PSY367: Apply a relevant organisational work model or models to appraise the work environment at IDC. Work Stress assignment
Module / Subject / School:
PSY367 Work Stress
Singapore University of Social Sciences
Part A: Academic Report (70 marks)
Read the vignette below and answer the question.
Life of an I.D. Account Executive
Barely 7 months into his job, Ishmael is already feeling the heat of working in ID Consult (IDC). IDC is an interior design company that offers consulting, designing, and furnishings for hospitality and commercial projects. Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the business has slowed as many projects were put on hold or aborted. The collapse of Evergrande, the property developer in China, has also affected IDC as China was their main source of revenue.
IDC is set up and run by a husband (Peter) and wife (Siok Leng) team who met during their Singapore Polytechnic days. According to the rumour mill, Siok Leng was the top student in her cohort, and the calm and cool Peter was the playboy of the school. IDC is made up of two teams; the “hospitality team” which deals with hotels and housing, and the “commercial team” which deals with office and industrial projects. Each team has three members with a supervisor who reports to one of the bosses. Ishmael is the account supervisor of the hospitality team and reports directly to Siok Leng. As a supervisor, Ishmael also liaises with
the offshore production teams in Batam and Vietnam. Siok Leng is a hands-on manager, who relishes being part of every decision-making. In her energy and enthusiasm, she often undervalues and overrides the team’s decisions, even those that they have agreed upon. Sometimes, this makes Ishmael feel that he does not add enough value to the decisionmaking, but he rationalises these experiences as part of the learning process in dealing with their demanding clients in China.
Ishmael always checks into work at about 8 a.m., well before his bosses and team members who usually clock in at about 9 a.m. He typically wakes up at 6 a.m., goes for his morning run, and then sets off to work. He finds the early morning hours in the office therapeutic as he can read his emails, reflect, and plan the day. Ishmael loves his job because he gets to be creative at work. He does not mind the extra hours nor being contacted after office hours. Customers often run into emergencies or make changes during the weekends and may want to contact somebody for help. Fortunately, his wife, who works part-time from home, understands the challenges and frustrations in his job. Ishmael met his wife in university and they got married after graduating from university. They plan to wait for another 2-3 years before having a baby as his priority right now is his career.
On Monday morning, on his way to the pantry to get his morning coffee, Ishmael bumped into Peter (Siok Leng’s husband), who just finished a Zoom call with a client from Shenzhen. Siok Leng was again working from home that day – isolating herself from the operational work in the office. She had looked dishevelled and was easily agitated in the Zoom meeting the day before. Peter told Ishmael that the project in Shenzen has been put on hold and that Ishmael should alert his team as the vendor may be insolvent. Ishmael was disappointed because his team had been working almost round the clock to complete the project in time. Nonetheless, he was very grateful for the alert. Using his mobile phone, he quickly emailed his team with a c.c. to Siok Leng to freeze all works on the Shenzhen Project until further notice, and explaining that the vendor may be insolvent due to the Chinese government crackdown on real estate businesses. By the time he got back to his desk, Siok Leng had
replied with a c.c. to his team, which read as follows:
“NOT UP TO YOU TO INSTRUCT ANYBODY TO STOP ANY PROJECT. ONLY YOUR BOSSES CAN. AND STOP SPREADING NEGATIVITY IN THE COMPANY. CALL ME.”
Her communication style drives him and all his co-workers crazy. She expects immediate attention to all her emails. Last Thursday, she texted Ishmael not to allow his team members to take time off after their COVID-19 vaccination. Ishmael had given Lucy the day off after she suffered from side effects from her booster shot, as he reasoned that she would not be productive even if she reported to work. He even approved the taxi fare for his team to get vaccinated. Siok Leng immediately sent an email informing all staff to take their vaccinations during the weekend.
Employees have been emailing each other and gossiping in the pantry, or ranting through Whatsapp messages about her:
“She’s sneaky”; “She micromanages everyone’s work”; “I can’t breathe”; “kiam siap!”*; “Does she trust anyone?”; “When am I getting out of here?”; “Thank God I am only working for Peter”.
Ishmael felt responsible to speak to Siok Leng and explain to her how the team is doing in the current stressful environment. He believes that she is trying her best to keep the company afloat during these challenging times. Gossiping behind the boss’s back is passive-aggressive and not at all productive. He thinks that the company will benefit from assessing the office climate. He is aware of the sensitivity of the situation and that he needed to be tactful in how he conveys the criticisms of her management style. He feels that there is a disconnect between the team and Siok Leng. However, he is not sure how to approach the situation. He consults his wife.
*Hokkien for “stingy”
Academic Report Question
Apply a relevant organisational work model or models to appraise the work environment at IDC. Analyse Siok Leng’s management style, discuss Ishmael’s coping strategy, and propose THREE recommendations on how Ishmael can communicate to Siok Leng on how to manage the stressful work environment in IDC.
Your report should:
1. Apply one or more relevant model/s to appraise IDC’s stressful work environment.
2. Analyse Siok Leng’s management style and Ishmael’s coping strategy.
3. Show the THREE predictors of job burnout.
4. Propose THREE relevant organisational interventions that IDC can implement to manage employee stress and cultivate a supportive organisational culture.
To answer the question fully, you are required to include the following sections in your report:
Title (< 10 words)
The title should highlight the essence of the academic report in less than 10 words.
Introduction (300 words)
You should suggest a relevant work model or models to analyse IDC work demands, cite relevant literature, and briefly explain the significance for writing the report.
Discussion (500 words)
In this section, you critically and carefully consider the stressors that both the management and employees experience working in IDC. Evaluate the general implications that can be drawn from this academic report.
Recommendations (300 words)
In this section, propose your recommendations on workplace strategies to achieve a healthy work environment.
Part B: Reflections (20 marks)
Reflect on the general implications of this case. Identify THREE stress points of your working (or work-from-home) conditions. Apply Schuler’s Process Model of Coping (1985) to formulate recommendations to improve your communication and interactions with your immediate supervisor.
References (5 marks)
This section is often overlooked and neglected. However, it is very important and needs to be completed in accordance with APA7 standards. You are recommended to take note of a citation when you include it in the main text to ensure the reference list is comprehensive and accurate. Please note that any in-text citations must appear in the reference list, and vice versa. As this section is to examine your understanding and application of APA7 referencing, students must not use any software to assist with the referencing process.
What we score:
Our Writer’s Comment
This assignment tests students on their understanding of the organisational work models.
Based on the assignment requirements provided, here are some comments to help students score well on this assignment:
Part A: Academic Report
Title (<10 words): Consider using a concise and impactful title that reflects the main focus of the report, such as “Managing Stress at IDC: Recommendations for a Supportive Workplace.”
Introduction (300 words): You’ve provided a good overview of the vignette, but consider delving deeper into why the topic of workplace stress and management style at IDC is significant and relevant. Introduce the work model/s you plan to use and briefly explain how they will help analyze the situation.
Discussion (500 words): In this section, make sure to clearly identify and analyze the specific stressors both the management and employees face at IDC. Cite relevant literature to support your analysis, and discuss how these stressors can impact the overall work environment and employee well-being. Additionally, provide insights into the consequences of Siok Leng’s management style on employee morale and productivity. Offer a balanced view of the situation, highlighting both the positive and negative aspects.
Recommendations (300 words): Present your proposed interventions concisely and directly. Focus on actionable steps that can be implemented to improve the work environment and reduce stress. Consider addressing the issues related to communication, micromanagement, and the need for a more supportive organizational culture. Explain why each recommendation is relevant and how it can benefit both employees and the company.
Part B: Reflections
Reflection Question: In your response, be honest and specific about the stress points you experience in your own working conditions. Apply Schuler’s Process Model of Coping (1985) to create well-rounded recommendations for improving communication and interactions with your immediate supervisor. Consider providing examples of situations you’ve encountered and how you can implement coping strategies to address them effectively.
References: Make sure to adhere to APA7 standards for referencing. Include all the sources cited in the main text, and ensure that your reference list is comprehensive and accurate.
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