• Join over 1.2 million students every month
  • Accelerate your learning by 29%
  • Unlimited access from just £6.99 per month

What kinds of interventions are typically used to manage 'stress' at work? How effective are they?

Extracts from this document...

Introduction

WWB Essay4: What kinds of interventions are typically used to manage 'stress' at work? How effective are they? INTRODUCTION In addition to defining a number of relevant terms (e.g., the notion of stress management and those of intervention-typicality, -goals and -effectiveness), Part 1 of this essay sets the ground for a discussion of the relative usefulness of typical interventions amidst the plethora of methodological and, perhaps more seriously, theoretical problems that seem to characterize so much of stress research and stress intervention practice. This is followed in Part 2 by a more systematic review of evidence relevant to evaluating the effectiveness of a number of 'typical' interventions, including stress management training, employee assistance programmes and workplace counselling. Such interventions are compared with so-called primary interventions in order to gain a more complete view of their relative effectiveness. Part 3 addresses a number of more general theoretical issues as they relate to problems relevant to the derivation, implementation and evaluation of stress management interventions including those of direct interest to the present study. The essay concludes with a brief discussion of possible socio-political influences on stress phenomena and their study and explores briefly some of the implications of such more expansive approaches for intervention practice and research. PART 1 Typical SMIs: Definitions and Issues The term stress management interventions (SMIs) refers to "any activity, program, or opportunity initiated by an organization, which focuses on reducing the presence of work-related stressors or on assisting individuals to minimize the negative outcomes of exposure to these stressors" (Ivancevitch, Matteson, Freedman and Phillips, 1990/p.252). A common scheme for categorizing different types of SMIs distinguishes between primary, secondary and tertiary interventions (Murphy, 1988; Cooper, Dewe and O'Driscoll, 2001). Primary interventions seek to reduce the intensity or number of stressors employees are exposed to, through interventions like job redesign or workload reduction. Secondary interventions aim to help employees cope with existing stressors more effectively, typically through a range of stress management training (SMT) ...read more.

Middle

Moreover, what are often considered to be encouraging findings for EAPs may not be very relevant in a UK context as they are based on American studies in the 1970s and 1980s on large alcohol and drug abuse programmes involving mandatory referral (Arthur, 2000; Macdonald, Lothian and Wells, 1997). Only a few such studies relate to more broadly based EAPs in large American organizations as, for example, the McDonnell Douglas study (Alexander Consulting Group, 1989) which is usually quoted as having delivered an estimate of an overall savings to be 4 dollars returned for each dollar spent on EAPs (Berridge, Cooper and Highley-Marchington, 1997, 1997). But, as Masi (1997) points out, while establishing the usefulness of the EAP for the treatment of alcohol abuse this study fail to provide conclusive evidence of the cost-effectiveness of more broadly based EAPs. A review of seven major American broad-based EAP evaluation studies found that despite some encouraging any discussion about whether the benefits spring from the EAPs involved "...could be written off as self-interest by internal providers and as anecdotal writings with a research methodology utilized that has conspicuous limitations" (Cserniak, 1995/p.34). One of the very few UK evaluations of an internal counselling programme was carried out in the Post Office (Cooper , Sadri, Allison and Reynolds, 1990). Findings from 250 employees who had received counselling were compared with a matched control group. Significant declines in sickness absence, clinical anxiety levels, somatic anxiety and depression, and increases in self-esteem were reported. Importantly, however, there were no changes in job satisfaction or in organizational commitment. The Health and Safety Executive in the UK commissioned the Manchester School of Management to carry out the first nationwide, independent study of British EAPs and workplace counselling in nine separate companies (Berridge, Cooper and Highley-Marchington, 1997). After receiving counselling and at follow-up clients reported significantly improved general and work-related mental and physical well-being, compared to before counselling and an unmatched control group. ...read more.

Conclusion

conducted by practitioners themselves, in environments either hostile or entirely inappropriate to host genuine experimental studies, put to the test, in front of diverse and differently motivated audiences, ideas derived from suspect theoretical formulations in an area where the central notion itself (that of stress), threatened both by natural death (as it could no longer deliver) and the suffocation that fan worship can induce, found it necessary to surround itself with quotation marks. Yet, it was argued that the conclusion that typical SMIs are not really effective could be trusted despite the shortcomings of the relevant evaluation research. It is more a case of 'they were never really meant to be particularly effective', rather than one of 'serious doubts about whether they are effective remain'. The main reason for this was the lack of properly explanatory theories in this domain. In fact, to a very great extent we witnessed this domain exhibit almost terminal annihilation as claims of the yesteryear seemed largely unsustainable and greater theoretical acuity led to serious dissatisfaction with extant stress theories and, indeed, the notion of stress itself. Are developments in this field imminent? Unless the more recent work on organizational well-being in terms of specific emotional and other affective states (space limitations did not allow any substantial discussion of these exciting developments; see Briner, 2002) is capable of forcing some nonlinearity soon, it is very unlikely that the current state of theoretical confusion would allow for any substantial further developments either in methodology or in application. Thinking back of the closing paragraph of the last section...one does wonder whether muscle relaxation, the rearrangement of a few patterns of thinking about largely non-political issues or the search for some personalized solution in the context of a 5-session bout of counselling as offered by some EAP were ever destined to be enough to effectively handle the multitude of specific problems generated by the antagonistic elements of that most perennial and inevitably largely conflictual of couplings namely that between employers and employees. ...read more.

The above preview is unformatted text

This student written piece of work is one of many that can be found in our University Degree Human Resource Management section.

Found what you're looking for?

  • Start learning 29% faster today
  • 150,000+ documents available
  • Just £6.99 a month

Not the one? Search for your essay title...
  • Join over 1.2 million students every month
  • Accelerate your learning by 29%
  • Unlimited access from just £6.99 per month

See related essaysSee related essays

Related University Degree Human Resource Management essays

  1. A CASE STUDY OF PERFORMANCE APPRAISAL IN A SMALL PUBLIC SECTOR ORGANISATION

    From the literature review, and review of the current Passenger Focus system, four key issues have emerged that will be examined through the research. These are; � Purpose of performance appraisal � Design of the system � Delivery/execution of performance appraisal � Outcomes A conceptual model has been introduced, to frame these key issues.

  2. Critically evaluate the notion of scientific management. Is it still a relevant concept for ...

    Scientific management also provides a company with the means to achieve economies of scale. This is because the theory stresses efficiency and the need to eliminate waste. Managers are given the duty to identify ways in which costs can be accounted for precisely, which leads to a division of labour

  1. Reflective Commentary on Group Presentation Task Work

    Making sense of the experience: Our group had a good blend of team workers, a plant and a complete finishers using Belbin's test. Whereas using the learning style questionnaire, Nehal emerged as an activist, which explains the ease to express her feelings whenever and wherever.

  2. Informal report on Work Related stress.

    Monitor screens have bed connected stress and have bed questioned due to the effects on health such as headaches, eye strains and the risk of epilepsy. Medical evidence has shown that employees experience these symptoms after lengthy intervals at the screens.

  1. Book Review Understanding American and German business cultures by Patrick L. Schmidt

    All people are different, but there are some characteristics which are very representative in a special culture. For this reason you can't carry this clich� to everybody because of his or her origin and culture. But there are some fragments in the book which I don't agree.

  2. Part A of this report will examine my learning styles, preferences, highlight any areas ...

    Many academics also believe that as the climate changes the world it will face natural disasters on an unprecedented scale. Organisations, which deliver humanitarian aid, are going to have to become more efficient if they are to stand any change of meeting the demands of the future.

  1. The conventional approaches to Stress management are employee counselling, stress management and reducing employee ...

    From the above findings, it can be safely inferred that, the impact of stress as an organizational evil cannot be over-emphasized. Many people want help, but are afraid that admitting to being stressed may hold back their chances of promotion.

  2. Case Study. The founder of the Flight Centre Ltd, Graham Turner claims that ...

    Decentralizing the authority to the travel consultants would reduce the probability of information overload and would facilitates rapid response to all customers. It would also reduce the stress and burdens of senior management. As travel consultants, they would have a better knowledge of local conditions affecting their areas of work.

  • Over 160,000 pieces
    of student written work
  • Annotated by
    experienced teachers
  • Ideas and feedback to
    improve your own work