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Title: Optimizing stress and performance of Hong Kong construction professionals : a cultural study
Other Titles: You hua ya li yi ti sheng jian zhu zhuan cai de ji xiao : wen hua yan jiu
優化壓力以提升建築專才的績效 : 文化研究
Authors: Chan, Yee Shan Isabelle (陳綺珊)
Department: Department of Building and Construction
Degree: Master of Philosophy
Issue Date: 2008
Publisher: City University of Hong Kong
Subjects: Construction industry -- China -- Hong Kong -- Management.
Job stress.
Notes: CityU Call Number: HD9715.C53 C43 2008
xi, 122, 25 leaves 30 cm.
Thesis (M.Phil.)--City University of Hong Kong, 2008.
Includes bibliographical references (leaves 1-25 (2nd group))
Type: thesis
Abstract: Construction projects involve comprehensive tasks, complicated processes and multistakeholders (e.g., project managers, architects, quantity surveyors, structural engineers, civil engineers, etc.). Meanwhile each project is unique and involves a lot unpredictable tasks, tight and urgent time flame and complicated workgroup cooperation. Therefore, the construction industry has long been recognized as a stressful industry in which a great deal of stress is placed on various construction professionals. According to the study by the Chartered Institute of Building (CIOB 2006), stress has already been recognised as a general phenomenon for professionals in the construction industry in which nearly 70 percent of the construction professionals had found themselves suffering from stress, anxiety and depression directly due to their work. In addition, more than half of the construction professionals felt that the construction industry is comparatively far more stressful than it was five years ago. These statistics, admittedly, show how extensive stress is in the construction industry nowadays. However, the relationships between stressors, stress, coping behaviour and work performance deviate from individual to individual due to the different development background, work natures, work environment and so on. One of the most determining and original factors leading to these deviations is the ‘values’ of the individuals (Chiu and Kosinski, 1995; Bond and Forgas, 1984; Chiu, 1992; Hofstede, 1991). Values are the roots of every perception and behaviour of individuals (Chiu and Kosinski, 1995). And they are usually shaped by ones’ cultural background. People who grow up and live in different cultural environments have different values, thus, leading to different behaviour, including their perception of stressors, the adoption of coping behaviour in provoking stressful saturations and the self-evaluation of performance. Therefore, the Chinese values of Hong Kong construction professionals (HKC-Ps), who work and live in Hong Kong, are hypothesized to have certain impacts on the stress management process of the individual HKC-Ps. The intimate relationships between various stressors, stresses and performance of HKC-Ps have long been recognised (Leung, 2004; Leung and Lam, 2004; Leung et al., 2005a, 2005b, 2006a, 2007a, 2007b, 2007c, 2008a, 2008b, 2008c; Yip, 2008; Sommerville and Langford, 1994; Loosemore and Waters, 2004; Haynes et al., 2004). This study aims at investigating the impacts of Chinese values on the stress management process of HKC-Ps. Based on the extensive literature reviews, a set of questionnaire surveys was designed and distributed to the HKC-Ps. 140 sets of collected data were adopted in the study, including those from HKC-Ps, who work in a variety of construction disciplines, including project managers, quantity surveyors, engineers, architects, etc. Quantitative data analysis methods, including factor analysis, reliability test, Pearson correlation, multiple regression analyses and curvilinear multiple regression analyses, were applied by SPSS 15.0. Based on the factor analyses, four types of Chinese values (interpersonal integration, conservative personality, social conventions and work-related ethos), three task stressors (work overload, work underload and role ambiguity), two organizational stressors (poor organizational structure and poor working environment), an interpersonal stressor (poor relationships with others), six kinds of coping behaviour (planful problem solving, positive reappraisal, social support seeking, accepting of responsibility, escapism and emotional discharge) and three performances (task performance, interpersonal performance and organizational performance) were identified. An inclusive Chinese values-stressors-stresses-performances structural equation model was further developed by Lisrel 8.7. From the model, it is found that (i) social conventions have negative effects on role ambiguity and poor relationship with others; (ii) conservative personality has positive effects on role ambiguity and poor relationship with others; (iii) work-related ethos leads positively to work overload, task performance and organizational performance, but negatively to work underload and poor relationship with others; (iv) interpersonal integration contains positive influences on the interpersonal performance of HKC-Ps; (v) poor working environment induces physiological stress; (vi) role ambiguity induces burnout; (vii) poor relationships with other induces objective stress of the individual HKC-Ps; (viii) work overload induces objective stress and burnout; (ix) burnout induces physiological stress; (x) objective stress worsens interpersonal performance of HKC-Ps; (xi) burnout worsens the organizational performance but enhances the interpersonal performance; (xii) physiological stress worsens the interpersonal performance of the individual HKC-Ps; and (xiii) emotional discharge alleviate the negative impact of objective stress on interpersonal performances. In accordance with the results revealed from the model, recommendations on both the personal and organizational aspects were made.
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