A dynamic condition in which an individual is confronted with an opportunity, constraint, or demand related to what he or she desires and for which the outcome is perceived to be both uncertain and important (Schuler, 1980).
Anything that changes our physical, emotional, behavioural, or mental state while we encounter various stimuli in our environment.
Distress : The unpleasant and unhealthy side of stress the individual is exposed to noxious stimuli.
Eustress : Positive aspects of stress a sense of euphoria.
A degree of tension, anxiety and/or pressure experienced by a person.
Occupational stress : A person’s recognition of their inability to cope with the demands relating to work.
Self-efficacy : A person’s belief in his or her ability t accomplish a task.
Stressors : Factors which cause stress.
Strain : Outcomes of stress.
STRESSORS EXPERIENCED AT THE WORKPLACE
Nature of the job itself
Task demands and time pressure.
Lack of planning and organising at the workplace.
Some jobs can be hazardous or morally conflicting.
Some duties have built-in stresses (e.g. fire fighters).
Organisational structural factors
Environmental factors at work, such as noise, heat, poor lighting, radiation and smoke.
Insufficient resources such as time, budget, raw materials, space or manpower.
Other structural factors, such as staff rules and regulations, and reward systems not palatable to members.
Inter-Role Distance (IRD) : Is the result of conflicts one confronts in having to function in organisational and non-organisational roles as one keeps shifting gear from one role to the other.
Role Stagnation (RS) : Stress from RS is experienced when one feels stuck in the same position with no scope for advancement.
Role Expectation Conflict (REC) :
Role Erosion (RE) : Role is eroded, someone else is taking away your role/importance.
Role Overload (RO) : Refers to the condition when the individual is expected to do too man things within a limited time, as part of the daily routine.
Role Isolation (RI) : Occurs when there is no perceived linkage between one’s own and others’ roles.
Personal Inadequacy (PI) : Is bound to cause stress when one finds oneself bereft of training and necessary skills to do the job, and is assailed by fear of failure.
Self-Role Distance (SRD) : Difference between your view of yourself and your role.
Role Ambiguity (RA) : Stresses from RA arise when an employee does not know what is expected of him or her, or how to go about doing the job.
Resource Inadequacy (RIN) : Can and will result in stress, for nothing can be accomplished without the necessary equipment and other resources.
Economic changes : Sudden and unexpected changes in the marketplace, technology and the financial market.
People find it difficult to plan ahead financially uncertainties in people’s lives.
Decreasing levels of investment increasing levels of unemployment.
Political changes can cause stress for individuals, especially if people are not very clear about what to expect from a new political situation.
Social changes for causing stress include changes in values and attitudes towards age, gender and race.
Increasing negative discrimination against an ageing workforce.
Increasing awareness of environmental and health issues make individuals more sensitive to dangers to the environment and health.
Technological changes are all pervasive and can create so much information that individuals feel overburdened and look for a simpler way of life that is more familiar.
Deskilling of a workforce and a rise in the incidence of depression.
Upgrading of employee skills is required.
Life events and situations
Problems with family members arguments, divorce, separation.
Changes in family relationships death of loved ones, children leaving home.
Financial difficulties mortgage, children’s school expenses, holiday needs and expenses.
Strengths and Weaknesses
People sometimes realise strengths their skills & qualifications exceed the requirements of their jobs job dissatisfaction.
Individuals can recognise weaknesses in terms of their skills and qualifications when faced with a situation requiring a higher level of skills.
Personal characteristics are a prime cause of individual stress and certain personality types are better suited to coping with stress than others.
Interpersonal and group factors
Lack of group cohesion.
Interpersonal conflicts and poor communication.
Fear of being ostracised from the group as a valued member.
Stress has been identified as the fastest-growing reason for unscheduled work absences.
Consequences for the family
Spouse abuse, child abuse, alienation from family members and divorce could result from dysfunctional coping mechanisms.
Dual-career families role overload.
Consequences to the organisation
Low job satisfaction, low performance and productivity.
High rates of absenteeism and turnover.
Lost customers because of poor worker attitudes.
Increased alienation of the worker from the job.
Destructive and aggressive behaviour resulting in strikes and sabotage.
Inverted-U Relationship Between Stress and Job
(Source: S.P. Robbins, Organizational Behaviour , 2003, p. 583.) Low Stress High High Low Performance
Inverted-U Relationship Between Stress and Job
For every individual there is an optimum level of stress for performance at full capacity.
If the stress experienced is below this optimum, the motivation to work reaches a low point.
Careless and repeated mistakes.
Forgetting to do tasks and mental distractions at work.
Increased rates of tardiness and absenteeism turnover.
If the stress is too intense (e.g. too many conflicts with the supervisor or disagreeable co-workers), the effects on performance will again be adverse.
Increase of error rate and bad decisions.
Insomnia, stomach problems, psychosomatic illnesses and burnout.
Individual differences that moderate relationship between potential stressors and experienced stress:
High tolerance for ambiguity : Allows individuals to experience very little anguish while operating under conditions of insufficient information or in an environment of uncertain outcomes.
Internal locus of control : Allows people to handle stress well since they feel they are in control of the situation, and are not themselves controlled by it.
Self-esteem : Helps people to handle stress with ease since a sense of high self-concept and confidence in their abilities allows them to develop positive attitudes towards the management of stress and keep themselves cool and collected under stressful situations.
Type A personality
Personality characteristic that induces stress:
Engage in several simultaneous, parallel activities.
Feel a chronic sense of time urgency.
Are highly achievement oriented.
Exhibit a competitive mode of operation.
Are very hostile.
Are impatient when their work is slowed down for any reason.
Operate under self-imposed deadlines and help the organisation to move ahead in a relatively short period of time.
May suffer health problems that might in the long run be detrimental to both the organisation and themselves.
Type B personality
The opposite of the Type A personality:
Take things easy.
Do not sense the time urgency.
Do not have a competitive drive.
Type A takes on self-imposed burdens.
Certain personality predispositions have an impact on stress and how individuals handle it.
The same stressors will be perceived, acted upon and handled differently, by different people with different personality characteristics.