Identifying organizational stressors: An effective work approach


Ms. Vijit A. Chaturvedi
Faculty (HRM)
Icfai National College

"Stress ", the word stress refers to a state of deviation or variation from normal state due to unplanned or improperly designed system or work process resulting into failures and non – accomplishment of goals. Organizational stress as defined by J.E Newman, is "a condition arising out of interaction of people with their jobs and characterizes by changes within people that forces them to drift apart from normal functioning".

In the present global scenario where the employers try their best and keep a continuous track to map the satisfaction quotient of employees at different levels of baby boomers generation X-ers and generation Y-ers or employees as diverse workforce in terms of age, gender, attitudes, expectations and longevity.

Since the delegation, accountability and authority in an organization is decided on by the organization structure which reflects the flow of direction within the structure. Instead of the best practices, policies and allocation each job is accompanied by stress among individuals which results into dysfunction and ineffective goal attainment and leads to heavy losses in terms of de - motivation, unethical organization culture, lack of goal congruency, distrust effecting team work thus effecting the overall working of organization.

Sources of Stress

Organizational stress does not solely have its roots in factors due to job of an individual but individual personal reason also has a major role in factors leading to stress. The stressors can be of following types –

I) Extra organizational stressors – It refers to the factors that are more personal and related more to individual, like

Societal patterns
Technological changes
Changed lifestyle
Relocation of work or family
Unexpected happening or changes in life
Sociological variables like race, sex and class leads to stress

II) Organizational Stressors they emerge from reasons related to organization or job assigned to individual. They can be of following reasons –

a) High stress job- It refers to work which involves hectic schedule and complex job responsibilities which result into imbalance in personal and work a life and also overwork may affect physical health of individual resulting into ineffective work and dissatisfaction among employees leading imbalance in family or personal life also

b) Job role – Certain job characteristics like job overload, job assignment, job responsibility and responsibility of others, hectic schedules and constant pressure causes stress.

c) Improper working condition – Sometimes even the physical condition, the infrastructure and lacuna in basic facilities of the organization lead to stress and improper work efficiency.

d) Under utilization of skills – If the skills remain underutilized it leaves the person demotivated due to scarcity of opportunities for growth resulting into frequent absenteeism, aloofness, role ambiguity, instability and dissatisfaction.

e) Organizational Politics – Competition within departments if improperly handled results into negative feelings, fault finding and high role ambiguity which spoil the overall culture and climate of organization.

III) Individual Stressors

Since each individual's disposition and perception for taking and handling stress varies, so the level of stress and its causes are more individual in nature. The causes of individual stressors are –

a) Role ambiguity – It can be due to lack of training, improper knowledge of subject, poor communication channel, friction between superior and subordinates etc.

b) Psychological Hardiness –It decides the level and capacity of a person to handle stress since it varies from individual to individual. Thus people having high level of hardiness in handling stress are persons who know how to handle situation better and in a planned way so as to reduce level of stress

c) Type of Personality –As per the category Type A are people who have high level of commitment, are competitive,, aggressive, and exhibit different behavior patterns. They desire to achieve. Such personalities are more prone to chances of stress and incompatibility. Type B are those who have a relaxed and balanced approach and are more confident in their approaches towards work. They are less susceptible to stress.

Stress Coping Strategies for Organization

After identifying the types and causes that lead to individual, organizational stress the need arises to remedies these causes so as to save organization and people from being stressful, unproductive and dissatisfied. The organization and the HR department needs to keep a proper eye and control on the organization activities like –

A) Job related Strategies

* Proper job designing and matching the job and the job incumbent
* Proper selection and placement
* Training to reduce stress
* Counseling and mentoring
* Proper and planned job delegation and allocation of task
* Monetary and non monetary benefits

B) Emotion focused strategies

* Creating open communication channels
* Employee assistance programs
* Mentoring
* Wellness program
* Team building exercises

C) Problem focused strategy

They hit the problem directly after analyzing the possible cause of stress. They can be practiced in form of–

* Training employees for best time management
* Training to perform in a team
* Proper job allocation
* Job evaluation
* Matching performance evaluation with job delegation
* Empowering employees
* Participative exercises to build up involvement, trust and trust.
* Recreation
* Training people in perceptual adaptation

Thus, it is though far difficult to ensure providing a stress less and relieved work culture or work, the real productivity and efficiency can be truly yielded a only when individuals at their own and the management on continuous basis can practice a monitoring mechanism to identify the causes resulting into stress and improvising such issues along with employees participation matched with counseling, mentoring, open communication channels and empowerment exercises.

It is the prime responsibility of top management to envisage in system such organization developmental interventions that can bring positive changes in the working, attitude and commitment level of employees by means of work life balance and making the quality of work life happy, productive and esteemed.

Irrespective of the nature of industry and work no job can remain untouched and affected from stress since it is a multi- dependent variable including the individual in its different attributes like personal, work related external and internal environment related and above all psychological make up which decides the extent to which the person can accept and overcome stress. Thus to overcome the impact of organizational stressors on employees working efficiency and organization a overall check mechanism need to be designed for the betterment of organization as a whole.

Ms. Vijit A. Chaturvedi
Faculty (HRM)
Icfai National College

Source: E-mail August 6, 2008


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