriptive Statistics for Job Pressure Index Scores for each Logistics Center Logistics Center Location A Location B Location C Location D Location E Location F Mean 46.31 55.19 43.50 51.58 41.00 44.22 SD 10.15 14.64 5.90 9.46 6.17 10.23 N 36 32 36 40 32 37

While some of the differences between the means of Logistics Centers on JPX scores may appear small, examination of ANOVA results indicates that there was a statistical difference between the JPX scores among organizational units, F (5,207)=

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10.15, p<.05 . The Tukey post-hoc test for pairwise comparisons revealed that participants from Location B (M= 55.19) reported significantly higher levels of job pressure than their counterparts at Location A (M=46.31), Location F (M=44.22), Location C (M=43.50), and Location E (M=41.00). Participants from Location D (M=51.58) reported significantly higher job pressure levels than participants from Location C (M=43.50), Location E (M=41.00), and Location F (M=44.22). All differences were significant at the .05 level. Lack o f Organizational Support Index As stated previously in this chapter, the Lack of Organizational Support Index measures participants’ perceived lack of support from supervisors, coworkers, or the policies and procedures of the organization. Table 11 illustrates that Logistics Centers reported varying levels of occupational stress related to perceived organizational support, as evidenced by scores on the Lack of Support Index (LSX). With possible LSX scores ranging from 0 - 100, and low LSX scores indicating lower levels of occupational stress, the mean score for the total population was 52.27, indicating a slightly “above average” level of occupational stress pertaining to perceived lack of organizational support, with a moderate level of variability among participants’ ratings, as evidenced by a standard deviation of 10.93. When compared to all respondents of the Job Stress Survey (Spielberger & Vagg, 1999), the occupational stress levels associated with perceived lack of organizational support of participants from Location B and Location D correspond to scores in the 85th and 70th percentiles, respectively. Conversely, the occupational stress levels of participants from Location E and Location C correspond to scores in the 55th and 60th percentiles, respectively.

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Table 11

Descriptive Statistics for Lack of Organizational Support Index Scores for each Logistics Center Logistics Center Location A Location B Location C Location D Location E Location F Mean 50.81 60.19 49.42 53.63 47.59 52.19 SD 11.19 14.16 9.27 8.89 8.69 9.33 N 36 32 36 40 32 37

While some of the differences between the means of Logistics Centers on LSX scores may appear small, examination of ANOVA results indicates that there was a statistical difference between the LSX scores among organizational units, F(5,207)=5.89, p<.05. The Tukey post-hoc test for pairwise comparisons revealed that participants from Location B (M=60.19) reported significantly higher levels of occupational stress related to perceived organizational support than their counterparts at Location F (M=52.19), Location A (M=50.81), Location C (M=49.42), and Location E (M=47.59). All differences were significant at the .05 level. Organizational Effectiveness Measures When corresponding organizational effectiveness measures were examined, it was found that Logistics Centers reported varying intentions to turnover. With possible turnover intention ratings ranging from 1 - 5 , and low ratings indicating less likelihood of the employee’s intention to remain with their employer, the mean score for the total population was 3.97 (SD=1.02), indicating a relatively high likelihood of remaining with their employer (see Table 12). Analysis of Variance indicated there were no

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significant differences between Logistics Centers’ employees’ intentions to remain with their employer. Table 12 Descriptive Statistics for Turnover Intention for each Logistics Center Logistics Center Location A Location B Location C Location D Location E Location F Mean 4.03 3.88 3.97 3.85 4.41 3.73 SD 1.03 0.87 0.97 1.08 0.91 1.15 N 36 32 36 40 32 37

When the overall satisfaction measure was examined, it was found that Logistics Centers’ employees reported varying levels of overall satisfaction. With possible overall satisfaction ratings ranging from 1 - 5 , and low ratings indicating lower overall satisfaction levels, the mean score for the total population was 3.56 (SD:=1.28), indicating a moderately high overall satisfaction level (see Table 13). Table 13 Descriptive Statistics for Overall Satisfaction for each Logistics Center Logistics Center Location A Location B Location C Location D Location E Location F Mean 3.44 3.00 3.83 3.50 4.06 3.51 SD 1.52 1.39 1.11 1.20 0.95 1.26 N 36 32 36 40 32 37

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While some of the differences between the means of Logistics Centers on overall satisfaction scores may appear small, examination of ANOVA results indicates that there was a statistical difference between the overall satisfaction scores among organizational units, F(5,207)=2.74, p<.05. The Tukey post-hoc test for pairwise comparisons revealed that participants from Location B (M=3.00; SD=1.39) reported significantly lower levels of overall satisfaction than their counterparts at Location E (M=4.06; SD=.95). When employee motivation ratings were examined, it was found that Logistics Centers’ employees reported varying levels of motivation to help their employer succeed. With possible employee motivation ratings ranging from 1 - 5 , and low ratings indicating lower motivation levels, the mean score for the total population was 3.52 (SD=1.31), indicating a moderately high motivation level (see Table 14). Table 14 Descriptive Statistics for Employee Motivation for each Logistics Center Logistics Center Location A Location B Location C Location D Location E Location F Mean 3.31 3.25 4.03 3.28 4.06 3.24 SD 1.51 1.39 1.08 1.30 0.95 1.30 N 36 32 36 40 32 37

While some of the differences between the means of Logistics Centers on employee motivation ratings may appear small, examination of ANOVA results indicates that there was a statistical difference between the motivation ratings among organizational units, F(5,207)=3.45, p<.01. The Tukey post-hoc test for pairwise

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comparisons revealed that participants from Location F (M=3.24; SD=1.30) and Location B (M=3.25; SD=1.39) reported significantly lower levels of motivation than their counterparts at Location E (M=4.06; SD=.95) and Location C (M=4.03; SD=1.08). When performance appraisal ratings were examined, it was found that Logistics Centers’ employees were assessed as having varying levels of job performance. With possible performance appraisal ratings ranging from 1 (“too new”) to 6 (“consistently exceeds requirements”), with higher scores indicating higher performance appraisal ratings, the mean score for the total population was 3.53 (SD=1.02), indicating a rating between “low meets requirements” and “meets requirements” (see Table 15). Table 15 Descriptive Statistics for Performance Appraisal Ratings for each Logistics Center Logistics Center Location A Location B Location C Location D Location E Location F Mean 3.50 3.88 4.03 2.89 4.19 2.82 SD 1.06 0.79 1.00 0.65 0.78 0.90 N 36 32 36 38 32 34

While some of the differences between the means of Logistics Centers on performance appraisal ratings may appear small, examination of ANOVA results indicates that there was a statistical difference between the motivation ratings among organizational units, F(5,207)=15.36, p<.01. The Tukey post-hoc test for pairwise comparisons revealed that participants from Location E (M=4.19; SD=.78) received significantly higher ratings than their counterparts at Location A (M= 3.50; SD=1.06), Location D (M=2.89; SD=.65), and Location F (M=2.82; SD=.90). Participants from

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Location D (M=2.89; SD=.65) received significantly lower performance appraisal ratings than their counterparts at Location A (M= 3.50; SD=1.06), Location B (M= 3.88; SD=.79), and Location C (M=4.03; SD=1.08). When Logistics Centers’ productivity measures were examined it was found that the six locations were assessed as having varying levels of performance on picking, packing, putaway, and receiving activities. With higher percentages from the monthly audits indicating higher percentages of errors in a given activity, the mean error percentage across all locations was 5.15% for picking activities, .30% for packing activities, 1.35% for putaway activities, and .31% for receiving activities. Table 16 shows the range in error rates among the six Logistics Centers for the four aggregate productivity measures. Table 16 Descriptive Statistics for Aggregate Productivity Measures for each Logistics Center Logistics Center Audit Picking Defect Percentage Location A Location B Location C Location D Location E Location F Audit Packing Defect Percentage Location A Location B Location C Location D Location E Location F Mean

0.40 8.51 18.84 0.43 1.23 1.53

0.74 0.70 0.00 0.00 0.33 0.00

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Table 16 (continued) Descriptive Statistics for Aggregate Productivity Measures for each Logistics Center Logistics Center Audit Putaway Defect Percentage Location A Location B Location C Location D Location E Location F Audit Receiving Defect Percentage Location A Location B Location C Location D Location E Location F Mean

0.00 6.49 0.94 0.43 0.00 0.26

0.00 1.35 0.00 0.00 0.52 0.00

In support of Hypothesis 2, participants from Location B, which reported significantly higher levels of overall occupational stress, occupational stress related to job pressure, and occupational stress related to lack of organizational support than Locations C, E, and F, reported significantly lower levels of overall satisfaction than participants at Location E. Similarly, participants from Location B reported significantly lower levels of motivation than Locations C and E. Finally, when

aggregate productivity measures were examined, Location B reported a higher percentage of picking errors compared to Locations E and F, and higher percentages of packing, putaway, and receiving errors than Locations C, E, and F. Contrary to expectations, there were no significant differences in the turnover intentions or

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performance appraisal ratings of participants from Location B and those from locations whose participants reported significantly lower levels of occupational stress. Additional Analyses Multiple regression analysis was not a part of the original study proposal because it was not necessary to answer the study’s primary research question concerning the relationship between individual employees’ occupational stress levels and the performance of Logistics Centers. However, given an adequate final sample size of 213 participants, it seems appropriate to utilize the interpretive power of multiple regression to follow on previous seminal research conducted in this area (Cooper & Sloan, 1985; Jamal, 1984) and to seek additional insights from the study data to determine if certain components of occupational stress are better predictors of organizational effectiveness than others. A series of multiple regression analyses were conducted to explain the extent to which the predictor variables (JPX and LSX scores), individually and in combination, explained a proportion of the variance in the criterion variables (turnover intention, overall satisfaction, employee motivation, performance appraisal ratings) with which they were shown (see Table 7) to have significant correlations. Because the Job Stress Index (JSX) scores are comprised of the Job Pressure Index (JPX) and Lack of Organizational Support Index (LSX) scores, these dimensions were highly correlated with the JSX (JPX - r = .884, LSX - r = .886). This resulted in a multicollinearity effect. Since the Beta weights for a simple regression of the JSX and criterion variables equals the correlation coefficients presented in Table 7, only simultaneous multiple regression analyses for the JPX and LSX and each of the

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criterion variables were performed. The JPX and LSX were not as highly correlated with each other as they were with the JSX (r = .625). Multiple regression analyses result in an F statistic, Beta weights, and R2, the coefficient of determination. The F statistic specifies the extent to which the predictor variable(s) significantly relate to the criterion variable. The Beta weights specify how each predictor variable associates with the criterion variable. The coefficient of determination, R2, determines the extent to which the predictor variables can predict the variance in the criterion variable. Turnover Intention In the first exploratory regression analysis, the Job Pressure Index and Lack of Organizational Support Index were the predictor variables, and turnover intention was the criterion variable. The results indicate that job pressure and lack of organizational support, in combination, explained 27% of the variance in turnover intention (R2=.269, R adj=.262, F=38.61, p<001). On closer examination of the partial regression coefficients (see Table 17), job pressure (13=-.35, p<.001) and lack of organizational support (13=-.22, p<.01) were each significant predictors of turnover intention.

Table 17 Simultaneous Multiple Regression Analysis of Job Pressure and Lack of Organizational Support Subscales on Turnover Intentions Independent Variable Job Pressure Lack of Organizational Support Standardized Coefficients 1 3 -.351 -.221 t Sig.

-4.649 -2.919

.000 .004

Vr . 1-.2 t-,2 - w -. Note. R2=.269, R2adj=262, F(2,210)=38.614, p<.001

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Overall Employee Satisfaction In the next exploratory regression analysis, the Job Pressure Index and Lack of Organizational Support Index were the predictor variables, and overall employee satisfaction was the criterion variable. The results of the regression analysis indicate that job pressure and lack of organizational support, in combination, explained 43% of the variance in overall employee satisfaction (R2=.426, R2a(jj=.421, F=77.99, p<001). On closer examination of the partial regression coefficients (see Table 18), job pressure (B=-.42, p<.001) and lack of organizational support (B=-.31, p<.001) were each significant predictors of overall employee satisfaction. Table 18 Simultaneous Multiple Regression Analysis of Job Pressure and Lack of Organizational Support Subscales on Overall Employee Satisfaction Independent Variable Job Pressure Lack of Organizational Support
7

Standardized Coefficients B -.415 -.307

t

Sig.

-6.205 -4.587

.000 .000

A . T->2 T ,2 Note. R2=.426, R2^ . 421, F(2,210)=77.993, p<.001

Employee Motivation In the next exploratory regression analysis, the Job Pressure Index and Lack of Organizational Support Index were the predictor variables, and employee motivation was the criterion variable. The results of the regression analysis indicate that job pressure and lack of organizational support, in combination, explained 44% of the 9 9 variance in employee motivation (R =.436, R adj=.431, F=81.23, p<001). On closer examination of the partial regression coefficients (see Table 19), job pressure (B=-.34,

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pc.OOl) and lack of organizational support (B=-.39, p<.001) were each significant predictors of employee motivation. Table 19 Simultaneous Multiple Regression Analysis of Job Pressure and Lack of Organizational Support Subscales on Employee Motivation Independent Variable Job Pressure Lack of Organizational Support Standardized Coefficients B -.341 -.391 t Sig.

-5.137 -5.898

.000 .000

17 , T l2 T l2 ,.->1 Note. R2=. 436, R2adj=.431, F(2,210)=81.229, p<.001

Performance Appraisal In the next exploratory regression analysis, the Job Pressure Index and Lack of Organizational Support Index were the predictor variables, and employee performance appraisal rating was the criterion variable. The findings of the regression analysis indicate that job pressure and lack of organizational support, in combination, explained
6% of the variance in performance appraisal ratings (R =.060, R adj=.051, F=6.50, p<01). On closer examination of the partial regression coefficients (see Table 20), lack

of organizational support (B=-.23, p<.05) was a significant predictor of performance appraisal ratings. However, job pressure (B=-.03, p=.730) was not a significant predictor of performance appraisal ratings for this sample.

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Table 20

Simultaneous Multiple Regression Analysis of Job Pressure and Lack of Organizational Support Subscales on Performance Appraisal Ratings Independent Variable Job Pressure Lack of Organizational Support Standardized Coefficients B -.030 -.225 t Sig.

-.346 -2.595

.730 .010

Note. R2=.060, R2ad j=.051, F(2,204)=6.500, p<.01 Chapter Summary The results of this study were based on the responses of 213 respondents to the Job Stress Survey. Respondents were employed at six Logistics Centers from a medium-sized Fortune 500 company that is a distributor of microcomputer hardware and software products headquartered in the Southeastern United States. Hypothesis 1, which investigated the relationship between individual occupational stress levels and the effectiveness of the Logistics Center in which they were employed, was fully supported. The three primary scales of the Job Stress Survey (i.e., Job Stress Index, Job Pressure Index, Lack of Support Index) were significantly correlated with all individuallevel measures of organizational effectiveness (i.e., turnover intention, employee satisfaction, employee motivation, performance appraisal). In addition, aggregate scores on the three Job Stress Survey scales (i.e., Job Stress Index, Job Pressure Index, Lack of Support Index) showed strong correlations with errors in putaway and receiving activities. Hypothesis 2, which investigated whether Logistics Centers whose employees report high levels of occupational stress will have lower results on measures of

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organizational effectiveness than those divisions whose employees report low levels of occupational stress, was partially supported. Higher mean scores on the Job Stress Survey scales (i.e., Job Stress Index, Job Pressure Index, Lack of Support Index) resulted in significantly lower scores on approximately one half of the organizational effectiveness measures. Although not a part of the original study design, a series of multiple regression analyses was performed to determine if certain components of occupational stress are better predictors of organizational effectiveness than others. These exploratory analyses showed that the two Job Stress Survey subscales (Job Pressure Index, Lack of Support Index) were significant predictors of turnover intention, overall satisfaction, motivation, and performance appraisal ratings.

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CHAPTER 5 CONCLUSIONS AND RECOMMENDATIONS The purpose of this study was to examine the link between occupational stress and the performance of Logistics Centers as shown by employee performance appraisal ratings, quality metrics, and employee satisfaction. This chapter is divided into five sections. The first section will provide an overview of the research study. Second, the research findings from this study will be discussed and interpreted relative to the existing occupational stress and organizational effectiveness literature. Third, conclusions from the study will be detailed, and fourth, the limitations of the study will be highlighted. Finally, the implications for practice and recommendations for future study will be discussed. Summary of the Research Study Stress in the workplace has been shown to have a tremendously negative impact on the functioning of individuals in organizations. Several studies over the past twenty years have also provided support for thinking that stress is a risk factor in illness and disease (Cooper & Cartwright, 1994; Lazarus & Folkman, 1984; Quick, Quick, Nelson, & Hurrell, 1997). However, the crippling effects of occupational stress on work performance have often been presumed but seldom demonstrated empirically, likely based on the difficulties involved in obtaining reliable performance data under stressful conditions. While there is a consensus among stress researchers that stress is related to performance (Bhagat, 1983; Jamal, 1984; Jex, 1998; Kahn, et al., 1964; McGrath, 1976), most of the evidence confirming a relationship between stress and objective

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indicators of performance has been assessed in laboratory experiments (e.g., Shiflett & Cohen, 1980; Tubre & Collins, 2000). In field studies, performance has frequently been assessed subjectively and correlated with the subjective reports of stress by the same respondents. Such correlations among perceptual data are weak evidence because they are susceptible to artificial inflation based on common method effects (Fried, Rowland, & Ferris, 1984). This study examined the relationship between individuals’ occupational stress levels and the performance of the organizational division in which they were employed, using both subjective and objective performance measures, and hypothesized that high stress levels are detrimental to performance. This quantitative study followed a non-experimental, correlational design. The study was comprised of 213 individuals employed in six geographic locations of the Logistics Division of a medium-sized Fortune 500 distributor of microcomputer hardware and software products headquartered in the Southeastern United States. The participants ranged in age from 21 to 57, and the majority were male, Caucasian, married, had attended some college, and had worked in a skilled maintenance profession. As a whole, the sample reported relatively average occupational stress levels when compared to normative samples, but when broken down by geographic location, employees at Location B reported the highest levels of occupational stress on the various Job Stress Survey scales, while those at Location E reported the lowest levels of occupational stress on the various Job Stress Survey scales.

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The main findings of this study were: (1) There was a significant, negative relationship between occupational stress levels and employee intentions to remain with the organization, employee overall satisfaction, employee motivation, and performance appraisal ratings. (2) There was a positive relationship between occupational stress levels and defects in Logistics Center putaway and receiving activities. (3) Logistics Centers whose employees reported high levels of occupational stress had lower results on various measures of organizational effectiveness than those Logistics Centers whose employees reported low levels of occupational stress. The importance of addressing occupational stress levels is evident based on these findings as well as on the following: (1) the prevalence of occupational stress has been shown to be increasing at an alarming rate in recent years (Berry, 1998; Leiter & Harvie, 1997; Marshall et al., 1997; Vagg & Spielberger, 1998; Wojcik, 2001); (2) occupational stress has cost organizations billions of dollars through increased health care costs, absenteeism and turnover, and lower levels of performance (Ganster, Fox, & Dwyer, 2001; NIOSH, 1999); and (3) research has illustrated that policies benefiting worker health also benefit an organization’s bottom line (Delaney & Huselid, 1996; Ransom, Aschbacher, & Burud, 1989). Since nearly 64% of all persons aged 16 and older in the United States are employed outside of the home (U.S. Bureau of Census, 2004) and with weekly work hours consistently increasing (Bond, Thompson, Galinsky, & Prottas, 2002), it is essential that organizations begin to address their employees’ occupational stress levels, since these may influence organizational costs and effectiveness.

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Discussion Relationship between Occupational Stress and Organizational Effectiveness The first hypothesis accurately predicted that employees’ reported level of occupational stress was related to six of eight measures of organizational effectiveness in the expected direction. Specifically, there was a statistically significant, negative relationship between employees’ scores on the three scales of the Job Stress Survey (JSS) and their intention to remain with the organization, their overall employee satisfaction, employee motivation to help the organization succeed, and employee performance appraisal ratings. There was a positive relationship between aggregate employee scores on the three scales of the JSS and the percentage of errors in putaway and receiving activities. These results provide support for the conceptual bases of this study, as well as findings and interpretations from earlier studies, which are further explained below. Turnover Intention Pearson r correlations revealed a significant, negative relationship between occupational stress levels, as measured by the Job Stress Index (r = -.500), and turnover intentions of Logistics Center employees, as well as between turnover intentions and the two dimensions of occupational stress, job pressure (r = -.489) and lack of organizational support (r = -.440). These findings show a somewhat larger relationship between job stress and turnover intention than a recent study conducted by Ezell (2003). Ezell investigated the relationship between turnover intentions of Tennessee Cooperative Extension System employees and scores on the Job Stress Survey and reported correlations of .136 with the JPX, .302 with the JSX, and .341 with the LSX.

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In the current study, the relationship between overall occupational stress, as evidenced by scores on the Job Stress Index and turnover intention, was particularly strong. The strength of this relationship illustrates that employee concerns about insufficient personnel, role conflict, and role overload are more closely related to their intention to remain with their employer than concerns such as meeting deadlines, excessive paperwork, interruptions, participation in decision making, and difficulties with supervision. These findings are consistent with results obtained by various researchers, including Cropanzano et al. (1997), Layne, Hohenshil and Singh (2004), and Todd and Deery-Schmitt (1996), over the past decade. Similarly, Zohar (1995) investigated the role of work role injustice in intention to withdraw and actual turnover among 213 hospital nurses and found that work role injustice accounted for a significant portion of the variance in intention to withdraw and actual turnover. Slate and Vogel (1997) reported that occupational stress was significantly related to turnover intentions in a large sample of corrections officers, while Mitchell, Mackenzie, Styve, and Gover (2000) determined that occupational stress was one of the primary causes of turnover in their study of juvenile corrections officers. The results of the exploratory regression analyses conducted in this study indicate that the two primary dimensions of job stress, job pressure and lack of organizational support, may be important factors in an employee’s decision to leave his or her organization. Nearly 27% of the variance in turnover intentions was explained by job pressure and lack of organizational support scale scores. While the amount of variance in turnover intentions explained by occupational stress in this study is

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substantial, it is the least amount explained compared to the other attitudinal variables included in this study. In fact, occupational stress accounted for 43% of the variance in overall satisfaction and 44% of the variance in employee motivation. These findings support the assertion expressed in earlier studies that turnover intention appears to be a multi-faceted construct, with occupational stress perhaps serving as one of many influencing factors (deCroon, Sluiter, Blonk, Broersen, Frings-Dresen, 2004; Elangovan, 2001; Ezell, 2003), along with others investigated in this study, such as satisfaction, motivation, or performance. Overall Employee Satisfaction The results of the current study highlight the strong connection between employee perceptions of job satisfaction and occupational stress. Pearson r correlations revealed a strong, negative relationship between occupational stress levels, as measured by the Job Stress Index, and overall satisfaction of Logistics Center employees (r = .632), as well as between employee satisfaction and the two dimensions of occupational stress, job pressure (r = -.607), and lack of organizational support (r = -.567). According to these results, participants who had higher levels of occupational stress had lower ratings of overall employee satisfaction. The current study indicates that the relationship between overall occupational stress, as evidenced by scores on the Job Stress Index, and employee satisfaction was stronger than the relationship between employee satisfaction and the two remaining indices of occupational stress (i.e., Job Pressure Index, Lack of Organizational Support Index). Lack of organizational support scores had the weakest association with overall satisfaction among the three indices, which is somewhat surprising since scores on this

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index were the highest among study participants. However, it is possible that the global nature of the overall employee satisfaction question (“overall, I am satisfied with my job ” ) was more directly related to the general stressor items that comprise the Job Stress Index (e.g., insufficient personnel to handle assignments, role conflict, role overload) than it was to those that comprise the Job Pressure Index (e.g., meeting deadlines, excessive paperwork, frequent interruptions) or the Lack of Organizational Support Index (e.g., lack of participation in decision making, difficulties with supervision). The results of the exploratory regression analyses conducted in this study indicate that job stress and its two dimensions, job pressure and lack of organizational support, may be substantial factors in an employee’s overall satisfaction with his or her job. Nearly 43% of the variance in overall satisfaction was explained by job pressure and lack of organizational support scale scores. Based on this result, it is also possible that employees who are dissatisfied with their jobs may perceive their work environments as less supportive and more stressful. The strength of the inverse relationship between occupational stress and employee satisfaction reported in the current study was expected and confirms the findings of various meta-analyses and empirical studies (Jackson & Schuler, 1985; Tubre & Collins, 2000). A recent study by Williams, Konrad, Scheckler, and Pathman (2001) analyzed the survey responses of 1,735 physicians on job stress, job satisfaction, physical and mental health, and intention to withdraw from practice. Structural equation modeling found that higher perceived stress was associated with lower satisfaction levels, which were also found to be related to greater intentions to quit, decrease work hours, or leave direct patient care. Mitchell, et al. (2000) reported that job satisfaction and occupational

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stress displayed the strongest relationship among all organizational level variables in their investigation of juvenile corrections officers’ turnover intentions. The results of the current study echo those reported in Dobreva-Martinova’s (2001) investigation of the relationship between occupational stress and organizational well being in the Canadian armed forces, which showed that occupational stressors accounted for 45% of the variance in employee satisfaction. Employee satisfaction is a frequently changing psychological outcome that is adjusted by experiences in a person’s working life. Since many organizational researchers contend that employee satisfaction is predictive of a variety of performance indicators (Davy et al., 1997; Ryan et al., 1996), the results of this study further highlight the importance of paying attention to occupational stress levels. Employee Motivation In the current study, employee motivation was the attitudinal variable found to have the strongest relationship with occupational stress. Pearson r correlations revealed a significant, negative relationship between occupational stress levels, as measured by the Job Stress Index, and motivation of Logistics Center employees (r = -.640), as well as between employee motivation and the two dimensions of occupational stress, job pressure (r = -.585) and lack of organizational support (r = -.604). These results indicate that higher occupational stress levels were associated with lower levels of motivation to help their employer. Once again, overall occupational stress levels, as evidenced by scores on the Job Stress Index, showed the strongest relationship with employee motivation. In contrast to the results reported for the other attitudinal variables (i.e., turnover intention, employee satisfaction) included in this study, job

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pressure scores had the weakest association with employee motivation among the three indices. The stressors that comprise the job pressure index are more closely related to stressors inherent in the job itself (e.g., meeting deadlines, excessive paperwork) and less controllable by the organization. Therefore, it is plausible that the employee motivational level was more directly related to stressors they felt were under the control of the organization (e.g., lack of participation in decision making, difficulties with supervision), which comprise the lack of organizational support index. The results of the exploratory regression analyses conducted in this study indicate that job stress and its two dimensions, job pressure and lack of organizational support, may be very influential factors in an employee’s motivation to help the organization succeed. Nearly 44% of the variance in employee motivation was explained by job pressure and lack of organizational support scale scores. These findings are consistent with previous research that found a relationship between occupational stress and employee motivation (Davis & Wilson, 2000; Freidman & Farber 1992). In a study of public school teachers and principals, Davis and Wilson (2000) found that teacher motivation was negatively related to occupational stress. Similarly, Friedman and Farber (1992) showed that teacher motivation had a moderately strong association with both job satisfaction and occupational stress, with approximately 28% of the variance in teacher motivation being explained by job satisfaction and occupational stress. The strength of the relationship between employee motivation and occupational stress reported here may be explained by the conceptual model provided as the framework for this study (McGrath, 1976). Using this framework, participants who

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appraised their objective work environment as stressful may have perceived this situation negatively. It is possible that these negative perceptions were related to employees’ decreased motivation to contribute to the organization’s success. Performance Four possible scenarios regarding stress and performance were reviewed by Sullivan and Bhagat (1992): (1) stress may increase performance (i.e., positive, linear relationship), (2) stress may decrease performance (i.e., negative, linear relationship), (3) stress may have no effect on performance, and (4) stress may increase performance to a point, then decrease performance (i.e., inverted U-shaped relationship). The authors reported that a negative relationship between stress and performance was most commonly reported, which has been supported in subsequent research (Abramis, 1994; Fischer, 2001; Greer, Castro, & Dorland, 1996; Tubre & Collins, 2000), including the current study. Performance Appraisal The current study moved beyond the scope of self-report attitudinal perceptions and included supervisory ratings of performance. Pearson r correlations revealed a significant, negative relationship between occupational stress levels, as measured by the Job Stress Index, and performance appraisal ratings of Logistics Center employees (r = -.219), as well as between performance appraisal ratings and the two dimensions of occupational stress, job pressure (r = -.170), and lack of organizational support (r = .244). These results indicate that increased occupational stress levels among participants were related to decreased job performance, as evidenced by supervisors’ semi-annual appraisal ratings. Although the results report a statistically significant

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negative relationship, the magnitude of the correlation between occupational stress and performance appraisal ratings was relatively low among all three indices of the Job Stress Survey when compared to previously reported correlation coefficients between the attitudinal variables (i.e., turnover intention, overall satisfaction, motivation) and occupational stress. This finding is somewhat expected since empirical research has often found much weaker relationships between occupational stressors and organizationally relevant behavioral outcomes such as performance appraisals than between occupational stressors and organizationally relevant psychological outcomes such as employee satisfaction, motivation, and turnover intention (Jex & Crossley, 2005). Although there are limited examples of studies investigating the relationship between occupational stress and performance appraisal ratings in the empirical literature, research investigating this relationship has found mixed results. In support of the current findings, Fried, Ben-David, Tiegs, Avital, and Yeverechyahu (1998) found that role stressors were negatively related to supervisory job performance ratings of Israeli blue-collar employees. Westman and Eden (1992) reported an inverse relationship between occupational stress and supervisory performance ratings among officer-cadets in the Israeli Defense Forces. Similarly, Jamal (1985) found a negative relationship between occupational stress and supervisory ratings of performance among middle managers and blue-collar employees. Motowidlo, Packard, and Manning (1986) found inverse relationships between perceived occupational stress and performance among nurses as evaluated by peers and supervisors. In contrast to the current study’s findings, Spector, Dwyer, & Jex (1988) found no relationship between 181 secretaries’

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perceptions of stress and supervisory ratings of their performance. Similarly, Bhuian, Menguc, & Borsboom (2005) reported no relationship between stress and supervisory performance appraisals among 203 salespersons in New Zealand. The exploratory regression analyses conducted in this study indicate that job stress and its two dimensions, job pressure and lack of organizational support, may have a minor influence on an employee’s job performance, as assessed by his or her supervisor. Six percent of the variance in performance appraisal ratings was explained by job pressure and lack of organizational support scores. Although these analyses represent statistically significant relationships between performance appraisal ratings and the various occupational stress scales, the strength of these relationships is relatively weak. However, the deficiencies (i.e., rater distortion, perception, subjectivity) often associated with supervisory ratings (Hogan, 1987; Landy & Farr, 1980; Lefkowitz, 2000; Scullen, Mount, & Goff, 2000) may help explain the weak relationships among these variables. Work Outcomes Four objective organizational-level productivity measures were utilized as work outcomes for this study. The first, “picking audit defect percentage,” is the percentage of errors found in monthly audits of the accuracy of picking products from inventory for shipment. The second, “packing audit defect percentage,” is the percentage of errors found in monthly audits of the accuracy of packing products into shipment containers. The third, “putaway audit defect percentage,” is the percentage of errors found in monthly audits of the accuracy of activities related to the receipt of material, determination of its storage or other destination, movement to that location, and the

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stocking and physical arrangement of the material. Finally, “receiving audit defect percentage” is the percentage of errors found in monthly audits of the accuracy of processing incoming materials against purchase orders; customer returns; verifying item, quantity, and physical condition; and performing receipt update and documentation duties. To address level of analysis issues, aggregate scores on the JSX, JPX, and LSX were calculated for each Logistics Center for comparison with the organizational-level work outcomes data. The small sample size among aggregate Job Stress Survey scores for each location (N=6) prohibited an adequately powerful statistical test of the correlation among the organizational-level measures. However, examination of the magnitude of correlations revealed a positive relationship between occupational stress levels, as measured by the Job Stress Index, and Logistics Center audit putaway and receiving defect percentages, as well as between Logistics Center putaway and receiving defect percentages and the two dimensions of occupational stress, job pressure, and lack of organizational support. These findings indicate that higher occupational stress levels of Logistics Center employees relate to higher numbers of defects discovered through audits of putaway and receiving activities. This result was expected and is consistent with those of previous studies reporting an inverse relationship between occupational stress levels and objective measures of performance (Fisher, 2001; Reilly, Grasha, & Schafer, 2002; Westman & Eden, 1992). In one of the few laboratory experiments conducted in the occupational stress arena, Reilly, et al. (2002) investigated the effects of increased workload and stress on performance efficiency in detecting errors in simulated pharmacy prescriptions. In this

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study, college students were asked to judge the accuracy of simulated pharmacy prescriptions against handwritten order cards. The authors report that a condition of high workload (120 orders over 120 minutes on task) resulted in a decline in error detection, while a low-workload condition (72 orders over 120 minutes on task) did not result in a negative change in error detection. A different picture emerged, however, when the investigation shifted to the remaining productivity measures. There was no relationship between occupational stress levels, as measured by the Job Stress Index, and Logistics Center audit picking and packing defect percentages, as well as between Logistics Center audit picking and packing defect percentages and both dimensions of occupational stress, job pressure and lack of organizational support. Although this finding is contradictory to expectations, it is possible that picking and packing activities are more mechanistic work activities in which the Logistics Centers are able to emphasize greater controls on the employees’ production levels through quality assurance processes. The contradictory findings in this study are not unusual. The complexity of the relationship between self-assessed occupational stress and objective performance outcomes is highlighted in the research conducted by Beehr, Jex, Stacy, & Murray (2000), which investigated the relationship between occupational stressors and job performance in a sample of field salespeople. The authors utilized ratings of sales
dem onstration quantity and units sold as the m easures o f objective p erform ance and

found significant relationships between three of four stressors and units sold, but no significant relationships between stressors and the number of sales demonstrations conducted. The authors provided the following as a possible rationale for the conflicting

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results: stressors decreased the quality of the demonstrations, which led to fewer units sold, even though it did not lead to a lower quantity of demonstrations. Organizational Consequences o f Occupational Stress Hypothesis 2 correctly predicted that Logistics Centers whose employees reported higher levels of occupational stress would have lower scores on the various organizational effectiveness measures than Logistics Centers whose employees reported lower levels of occupational stress. Employees at Location B reported significantly higher levels of overall stress than their counterparts at four of the five remaining locations. Similar results were found when employees’ levels of stress related to the pressures of the job itself (e.g., job structure, duties) were reviewed. Again, employees at Location B reported the highest levels of occupational stress related to job pressures, and these differences in stress level were significantly different than those at four of the five locations. Finally, when occupational stress related to organizational support issues (e.g., support from supervisors or coworkers, policies and procedures) was reviewed, a similar pattern emerged. Employees from Location B reported significantly higher levels of occupational stress related to organizational support issues than did employees from four other locations. In turn, Location B reported the lowest overall satisfaction and employee motivation ratings, and the highest percentages of defects in putaway and receiving
activities. In fact, L ocation B reported the low est or second-low est scores on m easures

of organizational effectiveness in all instances. Conversely, employees at Location E reported the lowest levels of overall occupational stress, the highest intention to remain with their employer, the highest overall satisfaction ratings, the highest employee

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motivation ratings, the highest performance appraisal ratings, and the lowest percentage of defects in putaway activities. As discussed previously, studies assessing the relationship between occupational stress and objective job performance are rare in the stress literature. However, there are several examples that support the findings of the current study (Greer et al., 1996; Jones et al., 1988; Varca, 1999; Westman & Eden, 1992). Varca (1999) examined the relationship between perceived occupational stressors and job performance in a technical support profession. Performance was evaluated in terms of how efficiently communication networks were installed and maintained at the customer's site. As predicted, linear regression and chi-square analyses revealed that a significantly greater proportion of individuals in the high performance group reported low occupational stress levels, which suggests that perceptions of job stress can relate to quality service. A frequently cited study that supports the findings relative to the organizational consequences of occupational stress described in this section was conducted by Jones et al. (1988). The authors conducted a series of longitudinal studies to examine the relationship between a composite index assessing employee perceptions of occupational stress and the number of malpractice claims in a sample of hospitals. In the first study, hospital departments with a record of malpractice claims reported higher levels of occupational stress than did matched departments reporting low levels of occupational stress. In the second study, the authors found that the occupational stress levels of employees at 61 hospitals correlated significantly with the frequency of malpractice claims. Studies 3 and 4, which investigated the influence of organization-wide stress management programs on medication errors and malpractice claims, reported

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significant decreases in both monthly medication errors and malpractice claims. As with the Jones et al. study, it is presumed that employees in the current study who experienced high levels of occupational stress may have become more anxious, more easily distracted, or less able to concentrate on their work, which may be related not only to decreased motivation or satisfaction, but also to increased errors on the job. While it is contrary to expectations that Location B did not report the lowest scores on all measures of organizational effectiveness, it is possible that the wording of the turnover intention measure ( “Iplan to stay at [my employer] for the next 12 months”) did not truly reflect an individual’s thoughts or desires about quitting his or her job. In addition, the research site has undergone a series of layoffs in recent years that may have made participants fearful to provide completely honest assessments of their occupational stress levels or turnover intentions. These uncertain internal conditions, coupled with recent employment instability in the manufacturing and technology sectors (Dobbs, 2004; Thibodeau, 2003) may very well have influenced employees’ perceptions regarding whether or not they expected, or planned, to remain with their employer. Similarly, while it was expected that Location B would have produced the highest percentage of defects in picking and packing activities, it is possible that these types of activities are less cognitively complex, and the increased occupational stress levels may actually have served as “functional stress” and, thus, maintained high performance levels (Abramis, 1994; Allen et al., 1982). Another potential explanation for the relatively weak relationships between occupational stress levels and errors in production activities may result from the typically high levels of control over these activities in production environments such as the research site. In

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such an environment, workers often have little freedom to “underproduce” and, at the same time, are unable to assume individual responsibility for these activities. The persistence of the inverse relationship reported in this study, across different locations, raters, and measures, highlights the potential for excessive occupational stress levels to have an adverse effect on organizational effectiveness. Conclusions Research linking occupational stress to organizationally relevant outcomes is in its relative infancy in the occupational stress literature. Although no causal effects can be determined from this descriptive, correlational investigation, the following general conclusions are drawn based on the statistical analyses utilized to address the research questions and test the hypotheses that guided this study. 1. Participants’ overall occupational stress levels were significantly and negatively related to their intentions to remain with their current employer, their overall job satisfaction, their motivation to help their employer succeed, and their performance appraisal ratings. Further, respondents’ perceptions regarding the stress related to their job demands and the supportive nature of the work environment were also significantly and negatively related to these organizationally relevant outcomes. 2. Aggregate measures of overall occupational stress at the location level were positively related to location-level errors in putaway and receiving activities, as were aggregate measures of occupational stress related to job demands and perceived organizational support. While the literature has indicated that occupational stress is more strongly related to other psychological outcomes

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(i.e., job satisfaction, organizational commitment, burnout) than it is to objective performance outcomes, the results of this study illustrate that the potential impact of a stressed or dissatisfied employee on an organization could be very high if one or more employees decide to withhold effort in response to their negative attitudes regarding perceived stress (Jex, Adams, Bachrach, & Sorenson, 2003; Jex & Crossley, 2005; McGrath, 1976). 3. No evidence of a significant curvilinear relationship between occupational stress levels and organizational effectiveness measures was found in the current study. In other words, there was no evidence of “functional” stress that improved performance on a given outcome measure, which has been previously cited in the occupational stress literature. Therefore, organizational awareness of the levels of stress its employees are experiencing and efforts to reduce stress to manageable levels are critical to the organization’s functioning and performance. 4. Based on the findings of the current study, it is evident that organizations whose employees experience high levels of stress perform more poorly than those whose employees experience lower levels of occupational stress. Conversely, it was shown that organizations whose employees report low levels of occupational stress performed better than those with higher levels of occupational stress. These findings suggest that occupational stressors experienced by employees, particularly those related to perceived lack of organizational support, can have negative effects on organizations in very tangible ways (i.e., errors in productivity measures). Unfortunately, this

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study is unable to explain why this occurred. Although it was hypothesized that high levels of occupational stress resulted in low organizational effectiveness, it is just as possible that a Logistics Center’s low performance may be unrelated to stress. Further, the Center’s poor performance may have resulted in its employees experiencing higher levels of occupational stress based on greater pressure to perform or uncertainty about the future of their jobs based on the poor performance of their Center. Therefore, it would be advantageous for organizations to conduct ongoing monitoring and analysis of the sources and levels of occupational stress of its employees, as well as quarterly or semi-annual assessments of its performance outcomes. When this information is analyzed on a longitudinal basis, comparisons between occupational stressors and performance outcomes can be made to further examine the direction of this inverse relationship between occupational stress and organizational effectiveness. 5. The major conclusion to be drawn from this research is that the influence of occupational stress extends beyond the individual to negatively affect the well being of the organization. Although this conclusion has previously been based more on conventional wisdom and logic, the current study provides one of the few instances of empirical evidence to support this claim. It is hoped that the efforts of other occupational stress researchers will benefit from the findings, implications, and recommendations of this study. In addition, it is hoped that human resource practitioners and organizational leaders will utilize the study findings to address the

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occupational stress levels of their workforce and fulfill their responsibility to ensure their employees’ continued health and well being. Limitations of the Study There are a number of limitations in this study that need to be addressed. The first limitation pertains to the generalizability of the findings. Since this research was conducted solely in one division within one organization, it may not represent the occupational stress levels or climate present in other occupations or workplaces, and the relationship between occupational stress and organizational effectiveness found here may not be borne out elsewhere. Therefore, future research needs to assess and compare the relationship of occupational stress and organizational outcomes in different work settings (e.g., different types of private-sector companies, as well as public sector organizations) and among different occupational groups (e.g., academic, professional, technical). This study’s correlational design, which entailed the measurement of relationships between occupational stress levels and measures of organizational effectiveness, poses another limitation to the interpretation of the findings. Since the current study was non-experimental it did not involve random assignment of participants into groups or manipulation of the independent variable. Therefore, the relationships found between occupational stress levels and organizational effectiveness in this study may not be inferred as causal. In other words, although this study hypothesized directional relationships in which high levels of occupational stress negatively influence organizational effectiveness measures, it is possible that the reverse was true: A Logistics Center’s poor performance may have resulted in

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employees’ increased stress levels related to their jobs. In addition, since all possible multivariate explanations were not explored in the current study, the effects of unmeasured variables might influence organizational effectiveness to a greater degree than occupational stress. The final limitation addresses the absence of qualitative data to augment the quantitative results of the study. Although the results of this study supported the hypotheses presented regarding the inverse relationship between occupational stress and organizational effectiveness, by relying solely on responses to the Job Stress Survey, one cannot provide a true interpretation of some of the “why” questions that arose through the course of this investigation. For instance, although Location B reported significantly higher levels of occupational stress (and lower performance) than the other five locations, it is only possible to speculate on the reasons behind these findings since little is known about the specific differences in culture, leadership, and processes in the six Logistics Centers. The use of interview or focus group data to supplement the quantitative measures might provide a clearer picture of the conditions at the various Logistics Centers, which may offer more robust support for the hypothesized relationships. Implications and Recommendations for Future Study Implications for Practice The results of the current study have some practical implications. Since the findings showed that occupational stress is negatively related to performance, both individual and group, practitioners should be aware that when stress is imposed, there might be a price in terms of performance reduction. By demonstrating that there is a

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potential negative influence of employee stress levels on organizational effectiveness and profitability, it is possible that organizations will take more proactive steps to prevent stressors in the first place (e.g., Hurrell, 1995). For example, an organization may pay attention to situations that have been shown to influence decreased performance and increased occupational stress levels (e.g., mergers, downsizing, changing leadership), and take action to minimize potentially negative outcomes. In addition, the results of the current study highlight the value of an organization becoming a “healthy organization,” which has been defined as an organization that is not only financially successful, but also one that emphasizes employee health and well being (Browne, 2002; Sauter, Lim, & Murphy, 1996). Healthy organizations are those that demonstrate the following characteristics: (1) an organizational climate that emphasizes innovation, conflict resolution, and employee inclusion; (2) an organizational emphasis on strategic planning and career development; and (3) organizational values that emphasize commitment to technology, employee growth and development, and valuing the employee (NIOSH, 1999). As the data indicate, Logistics Centers that possessed such characteristics, as evidenced by low scores on the lack of organizational support scale, reported higher scores on the various measures of organizational effectiveness. Although none of the characteristics of a healthy organization can be considered as stress interventions per se, they are proactive steps in preventing stress-related problems among employees. In addition to proactive strategies, the results of the current study have the potential of increasing management awareness of the sources of stress in the workplace. Once management is aware of the stressors its workforce is experiencing, it would seem

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logical that their next course of action would be to consider what could be done about such stressors. Organizations have typically responded to this question by offering employees various interventions (e.g., stress management training) designed to help them cope more effectively with occupational stressors. This strategy may work in instances in which the organization feels that the stressors themselves are relatively unchangeable or that the cost of changing them is too high. In these cases, stress management programs operate under the premise that employees are capable of modifying their reactions to stressors and provide them with needed tools and techniques to do so. Given the potential costs, in terms of poor performance, that were highlighted by the findings of this study, organizations should have a comprehensive strategy that includes the reduction and/or management of occupational stressors, as well as employee stress management techniques. After all, while it is beneficial to reduce the severity and frequency of workplace stressors, it is not possible for organizations to reduce or eliminate them all. However, given that inadequate supervisory support, promotional and salary issues, and lack of recognition for good work were shown to be some of the most prevalent sources of stress in the current study (as well as in others [e.g., Ezell, 2003]), an effort should be made to eliminate or minimize occupational stressors. Actions in the following areas would be most beneficial to organizations experiencing similar stressors: (1) create an open, supportive work environment that encourages innovation and excellence; (2) create an environment of open communication and respect between coworkers, occupational specialties, and managers; (3) increase employee involvement in decisions concerning work processes and

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improvements; (4) provide clarity and communication of roles and expectations for employees; and (5) provide quality supervision at all levels of the organization. When possible, a comprehensive stress management strategy should also include some form of monitoring workplace conditions and follow-up efforts aimed at decreasing occupational stressors. Given the strong correlations between the Job Stress Survey and its component Job Pressure and Lack of Organizational Support Indices and the various measures of organizational effectiveness, it may be beneficial to combine these instruments into a diagnostic tool to monitor workplace conditions. This monitoring could also include assessment of the design and organization of work, assessments of interpersonal relationships among employees and between employees and customers, and assessments of the presence of constraints on performance that are frustrating to employees. When an organization pays attention to the issues most salient to its workforce and invests resources in its human resource base, employees will generally respond with increased motivation and commitment to their work and to the organization as a whole, all of which enhance the bottom line (Huselid, Jackson, & Schuler, 1997; Murphy, Hurrell, Sauter, & Keita, 1995). Implications fo r Research The findings of the current study have laid the groundwork for a greater understanding of the multifaceted relationships between occupational stressors and the performance of individuals and the organizations in which they are employed. Future research is needed to further explore this relationship and to determine the extent to which certain aspects of occupational stress influence indicators of organizational effectiveness. Experimental investigations that measure changes in individual (e.g.,

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employee turnover intention, employee satisfaction, employee motivation, performance appraisal ratings) and organizational (e.g., productivity) outcomes are necessary to attribute these outcomes to occupational stress levels. Without such studies, it is difficult to determine causation for the variance found in these measures. Similarly, the findings of this study would be strengthened with its replication in other work environments. Since this research was conducted solely in one division within one organization, it may not represent the occupational stress levels or culture present in other divisions within the company, let alone in other occupations or workplaces. It is crucial that future research investigate the relationship between occupational stress and organizational effectiveness found here in different work settings (e.g., different types of private-sector companies, public sector organizations) and among different occupational groups (e.g., academic, professional, technical). As noted previously in this study, measurement issues are crucial to occupational stress researchers, and these issues become even more important when investigating the organizational consequences of occupational stress. The few examples of empirical research, including the current study, that have investigated the relationship between organizational effectiveness outcomes and occupational stressors, have relied on the use of easily accessible measures, regardless of whether those measures were the most appropriate. In order to develop better measures of organizational outcomes, two

things are necessary. First, researchers need to have a clear idea of which organizational outcomes should be affected by occupational stress. This necessitates the development of stronger theory to identify the organizational outcomes that should and should not be influenced by various occupational stressors. These theories must

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also explicate levels of analysis issues and describe the levels to which generalization is appropriate (Bliese & Jex, 2002; Rousseau, 1985). Second, once appropriate theories have been developed and articulated, researchers must develop operational measures of these outcome variables. Attitudinal variables used in the current study, such as employee motivation and satisfaction, have often been identified in the research literature as potential moderators, mediators, or intervening variables in the occupational stress process (Pool, 2000; Schabracq & Cooper, 2000; Visser, Smets, Oort, & de Haes, 2003). While it is possible that these variables played moderating or intervening roles in the stress/performance relationship reported in the current study, they were utilized solely as outcome variables, and not investigated in this context. Future research should investigate these potential relationships to obtain a more complete picture of the link between occupational stress and organizational effectiveness. Finally, an interdisciplinary approach is recommended for the conduct of high quality research investigating the relationship between occupational stress and organizational effectiveness. Occupational stress research began with medical professionals, and our current understanding has benefited not only from these contributions, but from those trained in psychology, public health, organizational behavior, and human factors. Collaborations among researchers in these areas are vital for a comprehensive understanding of the organizational consequences of occupational stress.

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APPENDIX A

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Dear [Employer] Employee, You are invited to take part in a research study that will examine the various factors and situations that influence employees’ perceptions of job stress. Job stress is a chronic condition caused by situations in the workplace that may negatively affect an individual’s job performance and/or overall well being, and has been shown to have a tremendously negative impact on the health and functioning of individuals in organizations. [Employer] is committed to maintaining the health and wellness of its employees and is interested in determining the levels of job stress present in its workforce and the contributory factors so they may be reduced and kept to a minimum. As a student in the Executive Leadership Doctoral Program at The George Washington University in Washington, DC, I am conducting this research study to identify the particular factors and situations that contribute to job stress. In order to take part in this study, you will need to fill out a 60-item job stress survey that asks for your perception of the severity and frequency of common stressors that may occur at work. The job stress survey should take approximately 20-30 minutes to complete.

While your participation in this research study is voluntary, I hope that you will take the time to complete this survey. Each job stress survey received will help identify the factors that contribute to stressful working conditions and to help improve workplaces for employees. Your participation and responses to the survey will be kept completely confidential, and you will not be identified (e.g., name, social security number) in any reports or publications of this study. If you have any questions about the procedures of this research study, please do not hesitate to contact me. Thank you for your consideration. I look forward to your participation in this important study!

Sincerely,

Julie A. Cincotta The George Washington University Graduate School of Education and Human Development

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