In this essay it is my intention to show how stress appears in working environment, what causes it and how it affects the workplace. I will start by defining what stress is and how it might be perceived. Then I will take a look at the factors that cause stress and how these might show in result when working. I try to look at all the possible reasons for stress and through that hopefully to show how to avoid a stressful environment. I will not try to put straight answers on to paper, but to think why workers might be stressed, and how this affects the organisation instead of just saying that things are like that because they just are. I chose this topic because I'm studying psychology and I feel that this is the one topic I have most ( qualitatively and quantitatively ) information to put into.
What stress is and how do we recognise it
When I looked up the word 'stress' from the dictionary, the definition it brought back was: 'state of mental, emotional or other strain'. The word ”strain” can be defined as being 'a severe demand on strength or resources'. ( Soanes, C. 2004: 1427, 1424 ) When we now look at these definitions, how do we end up classifying stress as something negative, something problematic? In the book psychology course 1006 uses stress is described as ”a pattern of physiological, behavioural, emotional and cognitive responses to real or imagined stimuli that are perceived as preventing a goal or endangering or otherwise threatening well-being.” ( Carlson et al. 2004: 710 ) Stress is nowadays a very common state of mind. Almost everyone has at some point suffered from stress. But even this is happening, people are able to do their work properly and without problems. ”Hans Selye has said that the only person without stress is a dead person. He sees that stress should be viewed as 'stimulation to growth and development.. chalenge and variety.. the spice of life'. When our own personal ability to meet a demand exceeds our objective ability to cope with that demand, the resulting imbalance is acknowledged as a state f stress. Therefore stress is a subjective experience and is 'in the eye of the beholder'.” ( Croome-Gale 1999: 77 ) This is why in certain situations two people might act differently; we feel stress differently. What causes anxiety in me, might make you more effective. And not all pressure causes stress. When the working environment is constantly changing, it is manditory for us to try and keep up with it, and we need some kind of pressure upon us to be able to do this. ( Croome-Gale 1999: 87 ) Although, if we keep this strain up for an extended period of time, it comes too much for us to maintain, because biological activity causes wear and tear on the body which leads to various forms of illness / diseases, and / or weaknes our resistance to disease. ( Croome-Gale 1999: 79 ) This is when the word 'burnout' comes in handy. It can be defined as an extreme stage of stress, and from now on when I use the word stress, I don't speak of the mild stages, but the more difficult ones, those that don't only make us alert, but also start harming our actions.
What causes stress and how this affects work
Stress is often seen as a result of problems at work or at home, but very rarely it is this straight-forward. Sometimes it might be only one thing in a persons life that causes stress, but in most cases there is no one big thing, but many small factors affecting at the same time. Marital problems, bereavement, etc. often triggure the pressure a person feels at work into stress.
At workplace there are many factors that cause stress, and many of them lead back to management. Often we find ourselves facing changes in our job structure and -environment ( much of which is fuelled by technological development ), and this often adds our worries about our work. This is why in most offices they organise special courses and staff training whenever...
References: Carlson, N; Martin, G.N. ; Buskist, W. ( 2004 ) Psychology. Great Britain: Pearson Education Limited
Croome-Gale, D.J. ( 2001 ) Creating the Productive Workplace. Florence, KY, USA: Routedge
Routamaa, V. ( 2002 ) Itsetuntemuksesta voimaa työssä jaksamiseen. University of Vaasa, Sanomalehtiyliopisto
( Strenght to work from selfknowledge ( free translation ) Open University by newspaper )
Vahtera, J; Kivimäki, M; Virtanen P ( 2002 ) Työntekijöiden hyvinvointi kunnissa ja sairaaloissa: tutkittua tietoa ja haasteita. Helsinki: Työterveyslaitos
The welfare of the employees in communes and hospitals: researches and challenges ( free translation )
Soanes, C; Stevenson, Angus ( 2004 ) Concise Oxford English Dictionary. New York, USA: Oxford University Press
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