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Chapter 11

Psychology 2660A/B Chapter Notes - Chapter 11: Flextime, Job Satisfaction, Mental Health

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Natalie J Allen

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Chapter 11: Workplace psychological health
The origins of workplace psychological health
Early 20th century no one cared about the emotions of a worker
By the 1930s mental hygiene emerged
Workplace psychological health a broad based concept that refers to the mental, emotional, and
physical well-being of employees in relation to the conduct of their work
It took approx 100 years to reach the conclusion that a productive workforce depends on the health of
the workforce
Occupational health and safety act (Australia)
Health and safety at work act (UK)
Occupational safety and health act (US)
State of well being “flourishing” in life, being inspired to learn, to be reasonably independent, and
possessing self-confidence
It is advantageous to have both employers and employees contribute to fostering workplace
psychological health because health care costs so much
Affordable care act increases the scope of health care to US residents
Karoshi in Japanese = death by overwork
Balancing work and non-work
The intrinsic value of work is the value an individual finds in performing the work itself
The instrumental value of work is in providing the necessities of life and serving as a channel for the
individual’s talents, abilities, and knowledge
Positive psychology study of the factors and conditions in life that lead to pleasurable outcomes
Happy people are successful across many life domains: marriage, friendship, income, work, health
Positive affect may be the underlying cause of the desirable human qualities and experiences
associated with happiness
Environmental influenced on psychological health
Nine environmental determinants of psychological health
1. Opportunity for control personal control over one’s life is associated with better psychological
a. Opportunity to choose your own behaviour
b. Understanding the relationship between your behaviour and the consequences that
follow from it
2. Opportunity for skill use capacity of the environment to facilitate or slow down skill use
3. Externally generated goals opportunity to create challenges and set goals
4. Environmental variety benefits associated with an environment that provides choices / variety
5. Environmental clarity degree to which it is clear what the environment demands of the
6. Availability of money absence of money increases chance of psych/physical/emotional
impairment by decreasing amt of control and # of choices one has in life
7. Physical security freedom from harm, sleeping, eating basics of life must be secure
8. Opportunity for interpersonal contact experiencing positive relationships with others
9. Valued social position self esteem derived from the value placed on the contributions they
make to society
Poor psychological health when released form prison because prison environments do not provide any
of these 9 determinants this is the cause of recidivism (pattern of exconvicts committing new crimes
and being sentenced to additional prison terms)
The concept of psychological health
Five major components of psychological health
1. Affective well-being combination of pleasure and activation dimensions result in…
Enthusiasm (+p, +a)
Comfort (+p, -a)
Anxiety (-p, +a)
Depression (-p, -a)
2. Competence being competent allows for adequate psychological resources to deal with life’s
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3. Autonomy freedom to choose the path of one’s own behaviour
4. Aspiration psychological healthy people are always striving to achieve a more desirable outcome
5. Integrated functioning concerns the person as a whole it’s the hallmark of psychologically
healthy people in that they have found a way to balance love and work; most difficult to achieve
Affective well being deals with medical criteria
Competence, autonomy, aspiration related to the environment
Integrated functioning multiple relationships among the 4 components and covers broader issues
Work/family conflict
Work/family conflict the dilemma of trying to balance the conflicting demand of work and family
This increases the potential for conflict and stress
Workplaces are governed by rules and institutionalized procedures that provide mechanisms for control
Family life can be unstructured and less controllable, thus enhancing the appeal of the workplace
Study based on 3 cultures: anglo, china, and latin America
o Average hours worked per week by managers in the three cultures were similar
o Anglos may view working extra hours as taking away from their families, which may create
feelings of guilt and more work/family conflict
Three topics as targets of research in work/family conflict
o The effect of work on family
o The effect of family on work
o The family-work interaction
Three basic types of models to explain the relationship between work and family
o Spillover model asserts that there is similarity between what occurs in the work environment
and what occurs in the family environment; one’s work satisfaction enhances family life
o Compensation model proposes an inverse relationship between work and family
o Segmentation model proposes that the work and nonwork spheres are distinct so that an
individual can be successful in one without any influence on the other
Today there is considerable empirical evidence attesting to the overlap between work and family for
most individuals
One basis for the appeal of flexible work hours and increased vacation time is they may reduce feelings
of guilt among people incurring work/family conflict
Reactions to work and nonwork are not totally stable but vary over time and conditions
Stronger correlation between work/family conflict and job satisfaction than for men
o Same with w/f conflict and life satisfaction
o Women have a greater association than men between resolving w/f conflict and feeling
Families with children experienced a stronger negative relationship between hours of work per week
and family satisfaction
Employees who reported experiencing w/f conflict were up to 30x more likely to experience a clinically
significant psychological health problem
Greater conflict was found in occupations that require substantial interactions between people to
accomplish work (doctors, firefighters, police officers) more than bank tellers, etc
Organizational initiatives to reduce work/family conflict:
o Flexible work hours, compressed work weeks, working at home, leaves of absence, on-site or
near-site child care centers
o These were based on the needs of employees in western cultures though
Flexible work arrangements
Allows individuals more discretionary control regarding when and where work is performed
Offers temporal flexibility (when work is done) and spatial flexibility (where work is done)
Kellogg Company converted from three 8-hour shifts to four 6-hour shifts; result…
o Employee morale increased
o Less industrial accidents
o Increased work productivity
Teleworker a person who works outside of a traditional physical location using electronic technology
Flexplace any location where work can be performed; home, café, on vacation
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