stress: a feeling of tension that occurs when a person perceives that a situation is about to exceed her ability to cope and consequently could endanger her well-being.

job stress: the feeling that one’s capabilities, resources, or needs do not match the demands or requirements of the job.

acute stress: a short-term stress reaction to an immediate threat.

chronic stress: a long-term stress reaction resulting from ongoing situations.

stress response: an unconscious mobilization of energy resources that occurs when the body encounters a stress (real or imagined.)

(+) eustress: positive stress that results from facing challenges and difficulties with the expectation of achievement.
(-) dystress: negative stress; often referred to simply as stress.

Two Common Models of Workplace Stress:

demand-control model: a model that suggests that experienced stress is a function of both job demands and job control. Stress is highest when demands are high but individuals have little control over the situation.
(+) eustress achieved when job demand & job control are both high.
(-) dystress achieved when job demand = high & job control = low.

effort-reward imbalance model: a model that suggests that experienced stress is a function of both required effort and rewards obtained. Stress is highest when required effort is high but rewards are low.

Organizational and Work Related Stressors:
stressors: environmental conditions that cause individuals to experience stress.

role conflict: a situation in which different roles lead to conflicting expectations (i.e. family role and work role & their expectations.)

role ambiguity: a situation in which goals, expectations, and/or basic job requirements are unclear.

work overload: quantitative (volume of work) & qualitative (complexity of work)
Researchers believe that qualitative work (complex work) creates more stress than quantitative work.

occupation stressor: some work tends to be more stressful than others (i.e. day traders, ER doctors).

resource inadequacy: not enough resources to get the job done but has the task responsibility

working conditions: both physical (lighting, noise, etc.) and psychological (peer relationships, warmth, perceived rewards, etc.)

management style: Machiavellianism (managing through fear)

monitoring by management

job insecurity

incivility in the workplace

Individual Influences on Experiencing Stress:
Type A Personality: a personality type characterized by competitiveness, aggressiveness and impatience

Self-Esteem: research finds that people with high self-esteem may break tasks down into manageable units to tackle excessive work

Hardiness: a personality dimension corresponding to a strong internal commitment to activities, an internal locus of control and challenge seeking.

Managing Workplace Stress:

Individual Stress Management:
+ regular exercise: endurance, strength and flexibility
+ proper diet
+ use of social-support networks
+ relaxation
+ planning accordingly and being realistic about goals

Organization Stress Management:
+ manager as a toxin handler (coined by Peter Frost) who handles the pain and stressors that are part of everyday life in organizations. The role is often overlooked but is important to organizational well-being and productivity.
+ increase associates’ autonomy and control.
+ increase associates’ rewards to match the task responsibilities.
+ improve working conditions using ergonomically sound equipment and tools.
+ provide for job security and career development.
+ improve communication to help avoid uncertainty and ambiguity.
+ Avoid constant shifting of schedules and allow for flextime or other alternative work schedules.
+ Wellness Programs (reference Johnson and Johnson’s)

Adapted from Source: Hitt, M. A., Miller, C. C., & Colella, A. (2011). Organizational Behavior 3rd Edition. Hoboken, NJ: John Wiley & Sons, Inc.

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