Workplace Stress Define Term Paper

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Workplace Stress

Define Workplace Stress:

What is stress? Taber's Cyclopedic Medical Dictionary says it is "the result produced when a structure, system or organism is acted upon by forces that disrupt equilibrium or produce strain." So stress may be the result of any emotional, physical, social, economic, or other factors that require a response or change. Some believe that a certain amount of stress is even beneficial (such as a "challenge" or "positive stress") but when stress occurs in amounts that one cannot handle, mental and physical changes may occur. (Canadian 1996)

Stress in the workplace may come from one factor or many, affecting employees and employers alike. As the Canadian Mental Health Association states:

Fear of job redundancy, layoffs due to an uncertain economy, increased demands for overtime due to staff cutbacks act as negative stressors. Employees who start to feel the "pressure to perform" can get caught in a downward spiral of increasing effort to meet rising expectations with no increase in job satisfaction. The relentless requirement to work at optimum performance takes its toll in job dissatisfaction, employee turnover, reduced efficiency, illness and even death. Absenteeism, illness, alcoholism, "petty internal politics," bad or snap decisions, indifference and apathy, lack of motivation or creativity are all by-products of an over stressed workplace (Canadian 2006)

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In any organization one will find role conflict, such as conflicting job demands, multiple supervisors or managers. When one's job is not spelled out, role ambiguity or lack of clarity about responsibilities, expectations create anxiety. When one is given a job, the level of responsibility may be in question.

Term Paper on Workplace Stress Define Workplace Stress: What Is Assignment

In the area of one's career, one may be under- or over-promoted. Too much responsibility creates as much stress as not enough. Job security, from fear of redundancy either from the state of the economy, or a lack of tasks or work to do, lack of career development opportunities and overall job satisfaction, may be factors that create stress about one's career.

In work relationships, supervisors, coworkers and subordinates put pressure on one to do one's job a certain way. Other pressure may be present from threat of violence, harassment, or just the threat to personal safety that a certain kind of job may contain inherently.

In the organizational structure or climate, participation (or non-participation) in decision-making, management style or awkward communication patterns may create more stress than is needed.

2) Successful CEOs

Stress is often what provides motivation to meet our daily challenges and gives the energy to do so, both at home and at the workplace. Good stress is the kind that helps you "rise" to a challenge and meet deadlines, and sales or production targets, or find new clients. The people who would not consider this challenge a type of stress are the ones who thrive on it, because they are given challenges, and then when the challenges are met, are satisfied and happy.

Michael Sisco is a successful CEO (MDE Enterprises) and it manager. He believes that unsuccessful managers focus on too many things and have too much on their agenda. To develop the ability to quickly assess what one's level of expertise can handle allows one to take responsibility for more, putting the right people in the right job and keeping one's own stress level down by not trying to cover more than one can handle. The successful manager also creates a vision others can follow, create a team and create a plan for them to follow, focusing resources and working toward what the client wants (Sisco 1).)

In an article in USA Today, successful CEOs from Bill Gates to Brenda Barnes, CEO of Sarah Lee, tell how they cope with the world:

Former Sun Microsystems executive Jim Green, now CEO of Composite Software, has jogged the streets solo from London to New Zealand to recharge. SkyeTec CEO Chris Uhland was at a wedding recently where he snuck off by himself to watch golf on TV. His wife was not happy. Patricia Copeland, wife of former Deloitte Touche Tohmatsu CEO James Copeland, understands. She told USA TODAY three years ago that even at family get-togethers in Georgia, her husband will soon be found taking refuge in a book (Jones 1)

3) Workplace Stress and How Employees in Other Countries Cope

Examples of a healthy person who deals with workplace stress or sources of stress are a person who deals fairly and calmly with everyone. Some stress is normal. In fact, it is often what provides us with the energy and motivation to meet our daily challenges both at home and at the workplace.: On the job, if one's workload is an overload or an underload, this creates stress. Also the pace or the job, or the lack of variety and meaningfulness of the work helps deal with stress. Autonomy or the ability to make one's own decisions about one's own job or about specific tasks that one is asked to do, helps. No one likes a micro-manager. The shift work or hours of work, along with the physical environment (noise, air quality, etc.), isolation at the workplace, emotional or working alone.

In Japan, stress is a major factor in the workplace, with 59% of all Japanese workers feeling very "fatigued" from work, compared to only 15% to 30% of American workers. Stress, in Japan (called "karoshi") has become a national killer, claiming the lives of 10,000 Japanese men a year. The Japanese male typically refuses to seek help. Work is a virtue and weariness a sign of weakness, so Japanese men seek massages, drink alcohol and risk health hazards rather than go to a doctor for aid with stress (Segall 1)

In France, the cities are working to reduce stress in the everyday worker's lives by synchronizing public and private services of the city dwellers, though some are suspicious of the way that the bus and train lines are run to deal with getting the inhabitants to schools and jobs at the right times "I fear this is one more layer of bureaucracy," says one nervous citizen (How 1).

In England, work-related stress costs UK employers about 353 million to 381 million Schillings a year, a work-related re-organization of corporations and redesigning of jobs is being attempted, to increase autonomy of the worker. It involves environmental features and the perception of the worker about his or her job. Workers find demands, control, support, relationships at work, their role, change and culture to be the highest stressors. Studies of these stressors and changes in jobs is the UK's answer to this problem (MacKay, et al. 93-97)

4) What Happens When Stress Gets the Best of You?

Stress can have an impact on overall health. The human body is designed and possesses a set of automatic responses to deal with stress. This system is effective for the short-term "fight or flight" responses we need when faced with an immediate danger, such as one meets out in the wild. But in the workplace one's body deals with stress in the same way. Experiencing stress for long periods of time, even if it is low level stress will activate the "fight or flight" system, but it never gets the chance to turn off. The "pre-programmed" response to stress has been called the "Generalized Stress Response" and includes increased blood pressure, increased metabolism, such as faster heartbeat, faster respiration, decrease in protein synthesis, intestinal movement (digestion), immune and allergic response systems, increased cholesterol and production of fatty acids in the blood to produce energy, localized inflammation, redness, swelling, heat and pain, faster blood clotting, increased production of blood sugar for energy, and increased stomach acids (Basic 4).

There are usually warning signs that indicate when trouble coping with stress happens, before any severe signs become apparent.

5) Methods of Dealing With Stress:

When emotions become outward and physical, such as a feeling of vague anxiety, depression, boredom, apathy or emotional fatigue, it helps to talk about feelings to friends, take a vacation, make a change from regular activities, or taking time for oneself.

If the symptoms are mild, such as progressive or intensified feelings of anxiety or depression, over a period of 6 to 18 months, physical signs such as sleep disturbances, headaches, fatigue (physical or emotional), withdrawal from others, irritability or intense depression occur, the victim should take a more aggressive lifestyle change, and get short-term counseling.

If the symptoms are entrenched, with cumulative stress over a long period of time (having ignored the previous symptoms), the victim may have resorted to alcohol, smoking and/or drugs, exhibit signs of depression, feel fatigue, loss of sex drive, have ulcers, marital discord, crying spells, intense anxiety, think rigidly about things they used to be more lax about, withdraw from others, feel restless and sleepless, then it is time to get medical and psychological help on a professional basis.

Phase 4 is called severe or debilitating cumulative stress reaction. This is a self-destructive phase and usually occurs after 5 to 10 years of continued stress. When this… [END OF PREVIEW] . . . READ MORE

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