Job Stress

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  • Topic: Employment, Geert Hofstede, Occupational safety and health
  • Pages : 13 (3909 words )
  • Download(s) : 154
  • Published : April 16, 2007
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Objective of the report

Understand job stress and its nature,
Understand theoretical viewpoints of stress,
Discuss how it has affected employees in United States and Japan.

Modern businesses are complex and highly competitive consequently employees, management of the organization as well as organization itself under contentious strain to accomplish higher targets (Rothmann et al, 2005). In recent time's organizations around the world restructuring, outsourcing and downsizing, leaving its workers feeling stressed undervalued and insecure (Rothmann et al, 2005). According to three studies done by National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health's " Stress at work" report, between 26% -40% of employees think that their jobs are stressful. (Global Cosmetic Industry, Sep 2005) Stress at work place has been investigated for many years (Michailids et al, 2003) and lately it has become a major concern due to its effects on employee performance as well as the efficiency and productivity of organizations. There are many factors that cause stress in work place. They are broadly can be categorized as Individual Level stressors, Group level stressors, Organizational level stressors and non-work stressors. According to North western National Life Insurance Company, one forth of American employees think that their jobs are the number one stressor in their lives (NOISH, n.d). Japanese people are known to be hardworking and highly committed to their jobs. The word "Karoshi" has been derived because of the hardworking nature of Japanese workers. The word "karoshi" means death from work ( That is occupational sudden death due to stress from work. Job burnouts are other challenge that American companies are facing. Employees were suffering from chronic heart diseases and other illnesses, mostly due to stress in workplace. Therefore, it is important for managers, to understand the nature of stress and how it has affected in organizations in United stated and Japan.

2. Literature Review
What is Job/ work/occupational stress?
Job stress can be defined in different viewpoints. Given below are some of the definitions given by various authors: "Harmful physical and emotional response that occur when requirements of the job do not match the capabilities, resources or needs of the worker". (Koesten, 2005) "The adverse reaction people have to excessive pressure or other types of demand placed on them". (McCromick, 2005) "The relationship between the person and the environment that is appraised by the person as taxing or exceeding his/her resources and endangering well-being". (Gellis, Johngchun, sung, 2004) "How well the individuals social and psychological needs are matched by the work environment" (Michalilids et al, 2003)

Even though different authors have identified Job stress slightly differently, it is clear that the occupational or job stress is something bad for human workers. Some employers believe that it is necessary to put pressure on their employees so that they will perform well in their jobs.

Is there an optimal level of stress and employee performance?

"Not all stress is bad, and some stress is good. Positive stress, or eustress, is often reflected in a confident attitude and superior performance" (Piscatella, N.D) According to a study conducted among 1540 executives, it was revealed that there is an optimum level of stress for an employee (Gibson, et al, 2003). Following picture depicts the relationship between workload and its effects on employee.

Figure: 1

Source: (Gibson, et al, 2003)

Virtually any employee may have experienced some type of work overload (Cramer, 2000). There are two types of work overloads namely, Quantitative Have too many things to complete with in given period of time. Qualitative Sense of lack of capability needed to perform a task. According to the results of the study, the executive who were in...
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