Control and Workload
*Johansson et al
*Marmot et al
High control= low stress.
Low control= increased stress (typically workers lower in organisation) • Workload
• Combination of high workload and low control is most stressful and can lead to illnesses e.g. heart disease
• Important for organisations to identify and minimise sources of stress in work environment and to help employee cope. Stress can affect performance
• Can be reduced with individual stress management programs and changes to organisations work practices
• Self report questionnaires can lead to strategies
Johansson et al (1978)
Swedish Sawmill Workers
Aim: measure psychological and physiological stress response in two types of employees
• 24 workers
High risk (of stress) – 14 workers (responsible for own and teams wages)
Control Group - 10 workers (cleaners, maintenance)
• Each P asked to give daily urine sample when arrived at work and four other times during day.
Also gave self reports of mood, alertness and caffeine and nicotine consumption.
• Adrenaline levels measured in urine and body temperature taken at same time
• Self rating scales of words e.g. “sleepiness”
• High risk group had adrenaline levels twice as high as baseline levels, continued to increase through day
• Control group had peak of 1 ½ then declined through day
• In self report high risk group felt more rushed and irritated than control group
*Less control= higher stress levels
*Increased workload= higher stress levels
• The repetitive, fast paced work was demanding in detail and contributed to higher stress levels in high risk group than control group.
• Objective Measure
• Asked how much caffeine and nicotine in self report- unreliable, social desirability bias
• Provides control of extraneous variable*
• To reduce sources of stress experienced by finishers, researchers suggested that employees rotate jobs to provide variety and social contact. As a result tress levels decreased in finishers and productivity of sawmill increased. This increased ecological validity.
• Small biased sample of 24 Swedish sawmill workers – difficult to generalise, therefore low population validity
• Natural environment (natural environment)– high ecological validity, However less control of extraneous variables than in lab experiment. But self report measurement of caffeine and nicotine gave some control, however could be unreliable
• Field study so high ecological validity, can be applied to real life situations Marmot et al (1997)
Stress, work control and CHD in Civil Servants
• Marmot et al examined the relationship between control in the workplace