Managing Stress and Conflict in the Organisation
Understand the effectiveness of own organisation in dealing with workplace stress and conflict Stress is a part of everyday life and as such is a part of all organisations. Cole in his 2004 book ‘Management Theory and Practice’ describes stress as: The adverse psychological and physical reactions that occurs in individuals as a result of their being unable to cope with the demands being made of them. (p.382) It is estimated that stress causes the UK economy around £7 billion a year, of which £4 billion is as a result of the 180 million working days lost due to staff taking time off work. As such the importance, if not purely on a financial basis, can be seen to all organisations. The importance to XXXX College, can also be seen by the fact that over the last six months, the College has employed the services of two external consultants to investigate work related sickness patterns and implement a new policy to minimise the occurrences of work related sickness. Thomson in her book ‘Managing People’ published in 2002 says that as with stress, conflict is also an inevitable part of organisational life. However, as with stress, this is generally seen as undesirable, dysfunctional and a negative thing, but given the right circumstances and handling, both can be beneficial to an organisation. The College as a whole has various mechanisms for dealing with workplace stress and conflict. In terms of workplace stress, identification of a potential employee’s ability to put in place personal coping strategies is made during the recruitment process. Part of the College’s standard Personal Specification is around outside hobbies and interests and one of the suggested questions from HR is about the acknowledgement that teaching and education is a high stress environment and what strategies does the interviewee have for dealing with this. All recruited staff then under-go a formalised induction process. Part of this process is a session that covers work place stress and the handing out of a College produced booklet on Coping with Stress. This booklet details personal coping strategies that staff can use to reduce their levels of stress to a ‘safe’ level, this being the level of pressure that an individual can adequately deal with. Once of these coping strategies is exercise and the College has arranged that staff can take advantage of corporate membership rates at two local gyms and provides access to the College’s gym for staff use. The induction process also explains that if an individual reaches a level of pressure at which they cannot adequately and appropriately deal with and the pressure starts to become signs of stress, that they can confidentially see one of the College Counsellors free of charge. As well as at induction, this service is advertised on the staff notice board in the main staff room as a reminder that this is available. A further related policy in dealing with stress is the Return to Work Interview, as part of the Sickness Procedure, that the College insists is carried out when a member of staff returns from any sickness absence. In this interview the staff’s line manager explorers with the staff if the College environment in any way caused or aggravated the sickness and what adjustments could be made if the staff member feels these are needed to facilitate a successful return to work. Such adjustments can include a phased return to work, with this time being made either unpaid or taken as holiday, a temporary reduction in duties, or a permanent reduction in hours and duties with an associated reduction in salary. The final College strategy in terms of dealing with stress is the annual appraisal system. The College has a series of behaviours that staff are rated on by themselves and their manager. One of these behaviours is dealing with stress. So staff and their line managers are forced into have a conversation at least once a...
Please join StudyMode to read the full document