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Human Resources and Organizational Behaviour
HROB 3100
Jamie Gruman

Chapter 2: Managing Stress The Role of Management  When managers experience stress, they tend to: ◦ Selectivety perceive information and see only that which confirms their previous biases ◦ Become very intolerant of ambiguity and demanding of right answers ◦ Fixate on a single appraoch to a problem ◦ Overestimate how fast time is passing (hence, they often feel rushed) ◦ Adopt a short-term perspective or crisis mentality and cease to consider long-term implications ◦ Have less ability to make fine distinctions in problems, so that complexity and nuances are missed ◦ Consult and listen to others less ◦ Rely on old habits to cope with current situations ◦ Have less ability to generate creative thoughts Major Elements of Stress  Kurt Lewin suggested that all individuals and organizations exist in an environment filled with reinforcing or opposing forces ◦ These forces act to stimulate or inhibit the performance desired by the individual ◦ A person's level of performance in an organization results from factors that may either complement or contradict one another ◦ Forces affecting individuals are normally balanced in the force field. Strength of the driving forces is exactly matched by the strength of the restraining forces ◦ Performance changes when the forces become imbalanced ◦ If the driving forces become stronger than the restraining forces or more numerous or enduring, change occurs ◦ If the restraining forces become stronger or more numerous than driving forces, change occurs in the opposite direction ◦ Strong restraining forces lead to low heart rates, good itnerpersonal relationships, emotional stability and effective stress management  High level of stress: ◦ Equilibrium can be restored quickly if there is sucfficient resiliency Reactions to Stress Alarm Stage  Characterized by actue increases in anxiety or fear if the stressor is a threat or by increases in sorrow or depression If the stressor is a loss  A feeling of shock or confusion may result if the stressor is particularly acute  The individuals energy resources are mobilized and hear rate, blood pressure, and alertness increase  Reactions are largely self-correcting if the stressor is a brief duration Resistance Stage  Defense mechanisms predominate and the body begins to store up excess energy  Five types of defense mechanisms are typical of most people who experience extended levels of stress: ◦ 1. Agression: Involves attacking the stressor directly. May also involve attacking oneself, other people, or even object (ex. Whacking the computer) ◦ 2. Regression: The adoption of a behavior pattern or response that was successful at some earlier time (e.g. responding in childish ways). ◦ 3. Repression: Involves denial of the stressor, forgetting or redefining the stressor (e.g. deciding that it isn't so scary after all) ◦ 4. Withdrawal: Individuals may engage in fantasy, inattention, or purposive forgetting or they may actually escape from the situation itself. ◦ 5. Fixation: Persisting in a response regardless of its effectiveness (e.g. repeatedly and rapidly redialing a telephone number when it is busy) Coping With Stress  “hot rectors” meaning they have predisposition to experience extremely negative reactions to stress  For others, stress is experienced more favorably ◦ Their physical condition, personality characteristics, and social support mechanisms mediate the effects of stress and produce resiliency, or the capcity to cope effectively with stress  Resiliency serves as a form of inoculation against the effect of stress ◦ Helps explain why some athletes do better in “the big game” while others do worse  Managing stress: ◦ 1. Eliminate or minimize stressors with enactive strategies ▪ These create or enact, a new environment for the individual that does not contain the stressors ◦ 2. Enhance their overall capacity to handl stress by increasing their personal resiliency known as proactive strategies ▪ This is designed to initiate action that resists the negative effects of stress ◦ 3. Develop a short-term technique for coping with stressors is necessary when an immediate response is required ▪ These are reactive strategies; they are applied as on the spot remedies to reduce temporarily the effects of stress  Individuals can respond to the revved-up state by using constructive strategies such as temporary relaxation techniques Managing Stress Stressors  Four main types of stressors: ◦ Time Stressors: Having too much to do in too little time ▪ Most common and most pervasive sources of stress faced by managers in corporations ▪ One reason for time stressors is that Western culture is extremely time conscious and continues to be even more so year by year ▪ Found significant relationships between the presence of time stressors, and job dissatisfaction, tension, perceived threat, heart rate, cholesterol levels, skin resistance, and other factors ◦ Encounter Stressors: Those that result from interpersonal interactions ▪ Commoing for managers ▪ Generally arise from three types of conflicts:  Role conflicts: in which roles performed by group members are incompatible  Issue conflicts: in which disagreement exists over how to define or solve a problem;  Interaction conflicts: in which individuals fail to get along well because of mutual antagonism ▪ Have significant negative effects on productivity and satisfaction ▪ Highest levels of encounter stress exist among managers who interact frequently with other people and have responsibility for individuals in the workplace ▪ Poor relationships with others cause particularly high levels of stress ◦ Situational Stressors: Arises from the environment in which a person lives or from an individual's circumstances ▪ Common form is unfavorable working conditions  The Social Readjustment Rating Scale (SRRS): Track the number of changes individuals had experienced over the past 12 month Eliminating Stressors  One way is to “enact” the environment rather than merely “react” to it ◦ Individuals can actively work to create more favorable environmental circumstances in which to work and live ◦ This can rationally and systematically eliminate stressors Eliminating Time Stressors Through Time Management  Two sets of skills are important effectively managing time and for eliminating time stress  One set focuses on efficiently using time each day  Second set focuses on effectively using time over the long term Effective Time Management  Managing time with an effectiveness approach means that: ◦ 1. Individuals spend their time on important matters, not just urgent matters ◦ 2. People are able to distinguish clearly between what they view as important versus what they view as urgent ◦ 3. Results rather than methods are the focus of time management strategies ◦ 4. People have a reason not to feel guity when they must say “no”  Important activities are those that produce a desired result ◦ They accomplish a valued end, or they achieve a meaningful purpose  Urgent activities are those that demand immediate attention ◦ They are associated with a need expressed by someone else, or they relate to an uncomfortable problem or situation that requires a solution as soon as possible Figure 2.4: Types of Activities That Determine Time Use  Cell 1 – Important/Urgent quadrant ◦ Handling employee crises or customer complaints are both urgent and important ◦ Are seen as “have to” activities that demand immediate attention  Cell 2 – Unimportant/Urgent quadrant ◦ Demands by others that may meet their needs but that serve only as deflections or interruptions to the managers agenda only escalate a sense of time stress ◦ They may not achieve results that are meaningful, purposeful, and valued – in other words, important – feelings of time stress will never be overcome  Cell 3 – Important/Nonurgent ◦ Opportunities instead of problems ◦ They are oriented toward accomplishing high-priority results ◦ Prevent problems from occurring or build processes that eliminate problems rather than just reacting to them ◦ Preparation, preventive maintenance, planning, building resiliency and organizing are all “non-have- to” activities that are crucial for long-term success  Cell 4 – Nonimportant/Nonurgent ◦ They escape, shut out the world, or put everything on hold ◦ Although feelings of stress may be temporarily relieved, no long-term solutions are implemented, so time stress is never permanently reduced  Personal principles statement is an articulation of the criteria you use for evaluating what is important  People who experience the most time stress are those who allow others to generate their personal principles statement for them through their demands for time  Clarifying your core principles and making them public not only helps make them more powerful, but it also provides a basis for saying “non” without feeling guilty Efficient Time Management  It is also important to adopt an efficiency point of view (i.e. accomplishing more by reducing wasted time)  The Time Managment Survey: ◦ First part of that survey applies to everyone in daily life ◦ Second part is most applicable to individuals who have managed or worked in an organization  Helps a person accomplish more in a typical work day but also helps eliminate feelings of stress and overload that are so de-trimental to personal accomplishment and satisfaction  PRINT OFF pg 125-128 Eliminating Encounter Stressors Through Collaboration and Emotional Intelligence Collaboration  When people feel a part of a group, or accepted by someone else, stress is relieved  Developing collaborative, clan-like relationships with others is a powerful deterrent to encounter stress  One way to developing this kind of relationship is by applying a concept known as emotional bank account  Covey used this metaphor to describe the trust or feeling of security that one person develops for another ◦ The more “deposits” made in an emotional bank account, the stronger and more resilent the relationship becomes ◦ Too many “withdrawals” from the account weaken relationships by destroying trust, security and confidence ◦ “Deposits” are made through treating people with kindness, courtesy, honestty, and consistency ◦ The emotional bank account grows when people feel they are receiving love, respect, and caring ◦ “Withdrawals” are made by not keeping promises, not listening, not clarifying expectations, or not allowing choice  More people interact, the more deposits must be made in the emotional bank acount  Make desposits into the emotional bank accounts of others Social and Emotional Intelligence  Social Intelligence refers to the ability to manage your relationships with other people, it consists of four main dimensions: ◦ 1. An accurate perception of others emotional and behavioral responses ◦ 2. The ability to cognitively and emotionally understand and relate to others reponses ◦ 3. Social knowledge, or an awareness of what is appropriate social behavior ◦ 4. Social problem solving, or the ability to manage interpersonal difficulties  The correlation between IQ and success in life is essentially zero  Smart people have no greater likelihood of achieving success in life or of achieving personal happiness than people with low IQ scores  Eliminating encounter stressors can be effectively achieved by developing social and emotional intelligence ◦ Fewer conflicts arise, individuals with whom we interact are more collaborative ◦ More effective and satisfying interpersonal relationships are developed among those with whom we work Eliminating Situational Stressors Through Work ReDesign  Individuals without discretion and participation expereienced significantly more stress  Skill Variety: The opportunity to use multiple skills in performing work  Task Identity: The oppoortunity to complete a whole task  Task Significance: The opportunity to see the impact of the work being performed  Autonomy: The opportunity to choose how and when the work will be done  Feedback: The oppoortunity to receive information on the success of task accomplishment How To Eliminate Situational Stressors at Work: Combine Task  When individuals are able to work on a whole project and perform a variety of related tasks (e.g. programming all components of a computer software package), rather than being restricted to working on a single repetitive task or subcomponent of a larger task, they are more satisfied and committed Form Identifiable Work Units  When teams of individuals performing related tasks are formed, individuals feel more integrated, productivity improves and the strain associated with repetitive work is diminished  When these groups combine and coordinate their tasks, and decined internally how to complete the work, stress decreases Establish Customer Relationships  Producers are buffered from consumers by intermediaries, such as customer relations departments and sales personnel  Eliminating those buffers allows workers to obtain first-hand information concerning customer satisfaction as well as the needs and expectations of potential custoomers  Stress resulting from filtered communicaiton is also eliminated Increase Decision-Making Authority  Being able to inflience the what,when, and how of w
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