Workplace Stressors, Job Attitude, and Job Behaviors, Essay Example

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Jaramillo, Mulki, and Boles’ “Workplace Stressors, Job Attitude, and Job Behaviors: Is Interpersonal Conflict the Missing Link?” examines the phenomenon of workplace stress by researching two common indicators stress: interpersonal conflict and work overload. The two phenomena, however, are not treated as isolated, but rather in relation to each other, and furthermore to factors such as emotional exhaustion and job performance. Using empirical data collected from sales employees in the form of research questionnaires, the authors thus identify that work overload and interpersonal conflict are correctly ascribed prevalent roles in addressing stress, functioning as a sort of nodal point for the attitude of employees’ in relation to their occupations.

At the outset of the text, the authors are careful to employ the conceptual framework found in the literature that exists in terms of so-called stressors. In the case of the latter, phenomena are sought which somehow lead to tension when expectations and demands appear in opposition to each other. Furthermore, another possible factor in stressors is that of ambiguity in regards to workplace roles and tasks. However, a shift in the literature has been made towards the notion that interpersonal conflict may be a crucial cause of such stressors. This is of significance to research, insofar as interpersonal relationships in conflict may perhaps not entirely be defined by workplace conditions, i.e., ambiguity in terms of demands and expectations, but may be conflicts between personalities, thus possessing negative effects such as inhibiting teamwork. The authors underscore the “negative effect of interpersonal conflict”, suggesting that this is a valid example of a stressor, especially within the context of sales settings, to the extent that relationships are crucial to this line of work.  Accordingly, the uniqueness of the study conducted in the text is claimed on the basis of three points related to this notion. Firstly, the study combines the classical theories of demand and expectation with problems of interpersonal conflict. Furthermore, the authors argue that their study will provide solutions, for example, in relation to work overload. Lastly, the study emphasizes the studying of relationships between salespeople in developing economies, so that conclusions found in the Western paradigm are not found to be culturally relative: i.e., this would allow the authors’ merging of demand-expectation stress theory and interpersonal conflict to hold a certain universal value, irrespective of cultural particularities.

Interpersonal conflict manifests itself as stress, according to the authors, primarily in the form of emotional exhaustion. With this form of exhaustion, there is a clear effect on job attitudes, as the employee’s entire work-day experience is now taken in a negative light, clearly affecting the overall structure of the business organization itself. As a solution to this phenomenon, the authors suggest that workers must be strategic in their relationships with others, as well as in their planning of organizational goals. While the term strategic appears to a certain extent vague, the authors nevertheless underscore that strategy essentially entails thinking through one’s demands-expectations and one’s workplace interactions, in order to minimize conflict. In other words, resolutions to stressors will not be spontaneous and contingent, but rather require planning, just as a plan for business must be formed. In essence, relationships in the workplace should also be a part of a successful business plan. In addition, the authors’ attentiveness to cultural differences suggests that human relationships can negatively impact the workplace, irrespective of these same differences, such that the authors’ conclusions are valid irrespective of context.

Whereas the conclusions of the authors may seem self-evident (i.e, interpersonal conflict negatively affects the workplace), it is important to have such hypotheses supported with empirical evidence. The authors’ extensive use of empirical data succeeds in accomplishing this goal. Furthermore, their aforementioned attentiveness to cultural difference signifies an honest scientific attempt to understand the phenomenon of the workplace and make conclusions about it in line with the consideration that different material conditions may produce different results.

Works Cited

Jaramillo, Fernando, Mulki, Jay Prakash, and Boles, James S. “Workplace Stressors, Job Attitude, and Job Behaviors: Is Interpersonal Conflict the Missing Link?” Journal of Personal Selling & Sales Management, Vol. XXXI, no. 3, Summer, 2011. pp. 339-356. 

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