The Strategic Management of Employee Wellbeing: Occupational Stress and Coping with Stress
It is important that organisations recognise that the wellbeing of their employee is important because not only does the organisation benefit from the wellbeing of their employee but also employees experience job satisfaction which has a knock on effect on productivity. To quote Stephen, P. 2010 (pg415) “UK Organisations are recognising the importance of wellbeing issues is not driven solely compliances with legalisations, but by the recognition that a fit and healthy work force positively impacts on business performance through low levels of absence and through better performance.
Some may argue that stress, harassment, bullying, alcohol misuse, drug abuse and violence are of no concern to employer. However government policy and demographic changes and with the intention of trying to increase competition for talent places the government has implied that employee’s wellbeing as part of the organisation agenda according to Stephen, P. 2010 (pg415)
This research would be looking at the problem of occupational stress, the impact it has on employees and how employers are preventing work related stress. Although the UK government has teamed up with HSC (Health and Safety Commission) and HSE (Health and Safety Executive) to launch a 10 year occupational health strategy in agreement with Stephen, P. 2010 (pg415). Quoting from the policy “sound moral, legal and economic reasons for employers and others in positions of responsibility to….work together to reach the following common goals; to reduce ill health both in workers and public caused or made worse, by work; to help people who have been ill, whether caused by work or not, to return to work….to use work environment to help people maintain or improve their health.” Are employees are aware of this policy and if employers are adhering to the policy would also be another problem that this research would be undertaking.
In order to guide my findings, I would be answering the following research questions:
What are the biggest factors causing occupational stress
Are these factors affecting productivity
Is occupational stress resulting to job dissatisfaction
How are employers preventing occupational stress
What government policy are employees and employers aware of relating to occupational stress
The research objectives of this research would be to answer the research questions. I would be answering the questions above by conducting a survey amongst managers and employees in organisational setting, understanding the causes of occupation stress and how it can be eliminated or reduce. Conducting a survey would also help to analysis how aware employees and employers are of legal legalisations relating to wellbeing of staffs. This research would also be looking to see if there are any trends between occupational stress, productivity and job dissatisfaction.
Importance of chosen study
The chosen topic to be researched upon is important because occupational stress is something that affects majority of employees, and some employees suffer this in silence and are sometimes not aware of their rights as employees. The topic is also of great importance to organisations because findings from this research allows employers to have a great insight into what is causing stress and find ways in which they can manage work related stress. Understanding that work related stress has an impact on productivity, absence and job satisfaction to employees is also another importance of this study for an organisations because organisations are not only formed in other to offer services but also to generate income or profit. The ways in which organisations meet these goals are through their employees so it is important that all organisations promote a positive working environment that does not only attempt to deal with occupational stress but also empowers employees.
The theoretical framework that would be used in constructing and supporting this study is entitled “occupational stress in organisations and its effects on organisational performance”. This academic journal was written by Henry Ongori and Josephs Agolla in December 2008. This journal was based on organisations in Botswana. I would be using this academic journal because its focus is similar to the research topic which is to understand the causes of work related stress and its impact on organisations productivity and performance. I would be critically analysing this literature at a later stage of this pilot study.
To quote from Jankowicz A 2006 (pg 220) research methods is “a method which is systematic and orderly approach taken towards in collecting and analysis of data so that information can be obtained from those data.” There are two types of methods that can be used to collect data qualitative and quantitative. In order to collect data for this research I will be using both the qualitative and quantitative methods. The qualitative method would allow me to ask both open and closed ended questions with pre chosen possible answers for the closed ended questions. This method would allow me to obtain primary information for respondents on how they feel and their opinions. Lastly I would also be quantitative method because this would allow me to analysis data in graph forms.
According to Jankowicz A 2006 (pg 221) research techniques is a step by step procedure which can be followed in order to collect data and analysis and make sense of raw data. As Bennett (1986) suggested a research technique is more of instruction of how to do something rather than proposing the question of why are you do something The step by step procedure that would be carried out in order to collect data for this study would be a fully structured technique according to Jankowicz A 2006 (pg 222). A fully structured technique is one that consists of a well designed questionnaire, a face to face interview alongside secondary data such as internet material, books and journals. For this research I would be focusing more on well executed questionnaire to obtain information needed. My questionnaire would carried out within three organisation sector that I believe that staffs are more likely to suffer from wok related stress (Afro-Caribbean hair salon, security firm and a nursery). The questionnaire would be given to equal amounts of both male and female so it would not be analysis on the basis of gender.
While conducting this study there are various limitations that I may face as a researcher. Number one being that occupational stress is a topic that I am very much passionate about and I do not believe in the exploration of employees in order to meet organisations goals. So in saying this I may have a bias view or ways in which the questions are asked, which will then have an impact on the data collected as it may be bias. Secondly due to the research problem the research may suffer from what Saunders et al 2008 (pg.157) called subject or participant bias. This is when employees are answering questions in a way in which they believe their employer would expect them to. This may also come about if respondents feel that their employability may be under threat. In saying this it would affect the data collected as it may be bias and unreliable.
Data Analysis Techniques
In order to analyse the data collected from the quantitative method I would be using relevant methods to present my finds such as tables, graphs and statistics. This would enable me to explore present, examine and answering my research hypothesis. From the open ended questions from the questionnaire, the qualitative method I would be analysing this by explaining my findings. The qualitative method analysis is more to do with explaining any trends and relationship from the raw data collected.
In order to comply with respondents ethical rights I would be explain to all respondents what the survey is about why they are involved and to what extent they are involved. I would also be making clear that at any point of the process that the research is being conducting they are allow to terminate from the questionnaire and research. I would also make that I do not harass any of my respondents. Lastly I will be making clear to all respondent that everything discuss would remain anonymous and confidentiality.
Contribution to the Study
The topic being discuss and researched upon is one that I feel very attached to because as an individual studying to enter the world of Human Resources Management I would like to be able to make a difference in performance and management area and in an organisations. In order to this I believe that it is important for me to identify the causes of occupational stress, its impact on productivity and its impact on organisational performance. In conducting this research I would be able to gain an insight into this problem and come up with suitable recommendation for future references.
A research strategy is a plan of action that allows a research to adopt a more systematic way of conducting a research according to Jankowicz A 2006 (pg 222). This section of the research would be identifying the different types of methods that can be adopted in order to carry out a research. This area would also be looking at each methods strengths and weaknesses. At the end a method would be chosen to guide the pilot study.
The method survey is usually used in order to collect present data and it is usually humans believes, value, thoughts and view according to Jankowicz A 2006 (pg 222). Information is normally collected via face to face interview, conversations, through telephone interviews, internet, email and postal.
Cost effective- depending on the type of survey being used it could be cheap to conduct. For example a written survey through post would be cheaper than telephone interview.
Convenience- respondents could take part in survey in their leisure time.
Sampling- with written survey it is not compulsory to gain respondents personal details in other to reach them allowing more chances of a wider population to take part
Limited answer-you would only be able to obtain answers that respondent gives
Bias-the way in which the question may by written or asked in a way that may influence respondents answers
Sensitivity- the topic being discuss may be sensitive and would need to be worded carefully however making sure that it does not influence the respondents answer Jankowicz A 2006 (pg 222).
To quote Ferrance, A 2000 “action research is a cycle, of posing questions, gathering data, reflection and deciding on a course of action.” Action research is also a process of planning, action and searching. It always room for researchers to recommend important changes to the problem being discussed.
Allows everyone’s voice and opinion to be heard
Allows research involvement in designing a resolution or recommend solutions to organisations
Allows researcher to study people in the natural habitat or place of work
Promotes ethical fairness- where no one’s view and values is more important than another
Too much involvement of the researchers feelings and believes my result in the influence of the respondents answer
New behaviour may block possibilities if researcher does not come up with alternatives
Case Study strategy
Quoting from Saunders 2008 (pg 145) “a case study is a strategy for doing research which involves an empirical investigation of a particular contemporary phenomenon within its real life context using multiple sources of evidence.” In other words case study strategy is a detailed study based on one particular study rather than a broad study. This method is used to narrow down a very broad field of research into a one researchable topic.
Research from this strategy shows a more realist response
This research answers the questions of why and how
It is very flexible
Due to the fact that a case study focus more on one particular topic its findings cannot be used to explain an entire question
Data collection and analysis can become time consuming
Ethnography strategy derived from the field of anthropology according to Sanders 2008 (pg 149). Referencing from Jankowicz A 2006 (pg 226) “ethnography aims to describe the social experience of the groups being studied from their own point of view, presenting an account of what they notice as meaningful, in their own language and with their own emphasis and significance.”
Direct observation of subject being researched
Allows researcher to experience the topic on an in depth bases because their involvement
It is restrictive in the sense that one topic can be studied at a time
This strategy could cause ethical issues and moral conflict for the researcher and topic, people or culture being studied.
Grounded theory is not so much a theory but a method in theory is developed as a result of the research topic according to Jankowicz A 2006 (pg 222). This theory or method applies more to topics that can be generalised rather than specific topics.
Due to the fact that theory for this method is developed through research findings it allows researcher control over the situation and a good understanding of prediction and application
It is a useful approach of generating new theories and adapting existing theories
This method builds on theory but does not help towards practical work
(Adapted for lecture note week 6 Godwin 2011)
This method is commonly used by scientist and it involves the measurement the effects of manipulating one variable from another variable. It also deals with the impact the changing variable has on the end results.
Results are statically reliable
Useful for predicting and testing hypothesis
It is not cost effective in understanding why people do what they do
It does not record statics in order of findings and the way in which it takes place
The research strategy that this study would be embarking on would be an action research. This is because, this research would be looking at existing issues and recommendation and would be looking to adapt or come up with new recommendation that could resolve the research problem.
This part of the work would be looking at research methods such as qualitative, quantitative and mixed method. It would be examining its strength and weakness, and lastly a method would be chosen that best supports the research.
Qualitative method is the method in which researchers use to seek out why rather than the how. It is a method used in understanding people’s value, behaviour, culture, their needs and wants according to Jankowicz, A. 2006 (pg 123).
Armstrong, M. 2006., Handbook of Human Resource Management Practice, Pearson Education UK
Ferrance, A 2000., Action Research, providence RI: The education Alliance, Thomson Learning UK
Jankowicz, A. 2006., Business Research Project (4th), Thomson Learning Italy
Saunders N.K; Thornhill, A. 2008., Research Methods for Business. Pearson Education UK.
Stephen Pilbeam. 2010., People Resourcing and Talent Planning: HRM in practice. Pearson Education UK