Management Notes

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Causes of Stress – Stress Management in Organization | Organizational Behavior

Causes of Stress/Sources of Stress 

➨ The term “stress” describes the situation in which a person is confronted with a constraint, a choice, or a demand related to what they desire and for which outcomes are uncertain as well as significant.

➨ A widely accepted definition of stress is associated with (i) constraints or demands and (ii) uncertainty regarding an outcome that is deemed important.

➨ There are two kinds of stress: constructive (positive) and destructive (negative): when a person has an opportunity to gain something from the situation, stress is good. This motivates them to perform at their best.

Following are the major causes of stress at the workplace and outsidethe workplace.

A. Causes of Stress at Work

The following are the major causes of stress in the workplace:

Causes of Stress at Work

1) Career Concern

Employees who feel that they are behind in the corporate ladder may experience stress. If he perceives that there is no opportunity for self-growth, he might feel stressed.

➦ Therefore, unfulfilled career expectations are a significant source of stress.

2) Role Ambiguity

The person has no idea what he is supposed to do on the job when it occurs. He is uncertain of his responsibilities and tasks.

➦ He doesn’t know what his responsibilities are. He feels stressed because he doesn’t know what he’s responsible for.

3) Rotating Work Shifts

Individuals who work on different shifts may become stressed. Some employees may work day shift for a few days, and then work the night shift for a few days.

➦ The employee may have difficulties adapting to the shift timings, and it may affect not only his or her personal life but also the lives of his or her family.

4) Role Conflict

It occurs when people have different expectations of someone performing a certain task.

➦ If the job does not meet the person’s expectations, or if the job demands a particular type of behavior incompatible with their moral values, it can also result in stress.

5) Occupational Demands

The demands of some jobs can be higher than those of others. Jobs that involve risk and danger are generally more stressful.

➦ Researchers have found that jobs that cause stress require constant monitoring of equipment and devices, unpleasant physical conditions, making decisions, etc.

6) Lack of Participation in Decision-making

Management should consult experienced employees about matters affecting their jobs, according to many employees.

➦ Usually, superiors don’t ask their subordinates for their input before taking any decisions. Stress can develop as a result of feeling neglected.

7) Work Overload

Stress results when a person is under enormous pressure because of an excessive workload. Work overload can take two forms:

  • In qualitative work overload, the employee performs a job that is too complex or beyond his or her capabilities.
  • A quantitative work overload is caused by several activities completed in a short period.

8) Work Under load

The employee is expected to do very little work or very easy work in this situation.

➦ A small amount of work or simple, routine tasks would lead to boredom and monotony, which would result in stress.

9) Poor Working Conditions

Employees may be subjected to poor working conditions.

➦ These include inadequate lighting and ventilation, unhygienic sanitation facilities, excessive noise and dust, toxic gasses and fumes, and inadequate safety measures.

➦ Stress is a result of all these unpleasant conditions that lead to physiological and psychological imbalance in humans.

10) Lack of Group Cohesiveness

Although they differ greatly in degree, every group is characterized by some degree of cohesiveness.

➦ When members of a work group are not united, it causes stress. Employees are stressed because of mistrust, jealousy, quarrels, etc., in groups.

11) Interpersonal and Intergroup Conflict

Different perceptions, attitudes, beliefs, values, and values of individuals and groups are the causes of conflicts. Group members can become stressed by such conflicts.

12) Organizational Changes

When something changes, people have to adapt to the changes, which may lead to stress.

➦ Stress is higher when changes are significant or uncommon, such as transferring technology or adopting a new approach.

13) Lack of Social Support

People are more likely to cope with the stress effects of work if they believe they have the friendship and support of their colleagues.

➦ Employees experience more stress when this kind of social support is not available.

B. Causes of Stress Outside Work

Certain factors outside the scope of an organization can also lead to stress. 

Let us examine the causes of stress outside work in detail:

Causes of Stress Outside Work

1) Civic Amenities

It can be stressful to live in an area with poor civic amenities.

➦ The lack of public facilities like inadequate water supply, excessive noise or air pollution, and insufficient transportation facilities can be quite stressful.

2) Life Changes

People can experience stress when life changes. There are slow and sudden changes.

➦ Aging and death or injury of a loved one are examples of gradual and abrupt life changes, respectively. These changes are extremely stressful and challenging.

3) Frustration

Another cause of stress is frustration. When goal-directed behavior is obstructed, frustration occurs. Employees should be helped to achieve their goals by management.

4) Racial, Caste, and Religious Conflicts

Stress is more prevalent among employees living in areas where racial, ethnic, and religious differences can lead to conflicts among people.

➦ When it comes to religion, minorities and low-caste people (especially in India) suffer the most.

5) Personality

‘Type A’ and ‘Type B’ personalities. People with Type A personalities gravitate towards occupations that are physically demanding.

➦ They are ambitious, hard-working, and set tough goals for themselves. They are willing to oppose others to achieve what they want.

➦ The amount of work they take on increases as they work at incredible speeds to meet deadlines.

➦ There is fierce competition among them and they always want to win. They feel guilty even when they are relaxing.

➦ Even minor mistakes from themselves and others irritate them. Their impatience makes them impatient.

➦ They also multitask and prefer to do several things at once. The opposite is true for ‘Type B’ people.

➦ Instead of working against the clock, they work steadily. Instead of feeling pressured, they set reasonable goals for themselves.

➦ Those who are Type A’s are more prone to stress than those who are Type B’s

6) Technological Changes

There is constantly a fear that employees will lose their jobs or need to adjust to new technologies when there are changes in technical fields. These situations are stressful.

7) Career Changes

When someone suddenly changes jobs, they are under pressure to handle new responsibilities.

➦ It is possible to experience stress as a result of under-promotion, over-promotion, demotion, or transfer.

Causes of Stress FAQs

What causes most of the stress humans have put on the environment?

A) air pollution
B) water pollution
C) the rapid expansion of the population
D) the loss of the ozone layer

The Correct Answer for the Given Question is Option C) the rapid expansion of the population.

Which of the following is an example of a stimulus-based definition of stress?

A. Caroline experiences stress because she is home alone and hears unusual noises outside.
B. Carrie experiences stress because she notices her car is almost out of gas and worries about being stranded on the highway, but then she feels better when she sees a gas station nearby.
C. Grace experiences stress when she sees the coyote, but Mary thinks the coyote is a dog so she does not experience stress.
D. Laura experiences stress because her heart rate increased when she noticed the spider.

The Correct Answer for the Given Question is Option A. Caroline experiences stress because she is home alone and hears unusual noises outside.

Attempting to alleviate stress directly by changing the stressor is known as

A. spontaneous remission
B. problem-focused coping
C. biofeedback
D. psychoneuroimmunology

The Correct Answer for the Given Question is Option B. problem-focused coping

Stress is most likely to speed the progression from hiv to aids by

A. slowing the shortening of telomeres.
B. accelerating the production of NK cells.
C. stimulating the release of endorphins.
D. inhibiting the production of lymphocytes.

The Correct Answer for the Given Question is Option D. inhibiting the production of lymphocytes.

Most of the stress associated with physical activity participation is based on

A) fear of failure and fear of evaluation
B) fear of physical harm
C) anxiety about social physique
D) type A personality dispositions

The Correct Answer for the Given Question is Option A) fear of failure and fear of evaluation

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