Steve M. Jex

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Steve M. Jex (born ca. 1960) is an American psychologist and Professor at the Department for Psychology at the Bowling Green State University. After the Central Michigan University and University of New Haven, he received his PhD at the University of South Florida in 1988. He known for his work in the field of occupational health psychology and organizational psychology.


  • [The Integrated Model of Work Stress (ISR) model] is straightforward, easy to understand, and has guided much of the work stress research and theorizing in the past 25 years.
    • Steve M. Jex and Terry Beehr (1991), "Emerging theoretical and methodological issues in the study of work-related stress." Research in Personnel and Human Resources Management, 9, p. 313

"Development of four self-report measures of job stressors and strain," 1998[edit]

Paul E. Spector and Steve M. Jex. "Development of four self-report measures of job stressors and strain: Interpersonal Conflict at Work Scale, Organizational Constraints Scale, Quantitative Workload Inventory, and Physical Symptoms Inventory" Journal of occupational health psychology 3.4 (1998):

  • The investigation of job-related stress involves studying the relationship between stressful aspects of jobs (normally termed {[w|stressors}}) and the reputed results of stressor exposure (normally termed strains). Although several diverse theoretical models of the process by which stressors impact employees exist (e.g., Ivancevich & Matteson, 1980; Jex, in press; Jex & Beehr, 1991; Kahn & Byosiere, 1992), most models propose that employees are exposed to stressful working conditions, these conditions are perceived, and finally employees exhibit strains, which can include behaviors (e.g., increased smoking), physical illness, and psychological distress. On the job stressor side, there have been only a limited number of scales developed, which has tended to focus the field on a relatively small number of potential job stressors, for example, role ambiguity and role conflict. Yet research clearly suggests an important role for other job stressors that have received inadequate attention, such as interpersonal conflict in the workplace (Keenan & Newton, 1985) and organizational constraints on performance.
    • p. 356
  • Organizational constraints represent situations or things that prevent employees from translating ability and effort into high levels of job performance. The [Organizational Constraints Scale] OCS was based on the work of Peters and O'Connor (1980), who listed 11 areas of constraints that interfered with job performance. These common situational constraints in organizations may include faulty equipment, incomplete or poor information, or perhaps interruptions by others.
    • p. 357
  • Despite frequent criticism, the vast majority of job stress researchers continue to use subjective self-reports measures for both job stressors and job strains (Jex & Beehr, 1991). Part of the reason is undoubtedly because it makes data collection relatively easy, but ease alone has not made this approach so popular. First, there is a sound theoretical reason behind this choice. Serf-reports represent incumbent perceptions, and perceptions represent an important mediating process in the occupational stress process.
    • p. 359

Stress and job performance, 1998[edit]

Steve M. Jex, Stress and job performance: Theory, research, and implications for managerial practice. Sage Publications Ltd, 1998.

  • Like role ambiguity, the assessment of role conflict has been primarily through self-report measurement. The scale that has been used most often is that developed by Rizzo et al. (1970). These items ask respondents whether they experience things such as “incompatible requests” and situations in which their work is “accepted by one group but not accepted by others.” A sample item from this scale is, “I receive incompatible requests from two or more people.” Strong agreement with a statement such as this indicates a high level of role conflict. Like the Rizzo et al. role ambiguity scale, this scale has also been the focus of much criticism and debate in the occupational stress literature (Kelloway & Barling, 1990, Netemeyer et al., 1990; Smith et al., 1993; Tracy & Johnson, 1981). Unfortunately, there have been few attempts to develop alternative measures.
    • p. 13
  • According to Goldstein (1993), many organizations do not train employees adequately. For example, training programs are either poorly designed or designed in a way that does not meet the needs of employees. Either way, employees may be inadequately prepared to meet their role demands. Like the other two role stressors covered in this chapter, role overload is most often assessed through self-report questionnaires. One popular role overload measure is a scale developed by Caplanet al. (1975). As would be expected, these items appropriately reflect the frequency and intensity of role demands (e.g., “How much workload do you have?”). Respondents would typically respond to these items on a scale ranging from “very light” to “extremely heavy. Despite the popularity of this measure, there are undoubtedly other ways to measure role overload that employ non-self-report methods... [such as] some combination of objective and subjective measures.
    • p. 15-16

Organizational Psychology, 2002[edit]

Steve M. Jex, ‎Thomas W. Britt (2002). Organizational Psychology: A Scientist-Practitioner Approach. John Wiley & Sons; 2nd ed. 2008

  • Organizations are complex social systems that sometimes perform remarkably well and sometimes fail miserably. Organizational psychology is a subfield within the larger domain of industrial/organizational psychology that seeks to facilitate a greater understanding of social processes in organizations. Organizational psychologists also seek to use these insights to enhance the effectiveness of organizations—a goal that is potentially beneficial to all.
    • p. ix: Preface
  • In the most general sense, organizational psychology is the scientific study of individual and group behavior in formal organizational settings. Katz and Kahn, in their classic work, The Social Psychology of Organizations (1978), stated that the essence of an organization is “patterned” human behavior. When behavior is patterned, some structure is imposed on individuals. This structure typically comes in the form of roles (normative standards governing behavior) as well as a guiding set of values. An organization cannot exist when people just “do their own thing” without any awareness of the behavior of others.
    • p. 2
  • Job performance is a deceptively simple term. At the most general level, it can be defined simply as “all of the behaviors employees engage in while at work.” Unfortunately, this is a rather imprecise definition because employees often engage in behaviors at work that have little or nothing to do with job-specific tasks.
    • p. 88
  • By definition, job performance is behavior, so job performance is rarely measured directly. More typically, what is measured is some external assessment of job performance.
    • p. 100
  • Job satisfaction is, without a doubt, one of the most heavily studied topics in organizational psychology, as well as in the broader field of industrial/organizational psychology. To emphasize this point, many authors, over the years, have referred to Locke’s chapter in the Handbook of Industrial and Organizational Psychology (1976), where he reported that studies dealing with job satisfaction numbered in the thousands.
    • p. 116
  • Job satisfaction is typically defined as an employee’s level of positive affect toward his or her job or job situation... Along with positive affect, we can add both a cognitive and a behavioral component to this definition... The cognitive aspect of job satisfaction represents an employee’s beliefs about his or her job or job situation; that is, an employee may believe that his or her job is interesting, stimulating, dull, or demanding—to name a few options... The behavioral component represents an employee’s behaviors or, more often, behavioral tendencies toward his or her job. An employee’s level of job satisfaction may be revealed by the fact that he or she tries to attend work regularly, works hard, and intends to remain a member of the organization for a long period of time.
    • p. 116
  • Hackett and Guion (1985) offer a number of explanations for the weak relation between job satisfaction and absenteeism. One reason is the measurement of absenteeism itself. Although at first glance absenteeism would appear to be a rather simple variable, it is actually quite complex. For example, when measuring absences, one can distinguish between excused and unexcused absences. Excused absences would be allowed for events such as illnesses and funerals. In unexcused absences, the employee simply does not show up at work. One could argue that job satisfaction would be more likely to play a role in unexcused than in excused absences.
    • p. 126
  • The earliest scientific investigations related to the field of occupational stress were conducted by the well-known physiologist Walter Cannon in the early part of the twentieth century (e.g., Cannon, 1914). Cannon was a pioneer in the investigation of the relationship between emotions and physiological responses, and is perhaps best known for having coined the term homeostasis.
    • p. 180
  • Hans Selye’s work was undoubtedly pioneering, but it must be remembered that he focused primarily on physiological reactions to aversive physical stimuli. He was not focusing on stress in the workplace. The first large-scale program of research focusing exclusively on stress in the workplace was undertaken at the University of Michigan’s Institute for Social Research in the early 1960s. What is particularly noteworthy about this research effort is that the focus was on psychosocial factors in the workplace that may be stressful to employees. Psychosocial factors represent aspects of the work environment having to do with interactions with other people. In particular, the Michigan researchers focused much of their attention on what they termed role stressors... which are aversive working conditions associated with behaviors expected of each employee in an organization.
    • p. 180-181
  • In the organizational sciences (e.g., organizational behavior, organizational psychology), one of the more misunderstood terms is “organizational theory.” To some, organizational theory is a field of study; to others, it is the process of using metaphors to describe organizational processes... or it represents an attempt to determine the best way to organize work organizations. The term is used to indicate all of these things, but an “organizational theory” is really just a way of organizing purposeful human action. Given the diversity of purposeful human endeavors, there are numerous ways to organize them, and, hence, a great many organizational theories.
    • p. 372
  • In terms of academic roots, the field that really has taken the lead in theorizing about the organization of purposeful human behavior is sociology. Sociology is essentially the study of macro-level forces (e.g., social stratification, social institutions) on human behavior (e.g., Merton, 1968; Parsons, 1951)... Given this historical backdrop, it is natural that sociologists would be more interested in the impact of the structure and design of organizations than psychologists would be. In fact, the Hawthorne studies, which are considered one of the most important historical events contributing to the development of organizational psychology, were conducted under the direction of sociologist Elton Mayo.
    • p. 372
  • Given that organizational theory deals with different ways of organizing human activity, how does one “theorize” about organizations? In most scientific disciplines, if one wants to theorize about something and ultimately study it, the most common approach is to bring it into a laboratory for closer inspection. Unfortunately, organizational theorists cannot do this because organizations are largely abstractions, and thus cannot be subjected to laboratory investigations. Although we can draw elegant organization charts to represent reporting relationships, and so on, what keeps an organization together is the fact that an organization’s employees understand it and adapt their behavior accordingly.
    • p. 372-373

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