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[This essay is currently being edited and updated. Please refrain from reading to prevent misinterpretation from incompleteness…]
Mis-à-jour le Mardi, 8 Février 2022
In the modern Westernized world that the majority of individuals live in, most human beings work because they have financial responsibilities to meet in order to be able to exist, live at a decent standard and stay alive, while also meeting their needs as living organisms. The focus of occupational psychology and organizational psychology are primarily on the workplace: the efficient management of human resources, i.e. people.
What is the purpose of work?
Why do we work? This is a fundamental and profound question which is often left in the dark, when it is a fact that the answers come with deep philosophical meaning for both individuals and society at large. As such, we are going to explore this question in a concrete and straightforward approach because many people live a life where work takes a large proportion of their time and have never questioned the purpose of their behaviour in regards to work.
The French philosopher, André Comte-Sponville gave a short lecture in 2016 at the Hôpitaux Universitaires de Genève in regards to the sense and meaning of work, and proposed a philosophical reflection around work and health. The latter pointed out that everyone in the world is enthusiastic about being happy but as for working, most people would prefer not to. Addressing the employees of the Hôpitaux Universitaires de Genève, Comte-Sponville asked the fundamental question: what are employees running after?
What do employees run after?
– Do employees run after work itself?
This question lead us to the conclusion that most people do not enthusiastically chase work; this is because work is not an end, an objective, or a goal itself, but simply a means. The nature of any means is to serve something other than itself, i.e. the means leads to a further objective. As such, we can confidently assume that human beings do not chase work because work is a means that is meant to lead to something else.
– Do employees run after ethics/virtue and/or the moral value of work?
Comte-Sponville observed that we do not pay people to be loving or generous, because love and generosity are by definition moral values, and those are priceless and are not for sale. Hence, the popular notion of “work ethics” that many people have been indoctrinated with in regards to work, as Comte-Sponville notes, is not a moral value, it is a mercantile value.
Unlike moral values such as love and generosity that are not financially compensated for, all work needs to be remunerated, i.e. all work deserves a salary, or a payment. This fundamental fact confirms that work is a mercantile value and not a moral value. Comte-Sponville ironically points out that in the bible, it is not prescribed to work together as your heavenly father works; but instead it is said that we should love one another as our heavenly father loves us – this is completely different! Love is a moral value and work is not!
Comte-Sponville shared an anecdote about his experience with business owners whenever he shares the biblical statement, and related that he often has one business owner who points out that in the bible it is said that one will earn one’s bread with the sweat of one’s brow, and the philosopher is then faced with the question: if this is not work, then what else could it be?
Most certainly, it is work that is being referred to, but it is a punishment after the original sin. We have to admit that it would be a very strange paradox to interpret a punishment as a moral value. Comte-Sponville ironically suggests that using the biblical statement as a justification for work as a moral value could be likened to using the whip as an emblem of management. Thus, work itself is a means but not a moral value; he argues that if some people have a strong feeling of guilt or a sense that their personal moral value decreases spectacularly as soon as they allow themselves a few weeks of rest, it is a situation that would reveal less morality than possible pathologies. So, we can conclude that people do not chase the moral value of work because work is a mercantile value and not a moral value.
– Do employees run after money?
This is the main objective: money. Employees are after money, this is the reason why people work, Comte-Sponville observes; it is not for the love of the directors, the clients or the patients in the case of the employees of the Hôpitaux Universitaires de Genève. People are after money as a reason for working and this is known as wage or labour employment. Sharing an anecdote with the audience, Comte-Sponville explained that a business owner claimed that money has never motivated anyone; money gives the ability to motivate; logically, if we do not pay the employees they will not be motivated – but we would not be asking the question in that case.
Money may not motivate employees, especially those on a fixed salary, however there are different situations where there are commission and variable rates involved. But in the case of fixed salary, Comte-Sponville notes that it does not motivate, arguing that those who only work for the fixed salary have no reason to even do a little bit more of what is expected of them in order not to be fired. Motivation starts when an employee does a little bit more than the strict minimum required to not be fired.
People work because they are running after money, but money itself does not motivate. During his time lecturing, Comte-Sponville relates another anecdote of acknowledgement from a business owner who admitted that the philosopher was right about employees working for their salary, and that they would stop working if they were not paid – quite obviously! But the business owner pointed out that he does not set the salary, rather it is the labour market that does. This scenario of wage rates is both applicable to private enterprises and also hospitals. The business owner claimed that his extra value as a manager is not in the salary itself, but in all the other reasons that lead to his employees coming to work for him, but more importantly that causes them to stay in employment with him; adding that after analysing every angle of the problematic question, the only answer he could conclude with was that if his employees come to work for him and remain with him, it is because they find some kind of pleasure in it and a feeling of happiness. Comte-Sponville noted that it seemed that the latter was right.
– Happiness: the motive of all actions of all men
What do we all run after? It is not work itself, neither moral values, nor solely money or salary. First and foremost we all run after happiness! Taking the example of the employees of the Hôpitaux Universitaires de Genève, Comte-Sponville pointed out that they go to work every day because they believe that they will be happier by working there instead of someplace else, or not working at all. In the same logic, their patients come to seek treatment at the Hôpitaux Universitaires de Genève because they believe that they will be happier by being treated there than elsewhere, or not being treated at all.Comte-Sponville speculated about critics questioning his belief about happiness since he did not know all the employees of the Hôpitaux Universitaires de Genève personally. As such, he argued that whoever they may be, it cannot be denied that they are all human beings; and just like Blaise Pascal, he can be allowed to think that all human beings have the desire to be happy, i.e. to live a life in the absence of suffering [as the Epicureans would also argue]. The famous thoughts of Blaise Pascal points out that all men seek to be happy and this is without exception.
Man’s will never takes the slightest step towards anything but this object, happiness. It is the motive of all actions of all men up to those who are going to hang themselves. The final touch of those who go as far as to hang themselves, an extreme act in all its noirceur, its beauty and profoundness is very Pascalian according to Comte-Sponville; it is also very real in its depth because one who goes to kill oneself decides to do so in order to stop suffering; that cessation and absence of suffering for a person who has been in atrocious pain through suicide, is the last form of happiness – purely negative however. Suicide among health professionals is rare but not uncommon. In 2015, the cardiologist Jean-Louis Mégnien comitted suicide by throwing himself out of the 7th floor window from the hospital he worked at. Comte-Sponville extrapolates Pascal’s argument and observes that if man wants to be happy, even the one who goes to hang himself, then he asks to be allowed to think like Blaise Pascal, that every man, every woman also wants to be happy, including the one who comes to work at the Hôpitaux Universitaires de Genève.
Simply Business: core departments that structure most companies
Most businesses involve buying, selling and making a profit in the transaction. This simple concept started centuries ago among merchants in early civilizations and continues to be the core foundation of all business, however small or big the company might be. When one talks about buying and selling, it usually involves products [for e.g. basic food items, clothing, fine cuisine, kitchenware, electronics, etc], but in some cases the product being sold may also be in the form of a service, for example, a consultant or psychologist selling his advices, a doctor selling his care, an architect selling his design skills, an accountant selling his services, a lawyer selling his negotiation or advisory skills, etc. All businesses however revolve around this simple logic, i.e. buying, selling and profit.
In order for most businesses to thrive and remain active, they have to generate a minimum amount of cash in order to pay for their expenses, such as staff wages, utility bills, rent (in some cases where the business owner does not own the working space or did not start the company in a garage), supplier payments for products, and so on. As such, most people work for companies that are businesses [even a university is a business selling its product in the form of educational services and training]; and most businesses aim for profit.
In order to succeed and thrive, all businesses look to increase the number of transactions [i.e. buying and selling] so that their profits are increasing, and the funds received may be used to expand the business in multiple ways – this will obviously vary depending on the types of businesses, the products being dealt with and the market they belong to. For example, a business in the fast food market, may try to increase its profits by relying on a range of ways to attract customers, which may range from meal deals to widening the choice of their menu. Those are usually sales strategies devised by the marketing department.
The 3 core departments of most businesses are:
(i) Human Resources
(iii) Finance (also known as Accounting & Finance)
We may also find other departments added in some companies, such as “Production” [where the conception of products are involved], “Research and Development” [where we may be dealing with the creation of new drugs in the pharmaceutical industry] and some other departments in order to break down tasks into small segments to facilitate the organisation of the management of the company, and also to better allocate staff and prevent confusion and/or lack of synchronisation. However, a great amount of the added departments are generally related to the 3 core departments listed above, i.e. Human Resources, Marketing and Finance.
If some of you out there may be thinking of starting a business, whatever industry you may be planning to get into and whatever the scale of your business, it will be helpful to first divide your company into the 3 core departments mentioned; because doing so will provide clarity, bring a sense of organisation, and also allow you to scale in the future while respecting the model of most businesses in our modern Westernized world.
Now, we are going to explore those different departments in a concrete, simple, and straightforward manner that should clear up a lot of confusion among many of you out there who may not genuinely understand how a business is organized, and how to start one. It will forever be empowering to remember that business simply means “buying, selling and profit” [abbreviate, “BSP“].
(i) Human Resources
The term itself means resources in the form of humans, which simply points out that this deparment deals with managing the humans that the company will rely on for its operations…
[This essay is currently being edited and updated. Please refrain from reading to prevent misinterpretation from incompleteness…]
Occupational psychology is the study of human behaviour and experience in the workplace, it may be described as the application of psychological principles and theory in order to help organisations and their team. As occupational psychology also includes a focus on organisations in general, it may be wise to take great care when referring to the world of “employment” or “work”. This is simply because a small amount of people may work very hard for charitable organisations as volunteers or dedicate their work to the betterment of mankind; those contributions may not always be focused on the increase of profits (although it may involve increasing productivity), and money may not be the main driving and motivating factor – depending on the organization’s field, values, philosophy and goals.
Hence, occupational psychology tends to focus on the improvement of organisations’ effectiveness in terms of the work performed within, while respecting and managing the conditions leading to the satisfaction of the employees and employers.
Occupational psychology today generally requires sound knowledge and understanding in these three main categories:
(A) Human factors
(B) Personnel work
(C) Organisational psychology
(A) Human Factors
(i) Human-machine interaction
This field of study is also known as “ergonomics” and is primarily concerned on the study of human interaction with machines. For example, it has also been reported (Kelso, 2005) that the city of London was selected to host the 2012 Olympics due to the syndrome known as “fat finger” – the use of buttons too closely spaced, caused panel members with the syndrome to vote wrongly. This common error is considered to be the main factor leading to London being the host, since one panel member voted for Paris instead of Madrid, leading to the former winning by two votes and thus being London’s opponent instead of Madrid. City experts believed London would not have been able to win against Madrid. This very particular syndrome, namely “the fat finger syndrome” has also been blamed for several multi-million pound errors, for instance the mistaken purchase of 50,000 shares rather than £ 50 000 worth of shares.
(ii) Design of Environment and Work: Health and Safety
The next area has to do with health and safety, and focuses on factors regarding light, noise, general work space, ventilation, risk factors and occupational stress. It is to be noted that this is an incredibly important area, and a good example of a modern disaster reflecting the incredible importance of intelligent design in the field of health and safety, is the Fukushima disaster. The whole world was left unprepared to deal with the nuclear leak caused by the over flooding of the reactors due to the badly design of the walls not being high enough to withhold the excessive water brought in by the tsunami.
Another disastrous example is the loss of the US space shuttle Challenger in 1986, which for the very first time transported a teacher who was to have spoken from the spaceship to the American president Reagan and her pupils. The horrific explosion happened live on television and millions of people who had been watching remember the iconic shot as a ‘flashbulb memory’.
The likely cause of the explosion was a set of defective ‘O’ ring seals about which many engineers had complained about repeatedly; grave doubts were raised about the launching since the rings had never been used in temperatures as cold as that on the launch day. Irrational group decisions were made, and the launch proceeded despite the doubts – as the warning signs were explained and brushed away. A one third ‘burn out’ (erosion) of the Challenger ‘O’ ring on past launches was considered as a ‘safety factor’ of three (there would be two-thirds left, after all!) (Reason, 1990). This kind of irrational ‘rationalising’ is a feature of groupthink – no one wished to be responsible for delaying the launch and therefore disrupting the arrangement with Reagan. The people in ultimate control were highly cohesive and to some extent separated from those with the doubts. ‘Mind guards’ ensured that the engineers’ complaints were not heard by the decision-makers.
The presidential commission investigating the decision-making process revealed that a major problem lay with a system of communication within the National Aeronautics and Space Administration organisation. The decision system was ambiguous; it was not clear which decision should go to the very top and it was consequently very hard to attribute clear responsibility.
(B) Personnel Work
(i) Personnel Selection and Assessment (including Test and Exercise Design)
An organisation hiring the wrong staff can be costly in terms of productivity, quality of service delivery and company / organisation reputation. Occupational psychologists and consultants throughout the years have contributed in the effective monitoring and filtering of quality in staff recruitment.
(ii) Performance Appraisal and Career Development
Psychologists and knowledgeable consultants can assist and advise organisations on how to run staff appraisals in order to create two-way relationships that employees respect and value, since career development is essential. However, this may also lead to the staff being extremely attractive to competing organisations. This would be beneficial to the individual but not so much for the organisation.
(iii) Counselling and Personal Development
This area comprises most of the skills found in general counselling psychology. Professionals skilled in occupational psychology may also practice as career advisors or stress management counsellors among a variety of other roles [being a versatile field that applies to various aspects of the human organism’s behaviour across a wide range of environments]. In these cases [when dealing with organisations and their staff], emphasis is primarily in being an attentive listener, demonstrating empathy and being accepted as genuine.
A productive workforce is a well-trained workforce, and one that avoids costly or dangerous errors. Good professionals in occupational psychology tend to spend the majority of their time focussing on identifying training needs [to refine individuals’ skills, performance and delivery], and the design and delivery of training programmes.
(C) Organisational Psychology
(i) Employee Relations and Motivation
A wide range of aspects in mainstream social psychology was developed through the study of the ways that small groups interact and perform in a work context. This area includes research into conformity, obedience, teamwork, team building, attitudes, communication and especially leadership. It also investigates theories of work motivation.
(ii) Organisational Development & Change
Organisations tend to be dynamic and continually evolving structures. External influences [such as research, cultural demands and trends] force change on organisations in the competitive economic world of today’s industries. For example, most organisations in Western Europe have had to comply with the equal opportunities legislation and also with health and safety directions [e.g. concerning smoking at work].
In other cases organisation sometimes also have to overhaul or downsize the general managerial policies and culture. This is where professionals in occupational psychology advise, help & guide organisations during change; while altering attitudes, through reasoning, findings and theory from social psychology and group dynamics with the practical experience and judgement of organizational development.
As most of the research we tend to focus on revolves around the individual organism’s development and well-being, we will look at the human factors in occupational psychology; these generally revolve around:
- Designing or redesigning jobs
- The Design of Equipment to match Human Features and Capabilities
- Health and Safety at Work
- The Introduction of New Technologies
The services offered by psychologists in the personnel area tend to include:
(i) Selection and Assessment of Personnel
E.g. of a complete selection process in hiring a Lecturer:
Imagine we were part of a team that has to select a new lecturer for a University. Where exactly should we start? A good starting point would be to consider the essential demands of the task required of a lecturer. It is clear that lecturers have a whole lot more to do than simply lecturing. We should consider the importance of each aspect of the job. Next, we should be asking ourselves what a successful employee in the profession of lecturing would need to be able to cover in order to perform each of the academic tasks successfully; then devise a way of assessing each candidate for these abilities. It also goes without saying that an advert would have to be placed with the job description so the applicants may know exactly what they are applying for and whether or not they are suitable for the position and demands of the task. Finally, the selection process will have to be organized, where the candidates can be assessed with the successful one being selected [with a backup] for an appointment. The process does not stop here, however – as we may want to know whether the selection process was well designed and effective. We will also have to evaluate the procedure, not on the one appointment, but over several selections, by keeping track of the performance of each appointee over their first two years, for example, with their performance at the selection process. This is a method to find out whether our appointment procedures are effective and whether they produce the appropriate & desired results.
(ii) Appraisal of Work Performance
(iii) Training Programmes
(iv) Career Guidance and Counselling
(v) Issues of Equal Opportunity at Work
In the area of organizational development, psychologist and consultants may also run projects concerning:
(i) Attitude and Opinion Surveys
(ii) Team building, Leadership and Management
(iii) Industrial Relations
(iv) The Modification, Update and Change of the Organisational Culture
(v) Enhancing the Quality of Working Life
(vi) Improvement of the Quality and Effectiveness of Communications
All these procedures contribute in a harmonious organizational environment and culture where productivity, employee and employer satisfaction are the main concerns, while minimising stress levels across the organisation.
As we are now going to find out, stress can be devastating to both the mind and the body. Hence, design and selection are key steps in achieving stability, harmony and productivity through an efficient organisational culture.
Sustained Stress may have a fatal impact on Physiological Health
Stress is known for causing the increased secretion of cortisol, a hormone that could halt the production of cytokines, which are vital for maintaining a functional immune system (Kiecolt-Glaser et al., 2002). Over the years, a large number of research has also found positive correlations between daily cortisol levels and general health. The different levels of cortisol secretory activity have been linked to health problems such as hypertension, burnout, emotional distress, upper respiratory illness and eating behaviour.
However, cortisol is paramount to increasing access to energy during stressful experiences and is released on a daily pattern by 2 well defined components; the “Cortisol Awakening Rise”; and the Diurnal levels that gradually decrease over the day. It has also been found that high levels of stress could lead to less cortisol being produced in the morning (O’Connor et al., 2009b). An individual going through a serious series of stressful events would have an increased risk of developing an infectious disease with no regards to their age, sex, education, allergic status and/or body mass index (Cohen, 2005).
Two types of stress associated with increased health deficiency
Cohen et al. (1998) identified two types of stress associated with increased health deficiency; these were:
– interpersonal problems with family and friends; and/or
– enduring problems associated with work
As further research unveiled the dangers of stress, Janice Kiecolt et al. (1995) found that wound healing was also prolonged on people exposed to continuous stress, along with the lower levels of cytokine. Similarly, Marucha, Kiecolt-Glaser and Favagehi (1998) also concluded to findings over healing being prolonged on test subjects (dental students) where quicker healing was observed on vacation and not before their exams. Eventually, the conclusion of stress being a response to stressors lead to the latter being investigated in our daily lives by researchers for improvement.
Stress may be perceptual deficiency depending on whether subjective appraisal is Positive or Negative
Stress is generally perceived as negative perceptions and reactions when pressure is excessive. The transactional approach devised by Lazarus defines stress as “a particular relationship between the person and the environment that is appraised by the person as taxing or exceeding his or her resources and endangering his or her well-being” (Lazarus & Folkman, 1984, p.19) The theory has so far been one of the most solid finds in the field of occupational and organisational psychology and continues to be applied to various sections in the quest to enhance quality of both work and output.
Occupational Psychology in the Workplace: Stressors
In the field of Occupational psychology, the main focus has been on the study of human behaviour and experience in the workplace. As the world of work in the present generation is constantly changing, with companies adopting more flexible styles – along with developing technology – Lazarus and Folkman’s theory has been used in most stages of the employment life cycle in order to minimise the effects of stress on employees while maintaining a sensible amount of “good stress” (pressure) to maintain motivation. The concept is based on such solid logic that it could be applied to most areas of human interactive environment.
Applying Lazarus and Folkman’s theory of stress to occupational psychology will consider all elements that cause stress in the workplace connected to the physical requirements of the job. Stress can be physical, with factors such as noise, unsafe heights or slippery floor. These factors when present will not only cause the employee to be on guard but also likely distract them from being fully concentrated on their job for fear of harm. The solution would be to make a safer and more comfortable environment, however too safe is known to affect performance. The perfect fit would be right balance between motivational factors (incentives) and physical environment (not overly comfortable), that would lead to a design for the best fit of the job to the person (Morgeson & Campion, 2002).
The human element should also not be forgotten in the case of a sociotechnical system (Trist & Bamforth, 1951) present where a Swiss cheese defence system might be in place to correct possible human errors. As mentioned, the stress element requires modelling according to Lazarus’ Theory which proves to be versatile for its huge range of application when considering different types of stressors and how to balance their effect on the employee.
Organisational “Culture”: Synchronised Workforce through situational patterns of performance-oriented behaviour
A strong culture is also essential for the organisation as this ensures the employee fits in with the organisation’s values. The organisation also has to ensure that most stressors are regulated and checked in order to ensure a stable functioning of the workforce.
According to Richard Lazarus’ transactional theory of stress, minor day to day problems known as “hassles” can accumulate and cause stress. However one coping mechanism from the theory comes from coping which follows the appraisal stage. When a task is being appraised, the outcome defines whether the employee will see it as stress. However, the stressor can be approached positively and be re-appraised to instead fit the employee’s belief and capacity.
Different appraisals usually define how the employee copes, such as understanding employee needs using Maslow’s hierarchy of Needs (1974). It is assumed that some needs are basic and innate and have to be met to sustain motivation. Managers can provide environments that harmonise with the needs of employees after learning what they are.
Maslow’s model puts forth the belief that safety and security have to be met before one can realize their full potential. Once this basic need is satisfied, Maslow assumes the attention is shifted to the next need, which in this case would be a motivated move towards achieving the job. However, if this need is not satisfied, this gives rise to discomfort. Indirectly, Maslow’s model is applying the logic of Lazarus & Folkman (1984), as the stressors – which in this case is the inability to feel safe and secure – are being targeted while the manager would try to motivate the employee. Some criticism however questions the flexibility of the model for its assumption. Assuming several needs become important & crucial simultaneously how would the motivation of the employee be affected? Furthermore, self-actualization is hard – if not impossible – to define, therefore it is hard to confidently know whether someone has reached the stage.
Mismatch between employee & job may cause Occupational Stress
Mismatch between an employee and a job can also cause occupational stress (French, 1973). If the job demand is appraised as too high, the employee could feel discouraged if the task creates demands than exceeds his/her capabilities, unless he has a stake in the outcome of his/her performance, motivation will not be successful.
Lazarus and Folkman’s theory of stress is once again applied with great efficiency, as it opens the door for reasoning in how to deal with stressful situations and find the right coping mechanism that would allow the employee to carry on without negative attributions. One example of this application is to organisational development, which is premised on the assumption of planned transformational change.
Organisational development has been defined as “a systematic effort applying behavioural science knowledge to planned creation and reinforcement of organisational strategies, structures and processes for improving an organisation’s effectiveness” (Huse & Cummings, 1985). The aim is to achieve commitment from the whole organisation dedicated to change.
Organisational development intervention looks to a range of planned programmatic activities pursued by both clients & consultants. French, Bell and Zawacki (1994) differentiate between interventions directed at individuals (coaching, counselling), dyads (arbitration), teams (feedbacks), inter group configurations (Survey, Feedback, etc) and organisations as a whole (business process re-engineering). As the focus is swapped from one level to the next, the number of dimensions to consider increases, this adds to the complexity of the intervention process. However, all interventions tend to rely on organizational diagnosis [the assumption that something is not performing well enough and needs to be changed).
Tuning the Environment to balance Stress Levels
Appreciative inquiry is an organizational development model that focuses on how things might have been or might be better (Cooperrider & Srivasta, 1987). The whole concept of organizational development follows the logic of Lazarus & Folkman (!984), as the transitions are all supported by teams of professionals [counselling / accustoming] which are geared at balancing the stress levels of accustoming the workforce to the new changes through a combination of modifications to the environment, motivational factor and security and support.
As organizational psychology deals with the administrative side and operational psychology deals with the task itself, they are still very closely associated. Changes in operational hassles will reduce the stress on the employee, as this would make the task at hand much more simple and straightforward. Changes in organizational hassles will increase the job satisfaction of the employee, as his time at work would be less cumbersome.
Interventions: Better Outcome when the Source of Stress is the Primary Focal Point
The main concepts of interventions usually concentrate primarily on reducing the source of stress, and secondly by reducing the impact on individuals; which has been found to be more effective on people than reducing the risk (LeFevre, et al. 2006). Such an example can be seen when dealing with occupational problems, such as the termination of employment. Such an event can have a devastating effect on an employee’s life, especially if it was unpredicted [redundancy, released]. One way to deal with such a situation would be to:
– provide counselling support to the released employee; these include trained professionals with listening, questioning & goal setting skills who help people to carry on in life (Egan, 1996) by clarifying with employees, the employable, marketable skills and helping them to plan short term goals by which skills might be applied in other situations.
– allow the person concerned to release their feelings by speaking out over vocational and personal concerns, and helping them assess their resources.
– help them find a placement or employment while also reinforcing with the employee, reminding them that they are skilled and mature and that their redundancy was a purely professional decision.
What the whole process seems to have once again applied, is the logic of Lazarus & Folkman (1984) that proves itself as a solid formula applicable in most situations where stress is involved. In this context, the employees have been professionally re-appraised and should be better mentally to deal with upcoming challenges for fresh employment.
Appraisal & Subjective Perception is Key
The particular relationship between a person and his/her environment will vary in being either positive or negative depending on their appraisal [i.e. their constructed perception of the situation]. Appraisal can sometimes be instinctive, and/or influenced by an individual’s perception which can in turn be a result of other biological factors (hunger, pain). This shows that no matter how deep the causes of stress may be, Lazarus’ formula – although simple – has an application that can logically construct or deconstruct most situations resulting from occupational and organisational stress.
One of the main points worth considering however, is the fact that men tend to experience more stress than women from the “need for recognition” pressure, while women experience more stress from health issues; social support benefits stress levels for males and females but affects them differently: organisational commitment in males & state of mind in females.
Video: Stress is one of the factors that can trigger cancer. Jean-Baptiste ALEXANIAN explains…
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