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International Handbook of Work and Health Psychology, 3rd Edition by Marc J. Schabracq, James C. Quick, Cary L. Cooper

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CHAPTER 20Stress and Effectiveness: An Approach for Changing Organizational Culture1

Marc J. Schabracq2

Human Factor Development, The Netherlands

and

Iva Smit3

E&E Consultants, The Netherlands

The chapter gives an overview of sources of stress and ineffectiveness in work and the work environment. Several underlying factors are discussed. Apart from change in itself, these factors involve a surplus or a shortage of the following characteristics: degree of task challenge, as well as orderliness, social embedding, and compatibility of values and goals. We then describe an approach of organizational culture change, which uses the occurrence of stress reactions as signals to indicate where the organizational culture is less than effective. Once employees have identified the main problems in this way, workshops can be set up to enhance the effectiveness of their work as well as their well-being.

20.1 INTRODUCTION: ORGANIZATIONAL CULTURE, EVERYDAY REALITY AND STRESS

The concept of organizational culture is hard to define. This difficulty stems from the wide and diverse use of the term organizational culture, as well as from the fact that most of organizational culture does not meet the eye. However, following the logic of the biblical saying that a tree is known by its fruits, one can say that organizational culture produces the everyday reality of an organization. This everyday reality, at least in principle, is open for inspection. Everyday reality refers to how things are in the ...

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