What is stress? At one time or another, most people experience stress. The term stress has been used to describe a variety of negative feelings and reactions that accompany threatening or challenging situations. “Stimulus” refers to stress, which can be categorized as emanating from three sources: i. ii. iii. Catastrophic events, such as Tornadoes and earthquakes Major life events Chronic circumstances, such as living in crowded or noisy conditions.
“Response” refers to how somebody responds to a particular stress, for example sitting an examination. There are two components: i. ii. Physiological, heightened bodily arousal-your heart pounds, mouth goes dry your stomach feels tight and you perspire. Psychological, involving behavior, thought patterns, and emotions. Feeling nervous.
“ Process” views stress as a series of interactions and adjustments between the person and the environment. These interactions and adjustments are called transactions. Stress is not seen as a stimulus or a response, but rather as a process. The person suffering stress is seen as an active agent who can influence the impact of a stressor through behavioral, cognitive and emotional strategies. Categories of stressors affecting job stress
Individual stressors An individual’s disposition may cause stress and researchers have identified two personalities to describe this as Type A and Type B (Friedman and Rosenman, 1974) Type A i. ii. iii. Type B “Competitive, achievements orientation” Self-critical. No joy in accomplishments. “Time urgency. Impatient” Always on the go. Do several things at once. “Anger/hostility” easily aroused to anger, which may be overt or covert.
2 Low levels of competitiveness, time urgency and hostility. Easy going - philosophical. Type A/Type B personalities are measured by a structured interview but can be measured by a questionnaire. Group stressors Lack of group cohesiveness Lack of social support
Organizational stressors The organization where an employee works have so many causes of stress and in broad level it could be categorized in to four segments. Administrative polices and strategies Organization structure & Design Organization Processes Improper Working conditions
Extra organizational stressors The outside forces and events have a considerable impact on job stress. As world is changing so fast together with globalization put organization and employees on a turbulent stage. The Extra organizational stressor has following sub categories. Family Change Relocating Life’s Change Sociological-Demographic Change Financial Condition
General Adaptation Syndrome Model (GAS) Hans Selye developed the General Adaptation Syndrome model to describe the effect of chronic stressors on the body. Rresponse the General Adaptation Syndrome, which consisted of three stages: Alarm Reaction, Resistance, and Exhaustion.
The GAS consists of three stages: a. Alarm reaction b. Stage of resistance c. Stage of exhaustion. The “alarm” reaction is like the fight or flight response to an emergency. The body is mobilized. At the beginning of the arousal blood pressure drops below normal for a moment, but then quickly rises to above normal. The body cannot stay in this state for long without serious consequences. Some organisms in a continuous state of alarm have died within hours or days. “Stage of resistance” If the reaction continues and is not strong enough to cause death the physiological reaction enters the stage of resistance. The body tries to adapt to the stressor. Physiological arousal declines but remains higher than normal and the body replenishes the hormones released by the adrenal glands. However, the body may not be able to resist new stresses. “Stage of exhaustion” Severe long-term or repeated stress will cause the organism to enter the third stage, the stage of exhaustion. The immune system and the body's energy reserves are weakened until resistance is very limited. If the stress continues, disease and physiological damage become increasingly likely and death may result. Cognitive appraisal (Richard Lazarus) Lazarus and Folkman (1984) propose a model that emphases the transactional nature of stress. Stress is a two way process; the environment produces stressors and the individual finds ways to deal with these. Cognitive appraisal is a mental process by which people assessed two factors:
4 a. Whether a demand threatens their well being b. Whether a person considers that they have the resources to meet the demand of the stressor There are two types of appraisal: I. II. Primary Secondary.
Primary appraisal During the primary appraisal stage a person will be seeking answers as to the meaning of the situation with regard to their well-being. One of three types of appraisals could be made: a. It is irrelevant b. It is good (benign-positive) c. It is stressful Further appraisal is made with regard to 3 implications: i. ii. iii. Harm-loss Threat Challenge
“Harm-loss” refers to the amount of damage that has already occurred. There may have been an injury. The seriousness of this injury could be exaggerated producing a lot of stress. “Threat” is the expectation of future harm, for example the fear of losing one's job and income. Much stress depends on appraisals that involve harm-loss and threat. “Challenge” is a way of viewing the stress in a positive way. The stress of a higher-level job could be seen as an opportunity to expand skills, demonstrate ability, and make more money. Secondary appraisal Secondary appraisals occur at the same time as primary appraisals. A secondary appraisal can actually cause a primary appraisal. Secondary appraisals include feelings of not being able to deal with the problem such as:
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If this method fails, I can try a few others. I can do it if I work hard. No problem-I can do it.
It is difficult for people to make appraisals whilst in shock as their cognitive functioning is impaired.
5 Events are stressful depending on two types of factors: 1. Those that relate to the person 2. Those that relate to the situation (Cohen and Lazarus, 1983). Personal factors include intellectual, motivational, and personality characteristics. People who have high self-esteem are likely to believe they have the resources to meet demands. Stressful events are seen as challenges rather than as threats (Cohen and Lazarus, 1983). Life transitions tend to be stressful (Moos and Schaefer, 1986). Changing from one phase to another in life is called a transition. Ambiguity can cause stress. Two types of ambiguity are: 1. Role ambiguity 2. Harm ambiguity. “Role ambiguity” can occur in the workplace, for instance when there are no clear guidelines, standards for performance and no clear consequences. Role ambiguity is stressful because people are uncertain about what actions and decisions to make. “Harm ambiguity" occurs when people are not sure what to do to avoid harm. Stress will depend upon the person's personality, beliefs and general experience (Lazarus and Folkman, 1984). A person who is seriously ill and has no clear information might draw hope from this ambiguity, believing that they will get well. Another person in the same situation may believe that people are deliberately giving ambiguous information because the prognosis is poor. Stress and Motivation Motivation is a basic psychological process and is directly related with “stress”.
Needs theory and motivation
One of the most widely mentioned theories of motivation is the hierarchy of needs theory put forth by psychologist Abraham Maslow. Maslow saw human needs in the form of a hierarchy, ascending from the lowest to the highest, and he concluded that when one set of needs is satisfied, this kind of need ceases to be a motivator.
As per his theory this needs are : Physiological needs :These are important needs for sustaining the human life. Food, water, warmth, shelter, sleep, medicine and education are the basic physiological needs, which fall in the primary list of need satisfaction. Maslow was of an opinion that until these needs were satisfied to a degree to maintain life, no other motivating factors could work.
7 Security or Safety needs : These are the needs to be free of physical danger and of the fear of losing a job, property, food or shelter. It also includes protection against any emotional harm. Social needs : Since people are social beings, they need to belong and be accepted by others. People try to satisfy their need for affection, acceptance and friendship. Esteem needs : According to Maslow, once people begin to satisfy their need to belong, they tend to want to be held in esteem both by themselves and by others. This kind of need produces such satisfaction as power, prestige status and self-confidence. It includes both internal esteem factors like selfrespect, autonomy and achievements and external esteem factors such as states, recognition and attention. Need for self-actualization : Maslow regards this as the highest need in his hierarchy. It is the drive to become what one is capable of becoming; it includes growth, achieving one’s potential and self-fulfillment. It is to maximize one’s potential and to accomplish something. Frederick Herzberg’s motivation-hygiene theory : Frederick has tried to modify Maslow’s need Hierarchy theory. His theory is also known as twofactor theory or Hygiene theory. He stated that there are certain satisfiers and dissatisfiers for employees at work. In- trinsic factors are related to job satisfaction, while extrinsic factors are associated with dissatisfaction. He devised his theory on the question: “What do people want from their jobs?” He asked people to describe in detail, such situations when they felt exceptionally good or exceptionally bad. From the responses that he received, he concluded that opposite of satisfaction is not dissatisfaction. Removing dissatisfying characteristics from a job does not necessarily make the job satisfying. He states that presence of certain factors in the organization is natural and the presence of the same does not lead to motivation. However, their nonpresence leads to demotivation. In similar manner there are certain factors, the absence of which causes no dissatisfaction, but their presence has motivational impact.
Examples of Hygiene factors are : Security, status, relationship with subordinates, personal life, salary, work conditions, relationship with supervisor and company policy and administration. Examples of Motivational factors are : Growth, prospectus, job advancement, responsibility, challenges, recognition and achievements.