How Organizational Fit Impacts Workplace Stress

5283034437_d17754cefd_z[We’re pleased to welcome Jeremy Mackey. Jeremy recently published an article entitled “Do I Fit In? Perceptions of Organizational Fit as a Resource in the Workplace Stress Process” in Group & Organization Management with  co-authors Pamela L. Perrewé and Charn P. McAllister.]

Pam Perrewé, Charn McAllister, and I began working on our paper entitled “Do I Fit in? Perceptions of Organizational Fit as a Resource in the Workplace Stress Process” because we were interested in whether or not perceptions of organizational fit could fundamentally alter employees’ workplace stress processes. We were able to collect three samples of data from diverse groups of U.S. employees across a variety of occupations and industries, including a sample of data comprised of respondents who were veterans of the U.S. military. Ultimately, we found evidence that perceptions of organizational fit can serve as a resource that reduces perceptions of job strain and increases motivation across a variety of organizational contexts as employees experience the workplace stress process.

We were surprised that some of the average reports (i.e., means) of the study variables we examined differed across Current Issue Coverthe three samples of data, but that the stress process and the relationships in our hypothesized model generally demonstrated similar effect sizes across samples. We concluded that although ratings of the individual components of the workplace stress process varied, the overall workplace stress process we examined appeared to stay mostly intact.

Many research studies examine perceptions of organizational fit as an outcome of workplace perceptions and behaviors, but we conceptualized it as a resource that could be an antecedent to workplace perceptions and behaviors. We hope our conceptualization of organizational fit as a resource will inform and encourage future research and organizational efforts to understand and manage employees’ levels of stress.

The abstract for the paper:

A large number of research studies in the stress literature over the previous 20 years have examined how organizational demands influence experienced stress; however, little research has examined how perceptions of organizational fit influence experienced stress and the stress process. In the present study, we use the conservation of resources (COR) theory to examine how perceptions of hindrance stressors, challenge stressors, and organizational fit (i.e., a resource) affect employees’ intrapersonal (i.e., job satisfaction and work intensity) and interpersonal (i.e., interpersonal workplace deviance and work-to-family conflict) outcomes through job strain (i.e., job tension) and motivational (i.e., vigor) cognitive stress processes. Results from three samples of data (nSample 1 = 268, nSample 2 = 259, nSample 3 = 168) largely supported the hypothesized model and suggested that perceptions of organizational fit can be a resource associated with favorable effects on employees’ stress processes. Thus, we contribute to the stress and fit literatures by proposing and demonstrating empirical support for a COR theoretical explanation of why perceptions of organizational fit are a resource for employees. The results are important because they help provide a broader view of the effects of perceptions of organizational fit on employees’ stress processes than offered by prior research and suggest that organizational leaders have the opportunity to help employees manage workplace stress by fostering perceptions of organizational fit. Implications of results for theory and practice, strengths, limitations, and directions for future research are presented.

You can read “Do I Fit In? Perceptions of Organizational Fit as a Resource in the Workplace Stress Process” from Group & Organization Management free for the next two weeks here. Want to know all about the latest research from Group & Organization ManagementClick here to sign up for e-alerts!

*Coworkers image attributed to ryan harvey (CC)

Jeremy D. Mackey is an Assistant Professor of Management in the Raymond J. Harbert College of Business at Auburn University. His current research interests include abusive supervision, interpersonal mistreatment, stress, and meta-analysis.

Pamela L. Perrewé is the Haywood and Betty Taylor Eminent Scholar of Business Administration and Distinguished Research Professor at Florida State University. She has focused her research interests in the areas of job stress, coping, organizational politics, emotion, and personality.

Charn P. McAllister is a PhD student in Management at Florida State University. His research interests include social influence, self-regulation, and stress.

Fitting In at Work: Perceptions of Organizational Fit as a Resource for Employees

8943753151_170202054f_zWorking with others can be a challenge, not only in terms of navigating the different personalities and behaviors of coworkers, but also in terms of feeling part of an organization. In the paper, “Do I Fit In? Perceptions of Organizational Fit as a Resource in the Workplace Stress Process,” recently published in Group & Organization ManagementJeremy D. Mackey of Auburn University, Pamela L. Perrwé of Florida State University, and Charn P. McAllister of Florida State University discuss how employee perceptions of organizational fit can impact intrapersonal and interpersonal performance. Specifically, positive organizational fit seems to have a favorable impact on stress processes.

The abstract from their paper:

A large number of research studies in the stress literature over the previous 20 years have examined how organizational demands influence experienced stress; however, little research has examined how perceptions of organizational fit influence experienced stress and the stress process. In the present study, we use the conservation of resources (COR) theory to examine how perceptions of GOM_Feb_2016.inddhindrance stressors, challenge stressors, and organizational fit (i.e., a resource) affect employees’ intrapersonal (i.e., job satisfaction and work intensity) and interpersonal (i.e., interpersonal workplace deviance and work-to-family conflict) outcomes through job strain (i.e., job tension) and motivational (i.e., vigor) cognitive stress processes. Results from three samples of data (nSample 1 = 268, nSample 2 = 259, nSample 3 = 168) largely supported the hypothesized model and suggested that perceptions of organizational fit can be a resource associated with favorable effects on employees’ stress processes. Thus, we contribute to the stress and fit literatures by proposing and demonstrating empirical support for a COR theoretical explanation of why perceptions of organizational fit are a resource for employees. The results are important because they help provide a broader view of the effects of perceptions of organizational fit on employees’ stress processes than offered by prior research and suggest that organizational leaders have the opportunity to help employees manage workplace stress by fostering perceptions of organizational fit. Implications of results for theory and practice, strengths, limitations, and directions for future research are presented.

You can read “Do I Fit In? Perceptions of Organizational Fit as a Resource in the Workplace Stress Process” from Group & Organization Management free for the next two weeks by clicking here. Want to know all about the latest research from Group & Organization Management? Click here to sign up for e-alerts!

*Figures image credited to Sonny Abesamis (CC)

Old Stress, New Stress, Bad Stress, Eustress: Challenging Employees with Positive Organizational Stress

HRD cover

[We’re pleased to welcome Wendy Becker of Shippensburg University. Dr. Becker recently published an article in Human Resource Development Review with co-authors M. Blake Hargrove of Shippensburg University and Debra Hargrove of Dickinson College, entitled “The HR Eustress Model: Creating Work Challenge Through Positive Stress.”]

  • What inspired you to be interested in this topic?

We find the negative focus on organizational stress disturbing.  Stress is a normal and oftentimes positive part of life within any organization.  In this article we attempt to help HR professionals harness the positive possibilities of workplace stress.   We also offer a theoretical framework for researchers to explore.

  • Were there findings that were surprising to you?

We introduce a new phrase–“positive HRD”–that seeks to promote positive organizations by developing opportunities to challenge employees. We provide a theoretical framework to explore the possibilities of positive organizational stress.

  • How do you see this study influencing future research and/or practice?

HR and HRD professionals will find this article helpful in two ways:  (1)  we provide a theoretical explanation for the efficacy of existing HR practices, and (2)  we point out specific interventions that can help create improved performance, improved worker well-being, and other important positive organizational and individual outcomes.

HR and HRD researchers can use this theoretical model as a basis for future empirical investigations.  This article can serve as a launching point for future explorations of “positive HRD.”

The abstract for the paper:

Building on existing conceptualizations of stress, we present a model that provides an alternate explanation of the efficacy of human resource development (HRD) interventions. Unlike most stress research that emphasizes the negative side of stress, we view eustress—good stress—as a positive individual and organizational outcome. The HRD eustress model extends theory from the positive psychology and positive organizational behavior literature and positions a role for HRD in creating positive stress as a means to improve performance. We describe how HRD professionals can help challenge employees as a means of attaining individual goals and personal development.

You can read “The HR Eustress Model: Creating Work Challenge Through Positive Stress” from Human Resource Development Review free for the next two weeks by clicking here. Want to know all about the latest research from Human Resource Development Review? Click here to sign up for e-alerts!


 

M. Blake HargroveM. Blake Hargrove is associate professor of Management in the John L. Grove College of Business at Shippensburg University. His research interests include positive organizational behavior, scale development, and applied business ethics. He holds a PhD from the University of Texas at Arlington.

Wendy Becker

Wendy S. Becker is professor of Management, Shippensburg University. Research interests include experiential learning and the efficacy of workplace interventions, as well as managerial development and motivation theory. She received the Award for Innovative Excellence in Teaching, Learning, and Technology from the International Conference on College Teaching and Learning and she is a Fellow of the Society for Industrial and Organizational Psychology.

Debra HargroveDebra F. Hargrove is associate vice president for Human Resources Services at Dickinson College. She has dedicated her career to make the organizations in which she serves better places for all employees. She has been an HR practitioner for more than twenty years, holds an MA in Human Resources, and earned the Senior Professional in Human Resources (SPHR) designation.

Mental Health and Work: Stress and OB, Part 2 of 3



clock

With economic uncertainty
and job insecurity on the rise, stress levels are also at increasingly higher levels. With effects on physical and emotional health, the toll is high for individuals and organizations. Today we’re looking at recent research addressing issues such as the effects of commuting to work; the relationships between ill health and employment; the role played by managers’ ethical and family-supportive behavior; the extent to which organizational justice and job characteristics shape employees’ work attitudes and health; and a review of the literature on the relationship between stress and well-being.Stress APA quote

Click on the titles below to read the articles, free through June.

Do Long Journeys to Work Have Adverse Effects on Mental Health? by Zhiqiang Feng and Paul Boyle, both at University of St. Andrews, Scotland, UK, as published in Environment & Behavior

Mental and physical health: re-assessing the relationship with employment propensity by Gail Pacheco, Auckland University of Technology, New Zealand; Dom Page and Don J. Webb, both at University of the West of England, Bristol, UK, as published in Work, Employment & Society

Operationalizing Management Citizenship Behavior and Testing Its Impact on Employee Commitment, Satisfaction, and Mental Health by Beth A. Rubin and Charles J. Brody, both at University of North Carolina-Charlotte, USA, as published in Work and Occupations

The interaction between organizational justice and job characteristics: Associations with work attitudes and employee health cross-sectionally and over time by Constanze Eib and Claudia Bernhard-Oettel, both at Stockholm University, Sweden; Katharina Näswall, University of Canterbury, New Zealand; and Magnus Sverke, Stockholm University, Sweden and North-West University, South Africa, as published in Economic and Industrial Democracy

Work Stress and Employee Health: A Multidisciplinary Review by Daniel C. Ganster, Colorado State University and Christopher C. Rosen, University of Arkansas, as published in Journal of Management

Tomorrow’s post: Mental Health and Work: Leadership and Well-Being, Part 3 of 3

 

Why Entrepreneurs Are Less, Not More, Stressed Out

Entrepreneurs aren’t the stressed-out workaholics we imagine them to be. In fact, a new study published in the Journal of Management finds that they experience less stress than the average worker. Why? Because they are psychologically better equipped to handle stressful situations:

While creating and running new ventures, entrepreneurs are exposed to conditions known to generate high levels of stress (e.g., rapid change, unpredictable environments, work overload, personal responsibility for others). Thus, it has been assumed that they often experience intense stress. A markedly different possibility, Untitledhowever, is suggested by Attraction-Selection- Attrition (ASA) theory. This perspective suggests that persons who are attracted by, selected into, and persist in entrepreneurship may be relatively high in the capacity to tolerate or effectively manage stress. In contrast, persons who are relatively low in this capacity tend to exit from entrepreneurship either voluntarily or involuntarily. As a result, founding entrepreneurs as a group are predicted to experience low rather than high levels of stress while running new ventures. Results supported this reasoning: Founding entrepreneurs reported lower levels of stress when compared to participants in a large national survey of perceived stress. Additional findings indicate that entrepreneJOM_v38_72ppiRGB_150pixWurs’ relatively low levels of stress derive, at least in part, from high levels of psychological capital (a combination of self-efficacy, optimism, hope, and resilience). Psychological capital was negatively related to stress, and stress, in turn, was negatively related to entrepreneurs’ subjective well-being. Furthermore, and also consistent with ASA theory, the stress-reducing effects of psychological capital were stronger for older than younger entrepreneurs.

Continue reading “Why Entrepreneurs Often Experience Low , Not High, Levels of Stress: The Joint Effects of Selection and Psychological Capital” by Robert A. Baron and Rebecca J. Franklin of Oklahoma State University and Keith M. Hmieleski of Texas Christian University, forthcoming in the Journal of Management and now available in the JOM OnlineFirst section. Read related research in the JOM Editor’s Choice Collections on entrepreneurship and work stress and health.

The Cost of Unethical Behavior

To join in celebrating Corporate Compliance and Ethics Week, we bring you an article from the Journal of Management that examines the link between unethical behavior and emotional exhaustion, a topic we covered last week:

Many employees feel ethically conflicted at work, but research has yet to identify the specific mechanisms that give rise to this sense of ethical conflict. The authors propose that ethical conflicts occur when companies encourage employees to behave counter to their own sense of right and wrong during the process of organizational socialization. Employees who are subject to these pressures experience psychological distress. The JOM_v38_72ppiRGB_150pixWauthors’ study of 371 early career lawyers found that divestiture socialization was positively related to ethical conflict and that ethical conflict was related to higher emotional exhaustion and lower career fulfillment. Ethical conflict partially mediated the relationship between divestiture socialization and emotional exhaustion. Narrative comments provided by respondents reinforced the relationship between divestiture socialization and ethical conflict.

Read “The Psychic Cost of Doing Wrong: Ethical Conflict, Divestiture Socialization, and Emotional Exhaustion,” published by John D. Kammeyer-Mueller and Lauren S. Simon, both of the University of Florida, and Bruce L. Rich of California State University, San Marcos in the Journal of Management May 2012 issue.

Understanding Emotional Exhaustion In the Workplace

We’ve all experienced that occasional afternoon slump at the office. But when workplace emotional exhaustion accumulates on a daily basis, it can seriously impact job performance, organizational citizenship behavior, and job satisfaction.

In their article “A Head Start or a Step Behind? Understanding How Dispositional and Motivational Resources Influence Emotional Exhaustion,” published this week in the Journal of Management, John D. Kammeyer-Mueller of the University of Florida, Lauren S. Simon of Portland State University, and Timothy A. Judge of the University of Notre Dame find that individual personality and motivation have much to do with our level of exhaustion when we start the workday versus when we clock out:

JOM_v38_72ppiRGB_150pixWAlthough it may seem unlikely for employees to leave work feeling less emotionally exhausted than when they arrived, some researchers (Sonnentag, 2005: 273) have suggested that “mentally distancing oneself from the job requirements during work might appear as a promising ‘escape’ route for mentally exhausted employees” who cannot psychologically detach themselves from work during off-hours. This suggests that temporarily “taking it easy” at work may at least reduce the rate at which resource deficits accumulate. Yet some individuals may be more willing to employ this resource regulation tactic than others.

Click here to read more, and find related research in the Journal of Management’s special collection on Work Stress and Health.