News ID: 209316
Published: 0731 GMT February 03, 2018

New insights into how employees manage stressful situations at work

New insights into how employees manage stressful situations at work
sccgov.org

Researchers have developed a new tool which could benefit organizations and their staff by assessing employees' beliefs about how they manage challenging and stressful situations at work.

Self-efficacy the belief in one's capabilities to achieve a goal or an outcome — is a key variable for understanding how people manage themselves and their behavior at work, given its influence on motivation, well-being, and personal achievement and fulfilment, sciencedaily.com reported.

Employees must not only accomplish tasks but also manage their negative emotions as well as interpersonal relationships. Despite this, self-efficacy has mainly been assessed in relation to job tasks, not emotions and interpersonal aspects.

This research aimed to fill the gap by developing and testing a new work self-efficacy scale to assess individuals' perceived ability not only in managing tasks, but also negative emotions, being empathic and being assertive. It involved academics at the University of East Anglia's (UEA) Norwich Business School, the Department of Psychology at Sapienza University of Rome, Uninettuno Telematic International University, and the Centre for Advances in Behavioural Science at Coventry University.

Results from two studies, involving a total of 2892 Italian employees, provide evidence of the added value of a more comprehensive approach to the assessment of self-efficacy at work. They also suggest the new scale has practical implications for management and staff, for example in recruitment and appraisal processes, as well career development and training.

The findings, published in Journal of Vocational Behavior, show that:

● The more employees perceive themselves as able to manage their tasks and effectively fulfil their goals (task self-efficacy), the better they perform and the less they are likely to misbehave at work.

● The more employees perceive themselves as able to manage their negative emotions in stressful and conflict situations (negative emotional self-efficacy), the less they report physical symptoms and the less they experience negative emotions in relation to their job.

● The more employees perceive themselves as able to understand their colleagues' moods and states (empathic self-efficacy), the more they are likely to go the extra mile in their working lives and help their colleagues.

Coauthor Roberta Fida, lecturer in organizational behavior at Norwich Business School, said: "Our results also showed that the more employees perceive themselves as capable of speaking up for their rights and ideas, what we call assertive self-efficacy, the more they seem to engage in counterproductive work behavior targeting the organization as a whole. This seems to suggest that assertive self-efficacy should be considered as a risk factor.

   
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