Empowering public service workers to face bystander conflict: Enhancing resources through a training intervention

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Abstract

Public service employees work in occupations that are accompanied with high psychosocial risks. Police, firefighters, and paramedics are increasingly being confronted with argumentative, conflicting bystanders that frustrate them in executing their task. We developed a resource-enhancement intervention and tested its usefulness for securing employees’ effective functioning and well-being in bystander conflict. In a simulation-based pre-test post-test control group design, paramedics in the intervention condition received training about how to increase their resources in terms of conflict management efficacy, perspective taking, task support, and emotional support. For those in the control condition, no such training was provided. Comparing pre- and post-test measures (n = 81) of the participants in the intervention and control groups, we found evidence that the intervention successfully increased employees’ resources over time. Moreover, we found considerable support for a positive link between these resources and employees’ affective well-being and job dedication. Thus, our study suggests that a resource-enhancing intervention can serve as an important means to protect public service employees against the deleterious effects of bystander conflict.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)84-109
JournalJournal of Occupational and Organizational Psychology
Volume91
Issue number1
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 2018

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Allied Health Personnel
Firefighters
Bystander Effect
Control Groups
Anniversaries and Special Events
Police
Occupations
Public services
Resources
Service workers
Employees

Cite this

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abstract = "Public service employees work in occupations that are accompanied with high psychosocial risks. Police, firefighters, and paramedics are increasingly being confronted with argumentative, conflicting bystanders that frustrate them in executing their task. We developed a resource-enhancement intervention and tested its usefulness for securing employees’ effective functioning and well-being in bystander conflict. In a simulation-based pre-test post-test control group design, paramedics in the intervention condition received training about how to increase their resources in terms of conflict management efficacy, perspective taking, task support, and emotional support. For those in the control condition, no such training was provided. Comparing pre- and post-test measures (n = 81) of the participants in the intervention and control groups, we found evidence that the intervention successfully increased employees’ resources over time. Moreover, we found considerable support for a positive link between these resources and employees’ affective well-being and job dedication. Thus, our study suggests that a resource-enhancing intervention can serve as an important means to protect public service employees against the deleterious effects of bystander conflict.",
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AB - Public service employees work in occupations that are accompanied with high psychosocial risks. Police, firefighters, and paramedics are increasingly being confronted with argumentative, conflicting bystanders that frustrate them in executing their task. We developed a resource-enhancement intervention and tested its usefulness for securing employees’ effective functioning and well-being in bystander conflict. In a simulation-based pre-test post-test control group design, paramedics in the intervention condition received training about how to increase their resources in terms of conflict management efficacy, perspective taking, task support, and emotional support. For those in the control condition, no such training was provided. Comparing pre- and post-test measures (n = 81) of the participants in the intervention and control groups, we found evidence that the intervention successfully increased employees’ resources over time. Moreover, we found considerable support for a positive link between these resources and employees’ affective well-being and job dedication. Thus, our study suggests that a resource-enhancing intervention can serve as an important means to protect public service employees against the deleterious effects of bystander conflict.

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