The Effects of Stress on Worker Performance

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UNIVERSITY COLLEGE OF MANAGEMENT STUDIES

NAME: MAYFRED OWUSU NYAMEKYE
INDEX NUMBER: 1011007
COURSE: BSC. HUMAN RESOURCE MANAGEMENT

TOPIC: THE EFFECT OF STRESS ON WORKERS PERFORMANCE IN AN ORGANISATION. A CASE STUDY OF GHANA WATER COMPANY LIMITED, Suame – Kumasi. A DISSERTATION SUBMITTED TO THE HUMAN RESOURCE DEPARTMENT OF UNIVERSITY COLLEGE OF MANAGEMENT STUDIES,IN PARTIAL FULFILMENT FOR THE REQUIREMENTS FOR THE AWARD OF BSC. HUMAN RESOURCE MANAGEMENT.

(2011)

CHAPTER ONE
INTRODUCTION
1.0 BACKGROUND OF THE STUDY.
Stress was studied in early clinical research. For example, combat fatigue, the emotional breakdown of men in military combat, was studied in clinical research of the early 1940s. Psychotic behavior, extreme fearfulness, anxiety, ulcers, and hypertension were found to result from this stressful experience. Shock reactions to civilian disasters were studied also in early research, and a symptomatic pattern like combat fatigue was observed (Menninger, 1948). Similarly, living in chronically stressful situations for prolonged periods was found to impair the psychological functioning of an individual. Bettelheim (1943) recorded his own experiences as a prisoner in the Nazi concentration camps at Dachau and Buchenwald in 1938 - 1939. He described several distinct stages of stress in prisoners in a late stage, prisoners showed signs of indifference, dissociation of personal identity, regression and dependency. Hans Selye (1936, 1980), an important theorist in this area of study, defined stress in physiological terms as a nonspecific or generalized bodily response. This response results when any demand is made on the body, whether it is an environmental condition that we must survive or a demand that we make on ourselves in order to accomplish a personal goal. Further, Selye distinguished between two which only withdrawals are made, thus, life stress depletes us. Graham (1981) noted that many people quit after two to five years of work in the field –“done in, fed up, and burned out.” Why does this happen? Maybe it is due to the individual who chooses this kind of work individual differ in their vulnerability to stress. Maybe the problem is due to the nature of the job. Occupations differ in terms of their ability to induce stress. Also organizations vary in their concern about employee stress. Although stress disorders have been part of the human health conditions for a long time, stress is becoming a serious problem in the modern world. Asterita (1985) looked at the medical literature and concluded that between 75and 90 percent of all diseases prevalent in the Western world are at least indirectly related to prolonged stress and its physiological impact. Research from animal learning laboratories may have spared the interest of industrial researchers. For example, a series of animal learning studies conducted in the 1950s, which came to be known as the executive monkey studies spotlighted the potentially stressful effects of work responsibility (Brady, 1958). The experimental design involved an ordinary shock avoidance training procedure. By learning to operate a lever, animals could avoid receiving shocks. Experimental animals learned this behavior quickly and actually received few shocks. However, they showed considerable emotional behavior, and a number developed stomach ulcers. Ulcers were already being recognized as a stress – related disease, and the researchers conducted other studies to find out exactly what caused this. In the next study, two monkeys were used in a yoked procedure, in which only one, called the executive, was given “work responsibility.” Only the executive monkey was able to prevent the shocks because the lever at the executive‘s position controlled the shocks to both animals. It was reasoned that if the shock itself were the stressor, then both animals would get...
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