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The measurement of levels of work stress in individuals employed in an organisation undergoing change

M.A. / The goal of this study was to measure levels of workplace stress, on two occasions, in an organisation undergoing change that included a merger, downsizing exercise, and restructure. This study was regarded as important as although it is well documented that transformational change leads to increased levels of employee stress, it is imperative to identify whether coping strategies implemented by the organisation are sufficient in addressing employee distress. The identification of the most salient sources of stress for employees in a specific change setting is also important since the organisation can then address these sources specifically rather than to apply a generalised coping strategy. Two non-random samples were taken from the employees of an organisation undergoing transformational change. The first sample consisted of 336 respondents and the second sample consisted of 102 respondents. Existing literature indicates that organisational change leads to increased levels of employee workplace stress as a result of the employees inability to cope with change. It is recommended by the literature that a number of coping strategies for change be implemented by the organisation during change initiatives. The Sources of Work Stress Inventory was used to measure work related stress. This inventory consists of two sections, a General Work Stress scale which measures general levels of occupational stress, and Nine Sources of Stress scales which highlight possible sources or triggers of stress. The study provided empirical support for the theorised notion that organisational change initiatives lead to increased levels of stress among employees. Further, the results supported theoretical and research findings which propose that job security, career advancement, and work overload are all salient sources of stress in organisational change settings that involve merger, restructure and downsizing activities. The results of this study demonstrated that the implementation of a number of contemporary change management strategies did not fully assist in improving the coping ability of employees in this specific change setting. As a result it was recommended that future change management strategies or more specifically coping strategies, should include a more humanistic and psychologically supportive approach as demonstrated in a number of recent research findings.
Date06 November 2008
Source SetsSouth African National ETD Portal
Detected LanguageEnglish

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