stress

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Business Chemistry® and stress: Study methodology

Business Chemistry® and stress: Study methodology

The Deloitte Greenhouse Experience Team conducted a research study to better understand stress at work and what role Business Chemistry plays in people’s experiences and responses. Study participants were 40,605 professionals who were invited by Deloitte to complete the online Business Chemistry® assessment as part of an internal or client event. These professionals work inside and outside Deloitte, in the US and elsewhere, representing more than 1,300 organizations and 120 countries overall. In addition to completing the Business Chemistry assessment, respondents were asked a series of questions about stress, with two separate samples responding to different stress questions as described below.

Sample 1

During the period of November, 2014 to June, 2015 we asked 23,597 people about their general stress levels and about how stressful they find 15 workplace events and situations to be. Respondents used a four-point rating scale for all questions. We considered ratings of three and four to indicate the person was “stressed” or found the situation “stressful.”

1 = Rarely

2 = Sometimes

3 = Often

4 = Almost always

1 = Not stressful

2 = A little stressful

3 = Moderately stressful

4 = Very stressful

We conducted an exploratory factor analysis to group the 15 situations into five categories as shown here:

 
  • Preparing an important presentation to a key audience
  • Delivering an important presentation for a key audience
  • Meeting a new key stakeholder
  • Organizing a large meeting or event
  • A mild confrontation with a peer
  • Getting mildly reprimanded by a client or supervisor
  • Speaking with a client or supervisor who is angry or upset
  • Delivering a difficult message
  • Working on a crucial project alone
  • Working on a crucial project with a team
  • Preparing a deliverable under time pressure
  • Needing to make an important decision quickly
  • Working long hours with little personal time off
  • Juggling multiple projects or responsibilities at once
  • Realizing you've made an error on a deliverable that's been widely shared

 

Forty-seven percent of respondents in Sample 1 are located in the US and 53 percent in other countries. Eighty-five percent of respondents work for Deloitte and 15 percent for other organizations. While professionals in the US reported more overall stress than those not in the US, there were no differences between Deloitte and non-Deloitte professionals in overall stress levels.

Sample 2

During the period of June 2015, to October 2015, we asked 17,008 people how effective they are under stress and how often they use 12 different coping strategies. Respondents used a four-point rating scale for all questions. We considered ratings of three and four to indicate the person was “effective under stress” or that they “use this strategy.”

1 = Not stressed

1 = Rarely

2 = A little stressed

2 = Sometimes

3 = Moderately stressed

3 = Often

4 = Very stressed

4 = Almost always

 

We conducted an exploratory factor analysis to group the 12 strategies into five categories, as shown here:

  
  • Taking a step back to consider the big picture
  • Trying to look on the bright side
  • Thinking through the possibilities and alternatives
  • Taking time out to do something that relaxes or energizes me (go for a run, a yoga class, or shopping)
  • Socializing or blowing off steam
  • Bouncing ideas off someone else or talking through options
  • Asking someone to help me
  • Talking with someone about how I'm feeling
  • Spending time organizing (calendar, to do list, plan of action, etc.)
  • Trying to get as much information as possible about the situation
  • Diving in and tackling the issue
  • Avoiding the issue or procrastinating (reverse scored)

 

In an effort to replicate the Business Chemistry differences identified in Sample 1, this sample of respondents was also asked about their general stress levels. The pattern of results and magnitude of differences was similar in the two samples.

Type
Sample 1
Sample 2

Pioneer

20 percent

22 percent

Driver

24 percent

25 percent

Integrator

32 percent

34 percent

Guardian

35 percent

36 percent

Total

28 percent

30 percent

 

Fifty percent of respondents in Sample 2 are located in the US and 50 percent in other countries. Eighty-four percent of respondents work for Deloitte and 16 percent for other organizations. Similar to Sample 1, professionals in the US reported more overall stress than those not in the US. Deloitte professionals in this sample reported slightly less overall stress than non-Deloitte professionals—while this difference is statistically significant, the effect size is very small and not practically meaningful (Deloitte = 30 percent stressed vs. Non-Deloitte = 31 percent stressed).

About the Business Chemistry assessment

The Business Chemistry assessment is an online tool consisting of 68 items designed to measure traits, behaviors, and preferences in the workplace. Respondents use sliders to indicate how well each item describes them. Scores are normalized and then compared to a baseline sample of professionals to determine a respondent’s primary Business Chemistry type. The four primary types represent the extremes of two dimensions (Guardian—Pioneer and Integrator—Driver) derived through Eigen analysis, which identifies the inter-correlations among items. The correlation between the dimensions is r=.29.

Ninety-six percent of the Eigen values were replicated when the initial analysis was repeated with an independent sample, suggesting that the primary types and the items associated with them are stable. Test-retest reliability in a sample of 496 professionals who completed the assessment twice within one year was r=.73 and r=.74 for the two dimensions, indicating that the assessment is reliable.

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