The preponderance of studies that rely on self-report for both independent (e.g. stressors) and dependent (e.g. well-being) variables is often deplored, as it creates…
The preponderance of studies that rely on self-report for both independent (e.g. stressors) and dependent (e.g. well-being) variables is often deplored, as it creates problems of common method variance, which may lead to inflated, or even spurious, correlations and predictions. It is sometimes suggested that alternative measures should yield more “objective” information on the phenomena under investigation. We discuss this issue with regard to: (a) observational measures of working conditions; (b) physiological measures of strain; and (c) event-based “self-observation” on a micro-level. We argue that these methods are not necessarily “objective.” Like self-report, they are influenced by a plethora of factors; and measurement artifacts can easily be produced. All this can make their interpretation quite difficult, and the conclusion that lack of convergence with self-report automatically invalidates self-report is not necessarily warranted. Especially with regard to physiological measures, one has to keep in mind that they refer to a different response level that follows its own laws and is only loosely coupled with psychological responses. Therefore, replacement is not a promising way to get more reliable estimates of stressor-strain relationships. We argue instead that each method contains both substantive and error variance, and that a combination of various methods seems more auspicious. After discussing advantages and pitfalls of observational, physiological, and self-observational measures, respectively, we report empirical examples from our own research on each of these methods, which are meant to illustrate both the advantages and the problems associated with them. They strengthen the overall conclusion that there is no “substitute” for self-report (which often is necessary to be able to interpret data from other methods, most notably physiological ones). They also illustrate that collecting such data is quite cumbersome, and that a number of conditions have to be carefully considered before using them, and we report some problems we encountered in this research. Altogether, we conclude that self-report measures, if carefully constructed, are better than their reputation, but that the optimal way is to complement them with other measures.
New developments in concepts and approaches to job stress should incorporate all relevant types of resources that promote well-being and health. The success resource model of job stress conceptualizes subjective success as causal agents for employee well-being and health (Grebner, Elfering, & Semmer, 2008a). So far, very little is known about what kinds of work experiences are perceived as success. The success resource model defines four dimensions of subjective occupational success: goal attainment, pro-social success, positive feedback, and career success. The model assumes that subjective success is a resource because it is valued in its own right, triggers positive affect and emotions (e.g., pleasure, cf., Weiss & Cropanzano, 1996), helps to protect and gain other resources like self-efficacy (Hobfoll, 1998, 2001), has direct positive effects on well-being (e.g., job satisfaction, cf., Locke & Latham, 1990) and health (Carver & Scheier, 1999), facilitates learning (Frese & Zapf, 1994), and has an energizing (Locke & Latham, 1990, 2002) and attention-directing effect (Carver, 2003), which can promote recovery by promoting mental detachment from work tasks in terms of absence of job-related rumination in leisure time (Sonnentag & Bayer, 2005).
The model proposes that success is promoted by other resources like job control (Frese & Zapf, 1994) while job stressors, like hindrance stressors such as performance constraints and role ambiguity (LePine, Podsakoff, & LePine, 2005), can work against success (Frese & Zapf, 1994). The model assumes reciprocal direct effects of subjective success on well-being, health, and recovery (upward spiral), and a moderator effect of success on the stressor–strain relationship. The chapter discusses research evidence, measurement of subjective occupational success, value of the model for job stress interventions, future research requirements, and methodological concerns.
Recovery seems to be one of the most important mechanisms explaining the relationship between acute stress reactions and chronic health complaints (Geurts & Sonnentag, 2006). Moreover, insufficient recovery may be the linking mechanism that turns daily stress experiences into chronic stress. Given this role recovery has in the stress process, it is important to ask in which contexts and under what circumstances recovery takes place.
Julian Barling received his PhD in 1979 from the University of the Witwatersrand (South Africa) and is currently associate dean with responsibility for the graduate and research programs. Julian is the author/editor of several books, including Employment, Stress and Family Functioning (1990, Wiley) and The Psychology of Workplace Safety (1999, APA). He is senior editor of the Handbook of Work Stress (2005, Sage) and the Handbook of Organizational Behavior (2008, Sage), and he is the author of well over 150 research articles and book chapters. Julian was formerly the editor of the Journal of Occupational Health Psychology. In 2002, Julian received the National Post's “Leaders in Business Education” award and Queen's University's Award for Excellence in Graduate Student Supervision in 2008. He is a fellow of the Royal Society of Canada, SIOP, APS, and the European Academy of Occupational Health Psychology. He is currently involved in research on leadership, work stress, and workplace aggression.
For decades research on occupational stress and well-being has been dominated by studies that demonstrated the negative effects of job stressors and lack of resources on employee health and well-being. Although this body of research is highly important and informative, it offers only limited insight into the processes that offset and “undo” the stress process. During recent years, researchers have paid increasing attention to such processes that reduce and reverse the effects of stress (i.e., recovery processes). This 7th volume of Research in Occupational Stress and Well Being is devoted to this growing research area on job stress recovery. The volume includes seven excellent chapters that provide state-of-the-art overviews on this theme, identify research gaps, and provide inspiring suggestions for further research.
Torbjörn Åkerstedt, Ph.D. in psychology, 1979, is professor of behavioral physiology at Stockholm University and director of the Stress Research Institute, affiliated to Karolinska institute. He has been President of the Scandinavian Research Society, the European Sleep Research Society, and Secretary General of the World Federation of Sleep Research and Sleep Medicine Societies. He has published more than 200 papers in peer-reviewed journals. The focus of his work has been on sleep regulation, sleep quality, sleepiness and risk, effects of shift work, and stress on sleep and sleepiness.
Building on the “Stress-as-Offense-to-Self” theory, this study investigates appreciation as a predictor of job satisfaction over time, mediated by subjective success and…
Building on the “Stress-as-Offense-to-Self” theory, this study investigates appreciation as a predictor of job satisfaction over time, mediated by subjective success and feelings of resentment towards one's organization.
Analyses are based on a three-wave study with two-month time intervals, with a sample of 193 employees from six Swiss organizations.
Double mediation by subjective success and feelings of resentment was confirmed; no mediation was found in a reversed mediation model. Results highlight the importance of appreciation for employees' feelings of success and job satisfaction, but also for affect related to the organization as a whole.
Organizations should recognize the role of appreciation in satisfaction, affective reactions toward the organization, and information about one's standing. Appreciation can be expressed in multiple ways; it not only increases job satisfaction but also helps employees to validate their judgments about their own performance.
Appreciation is a promising resource for employee well-being. The present study is one of few focusing on appreciation as a resource in its own right, rather than as part of broader constructs, such as social support. Our results not only confirm the importance of appreciation but also shed light on mechanisms through which it may exert its influence. They complement a multilevel analysis based on the same data showing an association of appreciation with different indicators of well-being on the interpersonal as well as the intrapersonal level.