Consequences of Stress-Organizational Behaviour-Lecture Handout, Exercises for Organization Behaviour

Consequences of Stress-Organizational Behaviour-Lecture Handout, Exercises for Organization Behaviour

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This course teaches different aspects of Organizational Behaviour, main are: hiring, centralization, communication, leadership, structure, job analyse, perception, personality, politics, basic, matrix structure and values. This lectures main points are: Stress, Managment, Experience, Organization, Opportunity, Responsible, Accomplishment, Emotion, Exhaustion
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Organizational Behavior - MGT502 VU

© Copyright Virtual University of Pakistan 188


Overview Stress affects individual well-being and has the potential to affect the extent to which individuals and organizations achieve their goals and perform at a high level. Stress is bound up with workers’ personal lives; thus the study of stress also entails exploring the nature of work-life linkages.

People experience stress when they fact opportunities or threats that they perceive as important and also perceive they might not be able to handle or deal with effectively. An opportunity is something that has the potential to benefit a person. A threat is something that has the potential to harm a person. Stress is a highly personal experience influenced by an individual’s personality, abilities, and perceptions; what is stressful for one person might not be stressful for another.

Stress can have physiological, psychological, and behavioral consequences. The relationship between

stress and physiological consequences is complicated, and the most serious physiological consequences (for example, cardiovascular disease and heart attack) result only after considerably high levels of stress have been experienced for a prolonged period of time. Psychological consequences of stress include negative feelings, moods, and emotions; negative attitudes; and burnout. Potential behavioral consequences of stress include job performance, strained interpersonal relations, absenteeism, and turnover.

Workers who are responsible for helping others sometimes experience burnout. The three key signs

of burnout are feelings of low personal accomplishment, emotional exhaustion, and de- personalization.

A certain level of stress is positive in that it can result in high levels of job performance. When stress

levels are excessively high, negative stress is experienced, and performance suffers. Other potential behavioral consequences of high stress include strained interpersonal relations, absenteeism, and turnover.

Potential stresses can arise from workers’ personal lives, job responsibilities, membership in work

groups and organizations, and work-life linkages. Stresses from workers’ personal lives include major and minor life events. Job-related stresses include role conflict, role ambiguity, overload, under-load, challenging assignments, and promotions, and conditions that impact workers’ economic well-being. Group- and organization-related stresses include misunderstandings, conflicts and interpersonal disagreements, uncomfortable working conditions, and dangerous or unsafe working conditions. Stresses arising out of work-life linkages result when work roles conflict with people’s personal lives.

Coping is the step people take to deal with stresses. Problem-focused coping is the step people take to

deal directly with the source of stress. Emotion-focused coping is the step people take to deal with their stressful feelings and emotions. Most of the time, people engage in both types of coping when dealing with a stressor.

Some problem-focused coping strategies that individuals can use are time management, getting help

from a mentor, and role negotiation. Some emotion-focused coping strategies for individuals are exercise, mediation, social support, and clinical counseling. Some problem-focused coping strategies that organizations can use are job redesign and rotation, reduction of uncertainty, job security, company day care, flexible work schedules and job sharing, and telecommuting. Some emotion- focused coping strategies for organizations are on-site exercise facilities, personal days and sabbaticals, organizational support, and employee assistance programs.

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© Copyright Virtual University of Pakistan 189

Consequences of Stress Stress shows itself in a number of ways—physiological, psychological, and behavioral symptoms. 1. Physiological symptoms: • Most of the early concern with stress was directed at physiological symptoms due to the fact

that specialists in the health and medical sciences researched the topic. • Physiological symptoms have the least direct relevance to students of OB.

2. Psychological symptoms: Job-related stress can cause job-related dissatisfaction. • Job dissatisfaction is “the simplest and most obvious psychological effect” of stress. • Multiple and conflicting demands—lack of clarity as to the incumbent’s duties, authority, and

responsibilities—increase stress and dissatisfaction. • The less control people have over the pace of their work, the greater the stress and

dissatisfaction. 3. Behavioral symptoms: • Behaviorally related stress symptoms include changes in productivity, absence, and turnover, as

well as changes in eating habits, increased smoking or consumption of alcohol, rapid speech, fidgeting, and sleep disorders.

• The stress-performance relationship is shown in Exhibit 19-11. a. The logic underlying the inverted U is that low to moderate levels of stress stimulate

the body and increase its ability to react. b. Individuals then often perform their tasks better, more intensely, or more rapidly. c. But too much stress places unattainable demands or constraints on a person, which

result in lower performance. d. Even moderate levels of stress can have a negative influence on performance over the

long term as the continued intensity of the stress wears down the individual and saps his/her energy resources.

• In spite of the popularity and intuitive appeal of the inverted-U model, it doesn’t get a lot of empirical support.

Recognizing Stress

• Short-term physical symptoms • Long-term physical symptoms

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• Internal symptoms • Behavioral symptoms

Short-Term Physical Symptoms

• Faster heart beat • Increased sweating • Cool skin • Cold hands and feet • Feelings of nausea, or 'Butterflies in stomach' • Rapid Breathing • Tense Muscles • Dry Mouth • A desire to urinate • Diarrhea

Long-term Physical Symptoms

• Change in appetite • Frequent colds • Illnesses such as: • Asthma • Back pain • Digestive problems • Headaches • Aches and pains • Feelings of intense and long-term tiredness

Internal Symptoms

• Worry or anxiety • Confusion, and an inability to concentrate or make decisions • Feeling ill • Feeling out of control or overwhelmed by events • Mood changes:

–Depression –Frustration –Hostility

• Helplessness • Restlessness • Being more lethargic • Difficulty sleeping • Drinking more alcohol and smoking more • Changing eating habits • Relying more on medication

Behavioral Symptoms • Talking too fast or too loud • Fiddling and twitching, nail biting, grinding teeth, drumming fingers,

pacing, etc. • Bad moods • Being irritable • Defensiveness

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• Being critical • Aggression • Irrationality • Overreaction and reacting emotionally • Reduced personal effectiveness • Being unreasonably negative • Making less realistic judgments • Being unable to concentrate and having difficulty making decisions • Being more forgetful • Making more mistakes • Being more accident prone • Changing work habits • Increased absenteeism • Neglect of personal appearance

Chemical and Nutritional Stress

• Caffeine-raises levels of stress hormones • Sweets or chocolate-causes body to release too much insulin • Salt-raises blood pressure • Unhealthy diet-leads to illness which increases stress

Lifestyle and Job Stress • Too much or too little work • Having to perform beyond your experience or perceived abilities • Having to overcome unnecessary obstacles • Time pressures and deadlines • Keeping up with new developments • Changes in procedures and policies • Lack of relevant information, support and advice • Lack of clear objectives • Unclear expectations of your role • Responsibility for people, budgets or equipment • Career development stress:

–Under-promotion, frustration and boredom with current role –Over-promotion beyond abilities –Lack of a clear plan for career development –Lack of opportunity –Lack of job security

• Stress from your organization or your clients. • Personal and family stresses.

Environment and Job Stress • Your working environment can cause stress

–Crowding or invasion of personal space –Insufficient work space –Noise –Dirty or untidy conditions –Pollution –Other environmental causes

Fatigue and Overwork • Stress builds up over a long time • Trying to achieve too much in too little time • “Hurry Sickness”-vicious circle of stress causing you to hurry jobs and

do them badly.

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Managing Stress High or low levels of stress sustained over long periods of time, can lead to reduced employee performance and, thus, require action by management. 1. Individual approaches: • Effective individual strategies include implementing time management techniques, increasing

physical exercise, relaxation training, and expanding the social support network. • Practicing time management principles such as:

a. making daily lists of activities to be accomplished b. prioritizing activities by importance and urgency c. scheduling activities according to the priorities set d. knowing your daily cycle and handling the most demanding parts of your job during

the high part of your cycle when you are most alert and productive • Noncompetitive physical exercise has long been recommended as a way to deal with excessive

stress levels. • Individuals can teach themselves to reduce tension through relaxation techniques such as

meditation, hypnosis, and biofeedback. • Having friends, family, or work colleagues to talk to provides an outlet for excessive stress.

2. Organizational approaches • Strategies that management might want to consider include:

a. improved personnel selection and job placement b. use of realistic goal setting, redesigning of jobs c. training d. increased employee involvement e. improved organizational communication f. establishment of corporate wellness programs

Stress Management

“Stress Management Procedures for helping people cope with or reduce stress already being experienced”

Stress Prevention

“Focusing on controlling or eliminating stressors that might provoke the stress response”

Dealing with Long-Term Stress

•Fatigue and exhaustion –Go to bed earlier –Take a good break (vacation) –Change work commitments if possible –Time management strategies

•Handling depression –Deep depression is a clinical illness and should be handled professionally –Otherwise

•Positive thinking •Talk to people and get support •Get away from situation causing stress •Lack of self-confidence

–Set personal goals –List your shortcomings and deal with them –List the things that worry you and see if it is really important to worry about them at all.

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Organizational Stress Management

Organizational Communication

Employee Involvement

Selection and Placement

Job Redesigning

W ellness Programs

Goal Setting

–Write down the things you do well –Positive thinking

•Relationships –Being more assertive will help –Improve your social skills –Are other people contributing to this problem? Are you better off without them?

•Standards –Are your standards impossibly high?

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