The Relationships Between Stress, Drinking, and Complaints at Work

stress-2051408_1920[We’re pleased to welcome authors Jeremy D. Mackey of Auburn University and Pamela L. Perrewé of Florida State University. They recently published an article in the Group and Organization Management entitled “The Relationships Between Hindrance Stressors, Problem Drinking, and Somatic Complaints at Work” which is currently free to read for a limited time. Below, Mackey speaks about the motivation and challenges of this research:]

GOM_72ppiRGB_powerpointPam Perrewé and I were excited to publish our paper entitled “The Relationships between Hindrance Stressors, Problem Drinking, and Somatic Complaints at Work” in Group & Organization Management. We were motivated to conduct our study on the indirect effects of hindrance stressors on somatic complaints at work through problem drinking because we were interested in examining the impact of problem drinking on organizational stress processes. Our conceptualization of problem drinking examines alcohol consumption that is personally and/or socially harmful. Although problem drinking has been widely studied in psychology research, its effects have yet to be fully illuminated in organizational research. Thus, we sought to examine the effects of perceptions of workplace obstacles (i.e., hindrance stressors) on physiological strain (i.e., somatic complaints at work) through problem drinking. We hope our innovative conceptualization of problem drinking as a self-medication coping mechanism impacts research and practice by encouraging researchers and practitioners to examine the role of employees’ attempts to cope with organizational stress by engaging in problem drinking.

The most challenging aspect of conducting our study was how to appropriately examine problem drinking in organizational contexts. Problem drinking is a sensitive topic and there is little precedent for how to appropriately study it in organizational settings. Ultimately, we opted to examine employees’ frequencies of problem drinking because it was appropriate for our research question and study design. We recommend that other scholars who pursue this field of study consider the numerous ways of measuring problem drinking in order to choose appropriate ways to measure it for their research goals. For example, examining quantities of alcohol consumed, drinking to intoxication, the frequency/intensity of experienced hangovers, and problem drinking within the workplace all offer useful ways for future research to examine problem drinking and assess its effects on groups and organizations.

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Running photo attributed to geralt. (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.

Are Authentic Leadership and Fairness Connected?

JLOS_72ppiRGB_powerpoint[We’re pleased to welcome Christa Kiersch of University of Wisconsin–La Crosse. Dr. Kiersch recently collaborated with Zinta S. Byrne of Colorado State University on their article from Journal of Leadership and Organizational Studies entitled “Is Being Authentic Being Fair? Multilevel Examination of Authentic Leadership, Justice, and Employee Outcomes.”]

Like many interested in leadership and organizational science, I often ask myself (and my perhaps less interested undergraduate students) what it means to be a great leader or to have great leadership. This seems to be a guiding question of much of the research in organizational leadership, and with good cause. If we can better understand what great leadership is, then we may be able to get more of it through improved selection assessments or training and development programs. To go one step further, if we can better understand why certain leadership skills or behaviors or other characteristics are effective, we can offer more precisely targeted recommendations for leaders hoping to make a positive impact (and be more specific regarding what the positive impact will be). This captures the underlying goal of this study, to inform actionable strategies for leaders to positively influence the people and goals of their organization or team.

In our research, we found that being an authentic leader (one based on honesty, self-awareness and transparency) often means being a fair leader, and that one way in which authentic leadership has a positive impact on team members and team outcomes is via perceptions of fair treatment among the team. While I had a hunch that this core relationship between authentic leadership and fairness would be supported in the study, I was intrigued by the complexities of our multi-level findings. I find it interesting that authentic leadership impacts individual perceptions and shared group perceptions (i.e., team climate) a bit differently, and that this impact also appears different depending on the outcome of interest (e.g., turnover intentions vs. employee well-being). I sincerely look forward to continued dialogue regarding these findings and more generally regarding the interesting ways in which leadership impacts (and is impacted by) individuals and groups.

You can read “Is Being Authentic Being Fair? Multilevel Examination of Authentic Leadership, Justice, and Employee Outcomes” from Journal of Leadership and Organizational Studies for free by clicking here. Want to know about all the latest research from Journal of Leadership and Organizational Studies? Click here to sign up for e-alerts!


ChristaChrista E. Kiersch is an assistant professor of Management at the University of Wisconsin – La Crosse. Her research interests include leadership, organizational justice, and social responsibility in the workplace.

Zinta S. Byrne is a professor of Industrial and Organizational Psychology at Colorado State University. Her current research interests focus on employee engagement, organizational justice, and computer-mediated exchanges.

Is Workplace Conflict Good or Bad?

Editor’s note: We are pleased to welcome Alice H. Y. Hon of The Hong Kong Polytechnic University, whose article “The Effects of Group Conflict and Work Stress on Employee Performance,” co-authored by Wilco W. Chan of The Hong Kong Polytechnic University, is forthcoming in Cornell Hospitality Quarterly and now available in the journal’s OnlineFirst section.

In the contemporary business world, teamwork is increasingly important because many organizations feel the need to coordinate their activities more effectively; however, there are considerable challenges to working effectively in teams. One major challenge is conflict, which is the process resulting from stress and tension between team members that arise from the complexity of task relationships, excessive work demands, interpersonal disputes, and the interdependence of organizational life (De Dreu & Weingart, 2003). Early organizational conflict theorists suggested that conflict is detrimental to team effectiveness and organizational functioning (Glazer & Beehr, 2005; Hamilton, Hoffman, Broman, & Rauma, 1993). More recently, researchers have theorized that conflict is beneficial under certain circumstances, and if people perceive the nature of conflict and manage it appropriately (De Dreu & Van de Vliert, 1997; Simons & Peterson, 2000).

CQ_v50n2_72ppiRGB_150pixWAlthough the concepts of team conflict and work stress remain popular today, theories that account for the distinction have not been clearly developed. The present study aims to contribute to the existing literature, and argues that understanding whether the conflict is task-related or relationship-related and whether the work stress is challenge-related or hindrance-related is necessary to evaluate the influence of team conflict and work stress on employee performance. Only by clearly distinguishing these relationships can we provide comprehensive theoretical and practical human resource suggestions to both scholars and managers. We can then confidently assert that conflict associated with certain stressors may result in negative outcomes, whereas conflict associated with other stressors may result in positive outcomes.

Click here to read The Effects of Group Conflict and Work Stress on Employee Performance” in Cornell Hospitality Quarterly.

Alice H. Y. Hon is an assistant professor at the School of Hotel and Tourism Management, The Hong Kong Polytechnic University. Her research focuses on employee creativity and innovation, intrinsic motivations, leadership, justice and trust, management team, and multilevel issues in service organizations.

Work Stress and Health: New Journal of Management Collection

The Journal of Management (JOM) has a new Editor’s Choice collection on the topic of Work Stress and Health, with all articles free to access now through March 24.

JOM recently found that about 7% of full-time workers experienced a major depressive episode in the past year. And according to the APA’s latest Stress in America survey, stressed-out workers aren’t getting the health care that they need. Articles in this collection explore this important topic in depth and offer practical implications for individuals and organizations.

The collection includes, among other articles:

JOM_v38_72ppiRGB_150pixWDaniel C. Ganster and Christopher C. Rosen
Work Stress and Employee Health: A Multidisciplinary Review

James A. Meurs and Pamela L. Perrewé
Cognitive Activation Theory of Stress: An Integrative Theoretical Approach to Work Stress

Brent A. Scott and Timothy A. Judge
Insomnia, Emotions, and Job Satisfaction: A Multilevel Study

Click here to see more Editor’s Choice collections from JOM.