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Worker Stress Psychology Study Guide

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  • Worker stress is an environmental event that is perceived by an individual to be threatening. Worker stress can come from a lack of “fit” between a person’s skill and abilities and the demands of the job and the workplace. In summary, it is addressed to be physiological and/or psychological reactions to an event that is perceived to be threatening or taxing. Situational stress, stress arising from certain conditions that exist in the work environment or in the worker’s personal life can be a source of worker stress.

  • various training methods can be broken down into two general categories: onsite methods and offsite methods. Of onsite methods, on the job training is most widely used, apprenticeship is much more long-term on site method, combining classroom training with supervised on the job training. Off site methods include the common seminar method and audiovisual instruction that provide graphic depictions of work activities. Management training techniques include problem solving case studies, role- playing, and management games. An advantage of these methods is to show trainees that there are no single or easy solutions to complex problems. One disadvantage would be that this might not be effective in actual management situations.
  • Industrial/Organizational psychology is the branch of psychology that is concerned with the study of behavior in work settings and the application of psychology principles to change work behavior.
  • the Hawthorne Effect which referred to changes in behavior because a person is aware that they are being watched as a participant in an experiment .
  • A variable is something that can be changed, such as a characteristic or value.
  • The independent variable is the variable that is controlled and manipulated by the experimenter.
  • The dependent variable is the outcome variable. This is the primary interest of the experimenter.
  • Internal validity addresses the "true" causes of the outcomes that you observed in your study. Strong internal validity means that you not only have reliable measures of your independent and dependent variables BUT a strong justification that causally links your independent variables to your dependent variables.
  • External validity addresses the ability to generalize your study to other people and other situations.
  • Job analysis is the systematic study of the tasks, duties and responsibilities of a job and the knowledge, skills, and abilities needed to perform it.
  • Job Description= a detailed accounting of the tasks, procedures, and responsibilities required of a worker; the machines, tools and equipment used to perform the job; and the job output
  • Job Specification= provides information about the human characteristics required to perform the job, such as physical and personal traits, work experience, and education
  • Job Evaluation= the assessment of the relative value or worth of a job to an organization to determine appropriate compensation, or wages.
  • Organizational commitment is a worker’s feelings and attitudes about the entire work organizations.
  • Motivation is the force that energizes, directs, and sustains behavior.
  • Job satisfaction is the positive and negative feelings and attitudes about one’s job. Two approaches for job satisfaction are global approach and facet approach. Global approach considers overall job satisfaction by using a yes-no response, a single rating scale, or a small group of items to measure. The second is facet approach, which considers job satisfactions to be composed of feelings and attitudes about a number of different elements, or facets, of the job.
  • Job Diagnostic Survey is a questionnaire that measures 5 core characteristics—Skill variety, Task identity, Task significance, autonomy, and feedback
  • Job Descriptive Index is a rating scale measuring 5 job facets—the job itself, supervision, pay, promotions, and coworkers. Response is either Yes, No, or Undecided
  • Job enlargement is the practice of allowing workers to take on additional varied tasks in an effort to make them feel that they are more valuable members of the organization.
  • Gain sharing is when all members of the team receive the same pay or bonus; based upon group performance. Improves teamwork, positive employee attitudes
  • Skill-Based Pay is a system of compensation in which works are paid based on their knowledge and skills rather than on their positions in the organization.
  • Self report techniques yield information about participants’ behavior from their own reports…i.e. surveys
  • Compensable factors are job elements that are used to determine the appropriate compensation for a job. i.e. demands of the job, amnt of training /experience required, working conditions, amnt of responsibility.
  • Comparable worth is equal pay for equal work
  • Women and ethnic minorities are affected by a glass ceiling which creates difficulties for members of minority groups in rising to the highest-level positions
  • Criteria is developed and used in employee screening and selection by measuring the success of job performance. Predictors are any pieces of information that is able to measure about applicants that are related to the criterion. Criteria and predictors are used to decide whether and applicant will be suitable for what an employer want for their job recruitment. A criterion is developed by determining how a person adapts to the sales goals or performance on a job and previous jobs. Predictors are developed to see if an individual can present themselves well through very documents that will fit what employers are looking for.
  • Employee recruitment is to try to attract as many employees as possible by using job advertisements in newspapers, trade magazines on television, radio, internet sites, or billboards, and the use of employment agencies. Employers try to oversell a particular job or their organization to employees.
  • The use of realistic job previews is that they give the accurate description of duties and responsibilities of a particular job. RJP’s can take the form of an oral presentation from a recruiter, supervisor, or company Web site.
  • Employee screening is the process of reviewing information about job applicants to select individuals for jobs. Involves references, letters of rec, testing, interviews
  • Employee selection is the actual process of choosing an applicant 
  • Protected groups = women, ethnic and racial minorities that have been identified as prev. targets of employment discrimination
  • Affirmative action is the voluntary development of policies that try to ensure that jobs are made available to qualified people regardless of sex, age, or ethnic background
  • Situational stress, stress arising from certain conditions that exist in the work environment or in the worker’s personal life can be a source of worker stress.
  • Performance appraisals are the formalized means of assessing worker performance in comparison to certain established organizational standard. These performance appraisals serve many purposes for the worker, supervisor, and organization.
  • For the worker
  • Means of reinforcement (praise, pay raise)
  • Career advancement (promotions, increased responsibility)
  • Information about work goal attainment
  • Source of feedback to improve performance
  • For the supervisor
  • Basis for making personnel decisions (promotions, firings)
  • Assessment of worker’ goal attainment
  • Opportunity to provide constructive feedback to workers
  • Opportunity to interact with employees
  • For the organization
  • Assessment of productivity of individuals and work units
  • Validation of personnel selection and placement methods
  • Means for recognizing and motivating workers
  • Source of information for personnel training needs
  • Evaluation of the effectiveness of organizational interventions (e.g., training programs, system changes)
  • Performance criteria are measures used to determine successful and unsuccessful job performance 
  • Criterion relevance, the extent to which the means of appraising performance is pertinent to job success –related to job performance
  • Criterion contamination, the extent to which performance appraisals contain elements that detract from the accurate assessment of job effectiveness –related to job performance
  • Criterion deficiency describes the degree to which a criterion falls short of measuring job performance perfectly 
  • Criterion usefulness is the extent to which a performance criterion is usable in appraising a particular job. Should be relatively easy and cost effective to measure and be relevant
  • 360-degree feedback : program that gives feedback from everyone (peers, boss, customers, etc) …multiple evaluations from all sources, enhanced development, and improved performance of employees. The cost of this program is very expensive and has resulted in more research to find the benefits of using this costly program
  • Leniency error- The tendency to give all the workers very positive performance appraisals
  • Severity error- The tendency to give all workers very negative performance appraisals
  • Halo effect- An overall positive evaluation of a worker based on one known positive characteristic or action
  • Recency effect- The tendency to give greater weight to recent performance and lesser weight to earlier performance
  • Management training techniques include problem solving case studies, role-playing, and management games. An advantage of these methods is to show trainees that there are no single or easy solutions to complex problems. One disadvantage would be that this might not be effective in actual management situations.
  • Burnout is a syndrome resulting from prolonged exposure to work stress that leads to withdrawal from the organization. Symptoms include emotional exhaustion, depersonalization, and low personal accomplishment. Workers may feel a sense of frustration and helplessness, which can later anger workers who fail to produce their desires results and may try to quit.
  • Content validity refers to whether a predictor measurement process (test items or interview Qs) adequately sample important job behaviors and elements involved in performing a job
  • Merit pay = pay for performance; amount of compensation is directly a function of an employee’s performance
  • Job diaries= Job incumbents record their daily activities in a dairy. An advantage of this is that the diaries provide detailed accounts of a worker’s job.
  • Coaching = one on one relationship where a consultant helps an executive improve performance
  • Equal employment opportunity commission (EEOC) is a federal agency that protects against employment discrimination 


*What happens when employees receive help planning their careers

* C.R. Snyder’s Theory of Motivation

excuse-making and forgiveness – allowed individuals to disconnect themselves from past negative experiences and connect themselves to hope, the possibilities of the future.

*McClelland’s Achievement Motivation Theory

Proposes that the three needs important in work motivation are needs for achievement, power, and affiliation—measured w/ Thematic Apperception Test

*Herzberg’s Two-Factor Theory

Focuses on job satisfaction and dissatisfaction as two independent dimensions important in determining motivation



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