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This document contains Chapters 12 to 14 CHAPTER 12 - CRITICAL THINKING APPLICATIONS Critical Thinking Application 12-A Employment-at-Will * Contributed by Jennifer R.D. Robin A study was discussed in which individuals were asked their perceptions of employment-at-will. Specifically, they were asked to define the concept and they were presented with a scenario in which they were to determine if a termination was lawful. Do a similar “study” by asking 10 people the following questions. Define employment-at-will. Can an employer legally fire someone who was performing satisfactorily merely to replace her with someone at a lower wage? Can an employer legally fire someone who refuses to participate in illegal billing practices? Can an employer legally fire someone who has been accused of stealing, even if the employee can prove that he or she is not the culprit? Description: This exercise raises an interesting question as to how well individuals understand their protections from termination under Employment-at-Will doctrine. Most likely, the students themselves have not considered these issues, so exploring and understanding them will be a new experience. Moreover, the issue can be a springboard for debate over the current laws. Should workers be afforded more protection against termination than what already exists? In other words, are they as “free” to determine the path of their careers, as organizations are “free” to determine the best way to achieve productivity, as at-will doctrine seems to suggest? On the other hand, would increased regulations be a greater strain on organizations than is necessary? Between employment law, union agreements, and state regulations, organizations are already forced to adopt many, many practices that require administration and oversight. Part A: This section involves gathering data on four key questions dealing with employment-at-will. Discussions about good research design may be appropriate here – the questions should be asked the same way of all participants (perhaps they should be scripted), students should shoot for a cross-section of participants, and the way in which the first question (“Define employment-at-will”) will be scored should be determined. Part B: Compile the results from the entire class and compare to Kim’s (1997) results. Questions 5 & 6 ask that the students critically think about their results as compared to the original study. Alternative explanations can include sampling differences (such as education level, age, and work experience), sample size, history effects such as stories about employment-at-will issues being reported locally, problems with the questionnaire, etc. If research methods are a large component of the class, statistical comparisons can also be done to determine if the results were actually different between studies. Part C: Students are asked to research employment at will in their state. Possible resources for this are as follows: Lexis-Nexis or Westlaw Law libraries Local employment law specialists Part D: Students may be divided into groups based upon their agreement with this statement. Those that agree likely believe that workers need to be better informed, and may cite reduced litigation and perceptions of unfairness as reasons that organizations should take responsibility for educating workers. Those that disagree may cite the increased administrative costs associated with creating a program that is strictly informational, and has only an indirect (and arguably a very small) affect upon productivity. This topic is a good one to explore a variety of training methods. Perhaps organizations simply provide print materials or information on an intranet about employment-at-will. Alternatively, employment-at-will can be discussed at employee orientation sessions or within other orientation materials. It is probably unlikely that an organization would create a lecture solely on this topic; however, if misunderstandings have occurred in the past, it may be in their best interest. Critical Thinking Application 12-B Developing Organizational Policy and a Code of Ethics * Contributed by Joyce E.A. Russell and Lillian T. Eby Do research to identify a company you are familiar with where you can borrow the firm’s policies and procedures handbook or retrieve it through the internet. Write a brief description of the company you have chosen. Identify the code of ethics for employee behavior and what (if any) policy exists regarding ethics and employee behavior. What issues are addressed? How confident do you feel in the company’s code of ethics? What, if any, changes would you make in the organization’s code of ethics? Why? Outline the changes you would make. Would you be comfortable working for an organization with a policies and procedures handbook you reviewed? Generate a list of advantages and disadvantages. How would you feel is a firm for whom you work implemented the other policies described? Here is a sampling of some companies that have excellent ethics policies. Baxter International Inc. Boeing HCA Honda. Jet Propulsion Laboratory Lockheed Martin Los Angeles Metropolitan Transportation Authority Pitney Bowes: Raytheon Company: Sara Lee Corporation United Technologies Corporation Weyerhaeuser Since the Enron debacle additional sections on company stock ownership programs, insider trading, accounting disclosures, accounting ethics, and relationships with outside customers, vendor, and contractors have been included in comprehensive ethics policy manuals. A recent study found that 90% of people employed expect their companies to “what is right, not just what is profitable.” In addition, the study also found that when employees see their managers modeling the company ethics code, they are more satisfied with their companies then those employees that work for a firm that has no ethics code, or have observed misconduct. They also feel greater satisfaction in the response the company takes when misconduct is reported and are more willing to report misconduct than those that do not have ethical bosses. The surveyor was The Ethics Resource Center (ERC). ERC suggest the following outline for an Employee Code of Conduct: Memorable Title Name the document with something catchy that conveys the intent of the code (e.g. Price Waterhouse’s title is “The Way We Do Business” and The Motley Fools’ handbook is called “A Global Guide to Foolish Behavior”). Leadership Letter Commitment of senior management to the code. Why a code? Why now? What is the ethical/legal context in which the organization operates? What are some challenges that employees face, and how this code of conduct can help? How the industry trends will effect the implementation of the code? What kind of example this sets for others? Table of Contents Introduction – Prologue Why is this code important? Will it be enforced? Is it mandatory? For everyone? To what purpose will this code be put? Clear objectives Purpose of the code (inspirational or aspirational) 3. Purpose regulatory? Spell out prohibitive conduct. Affirmative duties? (mandatory) 4. Provide guidelines for decision-making. 5. Attempt to define organizational spirit? 6. Scope of code. Jurisdiction Definition Measurement and Verification Accountability and Reporting Statement of Values – Core Values Explain values listed on Leadership letter. Reinforce importance of those values. Code Provisions (Substantive Part of Code) Employment Practices Workplace Harassment Equal Opportunity Diversity Fair Treatment of Staff Work-Family Balance Discrimination Illegal Drugs and Alcohol Use of Organizational Property. Proper Exercise of Authority Employee Volunteer Activities G. Employee, Client and Vendor Information Maintaining Records and Information Privacy and Confidentiality Disclosure of Information Public Information/Communications Advertising and Marketing Development and Fundraising Clarity of Information Access to Information Transparency of Information I. Conflicts of Interest 1. Gifts and Gratuities 2. Political Activity 3. Outside Employment 4. Family Members 5. Disclosure of Financial Interests J. Relationships with vendors 1. Procurement 2. Negotiating Contracts K. Environmental Issues Commitment to the Environment Employee Health and Safety L. Ethical Management Practices 1. Accuracy of books and records and expense reports 2. Proper use of organizational assets 3. Protecting proprietary information CHAPTER 13 CRITICAL THINKING APPLLICATIONS Critical Thinking Application 13-A Unionizing Fed Ex See Greenhouse, S. (2006, May 30) Teamsters hope to lure FedEx drivers. New York Times on-line. The Teamsters maintain the FedEx argument that the drivers are independent contractors is “ nonsense.” Treating drivers as contractors saves FedEx hundreds of millions of dollars. FedEx does not have to pay Social Security or workers' compensation taxes, and that the drivers pay for the trucks and all maintenance. Based on what you know now about FedEx and its competitors, would you sign a card to certify a union at FedEx? If yes, explain what information weighed the heaviest in your decision. If no, is there additional information you need to help you make your decision? Compile a list of questions you believe to be vital for your decision. If no and you request no further information, explain what information weighed the heaviest in that decision. Yes . The decision was probably made based on the combination of lower wages than the competition, part time and contracted out labor, and the inefficiency of the current grievance process at FedEx. No, with request of additional information . How many grievances does FedEx file each year? Why don’t the FedEx employees who are unhappy with the system go to work for UPS or Airborne? What is the wage gap between Mr. Smith and the average worker at FedEx? What is the profitability per employee of FedEx? What is the profitability per employee of UPS and Airborne? How has the new contract with UPS affected market share, stockholder value, and profitability? What are the current levels of part time and contract work in UPS and Airborne? No. The People-Service-Profits philosophy of FedEx has worked well for the company and the employees. The employee’s grievance is heard not just once, not just twice, but three times (if necessary). It seems that this is indeed fair. If employees are unhappy they can work for UPS or Airborne. When individuals sign on with FedEx, they are orientated to the People-Service-Profits philosophy as a new employee. The company does not want anyone that does not embrace the concepts. The idea of putting people first works well for the employees. The “guaranteed fair treatment” program is an example of the philosophy in action. Companies, like FedEx, need to be able to take every opportunity of competitive advantage. Companies should not be limited in offering flexible working arrangements like part-time and contract work. To limit the company would also limit the employees. Many people find that part-time and contract work fit their life schedules and work-family situations well. Critical Thinking Application 13-B Do You Support the Employee Free Choice Act Assignment Conduct research on the EFCA and determine its present legislative status and content. Review the advocates’ arguments above and also conduct online research to identify and consider arguments opposed to the law. Write a two-page typed position paper stating your support of or opposition to the law. This paper should state precisely what the NLRA procedures are for recognizing a union prior to passage of the EFCA and what the penalties are for employer violations of the NLRA. If by the time you are reading this the EFCA is now the law, conduct research on its effects to date. As of May, 2009, the EFCA had not become law. There are essentially two ways a union may become the collective bargaining representative of employees: (1) voluntary recognition by the employer; and (2) a secret ballot election An employer may, but is not required to voluntarily recognize a union and commence negotiations for a contract when a union demonstrates that a majority of the employees support the union. Current law does not require that an employer automatically recognize the union as the bargaining agent for its employees, but it may do so. In most cases, an employer exercises its absolute right to insist that the union establish its support via a secret ballot election The proposed Employee Free Choice Act would change this The normal NLRA procedures for recognizing a union prior to passage of the EFCA are as follows: Any union, employer or individual may file a petition to obtain an election conducted by the NLRB. The NLRB has jurisdiction over most private employers. Generally, a petition wherein a union or employees are seeking to have a union represent employees may be filed at any time. The purpose of most petition filings is to have the NLRB conduct a government- sponsored election. The NLRB assigns a high priority to all election cases. The goal of the NLRB is to hold an election less then 50 days from the date a petition is filed. Eligibility to vote is determined by an employee's job duties and placement of the job in defined collective-bargaining units. In general a bargaining unit is a group of 2 or more employees of the same employer who share a "community of interest" in working conditions. A bargaining unit is most often defined through the use of job descriptions. For example, if an employer is a manufacturing facility, a group of employees sharing common interests might be defined as a unit of all production and maintenance employees. Depending on the circumstances, the same employer may or may not employ other, separate units of employees, such as drivers or clerical employees. The NLRB normally excludes from voting eligibility all managers, supervisors and guards (although guards may be included in their own bargaining unit). Professional employees are excluded from units of non-professional employees unless professionals vote in a NLRB election to be included with non-professionals. Employees who have terminated their employment for legitimate considerations as of the day of the election are not eligible to vote. Most elections are held right at the work site where eligible employees perform their work. Some elections are conducted by balloting away from the work site, including by mail, where employees are dispersed over a wide geographic area, are assigned away from their normal workstations or under other circumstances. Polling places are set up by the NLRB agent(s) conducting the election. The main function of the NLRB agent is to assure that the election is conducted fairly and that each eligible employee is afforded the opportunity to freely vote a secret ballot. The actual count of the ballots normally is held at the site of the election in the presence of representatives and designated observers from each interested party. Election details, for example the description of the bargaining unit, the voting eligibility of classes of employees, and the date and place of the election, usually are agreed to by the petitioning union and the employer involved with the assistance of the Board agent. When the parties cannot agree on such issues as the composition or scope of the bargaining unit, a "pre-election hearing" is conducted. Based upon the evidence introduced at the hearing, the Director of the NLRB Regional Office processing the election petition will issue a Decision deciding the election issues on which the parties could not agree. Within 7 days of the election, any party may file objections concerning the conduct of the election asserting that the laboratory conditions necessary for holding a fair election were not met, thereby protesting the validity of the election results. Any party making such a claim is compelled to present its evidence in support thereof promptly to the local office of the NLRB, which will investigate the issues in an expeditious manner. An additional hearing may be conducted concerning these objections or any determinative challenges to the eligibility of an individual seeking to vote in the election. The final step in the processing of a petition through an election is for the NLRB to issue a formal certification of the union as the duly designated collective bargaining representative or a certification of the results of the election in the event the union does not receive the support of a majority of the unit employees. A Certification of Representative provides the union with the authority to represent the employee group and to negotiate a contract on the employees' behalf. Under such circumstances, an employer is compelled by law to bargain in good faith with the union selected as the employees' representative. Most experts contend that secret ballots to resolve union representation rights remain the best way to go. However, the NLRA should ensure that voting is conducted quickly (two to four weeks from the filing of a union's petition seeking recognition. This is how Canada conducts elections. In the United States, an election and its resolution takes months and (occasionally) years. Faster elections are the key to meaningful NLRA reform. Delay is the principal manner by which labor law is stacked against employees. The delaying strategy allows employers to engage in intimidating anti-union campaigns that border on coercion. CHAPTER 14 – CRITICAL THINKING APPLICATIONS CRITICAL THINKING APPLICATION 14-A Can Health and Safety Behavior Be Predicted? Selective hiring focuses on the fit between employees and their work environment. This is achieved through the "selective exclusion" of high-risk employees. High-risk applicants are defined as those who have histories of drug addiction, alcoholism, and those with low levels of emotional stability and trustworthiness. Organizations committed to occupational safety will incorporate the value of occupational safety into their employee-selection processes. The purpose of such selection is to reduce costly counter-productive behaviors. Although research examining the relationship between selection practices and occupational safety is sparse, research shows that companies with more safety-focused selection procedures had lower rates of counter-productive behaviors and more favorable health-related outcomes.
As with other areas related to stress, an individual’s reactions to work stressors tends to vary depending on that individual's personal characteristics. For example, certain types of personalities tend to do better or worse in stressful situations.
The purpose of this exercise is to introduce students to examples of questionnaire items that are designed to predict important health and safety-related work outcomes. They will be asked to complete a questionnaire and then indicate what they think the questions are designed to measure or predict. They are then given feedback on their responses. 1. What does research conclude regarding Type A personality, proactive personality and work outcomes? 1. People tell me I eat too fast.
2. I like to do something else while I'm watching TV.
3. I usually eat breakfast on the run or not at all.
4. I am late for many of my appointments.
5. I have trouble waiting on line for anything.
6. I like to really "dig into" school or work assignments.
7. I have trouble finding time to go food shopping.
8. My normal meal lasts less than 20 minutes.
9. Most of my day is filled with problems that need solutions.
10. I usually try to reduce stress as soon as I feel it.
The instrument was derived to measure psychological constructs shown to be related to health and safety issues. The first 10 items represent the Type A personality dimension. People with Type A personalities tend to suffer more stress in the workplace than others, especially Type B individuals. For example, people with Type A personalities suffer more stress and experience a greater number of health problems than do Type B people. Type A people tend to do just about everything quickly (walk, talk, eat) and have little tolerance for people who go at a more moderate pace. The mean student score on these ten items is 26 (SD=5). Your score is 50. A student scoring at 40 or higher shows signs of Type A personality. Scores below 20 indicate Type B personality. Keep in mind that this is a short sample of an instrument designed to measure Type A - Type B personality and scores should thus be interpreted with caution. 26. I am constantly on the lookout for new ways to improve my life.
27. I feel driven to make a difference in my community, and maybe the world.
28. I tend to let others take the initiative to start new projects.
29. Wherever I have been, I have been a powerful force for constructive change.
30. I enjoy facing and overcoming obstacles to my ideas.
31. Nothing is more exciting than seeing my ideas turn into reality.
32. If I see something I don't like, I fix it.
33. No matter what the odds, if I believe in something, I will make it happen.
34. I love being a champion for my ideas, even against others' opposition.
35. I excel at identifying opportunities.
36. Individuals should be allowed to take performance enhancing drugs such as Adderall or Provigil to enhance their work performance.
What do items 26–36 measure? Items 26-35 indicate a "Proactive" personality. Your score is 55. Scores of about 45 or higher indicate higher levels of proactive personality. A "Proactive" personality exhibits a tendency to initiate and maintain actions that can alter the surrounding environment. People with proactive personalities tend to handle stress and job demands in a more constructive manner than others. The mean score on these items for students is 36 (SD=8).
Item 36 deals with a controversial contemporary issue. There is evidence that those respondents who indicate that they agree or strongly agree with this statement are more likely to take these drugs. It is also likely that those who take these drugs for cognitive performance enhancement are using them for a nonmedical reason without a prescription. Many University professors and students have admitted that they use Adderall, a stimulant, and approved to treat attention deficit disorder, and Provigil, approved to treat narcolepsy, to improve their mental performance. There is also some evidence that these drugs can make a person more aggressive. Some evidence also supports the belief that these drugs are somewhat effective in enhancing performance but may foster agitation and anxiety in users.
Surveys of college students show that somewhere between 4 and 16 percent indicate that they have used performance enhancement drugs that they have gotten from other students.
The issue for employers is thus whether an "Agree" or "Strongly Agree" response to this question is an indication of a risky employee perhaps using prescription drugs illegally and/or an employee more likely to go the "extra mile" to excel at work. Carey, B. (2008, March 9). Brain Enhancement Is Wrong, Right? The New York Times on-line. 2. Can you predict an individual’s tendency to be violent? What does research conclude? 11. I got into fights a lot as a kid.
12. People sometimes refer to me as a "roughneck."
13. I often feel like punching someone's lights out.
14. Some people just deserve physical punishment.
15. I often got spanked as a kid.
16. I think there are times when a good beating is in order.
17. I enjoy getting drunk and a little out of control.
18. I enjoy watching a good fistfight.
What do items 11–18 measure? Items 11-18 measure a proclivity toward violence. Your score is 40. A score of 33 or higher indicates more of a tendency to behave in a violent manner in the workplace. Keep in mind that this is a short sample of an instrument designed to measure violent tendencies and scores should thus be interpreted with caution. Homicide is the second leading cause of fatal occupational injury in the United States. Homicides are surpassed only by motor vehicle crashes as a cause of job-related deaths. Estimates indicate that more than 1.9 million violent workplace crimes occur each year with half of these infractions caused by employees or former employees. A Society for Human Resource Management survey found that 48 percent of surveyed workers had experienced at least one violent incident in the last year. 3. Why is it so important to screen certain employers for their potential driving behavior? What is the best approach to this assessment? 21. I really like to speed when I'm driving. 22. I've gotten my share of speeding tickets. 23. I like to weave in and out on a crowded highway. 24. I like to drive well above the speed limit. 25. Most people drive fast. What do items 21–25 measure? Feedback: Items 21-25 indicate possible driving problems. Your score is 25. A score of 20 or higher indicates a high-risk driver, or one more likely to be involved in traffic accidents. A record of accidents or driving citations does predict similar activity in the future. Companies that employ drivers should make certain that they screen not only job applicants but current employees for driving records. Lawsuits for “negligent hiring” and “negligent retention” are common as related to the driving behavior of employees while at work. Employers can be found guilty of negligent hiring if they should have known at the time of hire that the job applicant was unfit for employment. The actual driving record of applicants and even current employees while off-duty in the case of “negligent retention” should be evaluated as protection from such lawsuits. An instrument such as this could also be used as an additional safeguard. 4. Do you think these types of questions are useless for actual decision making because answers can be faked? 19. I have never been mad at a member of my family. 20. I excel at identifying opportunities. What do items 19 and 20 measure? Responses to item 19 indicates fabricated responses. If someone answers agree or strongly agree to either or both items, this is an indication the person may be making responses to impress or please the test administrator (a problem with these types of tests). Students tend to overestimate the level of response faking on such instruments. It is not recommended that job applicants be eliminated based strictly on a high "fabrication" score. These individuals may be highly motivated to gain employment and more likely to accept a job offer. Rather, a "fabricated" response on one or both of these items should probably lead to the recommendation that the test be taken again or that another comparable test should be administered. Item #20 is another indication of “proactive” personality. 5. What would be your reaction if you were told you were not hired based on your responses to this questionnaire? Most students do not regard these types of questionnaires as valid because job applicants tend to make dishonest responses. While dishonest responses to statements that have an obvious desirable answer clearly occur, the extent to which such dishonest or faked responses reduces the overall validity of such instruments appears to be small. Do you think your responses to this questionnaire predict anything about you? Assessments of job candidates on safety-related tendencies and reactions to a stressful work environment can include valid questionnaires with statements similar to those presented in this exercise. Such assessments should always include background and reference checks and behavioral interviews. What evidence should an organization have before this instrument is used for personnel selection? An organization should have validity evidence supporting use of the instrument for particular personnel decisions (e.g., screening applicants for driving positions, selecting personnel for stressful positions). CRITICAL THINKING APPLICATION 14-B The Measurement of Stress at Work There are many causes of stress at work; some issues or situations are more stressful than others. The purpose of this CTA is to give you some insights into the relative potency of work situations for causing stress at work. SECTION I - ENVIRONMENTAL STRESS Score interpretation- This is an instrument designed to assess the extent to which stress may be a problem in the workplace. Each of the items answered in the first sections were given a weight (3, 2 or 1) that are derived from research on stress with the weight for any given item based on the predictive power of the work situation described in the statements. The particular weights employed in this exercise (viz., 3, 2, and 1) are derived from a study of stress conducted in two large organizations. The weights are rounded correlations between a particular work situation and perceptions of a level of stress at work. Thus, items that receive a weight of 3 correlated higher than .25 with perceptions of stress at work.
Compare this score with the MEAN STRESS PRODUCER = 20 and the MEAN STRESS REDUCER SCORE = 13. In terms of classifying Section I stress scores in a general sense, scores of 37 (or higher) are considered HIGH ENVIRONMENTAL STRESS situations. Based on a database of 567 organizations (N=11,556), the average level of ENVIRONMENTAL STRESS on this instrument is 11. It is possible to have a negative number on Environmental stress (where stress reducers exceed producers). A negative score indicates a positive work environment. This is obviously a good work situation that translates into lower rates of voluntary turnover, higher levels of job satisfaction, self-reported levels of work stress, intentions to terminate employment and higher levels of job performance. For the 593 employers that are represented in this database, 12% reports stress levels where "reducers" exceeded the "producers." Unfortunately, this figure is decreased by 6% from the last compilation of the data. Put another way, the most recent data indicates a growing level of stress producers. SECTION II - PSYCHOLOGICAL STRESSORS AT WORK Prolonged exposure to certain job demands has been linked to several measures of mental and physical stress as well as productivity problems and absenteeism. Job demands have been defined as psychological stressors, such as working too hard or too fast, having too much to do (role overload), having conflicting demands from several sources (role conflict). An individual may perceive role conflict when pressures from two or more sources are exerted such that complying with one source creates greater problems regarding another source. For example, workers may try to maintain a high quality standard while simultaneously trying to meet a very difficult quantity standard, or managers may attempt to hit a quota for production while reducing labor costs. Also, employees in matrix organizational structures may experience role conflict if they have two bosses: one in charge of their "line" job and one in charge of the "project" job or team they have been assigned to. See page 499. Another source of stress is role ambiguity, in which workers simply do not understand what is expected on the job or where what is expected is contrary to what they think should be done. An example of role ambiguity occurs when a boss is vague about an employee's responsibilities or the time frame in which the employee has to complete specific tasks. Students also completed a popular questionnaire designed to assess levels of role ambiguity and role conflict at work. The role ambiguity score is comprised of the first six items in the second section. For role ambiguity, high levels of ambiguity are reflected in scores of 26 or higher (the higher the score, the greater the ambiguity). 1. I have clear, planned goals and objectives for my job. 2. I know that I have divided my time properly. 3. I know what my responsibilities are. 4. I know exactly what is expected of me. 5. I feel certain about how much authority I have on the job. 6. Explanation is clear of what has to be done. The role conflict score is comprised of the final eight items in the second section. Scores of 22 (or LOWER) indicate HIGH levels of role conflict. 7. I have two or more bosses who often give me conflicting work assignments. 8. I often receive an assignment without the resources to complete it. 9. I often have to buck a rule or policy in order to carry out an assignment. 10. I work with two or more groups who operate quite differently. 11. I receive an assignment without adequate materials to execute it. 12. I receive incompatible requests from two or more people in authority. 13. I receive an assignment without adequate materials to execute it. 14. I work on unnecessary things. Based on the norms from this questionnaire, the highest stress situations are as follows: Scores of 26 (or higher) on ROLE AMBIGUITY combined with scores below 23 on ROLE CONFLICT. However, scores of 26 (or higher) on Ambiguity or scores of 23 or lower on Conflict also constitute high stress work situations. Research on role ambiguity and conflict is plentiful. As in other areas related to stress, the reactions to the stressors tend to vary widely depending on an individual's characteristics. For example, people with Type A personalities suffer more stress and experience a greater number of health problems than do Type B people. Individuals with "proactive" personalities tend to perform more effectively in high role ambiguity and role conflict situations and are more likely to take steps to reduce these sources of stress. Individuals who score high on "Emotional Stability" from the Five Factor Model of personality also tend to be more effective in stressful situations. DISCUSSION QUESTIONS 1. Some work situations are considered more stressful than others. How does research make that determination? Research concludes that workplace stress, for example, has reached alarming proportions due to company restructuring, increased work demands, layoffs, downsizing, and the strain of the continuing wars and the state of the economy. Jobs high in role conflict and ambiguity are relatively more stressful. See also the discussion of “burnout” on page 500. Other sources of individual stress include conflicts between job obligations and family obligations. Women in particular tend to experience this conflict. “Family responsibilities can place tremendous pressure on women. When both husband and wife have careers, the wife is often expected to keep her housekeeping role in addition to her work role. . . . More and more Superwomen are now questioning their multiple roles. With this uncertainty comes more conflict and stress.” Dual-career couples, in particular, face increasing time pressures as they try to balance work and family responsibilities (p.499). See also the discussion of the implications of sleep deprivation on page 463. 2. Are some individuals more prone to react well (or poorly) to stressful situations? What types of personalities are more likely to handle stress well? People with Type A personalities suffer more stress and experience a greater number of health problems than do Type B people. Type A people tend to do just about everything quickly (walk, talk, eat) and have little tolerance for people who go at a more moderate pace. Research also shows that people with more “proactive” personalities are more able to control stressful situations and handle job demands. A “proactive” personality exhibits a tendency to initiate and maintain actions that can alter the surrounding environment. See page 499. 3. What are the overall effects of a stressful work situation? What actions can a company take to reduce the stress? Refer to the list of stress “reducers.” The role of the manager in alleviating stress appears to be critical. Recent research documents that stress levels are on the rise and that the primary sources of stress are work family conflicts. Organizations that help employees cope with these roles report less stress and reductions in workers’ compensation claims, medical expenses, and voluntary termination. Ensuring that work-family policies are created in a just manner through employee surveys can help create procedures that are representative of all groups’ concerns and are consistent across persons and time. 4. What actions could an organization take to reduce role conflict and role ambiguity? Why would that be an important thing to do? Prolonged exposure to certain job demands has been linked to several measures of mental and physical stress as well as productivity problems and absenteeism. Job demands have been defined as psychological stressors, such as working too hard or too fast, having too much to do (role overload), or having conflicting demands from several sources (role conflict). Both conflict and role ambiguity are predictors of stress perceptions. Managers can take steps to reduce conflict by clearly defining the chain of command. Ambiguity can be reduced by more precise performance appraisal criteria and job descriptions. See also page 501. 5. What does research say about the effects of a highly demanding work situation in which the worker has little or no control of the situation? See Figure 14-11(p. 498). Little or no control is a predictor of stress reactions. Researchers hypothesize that stress is a function of high job demands in combination with low control at work. So when an individual has little authority to make decisions in a highly demanding job, the most negative aspects of stress should be expected. There is also evidence that coping responses to stressors and control differ as a function of culture. (p. 500) Solution Manual for Human Resource Management John H. Bernardin, Joyce E. A. Russell 9780078029165, 9780071326186

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