Electronic Performance Monitoring, Job Design and Psychological Stress

Electronic Performance Monitoring, Job Design and Psychological Stress

Katherine J.S. Rogers (University of Wisconsin – Madison, USA), Michael J. Smith (University of Wisconsin – Madison, USA) and Pascale C. Sainfort (University of Wisconsin – Madison, USA)
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-60960-057-0.ch008
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Abstract

This study helps establish how electronic performance monitoring may influence employee physical strain levels through job design. It identifies job design variables which differ between monitored and non-monitored employees in the telecommunications industry (using discriminant function analysis). These variables’ relationships to psychological stress outcomes were examined using multiple regression analysis. A group of 704 employees in three job categories (telephone operator {n=228}, customer service representative {n=230}, and clerk {n=246}) responded to a questionnaire survey mailed to their residence. Four hundred thirty-four of the respondents were monitored and 264 were not. The results indicated that the monitored employees had significantly higher levels of reported psychological stress than the non-monitored employees. The discriminant function analysis of job design variables showed that a variety of job design factors discriminated between monitored and non-monitored employees. High levels of workload, few lulls between periods of high workload, high levels of career/future ambiguity, poor relationships with supervisors, as well as low levels of task meaningfulness and completeness were significant predictors of psychological stress outcomes (tension, anxiety, depression and fatigue).
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Methods

Sample

In any instructional event it is important to identify the learning domain (the instructional content),

A group of 704 employees in three job categories (telephone operator (n=228}, service representative (n=230), and clerk (n=246}) responded to a questionnaire mailed to their residence. Four hundred thirty-four of the respondents were monitored and 264 were not. Most of the monitored employees are from the positions of operator and service representative, while the vast majority of clerks were not electronically monitored.

The job category of telephone operator includes all types of operators (e.g. directory assistance operators, long distance operators, TOPS operators, TSPS operators). Service representatives include sales, customer, and business representatives. The category of clerk includes employees of the same level of responsibility and classification within the organizations, some of whom work with VDTs. Typical job titles include general clerk, administrative clerk, service clerk and technical clerk.

The sample is overwhelmingly female (90%). The mean age is 39.3 years (std. dev. 9.2), with an average tenure of 13.5 years with the organization.

Analysis

ANOVA and chi-square analyses were used to compare the levels of psychological stress between monitored and non-monitored employees. Discriminant function analysis was performed on the job design characteristics to discern which job design variables had different levels for monitored vs. non-monitored employee s. The job design characteristics which discriminated between the two groups were then examined with regard to psychological stress (tension, anxiety, depression and fatigue) using multiple regression analysis.

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Results

Analysis of Variance and Chi-square

The results of ANOV As and chi-square analyses indicated that the monitored employees had significantly higher levels of psychological stress than did the non- monitored employees (Figure 1).

Figure 1.

Levels of psychological stress: Monitored vs. non-monitored employees - Anova and Chi-square results

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