Term Paper: Psychosocial Hazards or Risk Factors

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[. . .] The ERI appears to be the stronger of the two models although the DCM has explanatory value for specific occupations." Further, MacArthur and MacArthur (1999) note that the DCM and the ERI measure independent factors.

2. The Proposed Case Study: Objectives and Hypotheses

As noted previously, there is a current lack of theory about the nature of stress, and a dearth of information on the interaction between stress and health reactions. As such, this research proposal attempts to determine how specific work events lead to health and emotional problems. Further, it attempts to contribute to the theoretical knowledge of how psychosocial stresses can lead to workplace issues.

Given that Calnan et al. suggest that Siegrist and Peter's earned reward imbalance model seems to be "stronger" than Karasek's Job Demand-Job Control (DCM) model, this research proposal attempts to continue to determine the nature of stresses that lead to harms within the context of Siegrist and Peter's earned reward imbalance (ERI) model. Siegrist and Peter's ERI model also has the advantage of being more amenable to hazard measurement than the DCM model.

To recap, the ERI model suggest that low rewards, when coupled with high effort creates strains that lead to adverse mental and physical outcomes. This imbalance "... violates core expectations about reciprocity and adequate exchange" (Siegrist, 1996, p. 28).

Essential to the ERI model is the concept of employee expectations. In Siegist's terms, these "core expectations about reciprocity and adequate exchange" drive the imbalance that leads to emotional and physical harm. As such, a better understanding of such core expectations is essential to understanding the ERI model. Further, an understanding of these expectations could possibly lead to future hazard measurement, where company rewards could be measured against a solid understanding of employee expectations.

Hypothesis: Core expectations, (as defined within Siegrist and Peter's earned reward imbalance model), include immediate expectations of specific salary requirements, wage increases, working conditions, and social and emotional feedback, as well as longer-term expectations about status.

Objectives: The main objective of this study is to identify specific core expectations within workers. Further, this study is also designed to attempt to determine a number of potential psychological underpinnings to these reported expectations of reciprocity and exchange.

3. Research Methodology

This proposed case study, by definition, is designed to provide anecdotal and qualitative evidence that identifies core expectations according to the ERI model. Participants in this study will be information technology (IT) workers within several Fortune 500 companies. Research will take place with the permission of these companies, although participation will be optional (not required for all employees). Five hundred workers, selected at random, will take place in this study.

Subjects will include both males and females, individuals of different ages, races, religions, and occupations.

Each study participant will be required to complete both a questionnaire and an interview. Questionnaire and interviews will contain a series of open-ended, pre-defined questions designed to elicit subjects to reveal their core expectations about a number of work related subjects.

Further, these questions and interviews will attempt to discern some of the cognitive basis under the respondent's answers. For example, subjects will be asked why they believe that they should achieve a certain salary, or why they should receive feedback for a job that is done especially well. Question subjects will include salary requirements, wage increases, working conditions, social and emotional feedback, and expectations about status. Interviews will be given by researchers trained in qualitative analysis techniques, and analyzed by researchers trained in qualitative research analysis

4. Outline of Project Plan

Initial Submission of Research Proposal

Review of Research Proposal

Final Submission Research Proposal

Research Proposal Approval

Preparation and Approval of Questionnaire

Preparation and Approval of Interview Questions

Approval of Fortune 500 Companies for Research

Selection of IT Professionals with Fortune 500 Companies

Completion of Questionnaire and Interview Questions by IT Professionals

Data Analysis of Questionnaire and Interview Questions

Preparation of MSc Thesis, based on findings

Defense of MSc Thesis


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