The social anxiety spectrum and work limitations among managerial level employees

Emsley, Lindy (2010-12)

Thesis (MComm (Industrial Psychology))--University of Stellenbosch, 2010.

Thesis

ENGLISH ABSTRACT: Social anxiety symptoms are common within the community. They are often unrecognised in many organisations, with resultant significant work impairments. The aim of the study was to explore to what extent the social anxiety spectrum of symptoms influences the performance of management employees and how the disorder should be managed in the workplace. The study includes the following constructs: social anxiety spectrum, job characteristics, work limitations and perceived performance difficulties. A nonexperimental research design was used to explore the relationships between the four constructs. A convenience sample of 250 managerial employees was approached from two large organizations, one in the private, and the other in the public sector. One hundred and eighteen (118) respondents completed and returned their questionnaires. The descriptive statistics reflected a mean age of 32 years (range 20 to 56 years), with 50% males and 50% females, and a race distribution of 64% White, 29% Coloured, 4% Black and 3% Indian for the sample. The majority of the participants had been working for 0 to 5 years (37.29%). The mean years worked was 10.81 and the median 9.5 (range 0.5 to 40 years worked). A high percentage of participants (11%) were found to have social anxiety symptoms above the cut off score for a diagnosis of the disorder. The results of the present study indicated that social anxiety affects all areas of work. These symptoms were associated with several areas of work limitations and performance difficulties not restricted to social interaction or presentation. It was also found that job insecurity increases social anxiety symptoms, work limitations and perceived performance difficulties. On the other hand, it was found that organisational support may act as a buffer against demands and may decrease work limitations and perceived performance difficulties. Whilst no moderating effect was found for growth opportunities in the relationship between social anxiety and work limitations, support was found for a negative relationship with both social anxiety and work limitations. No moderating effect was found for job insecurity in the relationship between social anxiety and work limitations. However, growth opportunities as a resource were found to moderate the relationship between social anxiety symptoms and perceived performance difficulties. Evidence was also found for the moderating effect of job insecurity in the relationship between social anxiety symptoms and perceived performance difficulties. The limitations of the current study and recommendations for organisations are discussed. This study highlights the importance of social anxiety symptoms as a barrier to effective work performance. Given the fact that interventions can potentially improve social anxiety and thereby performance, this area deserves much greater research attention.

AFRIKAANSE OPSOMMING: Sosiale angssimptome kom algemeen in die gemeenskap voor. Die simptome word nie alledaags in organisaies herken nie, en mag tot merkbaar verlaagde prestasie lei. Die doel van die studie was om die mate waartoe sosiale angsspektrum-simptome die prestasie van bestuursvlak-werknemers beïnvloed te bepaal en ondersoek in te stel na wyses waarop die simptome in organisasies bestuur moet word. Die studie het die volgende konstrukte ingesluit: sosiale angsspektrum-simptome, werkseienskappe, werksbeperkinge en waargenome prestasie-uitdagings. Daar is van ’n nie-eksperimentele navorsingsontwerp gebruik gemaak om die verhoudings tussen die vier konstrukte te bestudeer. ’n Gerieflikheidsteekproef van 250 bestuursvlak-werknemers van beide ’n privaatsektor en publieke sektor organisasie is genader. Eenhonderd en agtien voltooide vraelyste is ingedien. Die beskrywende statistiek het ’n gemiddelde ouderdom van 32 jaar getoon (versprei oor 20 tot 56 jaar), met 50% manlik, 50% vroulik, en ’n rasverspreiding van 64% wit, 29% kleurling, 4% swart en 3% Indiër respondente in die steekproef. Die meerderheid van die deelnemers het vorige werkservaring van 0 tot 5 jaar (37.29%) aangedui. Die gemiddelde aantal jare van werk was 10.81 en die mediaan 9.5 (versprei oor 0.5 tot 40 jaar gewerk). ‘n Hoë voorkomssyfer (11%) van sosiale angs is in die studie gevind, bo die afsnypunt vir die diagnose van die versteuring. Die resultate van die huidige studie dui aan dat sosiale angs alle aspekte van werk beïnvloed. Hierdie simptome was geassosieer met vele areas van werksbeperkings en waargenome prestasie-uitdagings en was nie slegs tot take wat sosiale interaksie en voordragte insluit, beperk nie. Die studie het ook gevind dat werksonsekerheid sosiale angssimptome, werksbeperkings en waargenome prestasie-uitdagings verhoog. Organisasieondersteuning is aangedui as ‘n moontlike buffer teen werkseise en mag werksbeperkings en waargenome prestasie-uitdagings verminder. Geen modereringseffek is vir groeigeleenthede gevind in die verhouding tussen sosiale angs en werksbeperkings nie, maar daar is wel gevind dat groeigeleenthede ’n negatiewe verband met beide sosiale angs en werksbeperkings het. Geen modereringseffek vir werksonsekerheid in die verhouding tussen sosiale angs en werksbeperkinge is gevind nie. Die rol van groeigeleenthede as hulpbron om die verhouding tussen sosiale angssimptome en waargenome prestasie-uitdagings te modereer, is bevestig. Getuienis is ook vir die modereringseffek van werksonsekerheid in die verhouding tussen sosiale angssimptome en waargenome prestasie-uitdagings gevind. Die beperkinge van die huidige studie en voorstelle vir organisasies word bespreek. Hierdie studie bekemtoon die belangrikheid van sosiale angssimptome as ’n hindernis met betrekking tot effektiewe werksprestasie. Ingrepe kan potensiaal sosiale angs verminder en daardeur prestasie verhoog. Hierdie aspek behoort heelwat meer navorsingsaandag in die toekoms te geniet.

Please refer to this item in SUNScholar by using the following persistent URL: http://hdl.handle.net/10019.1/5321
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