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Workers Under Stress

Workers Under Stress: The Impact of Work Pressure on Group Cohesion

Copyright Date: 1971
Pages: 136
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  • Book Info
    Workers Under Stress
    Book Description:

    This important book reexamines old assumptions concerning the nature of group cohesion in industrial firms as it is influenced by management actions. Based upon a carefully controlled study, it offers a sound theoretical base and a replicable method, both vital to students of group processes and organizational theorists. The study indicates that high stress was positively related to intragroup conflict regardless of group sanctions encouraging cohesiveness but that when managers rewarded group behavior under high stress a climate was created in which competitive behavior could occur without inducing conflict and nonproductive behavior.

    Timely, thoroughly documented, the book extends and integrates prior work in an area vital to managers and theorists alike. Its research design and results should establish the book as the central authority on group cohesiveness in industry.

    eISBN: 978-0-8131-6326-0
    Subjects: Psychology

Table of Contents

  1. Front Matter
    (pp. i-vi)
  2. Table of Contents
    (pp. vii-xii)
    (pp. 1-5)

    The purpose of this study is to examine the impact of industrial work pressures on work group cohesion. Each of these classes of variables must be considered an important aspect of the industrial work scene. Industrial organizations are constantly pushing for increases in performance and reductions in costs. To remain viable in a highly competitive economy they must improve their productive efficiency, and attaining this goal may require the imposition of work pressures on individual workers and work groups. In many studies of group behavior (e.g., Argyris 1964, Klein and Ritti 1970, Likert 1967, and McGregor 1960) work pressure is...

  4. CHAPTER 1 Work Pressure, Threat, and Group Cohesion: An Exploration of Relationships among Variables
    (pp. 6-13)

    The plan of this chapter is to develop the major relationship between work pressure and group cohesion. The central thesis is that work pressure constitutes a threat to the members of industrial work groups and therefore will affect the degree of group cohesiveness. The explicit variables are work pressure as an independent variable and group cohesiveness as a dependent variable. However, in order to develop pertinent arguments and deduce hypotheses, we will also use an intervening construct labeled threat; we will be arguing that work pressure constitutes a sufficient threat to affect group cohesion and that without this threat the...

  5. CHAPTER 2 Theory and Hypotheses: An Instrumental Position
    (pp. 14-20)

    Several authors consider group behavior as instrumental in achieving individual goals or need satisfaction. For instance, Cartwright and Zander (1968), are instrumentalists who believe that groups can satisfy two classes of needs: when the group itself is the object of the need and when the group is a means of satisfying outside needs.

    Bass (1960) considers groups as rewarding collections of people. Two of his major variables are effectiveness (i.e., how rewarding group membership is to individual members of the group) and attraction (i.e., the extent to which the reward for membership is anticipated by individual members). Cohesiveness is a...

  6. CHAPTER 3 Population Studied and Method Used
    (pp. 21-27)

    The industrial setting for this study offered a unique opportunity to examine the effects of work pressures in industrial work groups. There are two reasons for this. First, the work pressures were newly introduced. The history of employee relations in the company under study was characterized by the slogan, “A fair day’s work for a fair day’s pay.” However, management concluded that in fact the company was not getting a fair day’s work from its employees when they compared the production pace to that of other organizations doing similar kinds of work. Up to that point employee performance had been...

  7. CHAPTER 4 Analysis of Data and Tests of Hypotheses
    (pp. 28-44)

    This chapter will analyze the data obtained from the 1961 study. The 1962 study will be treated in a separate section. We will test each hypothesis and discuss the results in turn.

    Before we test the hypotheses, we will attempt to dimensionalize our concept of cohesive behavior. If the cohesive behaviors fall into two or more classes, we will better understand the relationships between work pressure and these behaviors by looking at each relationship separately. In order to do this, three separate analyses were performed: a correlational analysis of individual raw scores, a correlational analysis of the mean scores of...

  8. CHAPTER 5 Further Analysis of the First Study
    (pp. 45-61)

    Despite our poor record in confirming hypotheses, our theory deserves further testing. We believed that under conditions of high work pressures and unresponsive management, the rewards for group action as a way of warding off the threat imposed by these conditions, regaining control over the environment, and satisfying social needs aroused by threat would be sufficiently great to offset the restrictions such group action might place on individual behavior. We failed, however, to anticipate correctly the reward structure in a nonunion industrial situation where management holds the trump cards. When management applies pressure, pressure must be met. Also, since employees...

  9. CHAPTER 6 Replication of the First Study
    (pp. 62-79)

    A replication of the first study was performed on an entirely different industrial population. The methods used in gathering the data were precisely the same. While there was only about a 50 percent overlap in the two questionnaires, the items used in the replication were precisely those used in the first study, with two exceptions, which will be discussed later.

    In addition to the replication we will extend the investigation to test an important lead developed in the first study. One of our major conclusions was that competition within a group under conditions of high pressure produces intragroup conflict, which...

  10. CHAPTER 7 Rewards for Cohesive Behavior under High Pressure Conditions
    (pp. 80-89)

    We have not yet considered in detail the effects of work pressure on cohesive behavior when pressure is accompanied by rewards for cohesive behavior. In the first study we examined the relationship between rewards for cooperative behavior and pressure and found that these rewards were significantly more apt to occur under low pressure than under high pressure. However, there is only a small relationship between the magnitude of these rewards and actual cohesive behavior. We obtained approximately the same results in the replication.

    In the first study we also found a strong negative relationship between work pressure and the time...

  11. CHAPTER 8 Discussion and Summary
    (pp. 90-102)

    It is clear that for the most part high work pressure as we have defined it is associated with low cohesive behavior. While the degree of association is not large, it is statistically significant in both studies. We have suggested that an important reason for this is that the reward structure defined by management encourages competitive behavior in the high pressure condition and that this behavior is internally threatening to the group because quantity of production is extremely important and because by definition many people in high pressure groups have difficulty turning out the required amount. Anyone who “tries to...

  12. APPENDIX A: Some Statistical Procedures
    (pp. 103-103)
  13. APPENDIX B: Statistical Details
    (pp. 104-109)
  14. APPENDIX C: Relationships between Work Pressure and Individual Items in the Cohesiveness Index: First Study
    (pp. 110-112)
    (pp. 113-118)
  16. INDEX
    (pp. 119-123)