Academic journal article SA Journal of Industrial Psychology

The Moderating Role of Psychological Capital in the Relationship between Job Stress and the Outcomes of Incivility and Job Involvement Amongst Call Centre Employees

Academic journal article SA Journal of Industrial Psychology

The Moderating Role of Psychological Capital in the Relationship between Job Stress and the Outcomes of Incivility and Job Involvement Amongst Call Centre Employees

Article excerpt

Introduction

Positive psychology is an area of study that emerged as a result of criticisms levelled against the discipline of psychology for its preoccupation with diagnosing and removing the negative aspects of human thinking and behaviour (human pathology) rather than identifying and enhancing the positive aspects or strengths of individuals (Seligman & Csikszentmihalyi, 2000). In keeping with this idea of seeking to enhance the positive aspects of human behaviour, research in the area of positive psychology has increased considerably in recent years. Along with the area of positive psychology itself, the literature in the area of positive organisational behaviour and the application of positive psychology in the workplace has also grown considerably (Luthans, 2002). A fairly new concept originating in the field of positive organisational behaviour, which has not received enough attention amongst researchers but has shown much promise for the future of positive psychology, is psychological capital. Psychological capital (PsyCap) is a positive psychological state that can be developed and enhanced within individuals at any point in their life due to its state-like nature (Lewis, 2011; Luthans, Youssef & Avolio, 2007). PsyCap is characterised by the possession of these four qualities in an individual: self-efficacy Page 2 of 13 (a sense of competence in one's ability to carry out a particular task), resilience (the ability to bounce back from difficulty), hope (positive expectations for the future) and optimism (forming positive attributions for negative outcomes). It is believed that these four qualities can be developed within an individual at any time. These four constructs have been shown to have beneficial effects both individually and as the combined construct of PsyCap. Despite the increasing body of research in the area of positive psychology and positive organisational behaviour (Luthans & Youssef, 2004), research findings have not entirely succeeded in helping organisations overcome the negative aspects of work, such as the experience of job stress and the display of incivility within the workplace, and enhance the positive aspects of work, such as job involvement. In this regard, the current study attempted to examine these constructs in relation to PsyCap with the aim of improving the understanding of these constructs and the relationships amongst them, whilst also seeking to determine the role played by PsyCap in the relationships amongst these constructs.

Background to the study

A recent study conducted in different organisations across nine industry sectors in South Africa reported that a dilemma is prevalent in terms of efficiency and quality in South African call centres (Banks & Roodt, 2011). In a similar study conducted in a call centre environment, Janse van Rensburg, Boonzaier & Boonzaier (2013) concede that both the content and context of jobs need to be addressed to increase the personal and job resources of call centre representatives. Of note also is that call centres are regarded as providing particularly stressful work conditions for employees, mainly due to increased demands for performance and through the implementation of performance monitoring mechanisms, which serve to increase tension between managers and employees (Benner, Rahmat & Lewis, 2007). These performance monitoring mechanisms have been linked to high levels of stress and increased staff turnover in many call centres, especially when very little discretion is exercised in providing feedback to employees (Benner et al., 2007). South African call centres were found to rank amongst those with the highest degree of performance monitoring and feedback, exceeded only by South Korean and Indian call centres (Holman, Batt & Holtgrewe, 2007). This high degree of performance monitoring and feedback, and its known effect of increasing job stress, suggests that South African call centre employees may experience a high level of stress within the workplace. …

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