Coping with Stress in an Organization
26 November 1994
Table of Contents
I. Introduction II. Defining Stress III. Types of Stress IV. How to Handle Stress V. Recognizing Stress VI. The Military and Stress VII. Summary
Since the beginning of mankind there has always been some kind of stress affecting how people feel, act and cope with situations. In this paper we will look at the definition of stress and what causes people to have stress. Then we will see how different people handle stress and show how not all individuals have the same tolerance for stress. The next thing that will be discussed is how managers in organizations can recognize and reduce the negative effects that stress has on the worker and the organization. Finally we will consider what kind of stresses there are in military organizations and how they can be controlled. II. DEFINING STRESS
Robert C. Dailey, in his book Understanding People In Organizations, defines stress as "any demand made on the body that requires psychological or physical adjustment." Many people think of stress as always being something bad. However, stress sometimes can be good. Stress is part of our every day life.
It can have a motivating effect or a demotivating effect. Each of us have our own level of how much stimulation or stress we need in our lives to keep us from getting bored.1 Others however, have a much lower tolerance for stress stimuli.
So managers must be able to look at each individual and decide if the individual has a high or low tolerance for stress. Managers can do this only if they have a good understanding of what causes stress.
III. TYPES OF STRESS
Stress can come from a multitude of different reasons, but for simplicity lets break it down into two forms: individual induced stress and physical environment stress. Individual stress includes things such as role conflict, role ambiguity, work overload, and