High Levels of Work Motivation reduce the Perceived Stress: A Study among Information Technology (IT) Consultants

High Levels of Work Motivation reduce the Perceived Stress: A Study among Information Technology (IT) Consultants

Lars Göran Wallgren (University of Gothenburg, Sweden)
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-4666-6256-8.ch010


The aim of the longitudinal study covered in this chapter was to test whether job characteristics (job demand, job control), with “motivators” (e.g. recognition, achievement, possibility for growth) as the mediating variable, can predict perceived stress (e.g. stressed, tense). The sample was composed of 320 Information Technology (IT) consultants in Sweden. Data were collected at 2 time points, with a time lag of 6 months. Results of structural equation modeling analyses show that job demand was most strongly related to perceived stress in the 6-month follow-up. Furthermore, “motivators” were negatively related (i.e. expected direction) to perceived stress at follow-up. Cross-sectional studies have been presented earlier, but a contribution of this study is that it is a 2-wave data set. The chapter uses a model that covers more information than a cross-sectional design, and the results add another aspect to existing work motivation and stress research by using a longitudinal data set and by relating job characteristics to perceived stress both directly and indirectly. The presented model can be used to examine potential causes of job stress among IT consultants and may generate important lessons for managing the general workforce of tomorrow. Finally, methodological considerations and recommendations for future research are discussed.
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Stress In The Work Environment

The concept of ”psychosocial work environment” is widely associated with health in the workplace, and numerous studies have established associations between psychosocial factors at work and (poor) health. According to Cox, Griffiths and Rial-Gonzales (2000), one such factor is stress, which is a negative psychological condition that originates in the dynamic interaction between the individual and his/her work environment.

Job stress is a major issue among employees in advanced industrial societies and is recognized as a major health challenge, both for employees and for employers (International Labour Organization, 1986, 1992). Although there was a decrease in work-related disorders (both physical and mental) from 2003 to 2010 in Sweden, approximately 16% of the knowledge workers in Sweden reported stress and other types of mental strain during the last 12 months measured (Swedish Work Environment Authority, 2010).

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