Job Stress and Its Impact on Employee Performance

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CHAPTER 1
INTRODUCTION

1. Introduction to the topic
People at work worry about all sorts of things; increasing competition for jobs, globalization, terrorism, looking after aging parent and relatives, annual appraisal, new technology, outsourcing of jobs along with increased demand of employer for higher productivity. These and some other factors make the employees experience certain pressures at times. Like they have to meet certain deadlines, cope with some unusual but critical situations on their own as well as adapt to the cultural changes of the organization, meeting certain targets, learn new procedures and attending meetings on time and have to be innovative. These all situations, at first hand, appear to be the essential part of any job but when we look closer at all these, they are nothing but stressors which cause hindrance to the performance thus causing damage to the productivity of the organization on the whole. All the good organizations take necessary care and exercise extreme prudence and foresight with regard to job stress. So they, in their own larger interest, take very good care of their employees, value them, invest in them and work extra mile to cope their problems and fulfill their needs.

Work place pressure is growing day by day, people face changing economic and business situations, changing customer expectations and changing expectations from their own role and position in the organization (Moten, 2009). Three issues, therefore, arise in considering the effect of work-related stress on individual organizations and the economy in general: how should work-related stress be specified, what determines its presence at the workplace and what is its importance as a predictor of individuals' labor market behavior?

1.1 Job stress Or Workplace stress
Job stress Or Workplace stress is the harmful physical and emotional response that occurs when there is a poor match between job demands and the capabilities, resources, or needs of the worker. The American national institute for occupational safety and health (NIOSH) defines job stress as “The harmful physical and emotional responses that occur when the requirements of the job do not match the capabilities, resources or needs of the worker.” The Health and Safety Executive (HSE) (1995) defined work stress as ‘pressure and extreme demands placed on a person beyond his ability to cope.’ In 1999, the Health and Safety Commission (HSC) stated that ‘stress is the reaction that people have to excessive pressure or other type of demands placed upon them.’

Nearly everyone agrees that job stress results from the interaction of the worker and the conditions of work. Views differ, however, on the importance of worker characteristics versus working conditions as the primary cause of job stress. These differing viewpoints are important because they suggest different ways to prevent stress at work.

1.1.1 Stress tolerance
The concept of job stress is often confused with challenges, but these concepts are not the same. Challenge energizes us psychologically and physically, and it motivates us to learn new skills and master our jobs. When a challenge is met, we feel relaxed and satisfied. Thus, challenge is an important ingredient for healthy and productive work. The importance of challenge in our work lives is probably what people are referring to when they say, "a little bit of stress is good for you. But the situation is different; the challenge turns into job demands that cannot be met, relaxation turn to exhaustion, and a sense of satisfaction turn into feelings of stress. In short, the stage is set for illness, injury, and job failure.

Job stress can lead to poor health and even injury thus in poor performance. St. Paul Federal and Marine Insurance Co. (1992) study found that problems at work have a more direct affect on workers’ health than any other life stressor, including family or financial problems. Stress related disorders encompass a broad...
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