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Social stress, social support and performance in human-machine teams

English title Social stress, social support and performance in human-machine teams
Applicant Sauer Jürgen
Number 173344
Funding scheme Project funding (Div. I-III)
Research institution Departement für Psychologie Universität Freiburg
Institution of higher education University of Fribourg - FR
Main discipline Psychology
Start/End 01.04.2018 - 31.03.2022
Approved amount 415'000.00
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Keywords (6)

illegitimate task; performance; ostracism; human-machine teams; negative feedback; social stress

Lay Summary (German)

Lead
Sozialer Stress, soziale Unterstützung und Leistung in Mensch-Maschine Systemen
Lay summary

Das Projekt befasst sich mit den Auswirkungen von sozialem Stress auf die Leistung und das Wohlbefinden von Menschen. Sozialer Stress bezieht dabei auf unangenehme Situationen im Arbeitsprozess, welche von anderen Menschen verursacht werden (z.B. Kollegen, Vorgesetzte, Kunden) und dabei den Selbstwert der betroffenen Person beeinträchtigen. In diesem Projekt werden dabei drei Formen von sozialem Stress untersucht: Zuweisung illegitimer Aufgaben, soziale Exklusion und negatives Feedback im Beurteilungsgespräch. Es ist geplant, diese Stressoren in einem Labor zu simulieren, da dieses Vorgehen bessere Möglichkeiten bietet, das Ausmass von Beeinträchtigung auf die Arbeitsleistung zu messen. Bislang gibt es sehr wenige Erkenntnisse über die Auswirkungen sozialer Stressoren auf die Arbeitsleistung. Des Weiteren ist geplant, die Frage zu untersuchen, inwieweit es einen Unterschied macht, ob sozialer Stress von einem Menschen oder einer Maschine (z.B. Roboter) verursacht wird. So könnte z.B. ein Roboter den Stressor „Soziale Exklusion“ verursachen, indem er einen Menschen aus der Arbeitsgruppe ignoriert und nur noch mit den anderen Gruppenmitgliedern kommuniziert. Aufgrund der zunehmenden Automatisierung werden Situationen, in denen Maschinen für die Entstehung von sozialem Stress verantwortlich sind, zunehmend wahrscheinlicher. Insgesamt soll das Projekt ein besseres Verständnis von sozialem Stress erreichen und dabei auch die Rolle von sozialer Unterstützung (z.B. durch Freunde oder Kollegen) beleuchten.

Direct link to Lay Summary Last update: 02.03.2018

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Associated projects

Number Title Start Funding scheme
134566 Effectiveness of explicit and implicit adaptive automation under different work stressors 01.09.2011 Project funding (Div. I-III)

Abstract

The project aims to examine problems associated with social stressors in hybrid teams (i.e. comprising humans and highly automated technical systems) and whether social support can alleviate any negative effects. Whereas no such work has been carried out in hybrid teams, there is ample empirical work on different kinds of social stressors (e.g. bullying, interpersonal conflict) in teams comprising only humans. This work has shown a strong propensity towards field research for most stressors and is also characterised by a shortage of studies taking measurements of performance. To complement this research, a laboratory-based approach is adopted by using a computer-based simulation of a complex technical work environment, which allows measuring multiple performance indicators. The following three work-related social stressors are examined: assignment of illegitimate tasks (i.e. tasks that violate norms with regard to what can be reasonably expected from a job holder) ostracism (i.e. people being excluded and ignored at work) and negative performance feedback in performance appraisal. The three social stressors will be examined in hybrid teams, combined with the provision of social support as an antagonist to the social stressor. The focus on hybrid teams represents a novel approach and allows us to determine whether the outcomes of social stress are fundamentally different depending on whether the social stressor is induced by a human or a machine. Three experiments will examine the effects of these social stressors on performance and on other pertinent outcome measures (e.g. subjective strain, affect). Experiment I investigates the impact of illegitimate task assignment by a human or by a machine agent. Experiment II is concerned with ostracism at work, comparing the effects of being socially excluded by a human colleague or by a machine agent. Experiment III examines the effects of receiving negative performance feedback (from a human or machine agent). Each experiment also aims to determine whether social support is effective in reducing the negative effects of social stress. The methodological approach adopted allows us to measure a broad range of outcome variables, notably objective parameters such as multiple-task performance, information sampling behaviour and psychophysiological data. The work planned is expected to provide several benefits. First, we will gain a better understanding of the extent to which social stress and how social support affects outcome measures that have not yet been examined in previous research (notably objective performance). Second, we will increase our knowledge of how these social processes differ in hybrid team from those in traditional human teams. Third, the work will make a simulation environment available to the research community that allows us to examine social stressors in a laboratory.
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