Job Stress in Electrical Construction Supervisors
Productivity loss due to excessive job stress is a major concern for all types of industries. Based on a limited electrical construction supervisors training needs assessment survey conducted in Nebraska by the University of Nebraska-Lincoln (Smith, 2000), job stress and coping skills were shown to be a major concerns for electrical construction supervisors (i.e. foremen, general foremen, and superintendents) with less than five years supervisory experience. This ELECTRI International research project collected and analyzed demographic, job and life stress factors in 75 electrical construction supervisors using an array of job, life stress, and personality behavior measures. The non-random sample represented 17 states and 62 cities. Participation was voluntary and all responses confidential. Simple subjective count and comparison analytical methods were used.
The results of this survey showed that the most significant job stressor was occupational responsibility and the most serious life stressor children and spouse/partner issues. A majority of respondents were classified as “Type A” behavior profile suggesting a natural tendency toward high levels of self-imposed internal stress compounding the presence and level of chronic external job and life stressors. The usual sources of job stress (i.e., inadequate pay, job ambiguity, lack of upper management support, and lack of required resources to do the job) did not appear to be significant. Job role and span-of-control issues were significant sub-sources of job stress.
This research suggests that electrical contractors could help lower stress levels in their construction supervisors and increase supervisory productivity by making a stronger effort to address problems related to span-of-control and job content, coupled with additional training and outside support for parenting, child and family issues. Additional recommendations are provided to electrical contractors related to the results of this study.