The IORG Resource Center

The Impact Of Psychological Occupational Strains On Engineering Managers Stress Feeling – A Test Of The ERI Model

Resource Author:  Dirk Förster-Trallo, Thomas Rachfall
URL:   Link to Source Article or Site

An extensive literature review on the topic of physical and psychological strain experienced by engineering managers revealed a significant gap in understanding the impact of occupational strain on EMs.

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The Impact Of Electronical Tests On Student Pressure, Student Concentration And Academic Dishonesty

Resource Author:  Thomas Rachfall, Soeren Dressler, Dirk Förster-Trallo, Sandra Dressler
URL:   Link to Source Article or Site

Online or e-tests are an important component of new digital learning approaches. E-tests enable efficient ways to facilitate the examination process and provide immediate feedback to the students. Also, with students being more and more proficient in applying e-learning methods it can be expected that e-tests are generally higher accepted by students. However, aspects such as perceived strain and negative impacts on the concentration performance of students may arise through an online test environment. In addition, the e-test situation potentially invites academic dishonesty as test results are sometimes visible to others on various monitors and not permitted web-resources might be used. Aim of the research was to improve effectiveness of university education by enhancing the examination processes in digital teaching approaches. The authors have analyzed three business courses on bachelor and master levels in which e-tests are applied. The students were asked how comfortable they feel with the test situation and how the e-test situation creates strain and potentially limits their performance. Also, students were asked to compare e-tests against traditional ways of examination. In addition to this, students were surveyed with regards to the possibilities of cheating during an e-test. As a general result, students still prefer slightly paper-based exams but accept and adapt to e-test scenarios. While undergraduate students often feel less strained than graduate students in e-te

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The Impact Of Psychological Occupational Strain Load On Engineering Managers Decision Making Behaviour

Resource Author:  Dirk Förster-Trallo, Thomas Rachfall
URL:   Link to Source Article or Site

Executives, especially in the technical work environment, are influenced by different psychological strains at the workplace. The negative effects on health have been studied in recent years. Predominantly, the effects on physical well-being have been investigated and there are few studies on the effects of chronic psychological strains on information processing and decision-making behaviour. This paper presents the results of a study that examined the decision-making behaviour of 53 engineering managers. The participants can be divided into three groups according to their chronic psychological occupational strain load (high, medium, low). The decision-making behaviour of the participants was investigated using a quasi-experimental research design. It has been established that the decision-making behaviour at low or high loads is becoming increasingly extreme and unpredictable.

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How occupational strains affect executives information processing

Resource Author:  Dirk Förster-Trallo, Thomas Rachfall, Bruce M. Wood, Mary Maclachlan, D.K. Harrison
URL:   Link to Source Article or Site

An extensive literature review on the topic of physical and psychological strains for executives, showed a significant gap in analyzing the impact of occupational strains on executives information processing. Most of all the occupational specific job strains are not sufficiently investigated. This contribution demonstrates the theoretical linkage between the information processing and occupational strains as influence factors. As a consequence, this research provides a new clustering of occupational strains and the related symptoms for executives.

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The impact of Information Overload on individual stress feelings of management accountants

Resource Author:  Thomas Rachfall, Dirk Förster-Trallo, Elizabeth A. Williamson, Bryan Temple
URL:   Link to Source Article or Site

Almost every knowledge worker can relate to feelings of Information Overload (IO) and as a result some knowledge worker feel stress as a result of IO. Thereby IO and stress have both various effects on individuals and organizations. Despite intensive research during the last decades the complex relationship of both scientific disciplines still lacks comprehensive research about their connections. This research presents therefore a conceptual framework to analyze this relationship. A case study approach has been conducted to examine the connection between IO and the effect on individual stress feelings of management accountants. The research found out that IO has an effect on stress. Furthermore the different causes, coping strategies and countermeasures in the environment of management accountants were analyzed. The contribution to the field of stress research is a better understanding of the IO concept and the impact of IO to stress.

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Information Overload: effects on work satisfaction of knowledge workers

Resource Author:  Thomas Rachfall, Dirk Förster-Trallo, Elizabeth A. Williamson, Bryan Temple
URL:   Link to Source Article or Site

In the year 2015 most people are working with the help of information and communication technology (ICT), with a still rising rate of workplaces being equipped with new technology.

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Resource Author:  Thomas Rachfall, Elizabeth A. Williamson, Bryan Temple
URL:   Link to Source Article or Site

Almost every knowledge worker can relate to feelings of Information Overload (IO), but in reality the phenomenon is not well understood. IO can be critical for individuals and organizations. Despite intensive research during the last decades this complex scientific discipline lacks comprehensive research for parts of the possible impact factors. This research presents a conceptual framework and some variables to the type of information. A case study approach has been conducted to examine the relationship between bad-, irrelevant-and relevant information with IO. The research found out that too much bad information as well as relevant information has a positive effect on IO. The contribution to the field of IO research is a better understanding of the concept and the impact of the type of information to IO.

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Managing Your Attention as a Precursor to Information Overload

Information Overload [IO] may occur when we collect too many items related to a task stemming from FOMO or optimizing rather than satisficing (Herbert Simon) a judgment or decision. Also, we may permit too many notifications or subscriptions. IO is a legitimate concern for overloading our cognitive processing capacity. However, attention processing usually occurs prior to the cognitive processing of captured stimuli. We can improve out attention processing to decrease IO.

A few excerpts from :

Attention is a natural function of the body because individuals are constantly in a state of paying attention to different aspects of the environment. … Focus, on the other hand, requires paying attention to something for an extended period of time while tuning out other stimuli. CAN we improve our focus to decrease IO?/mb

Attention Skills: Knowing when to focus on small details and when to focus on the bigger picture. Knowing how to filter out unimportant sights, sounds or information. Paying attention without getting distracted. Holding a train of thought when interrupted. Following through on a task without needing to hear directions several times. Concentrate on one activity at a time.

Flow is the mental state of operation in which a person performing an activity is fully immersed in a feeling of energized focus, full involvement, and enjoyment in the process of the activity. In essence, flow is characterized by complete absorption in what one does.

Jim Clear ,author of a recent book Atomic Habits suggests

How to improve your focus (essentially limits the amount of extraneous stimuli) that should reduce IO. Jim’s Focus page: Luckily, this page contains the best ideas and top research on how to get and stay focused. We will break down the science behind sharpening your mind and paying attention to what matters.

Jim, as others, dismisses our brain’s ability to: “Multitasking forces your brain to switch your focus back and forth very quickly from one task to another. This wouldn’t be a big deal if the human brain could transition seamlessly from one job to the next, but it can’t.”

He describes the Buffet top 5 of 25 items to sequentially focus for completion. Other methods include other methods before like The Ivy Lee Method and The Eisenhower Box Jim also suggests methods to maintain/extend our attention span.
His website and related newsletter contain much useful information for improving productivity.

Belle Beth Cooper describes how Kahneman’s Two Brain System from his book Thinking Fast and Slow impacts our attention processing:

“System 1 is the involuntary, always-on network in our brains that takes in stimuli and process it. It’s the system that makes automatic decisions for us, like turning our heads when we hear our names called or freezing when we see a spider.

System 2 runs the voluntary parts of our brains. It processes suggestions offered by System 1, makes final decisions and chooses where to allocate our attention. The funny thing about how these system work is that we assume a lot of the things we do are purely conscious decisions made by System 2. In fact, almost everything we consciously decide on is based on automatic reactions and suggestions fed to us by System 1. Here is another great illustration of both systems at work:

System 2 is in charge of anything that takes willpower and self-control, and anything that’s too difficult for System 1.”


Our willpower often is challenged by distractions.
Distractions come in two main kinds, which Daniel Goleman explains in Focus: The Hidden Power of Excellencesensory distractions (things happening around you) and emotional distractions (your inner dialogue, thoughts about things happening in your life).

If you’ve ever had something emotional weighing on your mind, you’ll know how hard it is to block out that kind of distraction. Goleman explains that this happens for a reason: if something is upsetting us, our brains want us to find a solution so we won’t keep worrying about it. Putting it off doesn’t help us concentrate, because we can’t truly let go of those worrying thoughts until we have a plan to work through it.

Belle further offers these recommendations for enabling focus to operate.

  1. Meditate

I’ve written about the benefits of mediation before, which can help us to improve our attention spans.
Because meditation is a practice in focusing our attention and being aware of when it drifts, this actually improves our focus when we’re not meditating, as well. It’s a lasting effect that comes from regular bouts of meditation.

Focused attention is very much like a muscle, one that needs to be strengthened through exercise.

  1. Spend time in nature

One of Goleman’s suggestions for improving our ability to focus is to spend time in nature. This is to help our brains switch off—an experiment found that even going for a walk on a city street didn’t let the brain switch off enough to fully recover its focus, whereas walking in a park offered far fewer things for the brain to pay attention and respond to.

  1. Lose yourself in something you enjoy

I love this last suggestion from Goleman and I think I’ll try to incorporate all three of these into my routine.

Goleman pointed out that when you’re completely wrapped up in doing something easy that you enjoy, your inner dialogue switches off. This lets your mind rest and recoup the ability to focus on difficult tasks again later.

How can all of the above reduce IO? Beyond the automatic recognition of some stimuli, e.g., flash of lightning or police siren, the System 2 discretionary attention to other stimuli IF focus on a task is engaged, can reduce the pass-through of extraneous stimuli that can exceed a person’s capability to process information (pollute the relevant information with useless noise).

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Managing information overload in children

Resource Author:  Carolyne B. Atangaza
Resource Date:  2019-12-14
Resource Name:  Daily Monitor
URL:   Link to Source Article or Site

This short article has some thought provoking assertions about the impact of abundant unfiltered content on young children, like “What makes tablets and iPhones so great is the dozens of stimuli at your fingertips, and the ability to process multiple actions simultaneously. This is exactly what young brains do not need.”

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Smartphones and our information overload

Resource Author:  CBS
Resource Date:  2018-04-01
Resource Name:  CBS News
URL:   Link to Source Article or Site

The internet, and the ever-present smartphones from which we cannot detach ourselves, are changing the ways we relate to technology – and, at the same time, changing the way we use our brains. Senior Contributor Ted Koppel talks with technology critic Nicholas Carr, software developer Justin Rosenstein, “media psychologist” Byron Reeves, and Sen. Mark Warner about how the internet and social media have become weaponized, and how it is our attention spans that are being targeted.

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