Managing Organization Stress

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Hafiz Ahsan Farid and team, ahsan3332@gmail.com

1. INTRODUCTION

1.1 Background

State-of-the-art management theories equally assisted by the disciplines of modern Marketing, Finance, Operations, Human Resource Management etc. have made the once-upon-a-time uncertain business world quantitatively almost predictable. Business world a few decades ago had been full of apprehension and uncertainty. But the recent pragmatic development of the theories and practices in the field of business related disciplines, justly enlivened by extensive automation and technological advancement, has provided us with the opportunity to deal uncertainty with lot of confidence. Certainty has replaced uncertainty, assurance has almost overwritten apprehension, and the dynamic behavior of the business world is now a day expected with greetings rather than with a cautious mind. It is widely accepted that the most valuable resources in today’s business world are information and human beings, the former being the most important. However, information cannot be managed without the latter one. It is the people who collect, collate, manage, and efficiently utilize information. So if the human resources in any business organization suffer physical or psychological imbalance, the information management will be at stake. It is also widely accepted that stress is the primary cause of this imbalance. Commonsense tells us that people under excessive stress are less efficient. A decreased level of efficiency will naturally affect information handling—which requires attention and precision.

Excessive stress can cause havoc in an organization. What stress causes to the business world can be perceived through the following statistics:

o In excess of 19 billion dollars are lost by U.S. industry every year due to premature employee death; many of which could possibly be prevented, had they participated in some form of a stress management program. o In excess of 150 million dollars per year are lost by the U.S. due to stress related absenteeism. o During the 1980-1990 period, the number of stress-related disability claims made only by the workers of the state of California, U.S., increased by 800%. o 40 million days are lost to British industry every year due to direct stress related conditions. o A conservative estimate of the cost of stress to British industry would be ₤1.3 billion a year. Typical symptoms include alcoholism, absenteeism, turnover, premature death, and retirement.

This is what is happening in the U.S. and U.K. What about Bangladesh, a member of the third world? It is likely that the dollar volume of loss due to stress would be much smaller, but the intensity is likely to be more. However, a conclusion at this stage would not be prudent. As the students of business studies as well as the members of the Bangladeshi business world, stress appeared to us as an important aspect. Because, the underlying causes of stress emerge from our actions and as such, it is only we who can manage it. Not surprisingly, we have often experienced stress in our workplaces as well. Our meager knowledge on stress sometimes helped us to identify and eliminate it and that made us feel better.

Our interest on organizational stress principally emerged on the day we came to know about the International Stress Management Association UK (ISMAUK) of U.K. ISMAUK is a registered charity with a multi-disciplinary professional membership. It exists to promote sound knowledge and best practice in the prevention and reduction of human stress. It sets professional standards for the benefit of individuals and organizations using the services of its members. We do not have any such organization in our country. If we could conduct a study on organizational stress in our business community, it might be useful for us as well as to those who consider stress management important for an organization.

All these led us to chose the subject...
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