Stress is defined as a reaction to a threat, whether real or imaginary, to the mental, physical and emotional health that leads to various reactions and physiological problems (Mohsenzade, 2007, p. 1). Stress at the workplace can occur when there is a lack of balance between a person's wants, requirements, and talents. It brings about mental strains that cause one to be anxious and tense (Cropanzano et al., 1997). Job stress and work challenges are in some cases considered to be synonymous but can be different. The difference is in the sense that job stress has a negative connotation to it while challenges are viewed with a more positive view. Challenges like competition (Rasca & Deaconou, 2008) cause individuals to seek growth and are constructive whereas job stress causes a decline in performance and also affects health.
The General Adoption Syndrome illustrates that people are more inclined to resist stress. According to Moorhead & Griffin (1995), the first stage in stressful situations is normally the warning stage, followed by the resistance stage and lastly the exhaustion stage. Stress can also be either good or bad. Good stress is seen in instances such as success, achievement, and fame. Stress has been classified as personal such as financial stress or stress emanating from family issues. Cultural stress originates from cultural differences like language or daily practices. Apart from that, there is also stress that is gender-based.
Stress at work is caused by factors such as job requirements of the work, physical location, role requirements and interactions with others according to Alipour (2011). Job requirements differ in the sense that a firefighter's job would be stressful compared to, say, and an accountant's job. Role requirements come with various responsibilities. For instance, the role of a group leader would be more stressful than that of group members. The physical location of the job can also cause stress.
All kinds of stress have consequences (Giga, Cooper & Faragher, 2003) on the individual and the organization. Some of the individual effects include behavioral, mental and physical consequences (Cheng & Sin, 1995). Some of the organizational consequences include functional deffects, the decline in performance (Jex, 1998) as well as financial implications in cases where individual quit or are dismissed.
According to Ganster & Schaubroeck, (1991), stress can be managed at work in a couple of ways. One of the ways to mitigate stress at work is by the elimination of the stress factor such as having better communication strategies (Styhre & Ingelgard, 2003). Another way is by educating the personnel to enable them to be better equipped to handle their work with ease (Kazemi, 2007). The two schools of the study of stress are medical and organizational school. The medical school [psychological school] defines stress in terms of anything that affects the quality of work life and personal health. On the other hand, the organizational school does not put into consideration the social aspect of a person.
A person undergoing stress can take interventions to overcome stress (Jazany, Habibi & Nasr, 2010). One can take part in sporting activities; take some time away from whatever causes the stress and rest. Also, one could manage their time at work to avoid a rush at work or ask the supervisor to understand better what the job or the role expects of them. One can also have a support group such as family and friends to be with. According to Mohsenzade (2007), one can overcome stress at work through relaxation as well as time management. The organization can overcome stress and strains at work by putting in place organizational plans as well as other side plans.
In conclusion, organizations can have stress prevention strategies to mitigate stress at work. It will enable personnel to overcome stress and work more efficiently. The organizations can also train employees to allow them to overcome stress, and this also allows for easy recognition of stress among personnel.
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Cropanzano, R., Howes, J., Grandey, A. & Toth, P. (1997). The Relationship of Organizational Politics and Support to Organizational behaviors, Attitudes and Stress. Journal of Organizational Behavior, 159-180.
Ganster, D. & Schaubroeck, J. (1991). Work Stress and Employee Health. Journal of management, 17(2), 235-271.
Giga, S., Cooper, C. & Faragher, B. (2003). The Development of a Framework for Comprehensive Approach to Stress management Interventions at Work. International Journal of Stress management, 10(4), 280-296.
Jazany, N., Habibi, M. & Nasr, S. (2010). An Analysis of Effective Factors on Job Stress and Its management Strategies. Journal of Management and Human Resources in Oil Industry, 4(11), 127-150.
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Mohsenzade, A. (2007). Stress Management. Journal of Management Advice (Industrial Development and Renovation. Organization of Iran), 31-44.
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