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Occupational Stress

Definition
Importance
Theories of stress
The model

- causes
- consequences
- solutions

Some Stress Facts

Second biggest occupational


health problem

Affects 1 in 3 employees (41.2


million)

Costs 20 billion per year

Stress

.A force which acts on a


body, setting up strains within
it according to its loadcarrying capacity, flexibility
and tolerance.

Stress
An adaptive response (moderated by individual
differences) that is a consequence of any action,
situation or event which places special demands
on a person
MEDIATING FACTORS
IMPORTANCE
UNCERTAINTY
DURATION

PERFORMANCE

STRESS
*CONTROLABILITY*

P-E FIT
Individual
Organisational
Goals
Goals

Never completely compatible because:


Ineffective selection
Organisational socialisation
Both sets of goals change
Individual unique complex

GENERAL ADAPTATION
SYNDROME
Psychophysiological response
STAGE 1
STAGE 3
Alarm
normal level
of resistance
Stage 1

STAGE 2
Resistance Exhaustion

Stage 2

Stage 3

Stress Costs

Industrial accidents

Illness lost days

Poor decision making

Reduced creativity

Increased labour turnover

ORGANISATIONAL STRESS
MODEL
MODERATIONS
Personality type A/B social support

WORK
physical enviro
Individual
Group
Organisation

STRESS
EXPERIENCE

PREVENTION & MANAGEMENT


-P-E fit
organisation programmes
Individual approaches

CONSEQS
- individual
- organisation

Stress
CAUSES
TASK DEMANDS

CONSEQUENCES

INDIVIDUAL

PHYSICAL DEMANDS
ROLE DEMANDS
ORGANISATIONAL

INTERPERSONAL

More on causes

Lack of control
Monotony
Tight deadlines
Working at high speed
Exposure to violence, bullying etc.
Hazardous working conditions

Underload Overload Continuum


-

OPTIMAL PERFORMANCE
Motivation - Energy
Sharp perception - Calmness

low performance
low performance
UNDERLOAD
OVERLOAD
Boredom insomnia
Motivation
irritability
Absenteeism errors
Apathy indecisiveness

Health implications

Heart disease
Stroke
Cancer
Musculoskeletal diseases
Gastrointestinal diseases
Anxiety & depressive disorders
Accidents & suicide

Organisational
implications

Absenteeism
Turnover
turnover
productivity
Poor safety
staff compensation claims
morale
creativity

TYPE A/B
(Friedman & Rosenman 1950s)
Behaviours

Consequences

Type A
Competitive
Ambitious
Aggressive
High devotion
Time Urgent
Speaks fast
Anxious

Type B
Less
Less
Assertive
Less
Relaxed
Slow/clear
Confident

Incidence heart problems


Blood pressure & Cholesterol
Concern about health

THE SOCIAL READJUSTMENT


RATING SCALE (Holmes & Rahe, 1967)
Kobasa (1982)

HARDINESS (mediating factors)

Internal Locus
Treat change
of control
as challenge

Highly committed

BURN-OUT
Unrelieved work stress emotional
exhaustion, depersonalisation &
feelings of reduced accomplishment.
Requires high degree of involvement

Burn-out
ORGANISATIONAL CONTRIBUTORY
FACTORS
WORK OVERLOAD
EXCESSIVE BUREAUCRACY
POOR COMMUNICATION & FEEDBACK
ROLE CONFLICT/AMBIGUITY
DEAD-END JOBS

Evaluate the risks

Do employees have a say in work


Relationships
Managing change
Employment security
Clarify roles
Support & training

Prevention vs
Management
Control/eliminate stressors or help cope
effectively.
1.
Maximise P-E Fit through effective:
- Recruitment
- Selection
- Induction
- Job design
- Flexible job descriptions
- Effective communication
- Fair rewards

2. Employee Assistance
Programs

Diagnosis experts define problem

Treatment counselling/support

Screening monitoring people in highly


stressful jobs

Prevention education & training

3. Health Promotion
Programs

Blood pressure monitor & control

Smoking cessation

Physical fitness

Diet & nutrition

Relaxation

4. Individual
Approaches

Cognitive response to stress is


mediated by cognitive processes (alter
cognitive process alter response)

Relaxation e.g Transcendental


Mediation

Biofeedback