Examining and Exploring the Shifting Nature of Occupational Stress and Well-Being: Volume 19

Cover of Examining and Exploring the Shifting Nature of Occupational Stress and Well-Being
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Table of contents

(11 chapters)

Prelims

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Abstract

Personality research often has focused on how people change in response to the work environment, given that work constitutes a significant portion of the daily life of adults. However, most research has failed to consider the effect of the work context on purpose in life. This omission is surprising given that purpose research involves several characteristics that align well with the occupational psychology and organizational behavior literatures. The current research considers how one feature of the work context, work stress, may (or may not) facilitate the purpose development process. We put forth a Purpose and Work Stress (PAWS) model which explains why understanding whether work stress is perceived as harmful or challenging to employees can provide significant insight into whether that occupation is aligned with the individual’s purpose in life. Furthermore, the model highlights that the ability to monitor and interpret work stress may help an individual identify and cultivate their purpose. Implications of the PAWS model are described, including how it may help us understanding the roles for retirement and job crafting on purpose.

Abstract

Interest in psychological resilience has grown rapidly in the last couple of decades (Britt, Sinclair, & McFadden, 2016; King & Rothstein, 2010; Youssef & Luthans, 2007). Psychological resilience occurs when a person can “recover, re-bound, bounce-back, adjust or even thrive” in the face of adversity (Garcia-Dia, DiNapoli, Garcia-Ona, Jakubowski, & O’flaherty, 2013, p. 264). As such, resilience can be conceptualized as a state-like and malleable construct that can be enhanced in response to stressful events (Kossek & Perrigino, 2016). It incorporates a dynamic process by which individuals use protective factors (internal and external) to positively adapt to stress over time (Luthar, Cicchetti, & Becker, 2000; Rutter, 1987). Building on the dual-pathway model of resilience, we integrate adaptive and proactive coping to the resilience development process and add a heretofore unexamined perspective to the ways in which resilience changes over time. We propose that resilience development trajectories differ depending on the type of adversity or stress experienced in combination with the use of adaptive and proactive coping. We outline the need for future longitudinal studies to examine these relationships and the implications for developing resilience interventions in the workplace.

Abstract

Despite the widespread attribution that stressful crucible experiences result in important individual developmental change within leaders, a deeper exploration of the mechanisms of that change is warranted. Likewise, literature linking the crucible and individual change to social and organizational considerations, including how organizations can plan for and sponsor institutionalized crucibles, is sparse. Thus, the intent of this chapter is to begin to synthesize the crucible, cognitive development, and stress literatures to show important linkages, risks, and outcomes, then provide a basic blueprint of planning considerations for organizations that desire to establish their own crucible events that target leader development.

Abstract

The process of occupational stress is dynamic, and thus must be conceptualized through an intraindividual perspective. Theories of self-regulation model feedback loops in goal pursuit and have meaningful implications for occupational well-being, from the task-level to years across the career span. In particular, discrepancy (the distance between one’s actual and desired states) and velocity (the speed at which one is moving towards a desired state) influence reactions in goal-striving. We extend theory bridging the self-regulation, occupational health, and career literatures by outlining the effects of discrepancy and velocity feedback for well-being, which we ground in cybernetic theories of stress, coping, and well-being. Further, we consider change at the macro scale by delimiting the impact of velocity, experienced in the pursuit of goals across Super’s (1980) career stages, on worker health. We conclude with a discussion of the theoretical and practical implications of velocity and health over the career stages.

Abstract

In this chapter, how the occupational stress process changes over the life course and how this may intersect with observed generational differences are examined. This is done by jointly reviewing studies on occupational well-being that adopted the theoretical lens of generational or lifespan developmental perspectives; the two perspectives are closely related and have the potential to better inform one another because both consider chronological age to be a pivotal factor driving individual differences in work values, attitudes and well-being. However, these perspectives have yet to be simultaneously considered in a review of occupational well-being research, leaving scholars wondering whether they overlap, and if so, in which area. It is hoped that juxtaposition of the two disparate bodies of literature can better inform the convergence and divergence of findings on worker well-being scattered across the two literatures. In this chapter, (a) generational differences in job satisfaction, (b) how work characteristics may differentially affect job satisfaction in workers across generations, (c) how work contexts may differentially impact job satisfaction across generations, (d) generational differences in work-family interface, and lastly, (e) recent developments in the field are discussed. Although extant research on the first topic, generational differences in job satisfaction, has shown some consistent evidence, research findings in the subsequent topics remain relatively inconsistent. Based on our review, it is concluded that additional research is needed to expand our understanding of the role of generation and chronological age in workers’ occupational well-being.

Abstract

In this chapter, the authors consider the role of time for research in occupational stress and well-being. First, temporal issues in studying occupational health longitudinally, focusing in particular on the role of time lags and their implications for observed results (e.g., effect detectability), analyses (e.g., handling unequal durations between measurement occasions), and interpretation (e.g., result generalizability, theoretical revision) were discussed. Then, time-based assumptions when modeling lagged effects in occupational health research, providing a focused review of how research has handled (or ignored) these assumptions in the past, and the relative benefits and drawbacks of these approaches were discussed. Finally, recommendations for readers, an accessible tutorial (including example data and code), and discussion of a new structural equation modeling technique, continuous time structural equation modeling, that can “handle” time in longitudinal studies of occupational health were provided.

Abstract

Experience sampling methods (ESM) have enabled researchers to capture intensive longitudinal data and how worker well-being changes over time. The conceptual advances in understanding the variability of well-being are discussed. These emerging forms in the literature include affective inertia, affective variability, affective reactivity, and density distributions. While most ESM research has relied on the active provision of data by participants (i.e., self-reports), technological advances have enabled different forms of passive sensing that are useful for assessing and tracking well-being and its contextual factors. These include accelerometer data, location data, and physiological data. The strengths and weaknesses of passively sensed data and future ways forward are discussed, where the use of both active and passive forms of ESM data in the assessment and promotion of worker well-being is expected.

Abstract

Addressing occupational stress and fostering employee wellness helps meet a host of organizational stakeholder expectations including high quality of work life (employees), reasonable return on investment (investors), increased productivity (management), and competitiveness (owners). Despite being dynamic in nature, stress and wellness are often studied using a static perspective. One reason for the scarcity of dynamic empirical research is the limited knowledge and use of the tools available to assess change over time. To address this limitation, four tools used to assess change and dynamics of occupational stress and well-being are described: growth models, latent change score models, spectral analysis, and computational modeling. First, we begin by discussing growth curve models and then transition to latent change score models. We then expand into spectral analysis, a tool used to determine cycles of ups and downs that repeat regularly. Last, computational modeling is discussed, where computers and simulations are used to understand a dynamic process. For each tool, we give examples of how they have been used, make recommendations for future use, and provide readers with suggestions and references for how to complete analyses in software and programs, most of which are freely available (i.e., R, Vensim).

Abstract

Our theoretical understanding of subjective well-being in the workplace is incomplete without a dynamic understanding of antecedents and outcomes of subjective well-being. While between-person differences provide useful information about employee outcomes, these differences do not provide information about the relationships between subjective well-being and employee outcomes that evolve over time and across situations. In this paper, we discuss specific statistical methods within the nomothetic and idiographic perspectives that can support dynamic research on subjective well-being in the workplace and outline unanswered contemporary questions regarding structure, processes, and dynamics of subjective well-being that may be addressed with these methods reviewed; some of which were proposed in early research but progressed slowly due to a lack of adequate methods. This discussion highlights how idiographic methods from outside organizational psychology can be applied to the study of worker subjective well-being to strengthen this dynamic approach in a way that addresses limitations associated with reliance on between-person models.

Index

Pages 201-206
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Cover of Examining and Exploring the Shifting Nature of Occupational Stress and Well-Being
DOI
10.1108/S1479-3555202119
Publication date
2021-09-06
Book series
Research in Occupational Stress and Well Being
Editors
Series copyright holder
Emerald Publishing Limited
ISBN
978-1-80117-423-7
eISBN
978-1-80117-422-0
Book series ISSN
1479-3555