What is stress at work Main causes of stress at work and effects on individuals - Essay Example

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This paper discusses the concept of stress at work focusing on the definition of stress at work, the main causes of stress at work and the consequences of stress to individuals and organisations with relevant examples to support the effects. …
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What is stress at work Main causes of stress at work and effects on individuals
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Download file to see previous pages This paper discusses the concept of stress at work focusing on the definition of stress at work, the main causes of stress at work and the consequences of stress to individuals and organisations with relevant examples to support the effects. Newspapers, magazines, blogs and other forms of media are replete with discussions on stress. From books discussing how to cope with stress to talk shows on how to reduce stress levels in individuals, we are bombarded with information of stress in our daily lives. More recently, the concept of stress at work has gained a lot of attention from researchers who have devoted a lot of time to study this concept, its causes and consequences to individuals and to organisations. This paper discusses the concept of stress at work focusing on the definition of stress at work, the main causes of stress at work and the consequences of stress to individuals and organisations with relevant examples to support the effects. Stress at Work Cooper et al agreed that there is widespread discrepancy in how stress is defined. They noted that stress has been operationalized as a dependent variable, independent variable, and also as a process. This, they opine, was due to the wide application of stress in a number of disciplines such as medical, behavioural and social science research. Stress has therefore been defined as a response-based concept, a stimulus-based concept, as an interaction, and as a transaction. Work stress is defined by the HSE (2009) as “the adverse reaction people have to excessive pressures or other types of demand placed on them at work”. In a study by Jex et al (1992), the participants interpreted stress as being related to strains and stressors. Stress is “an interaction of strains and stressors (Aziz and Cunningham, 2008). Main causes of stress at work There are a number of causes of stress at work. This section discusses just a few main causes of stress at work. These include work overload, control, work relationships, job security, work-life balance, resources and communication, and aspects of the job. These are mostly cited in literature as being the main factors that influence stress at work and therefore have been discussed here with relevant examples. Overload One of the causes of stress is overload. This is defined as the workload pressures. For instance, work could have unrealistic deadlines and expectations. A case in point is auditors who are usually given deadlines to meet for a specific audit yet the workload itself is too much and hence employees cannot work realistically within the time without having to work long days and late into the night including on weekends and holidays to try and just beat the deadlines and expectations of theirs supervisors. Sometimes one of the team members could a super-achiever and therefore the whole team is expected to work like the super achiever when it is impossible for them to emulate the set standards. Some of the overloads could be as a result of under-recruitment of staff which is a case in most organisations as one person does the work of four others just for firms to cut on costs. There are also technology overloads in organisations which may be a cause of stress for employees. Another overload case is workaholism. According to a study by Burke and MacDermid (1999), workaholics experienced greater stress than non-workaholics. Control Another cause of stress has been linked perception of control. Some employees usually get stressed when they feel they lack influence or when they cannot be consulted in how work is organised and performed. For example, a bank employee could be stressed when they cannot make decisions related to their job descriptions as they have to ask for permission from the superiors. They could also be stressed when they are not involved in any decision making where they start questioning that place in the organisation. Some could be stressed because their ideas or suggestions about the job are not taken into account. Further, employees may also be stressed when they cannot influence their performance targets which are usually set by their superiors and could therefore be unachievable. All these examples show lack of control over work on the part of the employee and could therefo ...Download file to see next pagesRead More
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