1.1 Conceptual Framework of Stress
Stress is a normal component of the body‘s response to demands that are placed on it. When we are frightened or angry, the body responds to this stress with a number of physical reactions that prepare it for action. Factors that trigger this stress response are known as stressors. Stressors are encountered in almost every aspect of our lives. Excess stress, or distress, has been identified as an important factor in many types of illness. Occupational stress is often the combined effect of several stressors. Workplace stressors include physical and organizational factors.
Stress can be described as the adverse psychological and physical reactions that occur in an individual as a result of their being unable to cope with the demands being made on them. Stress is usually triggered by external problems faced by individuals as by the way they cope (or fail to cope) with these problems. Once an individual fails to deal adequately with pressure, symptoms of stress appears. Stress is an important psychological concept that can affect health, well-being and job performance in negative dimensions. Stress according to Arnold et al (1995), is a word derived from Latin word ―Stingere‖ meaning to draw tight. It is regarded as a force that pushes a physical or psychological factor beyond its range of stability, producing a strain within the individual. Stress is the process by which environmental events (stressors or challenges) threaten us, how these threats are interpreted, and how they make us feel. Stress is an affective behavior and physical response to aversive stimuli in the environment. According to Selye (1976), stress is a state within the organism characterized by general adaptation syndrome. In other word, it is the nonspecific response of the body to the demand made upon it. It suggests excessive demands that produce disturbance of physiological, sociological and psychological systems. Stress may be acute or chronic in nature.
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“Workplace stress” is the harmful physical and emotional responses that can happen when there is a conflict between job demands on the employee and the amount of control an employee has over meeting these demands .In general, the combination of high demands in a job and a low amount of control over the situation can lead to stress.
Occupational stresses on the other hand possess a risk to most businesses and it is important to meet the challenges by dealing with excessive and long term causes of stress. Stress reduces employee well being and excessive or sustained work pressure can lead to stress. Stress has been discovered as one of the most important reasons behind sickness from work. Executives at the work place have declared that stress adversely affects their health, happiness, and home lives as well as their performance at work. As part of other overall strategy to reduce work-related ill health, the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) developed some clear guidance on stress management standard. The management standards for work-related stress were launched in November 2004. It encourages organizations to take preventive measures through a risk assessment. The assessment consists of organizations comparing against themselves, demand being able to cope with the demands of the job control, having an adequate say over home. Stress has also been seen as the reaction that people have to excessive pressure or other types of demand placed on them. It arises when they worry that they cannot cope. Implications of long term or chronic stress are fear, frustration and anger that may be produced by an unhappy relationship with one‘s boss. Executive Asserts that problems can occur in an employee‘s life as well as at work. If an employee is facing a relationship breakdown, financial problems, and difficulties with neighbors or bereavement, it is possible that these problems may affect the employee ability to work effectively....
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