A research for workplace stress was conducted by both Marmot and Johnson and Hall. Marmot researched effects for low control and whether it was linked to more stress. Johnson and Hall researched high workload to stress. Marmot conducted an investigation with participants from London – based government civil servants, and the studies are therefore referred to as the Whitehall studies. Civil employees in London were asked to volunteer to take part in the study.
High grade employees were compared to Low grade civil servants. Marmot found that workers with less control were four times likely to die of heart attack than their colleagues with more control. In addition they were more likely to suffer from other stress related illnesses such as cancers, ulcers, stomach disorders and strokes. The conclusion was obvious, that lack of control seemed to be associated with illness and they recommended that employers gave their staff more autonomy and control. The study showed to be correlational.
This is because it can only be said that there appears to be an association with low control and stress-related illness. It cannot be assumed that law control is causing illness. It could be that workers with poor health are likely to achieve the higher grade jobs with more control. For all the more reasons to weaken the findings. Also the research is said to be self-reported. This is because workers filled in their own questionnaire which is inaccurate and eligible for participant reactivity.
Also if the workers found out what the researchers are looking to find then the results would be biased and so they may answer the questions accordingly. For this reason the findings of the research may be inaccurate and so will not be reliable. The investigation that Johnson and Hall did was done on a large scale and they investigated with 14000 male and female Swedish workers. They used self-report questionnaires. They compared sawmill workers high job demand and low control with maintenance workers who had low job demand and high control.
Sawyers in Swedish sawmill had more illnesses and higher levels of adrenaline in urine than lower risks groups. This shows that high demand and workload is associated with stress related illness. The study relies heavily on self-report techniques making them less reliable. A person perception of their workload may not be entirely accurate or unbiased. Also cause and effect is hard to establish and high demand/low control jobs may be linked to social class. Furthermore the study doesn’t take into account of individual differences.
Lazarus, another psychologist, claims that it is the perception of work overload that is the important factor rather than the number of hours/the actual amount of work. In this sense, work overload is a perception held by a worker that they are required to work too long and/or too hard. Those who have high hardiness may see demand as a challenge rather than a threat; this therefore weakens Johnsons’ overall assumption of workplace stress affecting individuals in the same way. The research on workplace stress has a good significance on its stressors as it affects productivity, motivation and time off work with health problems.
Therefore occupational psychologists are brought into the workplace to reduce the workplace stress. The study also has practical applications and so many employers now take stress in the workplace very seriously. Stress is bad for business as it is seen to cause ill health, absenteeism, high staff turnover and low job performance all of which costs the company money. The research also has extraneous variables. This is because despite the link between lack of job control and stress related illness found in many studies.