Organisational Work Conditions at Christ University | Flashcards & Summaries

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TESTE DEIN WISSEN
open plan offices 
- oldham and brass (1979) have conducted a field study which shows that employee satisfaction ratings fell dramatically after the working environment was changed to an open plan one. 
- this research was conducted in a large newspaper office in the USA. 
- in the beginning, all the employees worked in a conventional multicellular office
- each department was in a separate office and within each office desks were separated by internal walls. this meant that employees had their own space and in order to interact with anyone, it was necessary to travel down corridors and around partitions
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TESTE DEIN WISSEN
why was management considering change? 
  • the current office space was nowhere near a railway and this meant that papers had to be moved from the offices to the railway station by truck, creating additional expense as well as using up valuable time.
  • current office had many practical problems; it lacked air conditioning, was difficult to heat and there was limited storage space. 
  • current layout was not conducive to good communication between individuals and departments. 
new office design: 
  • purpose built and located next to a railway line - constructed as a typical open plan design. 
  • there were no internal walls more than a metre high and no private offices anywhere although 2 meeting rooms were available. 
  • all members were still grouped together as they had been in the old building and the amount of space was roughly equivalent in both old and new buildings.
  • the staff working in the pressroom kept their working space as it had been which helped form a naturally occurring control group. 
  • staff were fully informed at all stages of this process and data was collected at the beginning of the research which revealed that the majority felt that the old building wasn't fit for purpose anymore. 
  • important to note that the change in office was the only change - no changes in working conditions, contracts, salaries or duties. 
  • 1st set of data - 8 weeks before the move, 2nd set of data - 9 weeks after move, 3rd set of data - 18 weeks after the move. 
  • participants were told that this was a study designed to assess employees' reaction to their new office and work. 
  • data was collected using a questionnaire which was given out to groups ranging from 2-12 people. participants were asked to put their names on the survey so their responses could be followed through, but it remained confidential. 
  • management and staff were also questioned more informally to gather additional feedback about the move. 
sample and predictions: 
  • all the full time employees were invited to participate - this was a total of 140 people of whom 128 participated in some way. 
  • a total of 76 participated in all 3 stages of the study. 5 members of the pressroom formed the control group. 
  • the questionnaire measured - work satisfaction, interpersonal satisfaction and internal work motivation. 
  • experimenters predicted that there would be an increase in supervisor and coworker feedback, friendship opportunities, intra-departmental and inter-departmental interaction. 
findings and results: 
  • employees' internal motivation and satisfaction with work and colleagues actually decreased sharply after the move. but, the control group showed no such changes. 
  • interview data revealed that workers felt like they were in a 'fishbowl' because it was difficult to concentrate and finish tasks. 
  • was also difficult to form friendships (eg. impossible to invite someone for a drink without the whole office hearing). 
  • supervisors found it tough to provide personal feedback without moving to a meeting room to maintain privacy. 
Lösung ausblenden
TESTE DEIN WISSEN
bullying at work (einarsen, 1999) 
- bullying can be defined as hostile and aggressive behaviour, either physical or non physical, directed at one or more colleagues or subordinates. 
- this causes humiliation, offence and distress and may also affect and individual's work performance and create a negative working environment. 
- zapf's 5 types of bullying behaviour:
  • work related bullying such as changing tasks or making them harder to perform
  • physical violence or threats of physical violence
  • personal attacks or attacks on private life by ridicule, gossip or insulting remarks
  • verbal threats including criticism and humiliation
  • social isolation
- einarsen claims that managers and supervisors are perceived as the bullies in the majority of cases and that bullying by a superior creates more psychological distress than bullying by a co worker. 
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TESTE DEIN WISSEN
4 stages of bullying: 
  • aggressive behaviour
  • bullying 
  • stigmatisation 
  • severe trauma 
causes of bullying: 
- individual/personality factors of the victim and bully
  • one of the reported studies (bjorkqvist et al, 1994) surveyed employees at a finnish university and identified 3 main perceived reasons for bullying. these were - competition concerning status and job position, envy and the aggressor being uncertain about their own abilities
  • studies have found that victims are more sensitive, suspicious and angry, tend to have lower self-esteem and be more anxious in social settings
  • it's also highly likely that the personality differences identified are as a result of the bullying and this can only be established through longitudinal research, which hasn't been conducted. 
- psychosocial/situational factors
  • deficiencies in work design 
  • deficiencies in leadership behaviour
  • socially exposed position of the victim 
  • low morale in the department
different types of bullying:
- predatory bullying is where the victim has done nothing to trigger the bullying behaviour, but is accidentally in a situation where a predator is demonstrating power over others. 
  • this could be termed as institutional harassment where a culture of bullying and aggression is ingrained throughout the organisation. 
  • the victim may be a member of a certain group (eg. the first woman in that role) and this may produce bullying behaviour against the individual as a representative of that group. 
- scapegoating is when people are highly stressed or frustrated and are looking for someone to vent their frustration on. this can also be used to explain prejudice. 
  • in many cases, the organisation effectively tolerates the bullying by not responding appropriately to it or by failing to have the correct policies and procedures in place. 
Lösung ausblenden
TESTE DEIN WISSEN
the hawthorne studies (1924)
- the hawthorne effect refers to the phenomena of behaviour changing simply because it is being investigated, rather than as a result of any of the variables that were being manipulated. 
- the original hawthorne studies were conducted at the hawthorne works in cicero, illinois, USA. they investigated the effects of changes in lighting and work structure on productivity. 

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TESTE DEIN WISSEN
first study - effect of light on productivity
  • an experimental group was exposed to decreasing levels of light while a control group received a constant level of light. 
  • interestingly, both groups steadily increased their performance on their tasks. it was not until the light was only as bright as moonlight that the experimental group showed any decrease in productivity. 
  • researchers concluded that lighting level didn't didn't significantly affect productivity so long as it was sufficient for the job to be done. 
a series of further experiments were conducted which explored the effect of several other variables
  • in each of these studies, researchers concluded that the variable under examination wasn't responsible for the increased productivity and some other variable must be responsible. 
  • initially, the suggestion was that the improved relationships between the workers and management was the key. 
  • wickstrom and bendix (2000) argue that this initial suggestion evolved into a conclusion. the workers who took part in the studies received a number of special privileges as a result of taking part. 
however, there are other interpretations 
  • the workers in one of the studies increasingly took the opportunity to alter their work roles. 
  • kahn (1975) described this as a genuine transfer of power, as rather than being supervised as they had been before, the women were consulted about each stage of the experiment and genuine efforts were made to create positive working environments. 
  • greenwood (1983) interviewed some of these original participants 50 years after the study and concluded that the women had worked harder in the test rooms to avoid being sent back to the ordinary manufacturing rooms where the supervision was harsh.
  • the original experiments also lacked experimental rigour with many uncontrolled variables and changes of participants. 
  • another important point - the studies were conducted during the depression, therefore, the threat of losing one's job may also have contributed to the work levels. 
  • lastly, the workers were being paid according to an incentive pay system based on the outcome of the experimental group rather than the workforce as a whole. 
conclusion - reference to the hawthorne effect should be avoided in attempting to explain the results of intervention studies as its use is likely to add more confusion than clarity. 
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TESTE DEIN WISSEN
shiftwork 
- temporal conditions refer to the time conditions under which people work. 
- shift is a term used to describe any working pattern that doesn't involve the same work pattern every week. 
 - to maintain 24 hour service, many organisations run a rotation of 3 shifts per day:
  • day shift = 6 AM - 2 PM
  • afternoon shift = 2 PM - 10 PM
  • night shift = 10 PM - 6 AM
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TESTE DEIN WISSEN
pheasant (1991) 
- identifies 2 main approaches to the organisation of shift working and these are:
1) rapid rotation shift  - frequent shift changes that workers have to follow. 
  • metropolitan rotas are where workers do 2 day shifts, then 2 afternoon shifts and then 2 night shifts. they then have 2 days off before the shift pattern starts all over again. this is a total of 8 days per rotation so that the weekly pattern shifts a day ahead each week. 
  • continental rotas are where workers complete 2 day shifts, 2 afternoon shifts and 3 night shifts. then 2 days off work, 2 day shifts, 3 afternoon shifts and 2 night shifts and after that 3 days off work. this cycle continues so forth. 
2) slow rotation shift  - infrequent changes; for example working day shifts for several weeks and then night shifts for several weeks. 
  • it is suggested that this kind of slow rotation can allow circadian rhythms to adapt to one shift without being forced to change too rapidly and cause health problems. 
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TESTE DEIN WISSEN
the effects of shiftwork on health (knutsson, 2003) 
- brings together evidence on the relationship between working at night or on a shiftwork pattern and specific serious medical disorders. 
- begins by noting that there is actually no specific evidence that suggests that shiftwork affects longevity. 
- 2 studies have directly compared mortality rates between day workers and shift workers, one was conducted in the UK and the other in denmark. the UK study reported no significant difference and the danish study reported a very tiny increase in relative death risk for shift workers. 
- hence, he moved on to examining specific disorders and conditions. 
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TESTE DEIN WISSEN
gastrointestinal disease: 
  • significantly more common in shift workers than in day workers, most commonly constipation and diarrhoea experienced when working night shifts. 
  • there is also some evidence that peptic ulcers are more common in those who regularly work shifts (including taxi/truck drivers, factory workers, printers and night watchmen). 
  • the risk of duodenal ulcers is also reported to be doubled in shift workers. 
cardiovascular disease: 
  • working conditions include physical factors such as - chemicals, noise and vibrations as well as psychosocial factors such as - stress and the organisation of work schedules. 
  • studies conducted in a range of different countries support the relationship between shiftwork and cardiovascular disease. 
cancer:
  • some research has revealed an increased risk of breast cancer in women who work night shifts. these studies have been conducted with nurses, flight attendants and radio/telegraph operators. 
  • however, increase exposure to other carcinogens in these occupations couldn't be controlled for. 
  • there has been some discussion about the role of low levels of melatonin but there is no conclusive evidence for the risk of cancer being increased by shiftwork. 
diabetes and other metabolic disturbances:
  • concentrations of certain substances in the body, including potassium, uric acid, glucose and cholesterol, are higher during night work which may be related to increased metabolic disturbances
  • studies of weight and body mass index (BMI) have tended to be inconclusive, although some have shown higher BMIs in those working shift work. 
  • however, there is evidence to support the increased chances of developing diabetes if you work shifts. 
pregnancy: 
  • studies show relationships between shiftwork and low birth weight as well as shiftwork and premature birth
  • one paper has reported an increased risk of miscarriage among shift workers. 
  • knutsson argues that this evidence is strong and that pregnant women should be advised to avoid shiftwork. 
exacerbation of existing disorders: 
  • many normal biological processes follow a circadian rhythm and this can be interrupted or interfere with bi shift work. 
  • taking medicines is more complex when working shifts. even taking the same dose at the same time can cause different effects due to the differences in the internal body clock. 
  • sleep deprivation can also affect existing disorders such as - the frequency of seizures experienced by epileptics and the frequency of asthma attacks. 
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TESTE DEIN WISSEN
shiftwork and accidents (gold et al, 1992)
- conducted a survey of massachusetts nurses which asked about shiftwork, sleep and accidents. 
- this study used a self administrated questionnaire and was handed out to 878 registered nurses between june and september 1986. 
- they were asked whether they worked variable shifts or whatever they always worked the same shift. the nurses were asked to give information relating to the current week, the previous 2 weeks and the following week on the number of day, evening or night shifts worked. 
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the questionnaire also asked about: 
  • quality of sleep 
  • use of alcohol 
  • use of prescription or non- prescription medication
  • sleeping aids 
  • times they had 'nodded off' at work (in the past week) 
  • times they had 'nodded off' while driving to and from work (in the past year) 
  • accidents, errors and near-miss accidents in the past year: this included driving accidents, medication errors, job procedural errors and work related personal injuries that could be attributed to sleepiness. 
procedure: 
  • day and evening shiftwork was grouped together as they have not been shown to disrupt circadian rhythms. the other group was night shift workers and rotators (those who changed shift patterns frequently). 
  • 878 questionnaires were give out, 687 were returned. the mean age of the sample was - 33.9 years. 
results: 
  • rotators and night shift workers reported fewer hours of sleep than day/evening workers. the concept of anchor sleep was used. 
  • 92% of the day/evening nurses obtained regular anchor sleep but only 6.3% of the night nurses and none of the rotators obtained anchor sleep regularly throughout a month. 
  • anchor sleep disruption was experienced by 49% of the day/evening workers, 94% of the rotators and 2.9% of the night nurses
  • night nurses were 1.8 times more likely to report poor quality sleep than the day/evening workers. rotators were 2.8 times more likely to report the same. 
  • night nurses and rotators were twice as likely to use medications to help them sleep.
  • nodding off on the night shift occurred at least once a week in 35% of rotators, 32% of night nurses and 20% of day/evening workers who worked the occasional night shift. 
  • in contrast, only 2.7% of day/evening nurses and 2.8% of rotators reported incidents of nodding off during day shifts. 
  • rotators were 3.9 times as likely and night nurses 3.6 times as likely to nod off while driving to and from work in the previous year. 
  • although length of time working at the hospital, age and use of alcohol were factors that contributed to errors, even after considering them, rotators reported twice as many accidents. 
  • the results are consistent with laboratory demonstrations of the effects of sleep deprivation and the disruption of circadian rhythms, particularly in the sense of increased cognitive errors. 
  • conclusion - application of circadian principles to the design of work schedules may produce improved health and safety of nurses and patient. 
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TESTE DEIN WISSEN
reducing accidents at work (fox et al, 1987)
- fox et al. investigated the use of a token economy to reward workers for not having accidents or injuries for a specified amount of time. 
- the study was conducted at 2 open pit mines and their associated product processing plants. both were in the USA. 
- prior to the study, the no. of days lost from work due to injuries in one of the mines was over 8 times the natural average at the other mine. 
- in the 5 years preceding this study, 2 people had been killed and 1 had suffered a permanent disability. 
- the 2 settings were similar in many ways, used the same mining procedures and were of similar sizes. 
- injuries had occurred in all areas of both mines but were particularly associated with the use and maintenance of heavy equipment. 
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TESTE DEIN WISSEN
sample:
  • participants in this study were the employees at the 2 mines, including - office and clerical workers, engineers, managers, custodial, maintenance and production workers. 
  • no. of workers in mine 1: 197 in 1970, 606 in 1979 and 214 in 1983. 
  • no. of workers in mine 2: 450 in 1970, 501 in 1983 and remained relatively stable from there. 
- workers were divided into 4 groups based on the number of working days lost due to injury:
  • group 1: workers with least hazardous jobs, mainly office workers. 
  • group 2: foremen, shift supervisors, technicians, engineers and surveyors.
  • group 3: mechanics, labourers, maintenance workers and operators of bulldozers, front end loaders, shovel, dragline and truck operators. 
  • group 4: workers in the most hazardous jobs. such as electricians, the scraper operators and the fuel and lube workers. 
procedure:
  • workers were given a specified number of 'trading stamps' with their pay envelope if they had not suffered a lost time injury or an injury that required doctor's attention during the month.
  • the amount of trade stamps varied by the risk factors of each group. for the 1st mine - group 1 got 300 stamps, group 2 got 400, group 3 got 500 and group 4 got 700 stamps. 
  • all workers were managed by a common supervisor and were given further stamps if the whole group had avoided lost time or medically treated injuries. 
  • any acts that prevented injury to others or damage to property were could be rewarded with amounts ranging from 500 to 25000 stamps. 
  • however, a worker who missed 1-2 days of work due to injury would receive no stamps for 1 month. for 3-4 days lost, they would get no stamps for 2 months and for 5-6 days lost, there would be no reward for 3 months, increasing like this upto a maximum of 6 months (if 10 days were lost). 
  • no one in the group would get any of the group rewards if any time had been lost. anyone responsible for an accident that damaged equipment would lose their individual stamp award for 1 month every $2,000 of damage up to a maximum of 12 months. 
  • all members of that workers group would lose their group award for as many months as the individual lost their individual reward. 
  • anyone failing to report an accident/injury would lose all of their individual awards for 1 month and their group would lose their group award for the same time. 
  • 6 weeks before this scheme was started, workers were given information about how this would work. 1 month before the scheme, any worker who had not had an equipment-damaging accident or lost time injury was given 1000 stamps. 
  • stamps could be spent at local stores and could be exchanged for anything from a huge range of merchandise. no restrictions were placed on how the stamps could be spent. 
  • the miners had to keep careful safety data including the number of accidents and total number of days lost were recorded. 
  • direct costs of these injuries and accidents were recorded under the heading of compensation insurance, medical care and repairing damaged equipment. 
  • the mines also kept data on the cost of the trading stamps. this allowed a benefit-to-cost ratio to be calculated to see if the dollar saved as a result of operating the token economy exceeded the cost of the token economy. 
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TESTE DEIN WISSEN
safety promotion campaigns (cowpe, 1989)
- at the time of research, chip pan fires were a major cause of domestic fires in the UK. approximately, 1/3 of all domestic fires were caused by chip pans. 
- cowpe considered 2 strategies for his advertising campaign. 
  • prevention strategy: the advert would tell people how to avoid a chip pan fire starting. 
  • containment strategy: in which people would be educated about the correct and incorrect procedures to follow should a chip pan catch fire. 
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TESTE DEIN WISSEN
following steps: 
  • after both options were considered, the prevention strategy was rejected as the research team felt that the causes of such fires were simply accidents or results of misjudgements - telling people not to do this would be unsuccessful. 
  • also, most people tend to think 'accidents only happen to other people'. they wouldn't perceive a prevention-focused advert to be aimed at them and would ignore it. 
  • however, they quickly realised that an advert that shows someone actually tackling a fire would raise concerns in the viewers about their own abilities to do this and this would make them more receptive to messages about prevention. 
  • it was concluded that this was a more appropriate tone to set - rather than saying 'don't do this', say 'here's what to do if'. 
actual study: 
  • aim - to test the effectiveness of an advertising campaign warning people about chip pan fires.
  • method - quasi experiment. 
  • two 60 second advertisements were produced, both of which showed the initial cause of the fire and then the actions required to put this out. advertisements were shown on TV in 10 UK regional areas between 1976 and 1984. 
results:
  • the effectiveness of this campaign was measured through the use of fire brigade statistics. 
  • reported a 12% drop in fires and also reports that high levels of awareness and recall of the adverts existed; not only during times they were shown but for a considerable time afterwards. 
conclusion:
  • the advertising proved effective as shown by the reduction in chip pan fires.
  • however, the extent to which the prevention part of the advert was successful and fewer fires broke out and the extent to which the containment part was successful in helping people deal with such fires without needing to call the fire brigade is unknown. 
  • cowpe suggests that the adverts increased both knowledge and confidence of containment procedures but that it was the combined effect of the two strategies that created the success of the advertisement and reducing fires, saving money, and saving lives. 
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TESTE DEIN WISSEN
evaluation - issues and debates
(physical and psychological work conditions)
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TESTE DEIN WISSEN
individual VS situational debate: 
  • all 3 studies demonstrate that situation, whether this be change, office layout or a culture of bullying, can have significant effects on the individuals who work in these situations. 
  • this is important got organisations and organisational psychologists to recognise so that they can strive for the most effective and harmonious working environments. 
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TESTE DEIN WISSEN
evaluation - research methods
(physical and psychological work conditions)
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TESTE DEIN WISSEN
hawthorne studies (wickstrom and bendix)
  • can be described as a field experiment as the experimenters manipulated that they were investigating but did this in a real working environment as opposed to a laboratory. 
  • this gives the research high levels of ecological validity, hence, results can easily be applied to the real world. 
  • however, this also produced very low levels of control. as seen in the case, there are a number of other variables that were not considered at the time of the study which might offer a better explanation for results than provided by researchers. 
oldham and brass: 
  • similarly, this study also had high ecological validity and low levels of control. 
  • this can be described as a natural experiment as the experimenters took advantage of a naturally occurring change (IV) to investigate the effects. 
  • however, this type of study is almost impossible to control for every variable. for example - 
  • the control group only contained 5 people, which makes it hard to compare. 
  • researchers were only able to collect data on worker motivation and satisfaction. but it is possible that the move might've affected the productivity positively. 
  • it is also possible that the negative ratings would've been temporary and continuing to monitor then over a longer period of time would have shown more positive results later. 
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TESTE DEIN WISSEN
evaluation - issues and debates 
(temporal conditions of work environments) 
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TESTE DEIN WISSEN
nature VS nurture: 
  • shift work may interfere with the natural functioning of the body and this is likely to explain the many negative effects. 
  • we have a natural circadian rhythm and working constantly changing shifts may disrupt this. 
  • effects identified by knutsson are correlational
  • those considered by gold et al. rely heavily on self-reports.  by identifying the risks that shift working may pose, not only are individuals able to make informed decisions about their own working practices, but employers are able to establish procedures designed to minimise these risks. 
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TESTE DEIN WISSEN
accidents at work: errors and accidents in operator-machine systems
- technology has led to development of machinery that largely replaces many of the tasks previously done by human workers. 
- the interaction between the machine and its operator is sometimes extremely complex and the consequences of human error can be catastrophic. 
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TESTE DEIN WISSEN
famous example of human error:
- occurred at the three mile island power plant in the USA in 1979. 
  • an employee shut down an alternate feed water pipe and went off duty without turning this back on again. 
  • the reactor started to overheat and warning sirens began to sound but no one at the power plant knew what the problem was. 
  • it took 2 hours and 18 minutes to find the fault. 
  • it's not appropriate to simply blame the operator for his error. nothing in the system had been designed to tell anyone that the pipe had been turned off and when a relief valve also failed to open, no warning system was in place. 
  • later examination of the processes required to identify the faults revealed that the operators looking for the fault has to scan over 1,600 gauges.
  • for some reason, colours had been used differently in different systems and in some places a colour represened safety whereas, in another part of the system it represented danger. 
  • human errors, design of systems and a lack of safety procedures were all at fault. 
what's the solution? 
  • since then we have seen the development of 'human factors' experts, who ensure that the design of machines reflect our knowledge and understanding not only of human cognition, but of the limitations of human cognition. 
  • this might involve making sure that display systems are clear and easy to interpret, that operators are not expected to maintain vigilance for too long without a break and that there are tried and tested emergency procedures. 
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Q:
open plan offices 
- oldham and brass (1979) have conducted a field study which shows that employee satisfaction ratings fell dramatically after the working environment was changed to an open plan one. 
- this research was conducted in a large newspaper office in the USA. 
- in the beginning, all the employees worked in a conventional multicellular office
- each department was in a separate office and within each office desks were separated by internal walls. this meant that employees had their own space and in order to interact with anyone, it was necessary to travel down corridors and around partitions
A:
why was management considering change? 
  • the current office space was nowhere near a railway and this meant that papers had to be moved from the offices to the railway station by truck, creating additional expense as well as using up valuable time.
  • current office had many practical problems; it lacked air conditioning, was difficult to heat and there was limited storage space. 
  • current layout was not conducive to good communication between individuals and departments. 
new office design: 
  • purpose built and located next to a railway line - constructed as a typical open plan design. 
  • there were no internal walls more than a metre high and no private offices anywhere although 2 meeting rooms were available. 
  • all members were still grouped together as they had been in the old building and the amount of space was roughly equivalent in both old and new buildings.
  • the staff working in the pressroom kept their working space as it had been which helped form a naturally occurring control group. 
  • staff were fully informed at all stages of this process and data was collected at the beginning of the research which revealed that the majority felt that the old building wasn't fit for purpose anymore. 
  • important to note that the change in office was the only change - no changes in working conditions, contracts, salaries or duties. 
  • 1st set of data - 8 weeks before the move, 2nd set of data - 9 weeks after move, 3rd set of data - 18 weeks after the move. 
  • participants were told that this was a study designed to assess employees' reaction to their new office and work. 
  • data was collected using a questionnaire which was given out to groups ranging from 2-12 people. participants were asked to put their names on the survey so their responses could be followed through, but it remained confidential. 
  • management and staff were also questioned more informally to gather additional feedback about the move. 
sample and predictions: 
  • all the full time employees were invited to participate - this was a total of 140 people of whom 128 participated in some way. 
  • a total of 76 participated in all 3 stages of the study. 5 members of the pressroom formed the control group. 
  • the questionnaire measured - work satisfaction, interpersonal satisfaction and internal work motivation. 
  • experimenters predicted that there would be an increase in supervisor and coworker feedback, friendship opportunities, intra-departmental and inter-departmental interaction. 
findings and results: 
  • employees' internal motivation and satisfaction with work and colleagues actually decreased sharply after the move. but, the control group showed no such changes. 
  • interview data revealed that workers felt like they were in a 'fishbowl' because it was difficult to concentrate and finish tasks. 
  • was also difficult to form friendships (eg. impossible to invite someone for a drink without the whole office hearing). 
  • supervisors found it tough to provide personal feedback without moving to a meeting room to maintain privacy. 
Q:
bullying at work (einarsen, 1999) 
- bullying can be defined as hostile and aggressive behaviour, either physical or non physical, directed at one or more colleagues or subordinates. 
- this causes humiliation, offence and distress and may also affect and individual's work performance and create a negative working environment. 
- zapf's 5 types of bullying behaviour:
  • work related bullying such as changing tasks or making them harder to perform
  • physical violence or threats of physical violence
  • personal attacks or attacks on private life by ridicule, gossip or insulting remarks
  • verbal threats including criticism and humiliation
  • social isolation
- einarsen claims that managers and supervisors are perceived as the bullies in the majority of cases and that bullying by a superior creates more psychological distress than bullying by a co worker. 
A:
4 stages of bullying: 
  • aggressive behaviour
  • bullying 
  • stigmatisation 
  • severe trauma 
causes of bullying: 
- individual/personality factors of the victim and bully
  • one of the reported studies (bjorkqvist et al, 1994) surveyed employees at a finnish university and identified 3 main perceived reasons for bullying. these were - competition concerning status and job position, envy and the aggressor being uncertain about their own abilities
  • studies have found that victims are more sensitive, suspicious and angry, tend to have lower self-esteem and be more anxious in social settings
  • it's also highly likely that the personality differences identified are as a result of the bullying and this can only be established through longitudinal research, which hasn't been conducted. 
- psychosocial/situational factors
  • deficiencies in work design 
  • deficiencies in leadership behaviour
  • socially exposed position of the victim 
  • low morale in the department
different types of bullying:
- predatory bullying is where the victim has done nothing to trigger the bullying behaviour, but is accidentally in a situation where a predator is demonstrating power over others. 
  • this could be termed as institutional harassment where a culture of bullying and aggression is ingrained throughout the organisation. 
  • the victim may be a member of a certain group (eg. the first woman in that role) and this may produce bullying behaviour against the individual as a representative of that group. 
- scapegoating is when people are highly stressed or frustrated and are looking for someone to vent their frustration on. this can also be used to explain prejudice. 
  • in many cases, the organisation effectively tolerates the bullying by not responding appropriately to it or by failing to have the correct policies and procedures in place. 
Q:
the hawthorne studies (1924)
- the hawthorne effect refers to the phenomena of behaviour changing simply because it is being investigated, rather than as a result of any of the variables that were being manipulated. 
- the original hawthorne studies were conducted at the hawthorne works in cicero, illinois, USA. they investigated the effects of changes in lighting and work structure on productivity. 

A:
first study - effect of light on productivity
  • an experimental group was exposed to decreasing levels of light while a control group received a constant level of light. 
  • interestingly, both groups steadily increased their performance on their tasks. it was not until the light was only as bright as moonlight that the experimental group showed any decrease in productivity. 
  • researchers concluded that lighting level didn't didn't significantly affect productivity so long as it was sufficient for the job to be done. 
a series of further experiments were conducted which explored the effect of several other variables
  • in each of these studies, researchers concluded that the variable under examination wasn't responsible for the increased productivity and some other variable must be responsible. 
  • initially, the suggestion was that the improved relationships between the workers and management was the key. 
  • wickstrom and bendix (2000) argue that this initial suggestion evolved into a conclusion. the workers who took part in the studies received a number of special privileges as a result of taking part. 
however, there are other interpretations 
  • the workers in one of the studies increasingly took the opportunity to alter their work roles. 
  • kahn (1975) described this as a genuine transfer of power, as rather than being supervised as they had been before, the women were consulted about each stage of the experiment and genuine efforts were made to create positive working environments. 
  • greenwood (1983) interviewed some of these original participants 50 years after the study and concluded that the women had worked harder in the test rooms to avoid being sent back to the ordinary manufacturing rooms where the supervision was harsh.
  • the original experiments also lacked experimental rigour with many uncontrolled variables and changes of participants. 
  • another important point - the studies were conducted during the depression, therefore, the threat of losing one's job may also have contributed to the work levels. 
  • lastly, the workers were being paid according to an incentive pay system based on the outcome of the experimental group rather than the workforce as a whole. 
conclusion - reference to the hawthorne effect should be avoided in attempting to explain the results of intervention studies as its use is likely to add more confusion than clarity. 
Q:
shiftwork 
- temporal conditions refer to the time conditions under which people work. 
- shift is a term used to describe any working pattern that doesn't involve the same work pattern every week. 
 - to maintain 24 hour service, many organisations run a rotation of 3 shifts per day:
  • day shift = 6 AM - 2 PM
  • afternoon shift = 2 PM - 10 PM
  • night shift = 10 PM - 6 AM
A:
pheasant (1991) 
- identifies 2 main approaches to the organisation of shift working and these are:
1) rapid rotation shift  - frequent shift changes that workers have to follow. 
  • metropolitan rotas are where workers do 2 day shifts, then 2 afternoon shifts and then 2 night shifts. they then have 2 days off before the shift pattern starts all over again. this is a total of 8 days per rotation so that the weekly pattern shifts a day ahead each week. 
  • continental rotas are where workers complete 2 day shifts, 2 afternoon shifts and 3 night shifts. then 2 days off work, 2 day shifts, 3 afternoon shifts and 2 night shifts and after that 3 days off work. this cycle continues so forth. 
2) slow rotation shift  - infrequent changes; for example working day shifts for several weeks and then night shifts for several weeks. 
  • it is suggested that this kind of slow rotation can allow circadian rhythms to adapt to one shift without being forced to change too rapidly and cause health problems. 
Q:
the effects of shiftwork on health (knutsson, 2003) 
- brings together evidence on the relationship between working at night or on a shiftwork pattern and specific serious medical disorders. 
- begins by noting that there is actually no specific evidence that suggests that shiftwork affects longevity. 
- 2 studies have directly compared mortality rates between day workers and shift workers, one was conducted in the UK and the other in denmark. the UK study reported no significant difference and the danish study reported a very tiny increase in relative death risk for shift workers. 
- hence, he moved on to examining specific disorders and conditions. 
A:
gastrointestinal disease: 
  • significantly more common in shift workers than in day workers, most commonly constipation and diarrhoea experienced when working night shifts. 
  • there is also some evidence that peptic ulcers are more common in those who regularly work shifts (including taxi/truck drivers, factory workers, printers and night watchmen). 
  • the risk of duodenal ulcers is also reported to be doubled in shift workers. 
cardiovascular disease: 
  • working conditions include physical factors such as - chemicals, noise and vibrations as well as psychosocial factors such as - stress and the organisation of work schedules. 
  • studies conducted in a range of different countries support the relationship between shiftwork and cardiovascular disease. 
cancer:
  • some research has revealed an increased risk of breast cancer in women who work night shifts. these studies have been conducted with nurses, flight attendants and radio/telegraph operators. 
  • however, increase exposure to other carcinogens in these occupations couldn't be controlled for. 
  • there has been some discussion about the role of low levels of melatonin but there is no conclusive evidence for the risk of cancer being increased by shiftwork. 
diabetes and other metabolic disturbances:
  • concentrations of certain substances in the body, including potassium, uric acid, glucose and cholesterol, are higher during night work which may be related to increased metabolic disturbances
  • studies of weight and body mass index (BMI) have tended to be inconclusive, although some have shown higher BMIs in those working shift work. 
  • however, there is evidence to support the increased chances of developing diabetes if you work shifts. 
pregnancy: 
  • studies show relationships between shiftwork and low birth weight as well as shiftwork and premature birth
  • one paper has reported an increased risk of miscarriage among shift workers. 
  • knutsson argues that this evidence is strong and that pregnant women should be advised to avoid shiftwork. 
exacerbation of existing disorders: 
  • many normal biological processes follow a circadian rhythm and this can be interrupted or interfere with bi shift work. 
  • taking medicines is more complex when working shifts. even taking the same dose at the same time can cause different effects due to the differences in the internal body clock. 
  • sleep deprivation can also affect existing disorders such as - the frequency of seizures experienced by epileptics and the frequency of asthma attacks. 
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Q:
shiftwork and accidents (gold et al, 1992)
- conducted a survey of massachusetts nurses which asked about shiftwork, sleep and accidents. 
- this study used a self administrated questionnaire and was handed out to 878 registered nurses between june and september 1986. 
- they were asked whether they worked variable shifts or whatever they always worked the same shift. the nurses were asked to give information relating to the current week, the previous 2 weeks and the following week on the number of day, evening or night shifts worked. 
A:
the questionnaire also asked about: 
  • quality of sleep 
  • use of alcohol 
  • use of prescription or non- prescription medication
  • sleeping aids 
  • times they had 'nodded off' at work (in the past week) 
  • times they had 'nodded off' while driving to and from work (in the past year) 
  • accidents, errors and near-miss accidents in the past year: this included driving accidents, medication errors, job procedural errors and work related personal injuries that could be attributed to sleepiness. 
procedure: 
  • day and evening shiftwork was grouped together as they have not been shown to disrupt circadian rhythms. the other group was night shift workers and rotators (those who changed shift patterns frequently). 
  • 878 questionnaires were give out, 687 were returned. the mean age of the sample was - 33.9 years. 
results: 
  • rotators and night shift workers reported fewer hours of sleep than day/evening workers. the concept of anchor sleep was used. 
  • 92% of the day/evening nurses obtained regular anchor sleep but only 6.3% of the night nurses and none of the rotators obtained anchor sleep regularly throughout a month. 
  • anchor sleep disruption was experienced by 49% of the day/evening workers, 94% of the rotators and 2.9% of the night nurses
  • night nurses were 1.8 times more likely to report poor quality sleep than the day/evening workers. rotators were 2.8 times more likely to report the same. 
  • night nurses and rotators were twice as likely to use medications to help them sleep.
  • nodding off on the night shift occurred at least once a week in 35% of rotators, 32% of night nurses and 20% of day/evening workers who worked the occasional night shift. 
  • in contrast, only 2.7% of day/evening nurses and 2.8% of rotators reported incidents of nodding off during day shifts. 
  • rotators were 3.9 times as likely and night nurses 3.6 times as likely to nod off while driving to and from work in the previous year. 
  • although length of time working at the hospital, age and use of alcohol were factors that contributed to errors, even after considering them, rotators reported twice as many accidents. 
  • the results are consistent with laboratory demonstrations of the effects of sleep deprivation and the disruption of circadian rhythms, particularly in the sense of increased cognitive errors. 
  • conclusion - application of circadian principles to the design of work schedules may produce improved health and safety of nurses and patient. 
Q:
reducing accidents at work (fox et al, 1987)
- fox et al. investigated the use of a token economy to reward workers for not having accidents or injuries for a specified amount of time. 
- the study was conducted at 2 open pit mines and their associated product processing plants. both were in the USA. 
- prior to the study, the no. of days lost from work due to injuries in one of the mines was over 8 times the natural average at the other mine. 
- in the 5 years preceding this study, 2 people had been killed and 1 had suffered a permanent disability. 
- the 2 settings were similar in many ways, used the same mining procedures and were of similar sizes. 
- injuries had occurred in all areas of both mines but were particularly associated with the use and maintenance of heavy equipment. 
A:
sample:
  • participants in this study were the employees at the 2 mines, including - office and clerical workers, engineers, managers, custodial, maintenance and production workers. 
  • no. of workers in mine 1: 197 in 1970, 606 in 1979 and 214 in 1983. 
  • no. of workers in mine 2: 450 in 1970, 501 in 1983 and remained relatively stable from there. 
- workers were divided into 4 groups based on the number of working days lost due to injury:
  • group 1: workers with least hazardous jobs, mainly office workers. 
  • group 2: foremen, shift supervisors, technicians, engineers and surveyors.
  • group 3: mechanics, labourers, maintenance workers and operators of bulldozers, front end loaders, shovel, dragline and truck operators. 
  • group 4: workers in the most hazardous jobs. such as electricians, the scraper operators and the fuel and lube workers. 
procedure:
  • workers were given a specified number of 'trading stamps' with their pay envelope if they had not suffered a lost time injury or an injury that required doctor's attention during the month.
  • the amount of trade stamps varied by the risk factors of each group. for the 1st mine - group 1 got 300 stamps, group 2 got 400, group 3 got 500 and group 4 got 700 stamps. 
  • all workers were managed by a common supervisor and were given further stamps if the whole group had avoided lost time or medically treated injuries. 
  • any acts that prevented injury to others or damage to property were could be rewarded with amounts ranging from 500 to 25000 stamps. 
  • however, a worker who missed 1-2 days of work due to injury would receive no stamps for 1 month. for 3-4 days lost, they would get no stamps for 2 months and for 5-6 days lost, there would be no reward for 3 months, increasing like this upto a maximum of 6 months (if 10 days were lost). 
  • no one in the group would get any of the group rewards if any time had been lost. anyone responsible for an accident that damaged equipment would lose their individual stamp award for 1 month every $2,000 of damage up to a maximum of 12 months. 
  • all members of that workers group would lose their group award for as many months as the individual lost their individual reward. 
  • anyone failing to report an accident/injury would lose all of their individual awards for 1 month and their group would lose their group award for the same time. 
  • 6 weeks before this scheme was started, workers were given information about how this would work. 1 month before the scheme, any worker who had not had an equipment-damaging accident or lost time injury was given 1000 stamps. 
  • stamps could be spent at local stores and could be exchanged for anything from a huge range of merchandise. no restrictions were placed on how the stamps could be spent. 
  • the miners had to keep careful safety data including the number of accidents and total number of days lost were recorded. 
  • direct costs of these injuries and accidents were recorded under the heading of compensation insurance, medical care and repairing damaged equipment. 
  • the mines also kept data on the cost of the trading stamps. this allowed a benefit-to-cost ratio to be calculated to see if the dollar saved as a result of operating the token economy exceeded the cost of the token economy. 
Q:
safety promotion campaigns (cowpe, 1989)
- at the time of research, chip pan fires were a major cause of domestic fires in the UK. approximately, 1/3 of all domestic fires were caused by chip pans. 
- cowpe considered 2 strategies for his advertising campaign. 
  • prevention strategy: the advert would tell people how to avoid a chip pan fire starting. 
  • containment strategy: in which people would be educated about the correct and incorrect procedures to follow should a chip pan catch fire. 
A:
following steps: 
  • after both options were considered, the prevention strategy was rejected as the research team felt that the causes of such fires were simply accidents or results of misjudgements - telling people not to do this would be unsuccessful. 
  • also, most people tend to think 'accidents only happen to other people'. they wouldn't perceive a prevention-focused advert to be aimed at them and would ignore it. 
  • however, they quickly realised that an advert that shows someone actually tackling a fire would raise concerns in the viewers about their own abilities to do this and this would make them more receptive to messages about prevention. 
  • it was concluded that this was a more appropriate tone to set - rather than saying 'don't do this', say 'here's what to do if'. 
actual study: 
  • aim - to test the effectiveness of an advertising campaign warning people about chip pan fires.
  • method - quasi experiment. 
  • two 60 second advertisements were produced, both of which showed the initial cause of the fire and then the actions required to put this out. advertisements were shown on TV in 10 UK regional areas between 1976 and 1984. 
results:
  • the effectiveness of this campaign was measured through the use of fire brigade statistics. 
  • reported a 12% drop in fires and also reports that high levels of awareness and recall of the adverts existed; not only during times they were shown but for a considerable time afterwards. 
conclusion:
  • the advertising proved effective as shown by the reduction in chip pan fires.
  • however, the extent to which the prevention part of the advert was successful and fewer fires broke out and the extent to which the containment part was successful in helping people deal with such fires without needing to call the fire brigade is unknown. 
  • cowpe suggests that the adverts increased both knowledge and confidence of containment procedures but that it was the combined effect of the two strategies that created the success of the advertisement and reducing fires, saving money, and saving lives. 
Q:
evaluation - issues and debates
(physical and psychological work conditions)
A:
individual VS situational debate: 
  • all 3 studies demonstrate that situation, whether this be change, office layout or a culture of bullying, can have significant effects on the individuals who work in these situations. 
  • this is important got organisations and organisational psychologists to recognise so that they can strive for the most effective and harmonious working environments. 
Q:
evaluation - research methods
(physical and psychological work conditions)
A:
hawthorne studies (wickstrom and bendix)
  • can be described as a field experiment as the experimenters manipulated that they were investigating but did this in a real working environment as opposed to a laboratory. 
  • this gives the research high levels of ecological validity, hence, results can easily be applied to the real world. 
  • however, this also produced very low levels of control. as seen in the case, there are a number of other variables that were not considered at the time of the study which might offer a better explanation for results than provided by researchers. 
oldham and brass: 
  • similarly, this study also had high ecological validity and low levels of control. 
  • this can be described as a natural experiment as the experimenters took advantage of a naturally occurring change (IV) to investigate the effects. 
  • however, this type of study is almost impossible to control for every variable. for example - 
  • the control group only contained 5 people, which makes it hard to compare. 
  • researchers were only able to collect data on worker motivation and satisfaction. but it is possible that the move might've affected the productivity positively. 
  • it is also possible that the negative ratings would've been temporary and continuing to monitor then over a longer period of time would have shown more positive results later. 
Q:
evaluation - issues and debates 
(temporal conditions of work environments) 
A:
nature VS nurture: 
  • shift work may interfere with the natural functioning of the body and this is likely to explain the many negative effects. 
  • we have a natural circadian rhythm and working constantly changing shifts may disrupt this. 
  • effects identified by knutsson are correlational
  • those considered by gold et al. rely heavily on self-reports.  by identifying the risks that shift working may pose, not only are individuals able to make informed decisions about their own working practices, but employers are able to establish procedures designed to minimise these risks. 
Q:
accidents at work: errors and accidents in operator-machine systems
- technology has led to development of machinery that largely replaces many of the tasks previously done by human workers. 
- the interaction between the machine and its operator is sometimes extremely complex and the consequences of human error can be catastrophic. 
A:
famous example of human error:
- occurred at the three mile island power plant in the USA in 1979. 
  • an employee shut down an alternate feed water pipe and went off duty without turning this back on again. 
  • the reactor started to overheat and warning sirens began to sound but no one at the power plant knew what the problem was. 
  • it took 2 hours and 18 minutes to find the fault. 
  • it's not appropriate to simply blame the operator for his error. nothing in the system had been designed to tell anyone that the pipe had been turned off and when a relief valve also failed to open, no warning system was in place. 
  • later examination of the processes required to identify the faults revealed that the operators looking for the fault has to scan over 1,600 gauges.
  • for some reason, colours had been used differently in different systems and in some places a colour represened safety whereas, in another part of the system it represented danger. 
  • human errors, design of systems and a lack of safety procedures were all at fault. 
what's the solution? 
  • since then we have seen the development of 'human factors' experts, who ensure that the design of machines reflect our knowledge and understanding not only of human cognition, but of the limitations of human cognition. 
  • this might involve making sure that display systems are clear and easy to interpret, that operators are not expected to maintain vigilance for too long without a break and that there are tried and tested emergency procedures. 
organisational work conditions

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