Workplace Stress: Implications, Recommendations, and Conclusions

Subject: Management
Pages: 14
Words: 7060
Reading time:
26 min
Study level: PhD

Introduction

Implications, Recommendations, and Conclusions

Workplace stress is a primary concern of many organizations because it impacts employees’ ability to reach high levels of performance. Occupational stress is a common attribute of many workspace processes including occupational functions executed by members of the workforce as well as interactions that take place within the work environment (Griffiths, Baxter, & Townley-Jones, 2013). Therefore, this problem is a primary causal agent of numerous organizational challenges such as high employee turnover rates, absenteeism, and a wide range of mental and physical health issues among the staff (O’Keefe et al., 2014). These challenges are known causes of suboptimal job performance, conflicts in workspace teams, and the lack of employee engagement and emotional investment. According to O’Keefe et al. (2014), occupational stress can produce substantial dissatisfaction within a company among its workforce, which can reduce its productivity levels by up to 20 percent. In addition, work-related stress is recognized as an underlying cause of additional healthcare expenditures. White (2015) states that prolonged exposure to occupational stressors accounts for $150 billion in additional healthcare expenses annually.

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Employment in the ship repair industry is associated with regular exposure to occupational stressors. This served as a primary motivator for selecting the sector for investigation in this study. To better understand the nature of the problem, it is necessary to list some of the stress-related concerns endemic to the industry. The primary stress-induced issue regularly faced by individuals employed by ship repair companies is a lack of work-life balance (Cardoso, Padovani, & Tucci, 2014). Managerial pressure on the employees is another factor of concern in the industry. The reduction of the general well-being of the workers employed in the industry as well as the deterioration of their health are other important effects of occupational stress. These issues form the primary interest of this study as the challenges created by the problem of occupational stress in different workplaces.

The breadth and depth of the influence of job-related stresses on various workplaces constitutes the primary interest of this study. The purpose of the investigation is to establish the techniques that managers use to minimize the harmful influence of occupational stress on their workforce. I chose to focus on the ship repair industry because it is a manufacturing sector of the economy that could provide a broader perspective on the issue under discussion. I utilized a qualitative exploratory case study as the research method to investigate phenomena of interest. The study involved semi-structured interviews with eight respondents who are in managerial positions within the ship repair industry. The selection of the participants from a single workplace was dictated by the necessity to limit the sample size.

I addressed several ethical considerations when conducting the interviews. Confidentiality was my top ethical priority; therefore, all participants were promised that their identity would not be revealed to third parties. I adhered to this principle to ensure that the managers are not faced with any form of hardship as a consequence of their participation in the study.

At the stage of gathering information, I was guided by the ethical principle of informed consent. To ensure that the participants were capable of issuing an informed consent, I briefed them on the details of the study. In addition, all managers who volunteered to take part in the research were notified about their right to a) abstain from participation and b) withdraw their agreement at any stage. It should be noted that I achieved voluntary participation without exercising undue influence on the members of the sample. Beneficence was another ethical consideration that involved the formulation of unbiased and dignified questions in the interviews to ensure they do not violate any cultural or gender boundaries. I also followed the principles of transparency when conducting the study. Specifically, I ensured the participants that the interviews would be conducted in an impartial manner, with the subsequent full disclosure of the results of the study relevant to their interest. Furthermore, I promised to the managers that full records of the study would be retained for two years in case they are needed for scrutiny by their administrative authority for conflicts of interest.

A qualitative approach was suitable for this study as it facilitated the use of open-ended interviews that would facilitate in-depth analytics and explorations of the issue of occupational stress. The researcher interviewed eight individuals as the primary source of the information that was subsequently analyzed and interpreted to arrive at certain conclusions. The target population for this research consisted of project managers and other individuals occupying managerial positions across several departments of the company. I transcribed data collected through semi-structured interviews using Dragon Naturally Speaking 13.0 software to facilitate analysis and member checking. After all interviews were completed, the participants’ responses were analyzed using the NVivo 10TM software. The process utilized seven steps from the modified van Kaam method to guide the data analysis. I conducted the study under the assumption that the respondents were professionals who were qualified and knowledgeable of their roles in the workplace. The research further assumed that the individuals would provide honest responses that reflected the holistic view of other employees and stakeholders in the organization.

The study sought to answer the following research question: What techniques do production managers and project managers at a ship-repair company use to reduce work-related stress? Three themes arose from the analysis of data in this study reflecting the various effects of workplace stress and the solutions that the respondents offered to solve them. The first area of focus was the effects of the work environment on the levels of occupational stress experienced by the employees of the company. The findings of the study convincingly show that the presence of workplace stress is a function of negative workplace environment. The production and project managers of the organization were almost unanimous in their belief that the existence of mental strain or lack thereof in the members of their workforce depends on the emotional and social experiences of working at the company. The participants stated that variations in the work environment result in changes in the levels of occupational stress. A corollary is that the deleterious effects of work-related stress can be ameliorated by controlling the rate and duration of the occupational context’s negative elements. The analysis of the data helped me to establish that strong leadership is a positive characteristic of the organizational environment that is instrumental in the reduction of stress.

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Another dimension of undesirable working conditions that contribute to increased levels of stress in the workforce is negative interpersonal communications. Employees who face excessive demands for close communication with customers are more likely to have a reduced ability to manage their emotional states. The same is applicable to members of the workforce who encounter negative interactions with their colleagues.

The second theme that emerged from the analysis of the interviews and reflective diaries was the negative effects of occupational stress. Work conditions that contribute to the development of undesirable emotional states have deleterious effects on workers’ health. The respondents indicated that job-related stressors often compromise the wellbeing of their employees. Several participants suggested that the damaging impacts of stress manifest in a longer time of recovery after demanding shifts. The findings of the study also point to the fact that unreasonably high levels of occupational stress lead to an increase in turnover rates. This is especially important since turnover has been shown to be detrimental to the long-term success of business enterprises (Anthony McMann et al., 2017). Additionally, many managers participating in the study concurred that prolonged exposure to stressors also leads to an increase in absenteeism. The fact that stressed-out employees are more likely to engage in voluntary absenteeism suggests that occupational stress diminishes self-motivation. Under difficult circumstances, the workers are more likely to limit their presence at the company, thereby seeking an emotional respite.

The third theme that emerged in the analysis of the data was employee stress reduction strategies. Managers of the company increase the capacity of the workforce to cope with a host of occupational stressors by using interventions based on communication, role clarity, and incentives of a monetary and non-monetary nature. These approaches to stress reduction have a causal connection with the detrimental effects of negative emotional states at work, such as excessively high absenteeism rates and reduced productivity. Additionally, the respondents held the view that clear delineation of professional responsibilities contributes to the elimination of frustration experienced by members of their workforce. By establishing strict boundaries of professional roles, it is possible to eliminate negative outcomes that endanger the company’s success in the long term.

In addition to establishing and reinforcing clear role boundaries, the managers of the company employ several incentive-based techniques to achieve tenable levels of stress in the workforce. The respondents indicated that they regularly incentivize employees to take longer vacations as a means of establishing work-family balance. Moreover, the project and production managers stated that they try to help employees to achieve a propitious work-life equilibrium by providing them with additional days off. All respondents concurred that the disruption of work-family balance is a harmful effect of occupational stress that can be managed to a significant extent with the help of incentives. Also, several managers emphasized the importance of focusing on incentives instead of punishments. Such incentives include, but are not limited to, proper compensation, incentives and bonuses, and empowerment opportunities for the workers.

The responses further indicated that there exists a relationship between organizational communication strategies and occupational stress for the workers. The lack of adequate methods of communicating between the stakeholders presents adverse outcomes. The respondents proposed the use of inter-employee interactions as the primary solution. Another approach to stress reduction suggested by the managers was encouraging open conversations with various stakeholders about stressors.

Other areas affected negatively by workplace stressors are planning as well as time and resource management activities. When affected by stress, workers cannot achieve proper alignment of time planning and resource management demands, which diminishes their productivity. The solution offered by the respondents lies in providing a precise description of key tasks and information early enough to the workers. The vice also showed to affect organizational culture negatively by facilitating the development of undesirable behaviors that harmed the customer’s perception of the organization. I established that by encouraging an open-door policy it is possible to encourage workers to discuss the pertinent issues and create appropriate solutions. These findings are consistent with the results of numerous studies, as will be discussed later in the paper. The insights that emerged through the process of empirical investigation will greatly contribute to the expansion of existing knowledge about managing occupational stress in different industries.

This study faced various challenges that had the potential to limit the reliability and validity of the results. However, I chose the appropriate methodologies to solve each of the problems. For the purposes of the current study, I utilized a small sample size of 8 respondents, which can be considered one of the study’s limitations. However, I focused on choosing employed individuals working in the same workplace and specialized the interview to the ship repair industry. This approach helped to overcome the limiting effects of the small sample size to some extent. Nonetheless, it should be acknowledged that the cross-industry applicability of the study’s findings is still restricted. The second limitation of this study involved the professional duties of the respondents. Most of those individuals were managers with busy schedules, and the researcher anticipated that it would be difficult to access them for correspondence. The solution to this challenge was providing interview times during or after working hours to fit their schedules. Despite this approach, not all participants had enough time to properly express their opinions in reflective diaries, which resulted in incomplete data. Transcribing the data from the interviews into text files would have proved to be a time-consuming task. The solution to this challenge was using Dragon Naturally Speaking 13.0 software that transcribed all interviews verbatim, allowing member checking at the end of each interview. This method proved to be accurate and helped to minimize verification time and ensure enhanced accuracy.

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Implications

This study focused on establishing the methods that managers use to solve the problems relating to occupational stress in their workplace. The primary interest was in answering the overarching question: What techniques do production managers and project managers at a ship-repair company use to reduce work-related stress? The results of this study indicated the presence of three themes from the data collected that would assist in answering the research question. This section will discuss each of those topics and reflect on how they contributed to the objectives of the investigation. I will also connect the findings of the study to previous literature and explain how the research promotes the capacity of organizations to handle the challenge of occupational stress.

Work Stress, Productivity and Performance

One of the findings from this research is that occupational stress is a primary factor contributing to lower performance and productivity of the employees. Participants (P3, P4, P5, and P8) indicated varying concerns about the effects of unresolved anxieties on the ability of employees to perform their functions. Other researchers have also found a relationship between a heightened level of occupational stress and productivity. Some of the factors that motivate the lower performance and productivity levels in employees include the relationships between various organizational stakeholders and the way that leaders manage them. This finding is closely aligned with the theoretical bases of the selected conceptual framework. Specifically, under the transformational leadership theory, it is a managerial responsibility to ensure that the working environment is free from debilitating stressors by fostering positive organizational change. Bakker & Demerouti (2014) concur with the views also held by the study participants by stating that poor managerial strategies and organizational culture can instigate occupational stress in the workforce. The solutions that the respondents provided for this challenge are pertinent to the factors that they point to as causes. One of the participants focused on leaders as the party that can help in resolving these problems in an organization. The managers and other higher-ranking workers have the responsibility of directing the nature of operations and processes that the employees perform (Bakker & Demerouti, 2014). Their hierarchical standing gives those leaders an opportunity to design methods that can alleviate any stressors in the workspace. However, the organizations may face a challenge in employing this approach due to the unwillingness of the workers to report any of the issues. Therefore, there is a need to further investigate alternative approaches to alleviation of occupational stress.

Work Environment and Employee Stress

The respondents indicate that the work environment is an essential factor in influencing the level of occupational stress in a workplace. This sentiment implies that the organization needs to assess the occurrence of various environmental factors and their effect on the workers. The work environment encompasses both the physical location and the intangible elements that include employee actions and interactions (Babatunde, 2013). The respondents of this study (P1 and P2) propose that working in a positive and safe setting reduces occupational stress. Therefore, managers have to establish the attributes of a desirable environment to maintain employee positivity. These sentiments are consistent with previous literature that highlights the need for creating the appropriate workspace environment that makes it possible to reduce stress as a means of enhancing performance (Siegrist, 2016). The respondents of this study state that a desirable work environment should promote the comfort and happiness of the workers. However, the organization needs to anticipate the elements that come from outside of the workplace and affect the people in the firm. For example, people may have conflicts from other external engagements and drive their frustrations to the workspace. The respondents in this study agree with other literature findings indicating that encouraging interpersonal interactions is an excellent way of detecting and handling external influences on the work environment (Babatunde, 2013).

The focus on the external environment is dictated by the need to reduce emotional exhaustion that results from social situations that workers experience outside the company. Specifically, work-family imbalances are primary antecedents of occupational stress that can and should be addressed by managers. This finding is consistent with the JD-R model, which predicts the potential impact of increased stress levels on employees (Schaufeli & Taris, 2014). Under this model, physical, social, and emotional elements of the organizatioanl environment have an impact on the overall well-being of the workforce. The implicaion is that individuals occupying managerial positions should assess the characteristics of the environment in their companies to develop and implement transformational strategies necessary for the improvement of workplace morale and the reduction of work-related stress. From this vantage point, the two elements of the theoretical framework used for the study—the JD-R model and transformational theory—coalesce.

Some of the external factors that may lead to occupational stress arise from the operations of customer relations management according to the respondents of this study. Different clients have varying attitudes, and that can present a challenge to the employees of an organization. This problem is prominent in cases in which the workers have to interact with demanding consumers. Stress arising from these instances damages the reputation of the organization. Unfortunately, the firm has very little control over the conduct of their clients towards the employees. Therefore managers of the company try to support members of their workforce who work in close contact with customers. The respondents (P3, P4, and P6) indicate that some employees enjoy close interactions with clients, whereas others are opposed to the challenges of customer relationship management due to the substantial stress associated with it. The transformational leadership approach can be used to ameliorate negative aspects of customer interaction. For example, by assigning roles to the workers according to their preferences and abilities, it is possible to ensure that only those employees who do not feel emotionally exhausted after resolving issues with demanding customers are assigned to customer relationship management tasks. Some of the factors that increase stress for the employees include negative feedback from the consumers. The findings of this investigation are consistent with previous literature indicating that negative attitude from the customers can lead to lower job satisfaction among employees, especially when it involves dimensions of their performance that cannot be controlled by the workers (Lam & Mayer, 2014). These instances are frequent even with the best customer relations management strategies in a firm. The best recommendation is to focus on the way the organization can encourage positivity in the employees by training them to handle such challenges.

Role clarity

The findings of the study point to the fact that role ambiguity can also have negative effects that lead to an increase in the occupational stress experienced by workers. The respondents of this investigation indicated a concern over the lack of clarity in tasks performed by the employees and the scope of relevant functions as a causative agent for occupational stress. These sentiments are consistent with previous literature highlighting how poor job descriptions and little understanding of the roles leads to uncertainties that are stressful to the workers (Anthony McMann et al., 2017). The low level of specificity with respect to professional roles is a condition that increases anxiety and emotional tension among members of the organization. A corollary is that by eliminating role ambiguity, managers can reduce the effects of dissatisfaction and stress that accompany ambiguous role expectations. Notorious examples of such effects include increases in turnover rates and absenteeism, which can be especially damaging for the shipping industry, as it relies on a highly skilled workforce.

When heightened job dissatisfaction and stress result in absenteeism, other employees find themselves compelled to fill in for absent colleagues. This factor leads to the emergence of a positive feedback loop in which stress functions both as an antecedent and an outcome. The finding that a lack of role clarity is a stressor and contributor to the exacerbation of a negative working environment can be viewed as an indicator of the importance of transformational leadership in demanding occupations.

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The solutions that the managers could use to help their workers to perform functions that lie outside their scope of responsibility may involve training the workers to undertake more than one role within the workplace. That move will enhance the skills of each worker and enable them to control the workloads. Another proposal involves providing information about additional functions early enough to enable the workers to plan their activities and understand the pertinent expectations. These views are based on the solutions suggested by respondents, which include defining the deadlines of the tasks within reasonable timeframes that are appropriate for the amount of work that should be performed. It has to be borne in mind, however, that tasks carried out by members of the workforce should not fall outside of the industry’s regulations and professional recommendations. Despite the fact that the participants in the study occupied managerial positions within the ship repair industry, the findings of the study are applicable to others sectors of the economy that involve a high degree of demand latitude as well as physical and emotional labor.

Organizational communication strategies and workplace stress

The integral role of workplace communication emerged from the analysis of the data. There is evidence that a high level of professional communication can serve as a buffer of occupational stress. The moderating role of communication on work-related stress is especially important since mangers of the company can explore its value and implementation to support their workers during challenging events. The implication of this finding is that by creating opportunities to discuss stressful experiences, the managers can strengthen workers’s emotional coping mechanisms.

Respondent P8 indicates that the lack of proper communication strategies in an organization is a factor that promotes occupational stress. According to previous literature, communication that encompasses listening to employee concerns and providing appropriate information is a vital approach to reducing the frequency and duration of stressors in an organization (Swanson, Territo, & Taylor, 2016). The respondents of this study (P2, P3, P4, P6, and P8) emphasize the essence of communication as a factor that promotes positivity in interactions and reduces stress in the work environment. The participants recommend various approaches that they use to achieve the objective of reducing stress that can also be useful for managers in other workplaces. Open conversations along with an open-door policy are essential methodologies that the respondents recommend for reducing stress. This method requires the leaders and other employees to focus on the interpersonal stressors in the organization and endorse appropriate solutions to each of them. That leads to the other recommendation from the respondents that involves encouraging free interactions between the employees and other stakeholders even in contexts outside the workplace. The organization needs to anticipate events where occupational stress may serve as a hindrance to effective communication. Knowledge of the presence of this factor can enable the leaders to determine the areas that need improvement to enhance the processes of communicating effectively.

The findings of the study show that interpersonal communication functions as a social support in crisis situations. In light of the fact that managers and workers share similar experiences, communication can also strengthen their relationships, thereby creating a background for an important component of support—willingness to disclose negative feelings. This is especially important for workers who are less likely to discuss their negative emotional and physical symptoms. The implication of this finding is that by fostering open communication, it is possible to both build a trusting relationship between members of the workforce and ameliorate the harmful effects of stress.

Work-Life Balance and Occupational Stress

Work-life imbalance emerged from the analysis of the data as the causal agent of unresolved anxieties, which underscores the functional obsolescence of traditional approaches to managing occupational stress.

The respondents (P4, P5, P7, and P8) emphasize the role of proper work-life balance among the employees as an essential component for reducing occupational stress. The primary focus is on how the responsibilities and frustration from activities outside the workplace affect the ability of the employees to focus. The findings of this research are consistent with a study conducted by Deery & Jago (2015) whose emphasis is on developing work-life balance as a measure to prevent frustrations and stress in employees. The ship repair industry involves frequent travel, which is one of the factors that keep them away from their families. Other factors include more extended working shifts that consume family time and eliminate opportunities for undertaking other activities outside the workplace. A lack of personal time that can be used to fulfill important social responsibilities contributes to the increase of occupational stress for the workers and causes burnout. The respondents offered solutions that include allowing the employees to take more time off their job and providing regular breaks during the working shifts. Vacations are also another necessary incentive recommended by the participants as a means of lowering stress for the employees. This suggestion is aligned with the findings of the study by Lyness and Judiesch (2014), which found that a failure to balance excessive work and personal life results in negative outcomes at an organizational and individual level.

By allowing employees to interact outside of the workplace, managers encourage the creation of a stress-free work environment. The aim of this strategy is to enhance the ability of the workers to perform other functions outside their areas of work with their co-workers. This technique helps to improve the workers’ coping skills, which are necessary for dealing with potentially overwhelming challenges outside of the workplace. Examples of such challenges are divorce, death of loved ones, mortgage foreclosure, financial difficulties, and unwanted pregnancy among others.

The implication of the study’s findings with respect to work-life balance is that organizations can engage in the development of work-life program initiatives. The negative outcomes of work-life imbalances provide a strong rationale for the creation of such programs. Organizations willing to introduce corrective solutions to the issue of occupational stress can assist employees undergoing stressful events by offering them additional vacation days. Financial support can also be extremely helpful for some workers who struggle with fulfilling their professional and family duties. Appropriate counseling is another measure that can be used by managers from other industries to effectively support their employees, thereby reducing the level of occupational stress in their organizations.

The findings of the study are consistent with the underlying principles of the JD-R model as well as with the employee engagement and transformational leadership theories. This has to do with the fact that the relaxing of professional demands at a time of heightened personal stress can assist employees in achieving a positive work-life balance. This can be done with the help of the transformational leadership approach. The introduction of bereavement policies into a company’s policy toolbox can result in strong reciprocal relationships between managers and their employees, thereby enhancing workers’ engagement.

Employee Stress Reduction Strategies

The third theme that emerged from the analysis of the data was employee stress reduction strategies. A lessening of employee commitment can be ameliorated by formulating a comprehensive approach to stress management. Such efforts can be used to clearly communicate to employees that their contributions are valued by the company. Comprehensive stress management initiatives focus on the development of effective communication channels, the reduction of cognitive loads, and incentives as a means of increasing workers’ capacity to deal with work-related stressors.

Multiple researchers have engaged in determining the impacts of employee development, motivation, and engagement towards the performance of an organization. Most of the investigations aimed at establishing how the managers can safeguard their workforce against the detrimental effect of occupational stress to promote the success of their firms (Cerasoli, Nicklin, & Ford, 2014). The respondents of this study (P3, P4, P5, P6, and P7) also focus on these issues in their organization and how they relate to occupational stress. The findings show that the lack of motivational incentives lowers the morale and engagement of the workers which leads to low performance. The solutions that the respondents propose include the use of proper compensation and offering incentives such as bonuses. Other considerations include the provision of necessary equipment and development of skills that empower the employees and enhance their ability to undertake their functions. For example, availing training and development materials is essential in promoting the skills and knowledge that the workers have. The attitude of the leaders towards the employees also has a significant role in encouraging the latter to increase their engagement to work. By offering positive feedback to the workers after they complete specific tasks successfully can also motivate them to dedicate more energy to their work. The aim is to provide methodologies that show the employees that the organization values them and their desire to succeed. The enterprise also needs to realize that every employee has unique needs that can be unpredictable. It is essential for leaders to perform an assessment that reveals the requirements of every individual before implementing any of these strategies.

Planning, time and resource management

Occupational stress has shown to affect the ability to plan and manage time along with other organizational resources according to the findings of this study. Previous research indicates that the stressful environment breaks down multiple strategies that were intended to enhance planning and management. The participants of this study (P1, P2, and P5) indicate that the presence of work stress lowers the ability of the workers to plan their activities and meet their deadlines, which affects the performance of the organization. This view may connect with the issues of low motivation and engagement of the workforce towards its operations. Absenteeism and turnover rates also relate to these issues as some of the workers may prefer to take different jobs that offer better conditions than those in the current organization. Absenteeism and high turnovers reduce the ability of the firm to anticipate how it will conduct its operations as the skills in its workforce are volatile and unstable in the long-term (Lee et al., 2017). The respondents indicate that it is essential to offer information about the plans of the organization to the employees to determine the percentage of workers who are ready to fit into them. Enhancing time management is also another approach that reduces the stress that arises from poor planning in the organization. If the employees have that information, they can decide how to undertake various roles and eliminate the uncertainties in the workplace.

Organizational culture

The findings of the study show that organizational culture and occupational stress have a mutually influential relationship. The presence of undue occupational stressors can lead to the development of an undesirable culture. Also, the presence of clear cultural perceptions and controls can eliminate the stressful factors from the organization. This finding harmonizes with the results of the study by Belias and Koustelios (2014), who point to a bidirectional link between a company’s culture and the level of stress experienced by its employees.

The respondents of this study (P1, P2, P4, and P7) indicate that a stressful workplace leads to behavioral failures that can be detrimental to the organization. Some of the effects of occupational stress include confrontational manners among the staff, frustrations, and weak interactions and communication strategies. These issues lead to an increase in the mistakes that the employees make, which negatively affects their productivity and performance in the workplace. Some of the workers feel angry, which prompts them to make inappropriate responses to others. According to Cooper and Quick (2017), if they are not remedied, the negative outcomes of employee frustration can result in a behavioral breakdown in an organization.

The implication of the findings is that stress degrades organizational cultures, which in turn results in an increase in stress. Uncontrolled levels of stress prevent effective teamwork activities or any collaborative engagements in the workplace as the workers start to spite one another. Various solutions offered by the respondents can assist managers in other organizations in alleviating these workplace challenges. An open-door policy should be a central focus of individuals occupying managerial positions, since it allows workers to interact and share ideas and solutions regardless of their hierarchical placing (Cooper & Quick, 2017). The suggestions proposed by the participants are consistent with the previous research and allow people in the organization to talk about their grievances and resolve them. Additionally, by using these managerial approaches it is possible to reduce turnover and absenteeism rates that negatively affect the overall performance of the company.

Recommendations for Practice

The findings of this study have led to the realization that occupational stress is a detrimental phenomenon that damages the performance of an organization. The analysis of the data provides valuable insights into various approaches that can assist managers in controlling stressors in their workplaces and achieving better performance. The recommendation that can be derived from this research is that leaders should take a proactive approach to shaping the culture of their organization. This view is consistent with the finding of a study by Cooper and Quick (2017), who show that cultural settings and occupational stress are mutually influential. Based on this study, I recommend that organizations should develop conflict resolution methodologies to handle the differences that arise amongst the employees. This move is essential in creating a desirable workplace that allows all workers to freely express their feelings and deal with their differences efficiently. It is equally important to establish communication methodologies that encourage interactions between the employees, managers, and customers. The open-door policy enables the leaders and their workers to interact and resolve any matters that can be stressful to any of the parties (Hejduk & Karwowski, 2016). It is an essential consideration for any organization that seeks to enhance the ability of their managers to detect and deal with any stressors among the employees.

The development of an employee-friendly work environment is a vital implementation that works to reduce occupational stress. The research indicates that employees desire the workplace that realizes their potential and abilities and places them in the context that allows them to achieve these objectives. That gives rise to the essence of communicating employee roles and offering functions that are within the scope of the skills and competencies of those individuals (Boxall & Macky, 2014). Implementing this approach eliminates uncertainties among the employees as they now understand and anticipate the expectations that the organization has for them. Furthermore, clear role delineation makes the workforce less resistant to change. The leaders should also involve their workers in decision-making and communicate relevant activities in advance (Boxall & Macky, 2014). This move ensures that the firm develops solutions to pertinent challenges for their employees and the latter take part in that action. Such arrangements are essential for creating a work environment in which workers influence the operations in a manner that enables them to achieve better professional results. The organization should aim at ensuring that employees have little resistance to any of the processes and changes; this is influential in reducing stress.

One of the factors that stood out throughout the analysis is employees’ desire for feeling valued and appreciated by the organization. This attitude can result in the emergence of negative emotional states and a subsequent desire to seek better workplaces that offer fairer conditions (Ford, 2014). One of the approaches to solving this issue is to implement employee development and empowerment initiatives in the organization (Ford, 2014). These implementations encompass activities such as training programs that enhance the skills of the workers. Such exercises allow employees to acquire skills even outside their primary role that can be applied in different professional stations. By developing employee skills, it is possible to empower them to fill different positions when the people usually responsible are not available at work. Other activities involve the provision of materials that enhance the work processes that the employees undertake. For example, mechanizing some of the operations in a workplace reduces the physical demands of the employees and increases their motivation and engagement. Other methods of reducing stress include sufficient compensation as well as incentives and bonuses that are sensitive matters to most workforces (Ford, 2014). Managers need to consider the role of positive monetary incentives when developing organizational budgets as they have shown to create positive effects on employee motivation and engagement to work. This recommendation has the primary aim of demonstrating to the employees how valuable they are to the enterprise.

The final recommendation in this research concerns work-life balance, which has a strong influence on occupational stress. The lack of that equilibrium is a fundamental concern for workers that worry about their families and other responsibilities outside the workplace (Syrek, Apostel, & Antoni, 2013). The workspace also needs to allow the employees to discuss non-work issues in a context that enables them to resolve those problems. That approach is vital in ensuring that external life factors do not enter into the workplace and affect staff members. The primary recommendation is to allow employees to take more time off their work and in contexts that do not involve any work activities (Syrek, Apostel, & Antoni, 2013). Some of the strategies are to incorporate sufficient terms for leaves and vacations that enable the staff to spend more time with their families. However, most organizations realize that frequent time-offs can disrupt organizational plans and programs of action, thereby imposing additional expenses on a firm. For example, the workers have to take payments while they are not working to produce anything. Such arrangement can be disruptive for an organization. Therefore, there is a need for establishing a balance between the needs of the workers and a firm. Corporate leaders who want to prevent unhealthy exposure to occupational stressors from harming their companies and their workforce should clearly communicate their intentions. Open communication can foster the development of effective solutions that can be applied to particular settings.

Recommendations for Future Research

A recommendation for researchers engaging in similar studies is that the employment of focused sampling strategies can provide clear results despite a small number of participants. The current investigation used a focused research in the ship repair industry to obtain consistent results. In order to increase the applicability of the findings in future research, I recommend increasing the sample size. A survey would be an appropriate approach to encompass the sampling of larger populations and improve the validity of future findings. The current research uses a qualitative analysis that does not provide any specific figures on the effects of the phenomena that it observes. Therefore, future endeavors in the field should focus on reaching more precise conclusions on each of the matters. The recommendation is to use a mixed research method to broaden the scope of analysis. The mixed design offers the opportunity to use an open-ended strategy that is essential for revealing underlying factors that a researcher may not anticipate.

The sampling should also encompass more respondents outside the managerial level to reveal the perspectives that other employees hold about the topic. Occupational stress affects all stakeholders in the organization, and that makes it essential to consider the view of other workers. This study focused on the strategies that managers use to deal with the problem in the workplace. The next step in this research should be to establish how various employees handle this challenge. Looking outside the ship repair industry will also be a vital consideration to ensure that the validity of that research has a broader scope. The recommendation is to diversify between the sector by assigning a sampling strategy that will reflect issues such as employee population in a workplace and its effects on occupational stress. For example, one industry would be more stressful due to congestion that gives rise to other factors that have not emerged during the course of this study. This view necessitates the use of open-ended approaches to encourage the participants to reveal other contributors to occupational stress and methods for dealing with them.

Conclusions

In conducting the study, I intended to answer the research question: What techniques do production managers and project managers at a ship-repair company use to reduce work-related stress? Analyzing the data helped me to conclude that occupational stress is a detrimental factor in organizational operations that can cause failures to both the firm and the employees. Various themes emerged from the analysis, and they led to the development of solutions to handle the current challenge. The primary problem was to determine how the managers addressed occupational stress in their workplaces and the methods that they still desired to use for the factors that they were anticipating. The study presents essential recommendations that encompass multiple industrial application in solving the overarching challenge of stressful workspaces.

The recommendations of this investigations surround the development of an employee-friendly workplace that encourages the development and empowerment of employees. The managers should also provide clear job descriptions to the workers as a way of minimizing uncertainties and promote engagement. Compensation and incentives for the functions performed by the staff is another approach to reducing stress in the workplace. That goes along with leaves and vacations as well as more time for workers to spend with their families and handle other activities outside the organization. Work-life balance is another factor that encourages positivity in the firm and reduces undue stress among the staff.

The study indicates detrimental outcomes from the presence of occupational stressors in an organization. That leads to the essence of focusing on incorporating the solutions to workspace stress into various components of actions as a means to ensure that workers have both active and passive methods of dealing with the challenge. The results of this investigation are consistent with the previous findings of other studies. However, the researcher presents further discoveries by highlighting industry-specific factors that influence occupational stress in the ship repair sector. This study offers a basis for further investigations that will need to expand both the sample size and the scope of sampling to provide results that reflect the perspectives of various employees in different industrial settings. The most significant part of this investigation is that it contributes to the field of management by offering insights into strategies for addressing the issue of occupational stress in a workplace.

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