Workplace Stress: tormenting gadget


By:

Dr. Vijay Pithadia
Assistant Professor & Kidevices Chair
E-mail:
vijaypithadia@lycos.com
Mr. Vishal Patidar
Lecturer of Accounts & Finance
E-mail:
vishal_patidar2003@yahoo.co.in
School of Management Studies
Shri Lauva Patel Trust College for Women
Amreli-365 601 GJ
 


People are disturbed not by things, but by their perception of things….
                                                                                              Epictetus

Digest

With the globalization of business there are other questions that come into play, especially those related to the changing technology, changing work culture, changing work cluster, high demands in job, changing life style and changing in mega environment consists of legal, political, economical, technical, socio-cultural component related to the business activities. The employees are human beings; normally they are ever changing, unpredictable and uncontrollable. Stress is a highly personalized phenomenon and can vary widely even in identical situations for different reasons. Numerous surveys and studies confirm that occupational pressures and main reasons behind stress among people. The problem of stress has become a major issue in this time; conditions in contemporary society are stressful than those of previous generations. Our society, face problems of stress, many of which are created by changes in technologically advanced societies the demands that trigger the same 'fight or flight' mechanisms that enabled us to survive May longer be appropriate to the modern age. Technological progress will be defined as 'those changes, which have been brought about in our society by the impact of the microchip, with particular regard to the computer'. These changes are seen throughout our everyday lives. Changes in many offices have involved the introduction of computerized systems, whereby each member of staff is linked to another through a network, thus removing the old-established face-to-face dealing. This may result in a silent world where social skills and creative conversation and ideas are diminished, or even become extinct. In this paper an attempt has been made to view the reasons of stress in the changing working scenario.

Stress

Stress is simply the body's non-specific response to any demand made on it. Stress is common to everyone. Stress can be caused by anything that requires you to adjust to a change in your environment. Your body reacts to these changes with physical, mental and emotional responses. We all have our own ways of coping with change, so the causes of stress can be different for each person.

Stress has generally been viewed as a set of neurological and physiological reactions that serves an adaptive function (Franken, 1994). There are numbers of definitions of stress as well as number of events that can lead to the experience of stress. People say they are stressed when they take an examination, when having to deal with a frustrating work situation, or when experiencing relationship difficulties. Stressful situations can be viewed as harmful, as threatening, or as challenging. With so many factors that can contribute to stress it can be difficult to define the concept of "stress".

Hans Selye (1982) points out that few people define the concept of stress in the same way or even bother to attempt a clear-cut definition. According to Selye, an important aspect of stress is that a wide variety of dissimilar situations are capable of producing the stress response such as fatigue, effort, pain, fear, and even success. This has led to several definitions of stress, each of which highlights different aspects of stress. One of the most comprehensive models of stress is the Biopsychosocial Model of Stress (Bernard & Krupat, 1994). According to the Biopsychosocial Model of Stress, stress involves three components: an external component, an internal component, and the interaction between the external and internal components.

Raison d'être for Workplace Stress

"You have to run as fast as you can to stay where you are."

It must be acknowledged that the rate of technological change is greater than it has ever been. This rate of change affects the nature of work at all levels and in many organizations. There have always been changes, but the current rate far exceeds previous rates and as such technological progress may cause workers to be concerned about their jobs and therefore must be considered as a cause of stress. Davis and Blomstrom (1975) have observed an analogous situation to that described by Lewis Carroll (1865) in Alice's Adventures in Wonderland: "You have to run as fast as you can to stay where you are." Both these views would appear to support the contention that technological change per se does not necessarily cause stress, but that it is the rate of technological change, which leads to stress.

Technological change where job security is threatened, coupled with feelings of not being able to adapt to a new situation are causes of stress amongst the workforce. Thus job insecurity; job loss and job changes would be contributory factors in increasing workplace stress in employees.

The basic thrust that stress causes people to under-perform and that technology could remove the more mundane aspects of life and allow the individual to concentrate on higher-level things. These cause physical and emotional problems that may damage both your health and your performance. Furthermore, stress grows excessive pressure associated with living in a fast-paced world has created an environment where almost everyone is suffering to some degree from excessive stress. The effects on our health, productivity and quality of life are devastating - more devastating than we realized. "Workplace Stress" is the harmful physical and emotional responses that can happen when there is a conflict between job demands on the employee and the amount of control an employee has over meeting these demands. In general, the combination of high demands in a job and a low amount of control over the situation can lead to stress. However, one can deal with this stress through some healthy habits, and an awareness of what our body requires at any given point of time.

A perceived imbalance in this mechanism gives rise to the stress response, which may be psychological and/or behavioral. The stress can also be defined as an internal state, which can be caused by physical demand on the body, exercises, extremes of temperature, or by the environmental or social situations which can be evaluated as potentially harmful, uncontrollable exceeding our resources for coping or adjustment.

Stressors on the Job

Following are the main stressors that have been identified as those causing the most stress for the most people:

1. "Politics" in general and organizational politics in particular.
2. Too much/too little independence in performance and decision-making.
3. Responsibilities without adequate power to fulfill them.
4. Lack of adequate knowledge to fulfill assignment or make plans for self within the organizational structure
5. Lack of motivators for performance.
6. Too much or too little responsibility.
7. Too much or too little work.
8. Interruptions and conflicting demands
9. Role conflict.
10. Managing time on the job.

Job stress comes in many different forms and affects our bodies in various ways. Minor sources of stress may include equipment that won't work or phones that won't quit ringing. Major stress comes from having too much work, fearing a job layoff, or not getting along with your boss.

Usually it is the major sources of stress that lead to burnout, causing people to become unhappy and less productive in their work. Job stress can affect health and home life as well. Low levels of stress may not be noticeable; slightly higher levels can be positive and challenge us to act in creative and resourceful ways; and high levels can be harmful, contributing to chronic disease.

The stress can be classified in to four groups.

1. Distress
2. Euphoric stress
3. Hyper stress
4. Hypo stress 

The term distress is the most commonly accepted interpretation of the term stress. It account for all the happenings and resultant felling of unpleasantness, losses. The opposite of distress is eu-stress or stress caused by experiences of over joy, over pleasantness or a windfall or sudden gain. The hyper stress is the situation characterize by over activities, pressure beating the deadlines etc. opposites to this is hypo stress indicated by lack of activity, absence of challenge and pressure for performance. Generally executives complain about hyper stress but if possible avoid the situation of hypo stress or hyper stress. In fact many organizations create legitimate tasks and regular systematic work routine of responsibilities. The stress is essential to reach the definite performance. Infect, excellence in any spare of life is essentially accompanied by stress. It is bad master but a good servant.

As it stated earlier, the mega environment, relevant environment and micro level environment and related uncertainty influence the organization, people and work culture. The change in business cycle, structure of legal law, social norms, taxation and its implication, foreign trade, companies and competition creates economical uncertainty, in addition to this, GDR trends, interest rate, inflation rate, wages and prices, income distribution will create problems in the way for commercial activities. Besides this, modern and fast life, change in value, moral and standard in social culture, change in literacy ratio and woman empowerment, population age distribution, career challenge and expectation of life create the stressful situation for any businessman. Sometime the task, role, interpersonal relation, structure, leadership in organization may be caused for fear, tension and anxiety. In addition to this, family, economic situation, personality are also other consideration to understand the stress situation.

Thrash out

Selye dedicated his life to a field that was unknown, and triggered by his definition of the stress many debates that are of current concern (wellness or welfare against sickness). He pointed out the effects of the quality of life and stress involved on anatomy and physiology, and showed the importance of the endocrine system. He also helped to modern immunology. He discovered that lymphoid organs (thymus, spleen, lymph nodes and Bursa of Fabricius) are regulated by steroid hormones and précised the role of mast cells in pathologies, without even knowing the role of those organs. Finally, he made his scientific conclusions accessible to anybody by advising 'fight for the highest attainable aim, but do not put up resistance in vain'.

Bang of stress

The impact of stress can be classified in three heads as,

(i) Psychological impact
(ii) Physiological impact
(iii) Behavioral impact

In overall evaluation, high blood pressure, heart diseases, sleep disturbance, low level of job satisfaction, depression, absenteeism at workplace, accidents, anxiety, suicide, aggression and indulging, sabotage activity, lack of concentration, loss of memory, unhelpful, non cooperative attitude, illness and residences for change etc. would be the result created due to stressful situation.

The role of executives in organization is full of stress. It is a common place for work and organizations tend to create a climate of uncertainty, anxiety and threats. At this situation, sometimes, the organization may not be aware of the types of stresses, which employees are suffering. It is in the interest of the organization is to understand the nature of role stresses which are experienced by executives. Dysfunctional role stresses do not allow the executive to operate the task with maximum efficiency.

Epilogue

Stress is an unavoidable aspect of life. Everyone has to cope up with this situation. The collective and sensible efforts of organization, family and individual can coordinate and being positive way of life. So unity of heart, unity of action and unity of thinking can restore the real peace and happiness with self, work and organization.

Selected Bibliography

1. Stephen P. Robbins, Organization Behavior, Pearson Education, New Delhi
2. S. K. Chakraborty, Ethics in Management, Oxford University Press, New Delhi
3. Selye, H.," The Stress of Life" New York: McGraw-Hill, 1956
4. Times Accent, October 14, 2004
5. Ader, R., & Cohen, N., "Psychoneuroimmunology: Conditioning and stress", Annual Review of Psychology, 44, 53-85, 1993
6. Cannon, W.B., "Stresses and strains of homeostasis", American Journal of the Medical Sciences, 189(1), 1-14, 1934
7. Chesney, M.A. & Rosenman, R.H., "Specificity in stress models: Examples drawn from type A behavior. In C.L. Cooper (Ed.). Stress research: Issues for the eighties", Chichester: John Wiley, 1983
8. Cooper, C.L. & Cartwright, S., "Stress-management interventions in the workplace: Stress counseling and stress audits. British Journal of Guidance and Counseling", 22(1), 65-73, 1994
9. Hobfoll, S.E., "The ecology of stress", New York: Hemisphere, 1988
10. Law, J., "Technology and heterogeneous engineering: the case of Portuguese expansion. In W.E. Bijker, T.P. Hughes & T.J. Pinch (Eds.). The social construction of technological systems", Cambridge, Mass: MIT Press, 1987
11.
http://www.depts.ttu.edu/porkindustryinstitute/Honors%20A&P/SELYE%20by%20Krebs.htm
12. http://www.google.co.in/search?hl=en&q=Stephen+P.+Robbins%2C+Organization+Behavior&btnG=Google +Search&meta
13. http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/tg/detail/-/0131000691/102-3909148-1944114?v=glance
14. http://www.csun.edu/~vcpsy00h/students/stress.htm
 


Dr. Vijay Pithadia
Assistant Professor & Kidevices Chair
E-mail:
vijaypithadia@lycos.com
Mr. Vishal Patidar
Lecturer of Accounts & Finance
E-mail:
vishal_patidar2003@yahoo.co.in
School of Management Studies
Shri Lauva Patel Trust College for Women
Amreli-365 601 GJ
 

Source: E-mail August 30, 2005

  

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