Carla2011_Stress in the workplace

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STRESS IN THE WORKPLACE
py3103
LEARNING OUTCOMES

At the end of this session and with additional
reading you will be able to

Describe different types and approaches to stress in
the workplace
WHY IS IT IMPORTANT
Stress affects health
 Increased level of absenteeism due to stress
symptoms (2007-8 15.5 million days lost)
 Increase in reported levels 528% between the
years 1955-1979
 Cost of stress to organisations estimated at £5
billion a year (10% of Gross National Product)


What are your experiences of stress in the
workplace ?
WHAT IS JOB STRESS
Original definition was derived from engineering
– the force/pressure on a person
 A person can take an amount of pressure – but
when that pressure becomes to much for an
individual it may have serious negative affects

TYPES OF WORK STRESS

Job content
Job overload/under load
 Job complexity/monotony


Working conditions


Dangerous conditions
Employment conditions
Shift patterns
 Low pay
 Job insecurity


Social relations at work
STRESS SYMPTOMS
level
individual
interpersonal
organisational
Affective
Anxiety
Anger
Depression
Irritability
oversensitive
Job
dissatisfaction
Cognitive
Helplessness
Impaired
decision making
Hostility
Suspicion
projection
Cynicism
distrust
Physical
Headaches
coronary
disease
Behavioural
Hyperactivity
Need for
stimulants
Aggressive
behaviour
Social isolation
Sick absence
Reduced work
performance
APPROACHES TO STRESS

Stress can be viewed in 3 ways
As a stimulus
 As a psychological or physiological response
 Stress as a meditational process

THEORETICAL PERSPECTIVES
ON JOB
STRESS

Stimulus model


General Adaptation Syndrome (Selye)
Stimulus response
Cox
 Cognitive appraisal (Lazarus


Process models
The Michigan model
 The vitamin model
 The demand-control model

GENERAL ADAPTATION SYNDROME (GAS
(HAN SELYE, 1907-1982)
1) a set of conditions that could be physical or
physiological and
 2) a set of non-specific biological responses
including increase in heart rate, blood pressure
and sweating.

GENERAL ADAPTATION SYNDROME GAS)
The alarm stage refers to an organism’s fightflight response suggesting that an immediate
response to stress was to fight, or flight to safety
 Resistance, would then unfold. In the resistance
stage, in order to counteract the body’s reaction
to alarm which caused depletion in the stores of
the adrenal gland, the organism is able to regain
some of the store of depleted glands to ensure
that the fight for life can continue.
 Finally, following continued exposure to stress,
Selye suggests, the organism enters the third
stage of GAS namely, exhaustion. Here, the last
defences are used up and the body is no longer
able to continue its fight.

THE COGNITIVE APPRAISAL MODEL
Lazarus and Folkman (1984) believed that any
conceptualisation of stress could not be
independent of a person’s appraisal of the
situation
 It follows that any event may potentially be
appraised, and thus experienced, by an
individual as stressful, such as moving house, or
a visit to the dentist.

THE MICHIGAN MODEL INSTITUTE FOR
SOCIAL RESEARCH)
Attributions of
the individual
Organisation
Psychological
stressors
Interpersonal
relations
Stress
reactions
Illness
THE VITAMIN MODEL (WARR 1987, 1994)
Consent effect
Additional decrement
Availability of money
 Physical security
 Valued social position


Opportunity for
control
 Opportunity for skill
use
 Externally generated
goals
 Variety
 Environmental clarity
 Opportunity for
interpersonal contact
THE VITAMIN MODEL (WARR 1987, 1994)

The model postulated that low levels of vitamins
can lead to poor levels of mental health whilst at
the same time, too high a level of vitamins ceases
to be beneficial to the individual
In other words there is a point when increasing
rewards will no longer render any significant
improvements in the mental health of a worker
 This was due to a saturation point akin to the process
that often occurs within the body’s uptake of
vitamins, in that after a certain point there is no
benefit from increasing the dose.

THE DEMAND-CONTROL MODEL (KARASEK,
1979, 1990)
Psychological demands
Low
High
High
Decision
Low strain
Active
Latitude
Passive
(Control)
Low
High strain
THE DEMAND CONTROL MODEL II
Work stress is an interaction between decision
latitude (how much control a worker has over
what they are doing and how they do it), and the
demands of the job (an individual’s subjective
perception of her/his capacities to meet the
psychological demands of a task)
 Those who are in highly demanding jobs and find
themselves in high psychological demand are not
without stress even though such individuals may
also experience high control.


The control allows an individual to develop protective
behaviours and manage stress in an active and more
efficient manner
SOCIAL IDENTITY AND STRESS

Haslam (2004) suggested that the experience of
stress in the workplace can be linked to i) the
activities of a particular occupation and ii) how
that group/occupation is structured and
managed, and ii) that group process which may
be seen to help reduce stress in the workplace
can also be the cause.
THE ROLE OF SOCIAL SUPPORT

Social support is through to have a stress educing
function:Social integration
 Satisfying relationships
 Perceive available support
 Actually receive support

INDIVIDUAL DIFFERENCES

Do some occupations cause more stress than
others ?
REFERENCES

Chmiel, N (2000) Introduction to work and
organizational psychology: A European
perspective, Blackwell
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