Sound Wave Electricals is an Australian based electrical equipment retailer operating 68 stores with 3,500 employees. With such a huge work force and expansive business operations, the company is bound to have several challenges in the management of its workforce. One of these challenges is Low Task Control. Low Task Control refers to often stressing situations where one is expected to complete a given task and achieve objectives in which they have very little control over (Hicks & McSherry, 2006). It also implies lack of control to the very factors influencing the expected outcomes. Low task control is most stressing when the job has a high responsibility.
There are different types of Low Task Control. One of them is time-based low-task control. In this case, one is bound by time in the accomplishment of a given task. Time as the limiting factor is influenced by business travel and inflexible or rotating work schedules (Gryna, 2004). Some tasks may have to be completed in sequence and some have to precede others. According to Gryna, (2004) the tasks coming first place pressure on those who have to perform and finish them in order for subsequent others to follow. The second type of Low-Task Control is strain-based conflict. In this case the chores that one has to accomplish at work and in other social setting such as at home conflict. For instance mothers with young ones may have to take babies to school by certain times and then proceed to work. In this case, work stress affects what a person does at home and vice versa. The third type of low-task-control is Role-Behaviour conflict where family and work roles conflict and become incompatible.
Recommendations to low task control include removing the stressor, changing stress perceptions, withdrawing from the stressor, receiving social support and controlling stress consequences (Hicks & McSherry, 2006). Receiving social support is one of the most effective ways to overcome low task control. It is appropriate for the management at Sound Wave Electricals to create a conducive and cohesive workforce. The management can engage batches of employees in a department in team-building exercises and fun activities on a regular basis say one weekend in two months. This ensures that the employees become friends who can come to the assistance of each other when faced with challenging tasks. Team-building exercises also act as stress removers giving the employees more morale and enthusiasm to accomplish challenging tasks (Hicks & McSherry, 2006).
In order to reduce low-task-control, the affected employees can withdraw from the stressing tasks. A holiday is always a welcome move for anyone who feels stressed at work. The awarding of paid leaves to stressed employees rejuvenates them and prepares them to handle even more challenging tasks upon resumption of duties. Controlling consequences of stress includes recommending counselling of adversely stressed employees (Gryna, 2004). The affected employees can also be moved to departments with lesser involving or challenging tasks.
The other recommendation is training to make the employees more competent in their work. The training opens up the employees to easier and more advanced ways of accomplishing certain tasks. For instance an accountant with Sound Waves Electricals can learn about advanced accounting software to enable him/her do his/her work faster and more efficiently. This move also makes employees enjoy their work more and gives them resilience to stress and challenging work situations.
Gryna, F. M 2004, Work Overload: Redesigning Jobs to Minimize Stress and Burnouts, Quality Press, USA, pp. 4, 5
Hicks, T &McSherry, C 2006, A Guide to Managing Workplace Stress, Universal Publishers, Florida, p. 11