What to do and what works? Exploring how work groups cope with understaffing

Shen, W, Chang, K ORCID: https://orcid.org/0000-0002-5689-7780, Cheng, K and Kim, Y 2018, 'What to do and what works? Exploring how work groups cope with understaffing' , Journal of Occupational Health Psychology, 24 (3) , pp. 346-358.

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Complaints regarding understaffing are common in the workplace and research has begun to document some of the potential ill effects that can result from understaffing conditions. Despite evidence that understaffing is a relatively prevalent and consequential stressor, research has yet to explore how work groups cope with this stressor and the efficacy of their coping strategies in mitigating poor group performance and burnout. The present study examines these questions by exploring both potential mediating and moderating coping effects using a sample of 96 work groups from four technology organizations. Results indicate that work groups react differently to manpower and expertise understaffing conditions, with leaders engaging in more initiating structure behaviors when faced with manpower understaffing and engaging in more consideration behaviors when faced with expertise understaffing. Further, leaders’ use of consideration in the face of expertise understaffing was negatively associated with group burnout. We also uncovered evidence that leadership behaviors and work group actions (i.e., team-member exchange) moderate relationships between manpower understaffing and outcomes, though differently for group performance and burnout. Overall, this study helps to reframe work groups as active in their efforts to cope with understaffing and highlights that some coping strategies are more effective than others. Implications for theory and practice are discussed.

Keywords: Understaffing, Work Stressors, Coping, Burnout, Performance

Item Type: Article
Additional Information: ©American Psychological Association, 2018. This paper is not the copy of record and may not exactly replicate the authoritative document published in the APA journal. Please do not copy or cite without author's permission.
Schools: Schools > Salford Business School > Salford Business School Research Centre
Journal or Publication Title: Journal of Occupational Health Psychology
Publisher: American Psychological Association
ISSN: 1076-8998
Related URLs:
Depositing User: Professor Kirk Chang
Date Deposited: 01 Jun 2018 09:53
Last Modified: 15 Feb 2022 23:20
URI: https://usir.salford.ac.uk/id/eprint/47180

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