Stress and the Work-Life Balance
All people experience stressful events throughout their lifetimes ranging from mild to severe. Theories of management and organizational behavior recognize the impact of stress on individuals personal and work lives. Stress can have severe consequences for both individuals and organizations. Thus, many organizations are implementing ways to reduce the negative impacts of stress to benefit their employees and to promote the success of the organization overall. The Nature of Stress and Individual Differences
Stress can be defined as tension in the body and mind caused by emotional, mental and physical factors. In addition, stress can be experienced as both an opportunity and a threat. An opportunity can yield a positive outcome while a threat would most likely yield a negative outcome. If an individual is low in self efficacy, than an opportunity can actually cause stress for an individual. Many of the things people encounter on a daily basis can be perceived as either opportunities or threats but usually only the important ones result in stress. Our personalities and abilities play important roles in how each of us individually deals with stress. According to the Journal of Applied Psychology, a person with a high level of neuroticism will tend to view themselves, their organizations, their jobs and the people they work with in a negative manner (pp. 402-412). On the other hand, employees that are high on openness to experience may find risk taking and frequent change less stressful than those individuals low on openness to experience. In addition, Type A personalities have very different stress levels than those who would be considered Type B’s. Type A’s have a strong desire to achieve and therefore are competitive, have a sense of urgency, are impatient, and can be hostile. Therefore, Type A’s usually experience higher levels of stress than Type B’s who tend to be more laid back and easy going. In addition to having different personalities, employees who differ in their abilities, will also experience different levels of stress. By providing employees with appropriate levels of training, it can increase employee’s skills and tends to result in higher levels of self-efficacy. Consequences of Stress
The consequences of stress can range from mild to severe and there are three different types of consequences which include physiological, psychological and behavioral. Physiological stress can include sweaty palms, inability to sleep, a pounding heart, elevated blood pressure, headaches and even worse heart attacks. According to D. Watson and J.W. Pennebaker, in the article Health Complaints, Stress, and Distress: Exploring the Central Role of Negative Affectivity, they point out that the relationship between stress and a physiological consequence is complicated, and researchers are still struggling to understand the dynamics involved (pp. 234-254). The most serious consequences of stress are positively correlated to an individual being subjected to prolonged time periods of stress and can include high blood pressure, cardiovascular disease, and heart attacks, with differences of symptoms and complaints ranging between different individuals. The second type of consequence is psychological stress and is the experience of stressful feelings and emotions. These emotions can include being in a bad mood, feeling anxious, worried, upset, angry, bitter and even hostile. Any or all of these feeling will detract from employees’ overall well-being (Tellegen, 1985). Highly stressed employees tend to have a more negative perception of their jobs and organizations and are more likely to have low levels of job satisfaction and organizational commitment, thus decreasing the overall efficiency of the organization. Stressed employees are also susceptible to feeling underappreciated; having a lack of control and even feeling that their work related stress is interfering with their...
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