Chapter 9

Managing Stress And The Work-Life Balance

Identify and discuss several common causes of stress. Describe work-life linkages and how they relate to stress. Explain ways that individuals and organizations can better manage stress. Identify and discuss several common consequences of stress. 2 .Learning Objectives Discuss the meaning and nature of work stress. Describe how basic individual differences affect stress.

The Nature of Stress Stress Defined – Stress is a person’s adaptive response to a stimulus that places excessive psychological or physical demands on that person. The Stress Process – The General Adaptation Syndrome (GAS) describes three stages of the stress process: • Stage 1: Alarm • Stage 2: Resistance • Stage 3: Exhaustion 3 .

The General Adaptation Syndrome Stage 1: Alarm – Alarm occurs when a person first encounters a stressor. the person literally gives up and can no longer fight the stressor. Stage 2: Resistance – Often. The individual gathers strength and begins to resist the negative effects of the stressor. the resistance phase ends the GAS. Stage 3: Exhaustion – At this stage. The person feels panic and wonders how to cope. 4 . Prolonged exposure to a stressor without resolution may bring on Stage 3 of the GAS.

Figure 9.1 The General Adaptation System 5 .

Distress – The unpleasant stress that accompanies negative events. a person may receive a $10.Eustress and Distress Eustress – The pleasurable stress that accompanies positive events. 6 .000 bonus and experience stress in deciding how to spend the money. For example.

optimistic people tend to handle stress better than pessimistic people. 7 . are strongly committed to the activities in their lives. – People with hardy personalities have an internal locus of control.Individual Differences and Stress Hardiness – Is a person’s ability to cope with stress. Optimism – Is the extent to which a person sees life in relatively positive terms. – “Is the glass half empty or half full?” – In general. and view change as an opportunity for advancement and growth.

2 Causes and Consequenc es of Stress 8 .Figure 9.

9 . Some occupations are by nature more stressful than others. such as the adequacy of temperature and lighting. Physical Demands – Stressors associated with the job’s physical setting.Common Causes of Stress: Organizational Stressors Task Demands – Stressors associated with the specific job a person performs.

Figure 9. Stress.3 Workload. and Performance 10 .

and personality conflicts. leadership. • Role ambiguity arises when a role is unclear. • Role overload occurs when expectations for the role exceed the individual’s capacity. Interpersonal Demands – Stressors associated with group pressures. • Role conflict occurs when the messages and cues constituting a role are clear but contradictory or mutually exclusive.Common Causes of Stress: Organizational Stressors Role Demands – Stressors associated with the role a person is expected to play. 11 .

– Too many life changes can lead to health problems. Life Trauma – Any upheaval in an individual’s life that alters his or her attitudes. 12 . or behaviors.Common Causes of Stress: Life Stressors Life Change – Any meaningful change in a person’s personal or work situation. emotions.

Consequences of Stress: Individual Consequences Behavioral Consequences – The behavioral consequences of stress. among other illnesses. Psychological Consequences – Psychological consequences relate to a person’s mental health and well-being. Medical Consequences – Medical consequences affect a person’s physical wellbeing. may harm the person under stress or others. such as alcohol abuse. 13 . – Heart disease and stroke. have been linked to stress.

Consequences of Stress: Organizational Consequences Performance – One clear organizational consequence of too much stress is a decline in performance. and motivation to perform at high levels. 14 . morale. organizational commitment. Withdrawal – The most significant forms of withdrawal behavior are absenteeism and quitting. Attitudes – Stress can have a negative effect on job satisfaction.

Consequences of Stress: Burnout Burnout – Is the general feeling of exhaustion that develops when an individual simultaneously experiences too much pressure and has too few sources of satisfaction. 15 .

Managing Stress in the Workplace Given that stress is widespread and so potentially disruptive in organizations. it follows that people and organizations should be concerned about how to manage it more effectively. 16 .

role management. and supportive groups. 17 .Managing Stress in the Workplace [continued] Individual coping strategies include exercise. time management. relaxation. Organizational coping strategies include institutional programs and collateral programs.

4 Individual and Organizational Coping Strategies 18 .Figure 9.

– Important to maintain a long-term perspective. – Important to decide what to value and what trade-offs will cost. 19 .Work-Life Linkages Fundamental Work-Life Relationships – Include relationships between dimensions of the person’s work life and the person’s personal life. Balancing Work-Life Linkages – Is difficult due to the dual demands of work and life. – Important to recognize potential trade-offs in advance.