Dealing with Stress and Ambiguity in Organizations

Topics: Management, Stress, Ambiguity Pages: 8 (2230 words) Published: November 16, 2012

Dealing with Stress and Ambiguity in Organizations

Group Assignment
1. DANIEL NDERI- HD313-C006-3244/2012
2. PATRICK LIVONDOLO HD313-C006- 3243/2012
3. TIMOTHY NYAUCHO HD313-C006-3333/2012




Title Pagei
Table of contentsii
1.0 Introduction1
2.0 Symptoms of Stress 2
3.0 Causes of Stress3
4.0 Managing Stress5
5.0 Role Ambiguity8
6.0 Conclusion10

References 11

1.0 Introduction
Employees stress is a growing concern for organizations today. Stress can be defined as a lively circumstance in which people face constraints, opportunities, or loss of something they desire and for which the consequence is both unpredictable as well as crucial. Stress is the response of people to the unreasonable/excessive pressure or demands placed on them.

Stress is an imprecise term. It is usually defined in terms of the internal and external conditions that create stressful situations, and the symptoms that people experience when they are stressed. McGrath (1976) proposed a definition based on the conditions necessary for stress.

So there is a potential for stress when an environmental situation is perceived as presenting a demand that threatens to exceed the person's capabilities and resources for meeting it, under conditions where he expects a substantial differential in the rewards and costs from meeting the demand versus not meeting it. (p. 1,352) Williams and Huber (1986) define stress as "a psychological and physical reaction to prolonged internal and/or environmental conditions in which an individual's adaptive capabilities are overextended." (p. 243) they argue that stress is an adaptive response to a conscious or unconscious threat. Like McGrath, they point out that stress is a result of a "perceived" threat, and is not necessarily related to actual environmental conditions. The amount of stress that is produced by a given situation depends upon one's perception of the situation, not the situation itself. In other words, stress is a relativistic phenomenon. Stress is fundamentally seen as a physical, embodied experience emerging from a set of interrelated circumstances and processes. The experience of stress is a complex phenomenon; it is complicated to separate mental and bodily experiences into discrete domains (Shilling, 1993: 115-124), and stress is complicated to think of in linear cause-effect schemes. Stress could be seen both as the cause and the effect of specific bodily malfunctioning. 2.0 Symptoms of stress

Selye (1946) was the first to describe the phases that the body goes through in response to a threat. The general adaptation syndrome model states that the body passes through three stages. The first stage is an alarm reaction. The body prepares for a potential emergency. Digestion slows down, the heart beats faster, blood vessels dilate, blood pressure rises, and breathing becomes rapid and deep. All bodily systems work together to provide maximum energy for fight or flight. The second stage is resistance. If the stress continues, the body builds up a tolerance to its effects. The body becomes habituated to the effects of the stressor, however, the bodies adaptive energies are being used as a shield against the stressor. The third stage is exhaustion. When the body's adaptive energies are depleted, the symptoms of the alarm reaction reappear, and the stress manifests itself as an illness, such as ulcers, heart ailments, and high blood pressure. During the first or second stages, the removal of the stressor will eliminate the symptoms. Some of the symptoms of stress at workplace are as follows-


References: 2.0 Symptoms of stress
Selye (1946) was the first to describe the phases that the body goes through in response to a threat
4.0 Managing Stress
There are essentially three strategies for dealing with stress in organizations (Jick and Payne, 1980): i) treat the symptoms, ii) change the person, and iii) remove the cause of the stress
Managers can take active steps to minimize undesirable stress in themselves and their subordinates. Williams and Huber (1986) suggest five managerial actions that can be used to reduce stress in workers.
Forte, M., Hoffman, J. J., Lamont, B. T., Brockmann, E. N. (2000). Organizational form and environment: An analysis of between-form and within-form responses to environmental change, Strategic Management Journal, 21, 753 - 773.
Huber, V. L. (1981). Managing stress for increased productivity, Supervisory Management, 26(12), 2 – 12.
Jick, T. D., and Payne, R. (1980). "Stress at work." Exchange: The Organizaitonal Behavioral Teaching Journal 5: 50-55.
Kahn, R., Wolfe, D., Quinn, R., Snoek, J., and Rosentbal, R. (1964). Organizational stress: Studies in role conflict and ambiguity. New York: Wiley,
Lawless, P
McGrath, J. E. (1976). "Stress and behavior in organizations." In Handbook of Industrial and Organizational Psychology. Dunnett, M. D. (ed) Chicago: Rand McNally College Publishing
Selye, H
Williams, J. C., and Huber, G. P. (1986). Human Behavior in Organizations. Cincinnati, OH: South-Western Publishing.
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