Work Stress
Yu Fu
Email: [email protected]
Learning objectives
• Define stress, stressor, and distress/strain
• Compare four different approaches to stress
• Identify work and non-work causes of stress
• Identify elements of preventive stress
management for individuals and
organisations
Organisational Behaviour 2
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The Problem: The Cost of Stress at Work
•
Companies in the United Kingdom lose 13.7 million
working days per year due to stress, causing £28.3
billion in productivity losses.
•
More than 25% of workers in the UK describe their
mental health as moderate or poor.
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The Problem: The Cost of Stress at Work
•
The European Union estimates that work-related
stress affects at least 40 million workers in its 15
(Western ) Member States and that it costs the
European Union at least €20 billion annually.
•
In 2009, 25 employees of France Telecom have
committed suicide.
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What is stress?
The HSE defines stress at work as arising
• “when the demands of the job and the
working environment on a person exceeds
their capacity to meet them” and
• “the reaction people have to excessive
pressures or other types of demands
placed on them.”
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What is stress?
•
Stress – the unconscious preparation to fight or
flee that a person experiences when faced with
any demand
•
Stressor – the person or event that triggers the
stress response
•
Distress (or strain) – the adverse psychological,
physical, behavioural, and organisational
consequences that may arise as a result of
stressful events
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Effects of Stress
•
•
•
•
•
•
increased absenteeism (of which stress is the
biggest cause)
low motivation
reduced productivity
reduced efficiency
faulty decision-making
poor industrial relations
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Stress Check
How often do the following happen to you? Always (3), often (2), sometimes (1),
or never (0)? Rate each statement on a scale from 0 to 3, as honestly as you can
and without spending too much time on any one statement.
Am
•
•
•
•
•
•
•
•
I Overstressed?
1. I have to make important snap judgments and decisions.
2. I am not consulted about what happens on my job or in my classes.
3. I feel I am underpaid.
4. I feel that no matter how hard I work, the system will mess it up.
5. I do not get along with some of my co-workers or fellow students.
6. I do not trust my superiors at work or my professors at school.
7. The paperwork burden on my job or at school is getting to me.
8. I feel people outside the job or the university do not respect what I do.
Record your score as the sum of your responses.
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Stress Check
Am I Angry?
•
1. I feel that people around me make too many irritating mistakes.
•
2. I feel annoyed because I do good work or perform well in school, but
no one appreciates it.
•
3. When people make me angry, I tell them off.
•
4. When I am angry, I say things I know will hurt people.
•
5. I lose my temper easily.
•
6. I feel like striking out at someone who angers me.
•
7. When a co-worker or fellow student makes a mistake, I tell him or her
about it.
•
8. I cannot stand being criticsed in public.
Record your score as the sum of your responses, and add it to your score
from the previous section.
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Stress Check
To find your level of anger and potential for aggressive behaviour, add your
scores from both quiz parts.
•
•
•
•
40–48: The red flag is waving, and you had better pay attention. You are in
the danger zone. You need guidance from a counsellor or mental health
professional, and you should be getting it now.
30–39: The yellow flag is up. Your stress and anger levels are too high, and
you are feeling increasingly hostile. You are still in control, but it would not
take much to trigger a violent flare of temper.
10–29: Relax, you are in the broad normal range. Like most people, you get
angry occasionally, but usually with some justification. Sometimes you
take overt action, but you are not likely to be unreasonably or excessively
aggressive.
0–9: Congratulations! You are in great shape. Your stress and anger are
well under control, giving you a laid-back personality not prone to violence
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Psychological Stressors at Work
•
Task related and organisational stressors
– High workload, time pressure
– Role conflicts, organisational constraints
•
Social stressors – colleagues, supervisors,
subordinates
– Negative social climate
– Task conflicts, relationship conflicts
– Unfair behaviour, destructive leadership,
workplace bullying
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Psychological Stressors at Work
•
Social and Emotional stressors – customers, clients
– Customer-related social stressor: aggressive
customers, exaggerated customer expectations
– Emotional dissonance
•
Job insecurity and unemployment
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Approaches to stress
Homeostatic/Medical
•
Stress occurs when an external demand
upsets an individual’s natural, steady-state
balance.
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Approaches to stress
Cognitive appraisal
•
Individuals differ in their appraisal of
events and people
•
What is stressful for one person is not for
another
•
Perception and cognitive appraisal
determines what is stressful
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Approaches to stress
Person-environment fit
•
Confusing and conflicting expectations in a social
role create stress.
•
Good person-environment fit occurs when one’s
skills and abilities match a clearly defined set of
role expectations.
•
Stress occurs when expectations are confusing or
when they conflict with one’s skills.
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Approaches to stress
Psychoanalytic Stress
•
Discrepancy between the idealised self and
the real self-image
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Positive Stress
•
Stress response itself is neutral
•
Some stressful activities (aerobic exercise,
etc.) can enhance a person’s ability to
manage stressful demands or situations
•
Stress can provide a needed energy boost
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Managing psychological well-being at work
Feel Good
Zone
Performance
Peak Performance
Switched Off
Stressed Out
Pressure
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Individual Distress
• Medical illness (heart disease, strokes,
headaches, backaches)
• Behavioral problems (substance abuse,
violence, accidents)
• Work-related psychological disorders
(depression, burnout, psychosomatic
disorders)
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Organisational Distress
•
Participative Problems – a cost associated with
absenteeism, tardiness, strikes and work
stoppages, and turnover
•
Performance Decrement – a cost resulting from
poor quality or low quantity of production,
grievances, and unscheduled machine downtime
and repair
•
Compensation Award – an organisational cost
resulting from court awards for job distress
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Sources of Stress: Work Demands
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Stress Source: Non-work Demands
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Preventative Stress Management
•
An organisational philosophy according to which
people and organisations should take joint
responsibility for promoting health and preventing
distress and strain.
•
Stress prevention and control is an essential part
of the effective management of people at work.
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Organisational Stress Prevention
• Job redesign
• Goal setting
• Role negotiation
• Social support systems
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Social Support at Work and Home
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Individual Preventive Stress Management
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To help alleviate stress and promote
well-being in the workplace
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Giving stress management training
Establishing a clear policy on mental health,
stress, anti-bullying and harassment
Training
Regular appraisals
Monitoring
Flexibility
Awareness
Minimising excessive pressure
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What Can Managers Do?
•
•
•
•
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Learn how to create healthy stress without
distress
Help employees adjust to new technologies
Be sensitive to early signs of distress
Be aware of gender, personality, and behavioural
differences
Use principles and methods of preventive stress
management
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Work stress - Moodle HES-SO