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Chapter 5

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York University
Organization Studies
ORGS 1000
Frank Miller

Stress CREW - Incivility is key: involves behaving in a respectful and courteous manner Stress - It is the psychological response to demands when there is something at stake for the individual, and when coping with these demands would tax or exceed the individual’s capacity or resources - 1/3 of Canadian workers feel that jobs are stressful - Stressors: demands that cause the stress response - Strains: negative consequences of the stress response - Stress depends on nature of the demand and person who confronts it Why Are Some Employees More Stressed Than Others? - Transactional theory of stress: explains how stressful demands are perceived and appraised as well as how people response to the perceptions of appraisals - Primary appraisal: evaluation of whether a demand is stressful and if it is, the implications of stressor in terms of personal goals and well-being - Benign job demands: job demands that are not appraised as being stressful; cashier job (engaging in routine sales transactions) Types of Stressors - Hindrance stressors: stressors/stressful demands that tend to be appraised as thwarting progress towards growth and achievement o Have little to no benefit to the employee in the long term o Tend to trigger negative emotions (anger and anxiety) - Challenge stressors: stressors that tend to be appraised as opportunities for growth and development o Managing additional responsibilities and higher workloads help build employee skills o Trigger positive emotions (pride and enthusiasm) Working Hindrance Stressors - Relates to the various roles we fill at work - Role conflict: others’ having differing expectations of what an individual needs to do in a role o call centre operators expected to get as many calls as possible = spending little time with each customer o however asked to be responsive to the questions and concerns raised by customers o they are put in a position where they cannot meet both expectations (contradictory work terms) - Role ambiguity: a lack of direction and information about what needs to be done in a role o Students may get an assignment with little to no instruction on what is expected to be done and what the marking standards/guidelines are o Stress arises if process of completion, goals and standards of reflection (marks/guidelines) are not outline - Role overload: an excess of demands on an employee preventing them from working effectively o Investment bankers, managers, consultants and some lawyers work 80 hours/week o It is hard to imagine life outside the workplace with that much responsibility - Daily Hassles: minor day to day demands that interfere with work accomplishment o Dealing with unnecessary paperwork, office equipment malfunctions, useless communications and conflict with co-workers Work Challenge Stressors - Time pressure: strong sense that the amount of time allotted to do a job is not quite enough o People appraise these situations as more challenging than hindering - Work complexity: the degree to which job requirements tax or exceed employee capabilities o Developmental experiences tend to be quite stressful o Being stretched beyond ones capacity is well worth the associated discomfort - Work responsibility: the number and importance of obligations that employee has to others o Level of responsibility is higher when number, scope and importance of obligations is also higher o Air traffic controller: accountable for lives of many; poor judgement can be very costly Non-work Hindrance Stressors - Many demands outside the work have effects that “spill over” to affect the employee at work - Work-family conflict: form of role confirms; demands of a work role hinder fulfilment of demands in a family role (vice-versa) o People may have hard time not feeling frustrated when getting home from work o Family to work conflict: can happen if a salesperson experiencing stress of marital conflict comes to work with emotional pain and negative feelings; makes it harder to interact with customers - Negative life events: events such as divorce or death of family member that tend to be appraised as a hindrance o Hinder the ability to achieve life foals and are associated with negative emotions - Financial uncertainty: uncertainties with regard to potential for loss of livelihood, savings or ability to pay expenses o Highly relevant during recessions or economic downturns Non-work Challenge Stressors - Family time demands: amount of time committed to fulfilling family responsibilities o Includes time spent travelling, attending social events and organized activities, hosting parties and planning and making home improvements - Personal development: participation in activities outside of work that foster growth and learning o Includes participation in formal education programs, music lessors, sports related training, participation in local government, volunteer work - Positive life events: events such as marriage or birth of a child that tend to be appraised as a challenge o Each is associated with some positive emotions How Do People Cope With Stressors? - People normally ask themselves what they should and can do about a stressful situation - Secondary appraisal: when people determine how to cope with the various stressors they face - Coping: behaviours and thoughts used to manage stressful demands and emotions associated with the stressful demands Methods of Coping o Behavioural coping: physical activities used to deal with a stressful situation  If confronted with time pressure, person can copy by working faster  Those with daily hassles might cope by avoiding work; coming in late, leaving early or stay at home  Employees with stressful international assignment return home from assignment prematurely o Cognitive coping: thoughts used to deal with a stressful situation  If crunched by time, person might think of different ways to work more efficiently  Employees with daily hassles might try to convince themselves that hassles are not that bad Focus of Coping o Problem focused coping: behaviours and cognitions of an individual intended to manage the stressful situation itself  People should try to focus more on meeting the demand rather than avoiding ti o Emotion focused coping: behaviours and cognitions of an individual intended to help manage emotional reactions to the stressful demands  Even though people might change the way different situations are construed to avoid feeling unpleasant emotions, demands/problems triggering initial appraisal process remain  Managers would want to use problem focused rather than emotion focus strategy (working harder/more efficiently rather than drinking beers at lunch to distance oneself from stressors) - Choice of selecting coping strategy depends on how they can address different demands o Ex: reviewing for a final exam rather than going out all night - Choice also depends on degree to which a person believes that they have what it takes to execute the s
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