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Causes and Effects of Work Stress in an Organization (VIKRANT BAGHI)
Table Of Contents
y y y y y y Introduction«««««««««««««««««««««««««««««..2 Literature Review«««««««««««««««««««««««««««.3 Theoretical Framework««««««««««««««««««««««««...12 Recommendations«««««««««««««««««««««««««««12 Conclusion««««««««««««««««««««««««««««««14 References««««««««««««««««««««««««««««««.14
Causes and Effects of Work Stress in an Organization
Abstract-The research reveals what is a stress , what are the causes behind the stress in an organization and it also reveals the various effects of the stress on an employer and the employee in an organization. Research methodology-The research methodology used is the qualitative methodology. Information is used from articles and journals. Keywordsstress, causes, effects, stressors.
Paper type- Research paper. Introduction In today¶s world everyone is aware of the term Stress. Stress is a term in psychology and biology, first coined in the biological context in the 1930s, which has in more recent decades become a commonplace of popular parlance. It refers to the consequence of the failure of an organism ± human or animal ± to respond appropriately to emotional or physical threats, whether actual or imagined Or It can be defined as body¶s uncertain response to the demand made on it. On one hand it provides the outlet to express our talent and energies and helps us to pursue the happiness while on the other hand it causes illness and mellows down our strength. When something unpleasant around us, it puts us in a state of Strain called Stress. Stress and health are closely related to each other. There can be reasons behind a person suffering from Stress some of them can be emotional problems, family problems, social problems and Work stress. Work is generally good for people if it is well designed, but it can also be a great source of pressure. There is a difference between pressure and stress. Pressure can be positive and a motivating factor, and is often essential in a job. It can help us achieve our goals and perform better. Work Stress occurs when this pressure becomes excessive.Work-related stress is the natural reaction of people to being put under intense pressure at work over a period of time. Many people are motivated by the challenges and difficulties that
normally occur with work demands and react by improving performance. Meeting those challenges and overcoming the difficulties causes feelings of relaxation and satisfaction. When the pressure of work demands becomes excessive and prolonged, however, people perceive a threat to their wellbeing or interests and then experience unpleasant emotions such as fear, anger or anxiety. Work stress can be defined as the inability to cope with the pressures in a job. The nature of work is changing at whirlwind speed. Perhaps now more than ever before, job stress poses at threat to the health of workers and, in turn, to the health of organizations. Stress from work has become a important topic in today¶s world because it directly influence the performance of a person in an Organization. Individual performance lowers down in organizations which start effecting the organization as a whole.
Literature Review Work stress is defined as the harmful physical and emotional responses that occur when job requirements do not match the worker¶s capabilities, resources, and needs (National Institute of Occupational Safety and Health 1999). It is recognized world-wide as a major challenge to individual mental and physical health, and organizational health (ILO 1986). Stressed workers are also more likely to be unhealthy, poorly motivated, less productive and less safe at work. And their organizations are less likely to succeed in a competitive market. By some estimates work-related stress costs the national economy a staggering amount in sick pay, lost productivity, health care and litigation costs (Palmer et al. 2004). One-fourth of employees view their jobs as the number one stressor in their lives (Northwestern National Life) Three-fourths of employees believe the worker has more on-the-job stress than a generation ago.²(Princeton Survey Research Associates). Problems at work are more strongly associated with health complaints than are any other life stressor²more so than even financial problems or family problems. (St. Paul Fire and Marine Insurance Co). The term ³stress´ originated in the field of physics and was transferred into psychology. Basically, the idea is that human beings tend to resist external forces acting upon them, just as do physical materials and bodies (Hobfull, 1989). Today the concept of stress is widespread but controversial, and is defined in several different ways (Keinan, 1997): y y y Stress as stimulation ± stress is an extremely powerful (and at times unusual) stimulation which combines characteristics of loss and threat. Stress as reaction ± stress is a reaction to a particular event. Stress as relation ± this definition combines both previous definitions. The term stress refers to the interaction between the person and the environment. In reviewing studies pertaining to job stresses Kahn and Byosiere (1992) see as recurring themes role conflict, role ambiguity
and work overload. Such factors have negative implications for workers, both psychologically and physically. Organizational-based factors have been known to induce job stress for employees at the workplace (Greenhaus & Beutell, 1985). These factors are commonly termed as organizational stressors since they serve as agents that trigger the various stress reactions (Von Onciul, 1996) Among the numerous organizational sources of stress, only five variables were investigated in this study namely conflict, blocked career, alienation, work overload, and unfavorable work environment. Role conflict has been found to have a positive relationship with job stress (Roberts et al., 1997). When individuals are required to play two or more role requirements that work against each other, they are likely to experience job stress. This is because role conflicts create expectations that may be hard to reconcile. Foot and Venne (1990) discovered a positive relationship between barriers to career advancement and job stress. When employees perceived a lack of career opportunities, they are likely to feel uncertain about their future in the organization, which in turn, are likely to induce stress. Alienation at the work place can also lead to stress. Thoits (1995) in his study discovered that alienation has a positive effect on job stress. Feelings of alienation are likely to result when employees are required to work alone. According to Kanungo (1981), when workers believe there is a separation between their own job and other work related contexts, a sense of frustration that finally manifested in a behavioral state of apathy is likely to occur. This is particularly intense for employees with high social needs. Working 4 alone on one¶s job without social support from one¶s peers and supervisors would lead to job stress (Mirovisky & Ross, 1986; Eugene, 1999). Work overload both quantitatively and qualitatively has been empirically linked to a variety of physiological, psychological, and behavioral strain symptoms (Beehr & Newman, 1978; Roberts et al., 1997; Miller & Ellis, 1990) According to Greenhaus et al. (1987), heavy workload lowers one¶s psychological well-being resulting in job stress. Additionally, a work environment associated with unpleasant organizational climate, lack of privacy, a lot of hassle in conducting work, and distractions can result in higher stress (Miller & Ellis, 1990; Eugene, 1999).
Some causes of job stress are (US Department Of Health And Services)
The Design of Tasks- Heavy workload, infrequent rest breaks, long work hours and shiftwork; hectic and routine tasks that have little inherent meaning, do not utilize workers¶ skills, and provide little sense of control.\ y y y y Management Style Lack of participation by workers in decision making, poor communication in the organization, lack of family friendly policies. Interpersonal Relationships- Poor social environment and lack of support or help from coworkers and supervisors. Work Roles Conflicting or uncertain job expectations, too much responsibility, too many ³hats to wear.´ Career Concerns ±Job insecurity and lack of opportunity for growth, advancement, or promotion; rapid changes for which workers are unprepared.
Environmental Conditions -Unpleasant or dangerous physical conditions such as crowding, noise, air pollution, or ergonomic problems.
According to an another organization (Centre of suicide prevention,2000) the causes for work stress can be: y y y y y y y y y Unreasonably long hors Threats to personal safety Role ambiguity or conflict Job insecurity Negative office policies Physical environment e.g.; noise level, air quality etc. Few or no prospect of carrier growth A lack of support from coworkers Tension between home and work responsibilities
One important part of our lives which causes a great deal of stress is our job or our work. Workrelated stress is of growing concern because it has significant economic implications for the organizations through employee dissatisfaction, lowered productivity and lowered emotional and physical health of the employees. It has been argued that organizational and extra organizational stressors lead to stress through cognitive appraisal which, in turn, leads to poor emotional health, poor physical health, and behaviors which harm the organizations Stress effects on y y y Individual Group Organization
Work organization factors cause stress. The National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) in the United States defines work organization as the ³work process and the organizational practices that influence job design.´ The following are among the many work organization factors that can cause stress, some of which build on what CUPE members have identified: Lack of control and conflicting work demands. Lack of participation in decision-making and lack of autonomy (i.e., independence and ability to self-direct) at work. Lack of training and direction, and changes in work organization. Lack of recognition of work done and lack of respect from supervisors.
Repetitive, boring and meaningless work. Unclear and conflicting work responsibilities. Low pay, lack of career development opportunities and job instability. Too much or too little work, overwork or under-use of skills. Poor communication, new technologies and time pressures. Privatization, outsourcing, downsizing, mergers, staff cutbacks, restructuring, and other large-scale work reorganization schemes. Repressive management styles and techniques, such as Total Quality Management, constant improvement, team working, and quality circles. Physical work conditions can also be stressors, such as: Noise and vibration. Poor and inadequate lighting. Temperature extremes ± too hot or too cold, or too much variation in temperature. Overcrowding, poor spacing and work area layout. Exposure to toxic substances. Ill-fitting and poorly designed work tools, furniture and workspaces. Poorly maintained work environment. Poor indoor air quality. Bad building design. Working with hazardous equipment. Lack of outside amenities and bad site planning ± such as no parking, no access to public transit, no proximity to green space and recreational facilities. Cooper and Marshall¶s five sources of stress, with examples of the components of these sources given for each, are: (1) Intrinsic to the job, including factors such as poor physical working conditions, work overload or time pressures; (2) Role in the organization, including role ambiguity and role conflict;
(3) Career development, including lack of job security and under/over promotion; (4) Relationships at work, including poor relationships with your boss or colleagues, an extreme component of which is bullying in the workplace (Rayner and Hoel, 1997); and (5) Organizational structure and climate, including little involvement in decision-making and office politics. According to Blix et al., 1994; Thorsen, 1996; Hogan et al., 2002; Fisher, 1994; Abouserie, 1996; Doyle and Hind, 1998; Kinman, 2001; Kinman and Jones, 2003; Tytherleigh et al., 2005). y y y y y y y y Long working hours; Too much administrative paperwork; Lack of support; Obtaining research funding and finding time for research; Frequent interruptions; Rapid change; Poor leadership and management; and Poor salary and lack of promotion prospects
There are also some intrinsic factors that leads to job stress they are
Role in the Organization Another major source of stress is associated with a person¶s role at work. A great deal of research is on role ambiguity and role conflict. Role ambiguity is a result of employee¶s uncertainties and lack of information about job role, expectation and responsibilities. Kahn, Wolfe, Quinn, Snoek and Rosenthal (1964) found in their studies that men who suffered from role ambiguity experienced lower job satisfaction, high job related tension, greater futility and lower self esteem. On the other hand, role conflicts exist when the demand of the job differs from what he or she thinks of the job role and specifications. Wardwell, Hyman and Bahnson (1964) found that responsibility to people lead to higher symptoms of stress. Relationship at work This third major source of stress at work is referring to as the relationship with superior, subordinates and colleagues. Buck (1972) focused its study on the relationship of workers and managers. It found that lack of considerate behaviors of supervisor appears to have contributed significantly to feelings of job pressure. Another important role of manager is supervision of subordinates work. Managers who could not do so are consider lack of skills and this causes potential stress to the managers. Besides the obvious factors of office politics and colleague rivalry, stress can also be caused by lack of social support in difficult situations (Lazarus 1966). Colleague
may or may not be helpful in difficult situations or helps are rendered, there are still elements of uncertainties. Career Development Two major cluster of this stressor are (1) lack of job security-fear of redundancy, obsolescence or early retirement and (2) status incongruity e.g. under ± or over promotion, frustration at having reach one¶s career ceiling. For managers, career progression is the overriding importance as by promotion, it means it means not only earning more but enhanced status. As managers reach the ceiling, there is a fear of demotion or obsolescence or early retirement as managers have to keep up with technological changes over the years. Mc Murray (1973) noted that over-promoted are grossly overworking to keep the job and at the same time hide his insecurity. In addition, the technological change in the society means company hiring young and technological savvy personnel to fill such position. Unless the manager keeps up with such changes or he or she will be obsolete in the organization. Organizational structure and climate This fifth potential source of stress is simply being in the organization. French and Caplan (1970) found that people with greater opportunities for participation in decision making reported significant greater job satisfaction, low job related feelings of threat and higher feeling of self esteem. Margolis, Kroes, & Quinn found that non participation at work is most consistent and significant predictor of strain and job related stress. Lewin (1935) emphasized that human behavior was the result of interaction of the individual and the immediate psychological environment. The structuraltechnological studies of Burns and Stalker (1961) all incorporated elements of organizational climate, of an objective nature such as span of control, rules and procedures, and hierarchy. Organizational climate are link to the interaction of human with the environment. Personality Traits as Sources of Stress Past studies have indicated the potential impact of personality traits on job stress (Goldberg, 1993; Deary & Blenkin, 1996; Snyder & Ickes, 1985). Five personality dimensions that have been identified are neuroticism, extraversion, openness, agreeableness, and conscientiousness (Costa & McCrae,1985; McCrae & Costa, 1991; Costa & McCrae, 1992; McCrae, 1992). The neuroticism domain reflects one¶s degree of emotional stability and adjustment. Extraversion assesses the extent to which individuals are assertive, active, and talkative. Openness measures the extent to which persons are open to new experiences, are creative and imaginative, and prefer variety. Agreeableness reflects the extent to which one is altruistic and cooperative. Conscientiousness measures\ one¶s self-control and purposefulness and is associated with academic and occupational achievement. Of these five personality dimensions, neuroticism has been found to have a positive relationship with job stress (Deary & Blenkin, 1996; Tellegen, 1985; Birch & Kamali, 2001).
Effects of stress Stress affects both individuals and organizations. Kvarnstrom (1997), of the International Labor Organization, reports that stress may impair individual health and the ability to cope with working and social situations, causing work performance and relationship strains. For organizations, stress causes absenteeism, increased medical costs and higher turnover. Cox et al. (2000) report that 50-60 percent of all lost working days are stress related. In Britain, this amounted to about 20 million lost working days in 2001, more than 30 times greater than industrial action losses. Stress-related illnesses now exceed back problems as Britain¶s most common workplace ailment, costing industry £370 million yearly. A survey of 630 UK trade union safety representatives (Sparks and Cooper, 1997) showed that 66 percent named stress as the main health concern for workers. Certain occupations are more likely to involve an emotional element of work suggesting that employees in these occupations are likely to be more vulnerable to stress than occupations that do not require emotional displays. For example, Kahn¶s (1993) work suggests that caregivers (for example, nurses and social workers) are more likely to suffer from emotional exhaustion because they are required to display intense emotions within their jobs. Other stressors are also evident in many occupations, for example, the threat of violence (e.g. social work, police), lack of control over the job (e.g. call centres) or work overload (e.g. teachers). It is therefore, unsurprising that much of the research into workplace stress focuses on these ³high risk´ occupations. However, there is little information available that shows the relative values of stress across different occupations, which would enable the direct comparison of stress levels. Example from case study General Motors (Michigan) where ``. . .compulsory overtime was pushing the work week up to as much as 60 hours, . . . which led to injuries . . .'' (Anon, 1995). Further, Robertson's (1994) research into the steel industry in the US showed that the number of lost workdays (through injury and illness) declined steadily from 1988 (8,249) through to 1992 (5,022) and this decline was directly related to the total employee hours worked which fell from 346 million in 1988 to 261 million in 1992, with what appears to be a similar number of employees. This decline was not only partly due to an increased emphasis on occupational health and safety in the workplace but also due to a decrease in overtime worked during the period. When overtime began to increase in 1992-1993 the rates of illness and injury began to climb (Robertson, 1994; Kiely and Hodgson, 1990). One country which has defined a word to identify when a worker has died from overwork is Japan and the term is karoshi. ``Official statistics show that Japanese put in the longest working hours in the industrialized world: a year long total of 2,088 hours on average versus 1,500 for Europeans and 1,800 for Americans'' (Do Rosario, 1991, p. 30). Solomon (1993, p. 58) similarly argued that Japanese work approximately six weeks more each year than US employees. However, many of these karoshi victims typically work 3,000 to 3,500 hours a year, according to their surviving family members (Do Rosario, 1991, p. 31). It might be of interest
that, according to official estimates, as many as 10,000 people may die from karoshi in Japan each year (Do Rosario, 1991) The mental and physical health effects of job stress are not only disruptive influences on individual managers, but also a real cost to the organization, on which many individuals depend ± a cost which is rarely, if ever, seriously considered either in human or financial terms by organizations ± but one which is incurred in their day-to-day operations The following factors can be regarded as stressors in such a case: y y y y y y y y Too many working hours and too many intercontinental travelling In adequately coordinated tasks Ambiguous and unclear goals Too variables and too loosely connected tasks Taking many decisions often with serous consequences for all parties involved Risks of making mistakes Exposure to contagiously stressful collegues Exposure to frequent changes in the task, managers, working enviournment, lay off and job mobility between organization.
Full time employees and professionals Generally speaking the full time employees, as well as the temporary consulting professionals, will encounter many changes, perform different tasks in varying combinations, be better educated, go through a lot of additional training, probably work longerand unsocial hours and change organizations more rapidly than the past. Though most of these developments per se, they may become so when they are forced on the employees. Moreover, various forms of quantitative and qualitative task overload may pose a very serious threat to employees control over their everyday working life. Absenteeism Absenteeism, non-attendance of employees for scheduled work, has shown an ambiguity in the literature in respect to a causal explanation (Iverson and Deery, 2001). It is shown to be positively linked to intention to turnover, and negatively associated with job performance (Iverson and Deery, 2001), organizational commitment and job satisfaction. However, the causes of this organizational behavior remain unknown. Despite this ambiguity in the literature, there remains the possibility that if those most absent in the workforce are retrenched, then absenteeism will be lower in the remaining workforce, and overall levels of variables such as commitment, satisfaction and performance may increase. Less productivity
The primary goal of every organization is to create surplus profit. Profit is a measure of surplus of amount incurred over income over expense. To accomplish this goal effectively the management must establish an environment in which people can work productively. Productivity is an outputinput ratio within a time period with due consideration for quality. It can be expressed as follows, Health problems Workplace stress on employees has been linked to a wide range of mental and physical health conditions. Job satisfaction The degree of job satisfaction for an individual has been linked to the antecedents of decision-making participation, support from co-workers and supervisors, job variety, low stress, fair treatment, good pay, promotion The times they are a-changing opportunities and job security (Travaglione and Marshall, 2000). Job satisfaction has been linked to depressed and inefficient work populations (Brockner, 1988; Luthans and Sommer, 1999; Shah, 2000). The literature has provided an immense amount of evidence supporting the positive relationship between commitment and job satisfaction (Yousef, 2000). Job satisfaction has also shown a negative relationship with absenteeism and turnover intention (Schnake and Dumler, 2000). Therefore, removing the most unsatisfied workers during a downsize would increase the overall level of satisfaction and commitment of the remaining workforce and indirectly reduce absenteeism. Stress shows itself in a number of ways. The physiological symptoms of stress are headache, high blood pressure, ulcer and loss of appetite. The psychological symptoms are job dissatisfaction, tension, anxiety, boredom and difficulty in making routine decisions. The behavioral symptoms are absenteeism, turnover, remarkable changes in productivity both increase and decrease. The other behavioral symptoms are increased smoking or consumption of alcohol, fidgeting and sleeping disorders.Model of causes and consequences of work-related stress (adapted from Kompier and
Marcelissen, 1990). stress y y y y High work load Low control Low support Job insecurity Stress relations y y Physical Behavioral (productivity, smoking, making errors) Emotional reactions Cognitive reactions Long term consequences y On the worker
High blood pressure, alcohol dependence, disturbed metabolism, etc. y For employer and companies
Increased absenteeism, tardiness, higher turnover, increased costs etc.
Individual character y Gender y Age y Education y Competitiveness y Over commitment Dependent and independent variables y Self confidence etc.
Dependent variable in this assignment is the work stress and the Independent variables are physical conditions at the work, enviournment, work load, culture, Personality of a person at work, Organization culture and peer group at the work etc.
Work Stress (dependent variable)
Recommendations For jobs characterized by high demand, low control, repetition of simple task or hurried pace should be considered: delegation of responsibility, task variation, encouraging retraining and employees rotation through different jobs. For low skill jobs Some people are comfortable performing low skill jobs; others are not. If an employee is unhappy with the task that he or she has been assigned, it might be a mismatch between
the employee¶s abilities and the level of skill required to do the job. Reorganising the job to include other tasks and skills is recommended. Retraining programmes or experimenting with increases in responsibility that provide the employee with ameans of demonstrating his or her capabilities are also successful methods. The encouragement and support for education and skill development of employees is a rewarding investment (Matheson, 1987). For jobs involving interaction with demanding individuals it is recommended to provide training to supervisors and employees in general communication skills that includes ways to handle difficult people and defuse hostile situations. Ensure that employees can refer a difficult individual to their supervisor if they are unable to handle an unpleasant situation. Encourage employees to attend group meetings during which they can share their experience with handling demanding individuals. For jobs requiring substantial overtime, the evaluation that overtime is the optimal business choice should be considered. Substantial overtime may intensify workplace stress. If voluntary overtime is not possible, flexible overtime hours to accommodate the employees¶ needs is recommended. Participation Employees¶ contributions to the workplace have to be valued. They should be provided with ways to participate directly in evaluating and possibly reorganizing the ways in which their jobs News are performed. Managers and supervisors should be trained to be effective communicators, coaches, and facilitators c Communication Open communication channels between supervisors and their employees, and the employee encouragement to discuss their concerns with their supervisors are efficient ways to foster good workplace relationships. Management should convey to employees that it is natural for every human being to have limitations, each person should be aware of his or her limitations, and each person should alert the appropriate supervisor when those boundaries are approached. Before job changes are implemented it is recommended that the possible effects of the proposed changes be reviewed with employees. That will avoid the reorganization shock, giving employee time to adjust to major changing in the work routine. Work Environment (Opportunities for Skill Development and Advancement) Employees¶ efforts to pursue education and skill development should be encouraged. Companies should also offer training activities that are designed to enhance employees¶ ability to perform a wider range of job assignments. Favoritism
The assignments given to employees have to be issued consistent and clear policies regarding hiring, promotions, and disciplinary actions need to be established. Benefits and privileges have to be offered equally to all employees. Risk of Workplace Violence If security risks are present in the workplace, workplace violence prevention plans should be developed. Conclusion To conclude in the end it will be not wrong to say that stress is a term everyone is known of in today¶s world. The research objective of the study was to provide an insight of the causes of stress among employees. When workers do not have control and lack decision-making freedom at work, they will suffer from stress. Workers must have input into how their jobs are performed to give meaning, value and purpose to their work and to prevent and eliminate stress hazards. On the societal level, there is a need to make society and organization more humane and caring. More emphasis should be on fitting organizations to people and not the other way round. Company should provide greater economic security, and psychological security in the form of training in survival skills in today¶s fast-changing society. In terms of adaptability, stress management advice at organizational level may help the reduction of stress to a tolerable level. Person-environment misfit can be corrected either by placement, appraisal and training or job redesign, enlargement and rotation at organizational level. The ultimate hope of this study is to help the furniture industry to grow within the context of enhanced level of competitiveness brought about by the forces of globalization and advancement in information technology. It is hoped that the findings in this study are able to create awareness as well as help companies develop strategies for the development of their human resources. Due to stress in an organization many problems arises in an organization such as missed opportunities, bad publicity, permanent vacancies, sick leaves, high turnover and low quality products etc so company can prosperous in the enviournment where employer and employee are suffering from the stress this research has shown various stressors and also the ways to reduce the stressors in the organization.
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