Action Assignment 5-1 Critical Thinking Sample


Job Stress and Job Stress Interventions

Job Stress and Job Stress Interventions
1. The most important idea of Part Eight was the role of the lack of control in causing job stress and the resulting possible ways of combatting that issue. In particular, the experiment described where just the mere presence of an on-off switch for distracting noise resulted in significantly better concentration and performance, even when the subject did not actually use the switch to stop the noise, was very interesting. The reading describes three approaches to combatting stress labeled primary, secondary, and tertiary prevention. Primary intervention aims to remove fundamental environmental causes ofstress, while secondary prevention aims to reduce symptoms after the fact.
Both of these approaches are admirable goals but given the experimental result with the on-off switch, there is an open question as to how much any success seen with these programs is actually due to an increase in the perception of control by the employee when utilizing these approaches, rather than the actual changes to either the environment or the stress symptoms. One way to address this question would be to measure how much stress reduction just the mere availability of either a primary or secondary intervention program within a company reduces stress symptoms even if an individual employee does not actually use the programs. In this way the effect on stress reduction of the actual program could be separately measured from the benefit imparted by an increased perception of having some means of control over the stress through the program. A further interesting question is whether primary or secondary programs need to be used in combination or whether one or other in isolation would be effective. In any case, it was clear from the reading that company investments in these programs do appear to be justified, whatever the true source of the benefit, through measurable reduced absenteeism and treatment costs.
2. As a director of a small information technology department, actual ability to influence the overall company to have such programs where no program currently exists is relatively low. However, given the results in the reading, it may be possible to convince the company of the long-term benefits and overall return on investment in having such a program for the employees. As discussed above, it is possible that the mere availability of a program would help reduce stress, even if employees do not actually utilize the program. Further, the existence of such programs could be useful in recruitment and retaining employees.
Although a highly structured program such as the “Live for Life” program run by Johnson & Johnson may beyond the resources of my company, it could be possible to partner with a local health club to provide at least reduced cost memberships for the employees. Also, being flexible with work starts, longer lunches, or early departures in order to work out or attend a yoga class could be a beginning in a rudimentary stress reduction program. At the very least, acknowledgement of the presence of job stress and providing some means of taking in employee suggestions for stress reduction is something within my control that could help, based on the experimental results reported in the reading. The ultimate goal of these efforts would be to reduce stress within the workplace to the extent possible, given the limited resources for employee programs and related benefits within a smaller workplace.