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G Johansson, G Aronson & B O Lindström (1978)
20 January 2013
BACKGROUND & AIMS: Johansson, Aronson & Lindström were asked by the owners of a highly-
As part of this, the researchers wanted to compare the psychological and physiological stress responses in 2 different categories of workers.
PROCEDURE (METHOD): It was a natural experiment, using an independent groups design, as the workers were already in their 2 work categories so there was no manipulation of this variable.
After preliminary observations, one group of skilled workers was seen to be particularly
vulnerable to occupational stress: 14 workers responsible for transforming planed
timber into a finished product The rate at which they worked determined the overall
pay of everyone on their production line. The work was repetitive but complex and
required a great deal of knowledge and continual attention; it was machine-
10 workers who did maintenance or were cleaners and worked under more flexible conditions were used as a control group.
Each participant was asked to give a daily urine sample and at 4 other times each day. The baseline measurements were taken at the same time each day (when the workers were at home). The researchers tested the urine for adrenaline and noradrealine as measures of sympathetic arousal. Body temperature was measured at the time of the urine collection.
The participants also completed self-
Additionally, the researchers examined records of illness and absence. They then reported these findings back to the factory management.
FINDINGS (RESULTS): In the first urine samples of the day -
The finishers showed higher levels on work days than rest days.
In the self-
The finishers had higher rates of absenteeism than the control group and more psychosomatic illness such as hypertension.
CONCLUSIONS: The researchers concluded the finishers experienced high levels of occupational
stress attributable to 4 factors:-
CRITICISMS (EVALUATION): The researchers recommended that the factory should implement fixed weekly wages, rotate work, improve the degrees of social contact and give the skilled workers higher levels of control
over the pace at which they worked. Occupational stress was consequently reduced and workers recorded higher levels of job satisfaction. Thus, the study can be said to have high applicability.
As these were real workers doing their daily jobs, the study is high in mundane realism and ecological validity.
As there were multiple variables affecting the reporting of stress and possibly the
sickness and absenteeism amongs the finishers, Johansson, Aronson & Lindström could
only assign correlations to the variables and not cause-
As the study was conducted only on Swedish men, it can be criticised for potential cultural bias and gender bias.
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