Downsizing, Role Demands, and Job Stress

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This is a cross-sectional study consisting of self-administered survey instruments to measure psychological distress and stress-inducing work demands after 6 months of rumors about an upcoming corporate downsizing event. The workforce consisted predominantly of white males who were married, college-educated, and nonsmokers. Higher stress levels were seen among older, more educated workers, who had longer company tenure. Role boundary problems, noxious physical environments, and company tenure were retained in the final multivariable model predicting distress level. The ongoing time delay for management to implement the threatened layoff and peer rankings for a new job performance appraisal contributed to a decline in worker solidarity because of concerns about career and job security. These uncertainties reduced worker productivity and effective teamwork.

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