Positive and Negative Stress in the Workplace Essay

Total Length: 9457 words ( 32 double-spaced pages)

Total Sources: 43

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1. Introduction

The modern 21st century has posed new challenges for the organizations to survive and grow (Smith et al. 2010). As they are operated and managed by human beings, the challenges are ultimately faced by the individuals who are responsible for making decisions and implementing them (Nieuwenhuizen, Weiss and Rossouw, 2009). As challenges are multifaceted, and human lives are divided into various aspects, it is difficult to excel in every field. The gap between desired and actual state of mind leads to stress and has a high impact on employee performance and productivity.

The concept of supervision is not new in business settings. It may be rooted right in the main essence of organizational structure from where delegation of authority and chain of command were introduced. In lieu of human psychology to stay conscious when being observed and monitored, it is more likely that they are not in normal state of mind but in stress. As relaxation leads to slow motion of work and decreased productivity consequently, many organizations deliberately introduce supervision and monitoring systems (Robbins & Coulter, 2007) so that employees perform at their optimum level. It can be concluded that when employees are in occupational stress, they tend to perform better (Hartley, 2010).

As there is a perceived relationship between occupational stress and need to supervise employee, there is strong need to explore the possibility of any such relationship. It is because organizations can mould their supervisory techniques so that employees perform better. In the present challenging world of 21st century, organizations are concerned about performance improvement of their employees and want to leave no stone unturned for it. The rapid advancement of both science and technology creates a host of challenges to the survival and development of organizations. Therefore, corporations have no choice but to experiment with various solutions to these obstacles, which will empower them to better, compete in the 21st century (Landstrom, 2008).

2. Research Aims

This research has two main aims. The first is to better understand the point at which work-related stress crosses over from being a positive (driving) factor for employees to being a negative (hampering) factor for employees.

The second aim is to identify best practices that HR management can use to prevent stress levels from crossing over the critical point at which stress becomes a negative factor for employees.

This research has the following objectives: 1) to assess previous evidence available concerning work stress and the ways this can be scientifically monitored; 2) to monitor work-related stress among a population of corporate employees; 3) to determine whether the critical point is fixed or fluid for individual employees over time; 4) to determine whether there is a common critical point among employees; 5) to examine the stress-reduction practices of the employees’ HR management team; 6) to identify common triggers of stress; 7) to identify common stress-reduction techniques; 8) to determine which stress-reduction techniques work best in particular scenarios; and 9) to determine the extent to which supervision of work-related stress is effective in keeping stress at appropriate (i.e., productive) levels.

Three major questions will be answered by this study. The first is the scale and origins of work stress. Second are the effects of work stress on family, employees and the corporation involved. Third is the study of how supervision affects work stress. Furthermore, the paper will analyze strategies applied by other corporations as regards the management of work stress. The final part will aid corporations in checking whether it is important to participate in stress reduction and management via thorough supervision of their workers.

3. Research Objectives

The aim of this project is to achieve the study objectives, which includes;

· To identify ways for monitoring work-related stress.

· To monitor stress among the corporate population of employees.

· To identify the common causes of work-related stress.

· To identify critical point(s) at which stress becomes problematic for the population.

· To discover the impact of work stress on employees, employee engagement, families of employees, and the corporation itself.

· To determine the way effective supervision influences work stress.

· To analyze the methods applied by other corporations towards achieving effective stress management.

· To determine how employee engagement is impacted by work stress.

The final two objectives will aid corporations in analyzing if it is important to finance stress reduction and management via effective monitoring of their workers.

The results derived especially with the aid of volunteers will be important in carrying out a survey with the basic intent of discovering how stress affects employees and the ways it can be reduced.

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4. Research Questions and Hypotheses

This research tries to answer these questions;

· What causes work stress?

This paper hypothesizes that workplace stress is caused in a variety of ways for each individual, as it is such a complex problem. Workplace stress can be caused by poor management and leadership, poor organizational skills of those in supervisory positions, poor or non-existent communication between supervisors and employees, and unarticulated expectations for employees. However, other times workplace stress is simple: it can be caused by overworking and overburdening employees with tasks or high-stakes scenarios.

H1a: Work-related stress is caused by a variety of factors that differ for each individual.

H1b: Some common factors will be found for work-related stress among the entire population that will help management to better monitor and supervise stress.

· How are the negative effects of too much stress evidenced in the workplace?

This paper hypothesizes that employees will demonstrate negative biophysical signs of stress, such as weight loss or gain, sleeping issues, fatigue, mental exhaustion, emotional exhaustion, outbursts, sadness, and shortness of temper, among other symptoms. Additionally, workers’ families will undeniably suffer as families are akin to a garden that need to be nurtured in order to grow and thrive in an adequate manner: workplace stress robs the employee of energy that can be given to the family.

H2a: Employees will show the effects of too much stress through weight changes, sleep deprivation, fatigue, exhaustion, emotional turmoil, and loss of temper.

H2b: Workers negatively impacted by too much stress will face negative repercussions in their family lives as well as a result of work-related stress that carries over into the home life.

· In what way does effective supervision impact work stress?

This paper hypothesizes that appropriate supervision has a positive impact on workplace. Enlightened supervision means that channels of communication remain clear and that all team members are on the same page, allowing them to work in harmony towards common goals. Nuanced supervision means that work is fairly divided and assigned to members of the team according to their strengths, so that members of the team receive tasks that they can excel at, and feel as though they are valuable members of the team, excelling at their jobs and making valuable contributions.

H3a: Appropriate supervision has a positive impact on worker’s stress load.

H3b: Appropriate supervision can help to keep stress levels at optimum levels in order to facilitate optimum productivity.

· At what point does good stress turn into bad stress?

This paper hypothesizes that good stress (i.e., stress that facilitates productivity) turns into bad stress (i.e., stress that hampers productivity) when the work-related stress begins to impact the personal life of the worker, social relationships, and the employee’s ability to effectively respond to workplace demands. This will differ for most workers and will depend on external variables as well as internal ones, though it is also hypothesized that some common characteristics will emerge to show that there is a common critical point at which stress becomes negative for workers.

H4a: Stress turns from good to bad for workers based on individualistic variables related to internal and external factors.

H4b: Common characteristics will occur among the overall sample, indicating that a common critical line does exist among workers at which point stress goes from facilitating production to hampering production.

· What methods are used by the other corporations in regards to stress management?

This paper hypothesizes that other corporations engage in more preventative methods to thwart workplace stress before it becomes a negative factor in workplace productivity. This is achieved by having open channels of communication and realistic expectations of employee capabilities. Furthermore, this paper further hypothesizes that creating a healthy workplace, stress levels will be lower innately as the environment will be conducive to positivity and general well being.

H5a: Management can reduce negative stress by maintaining open channels of communication and providing workers with realistic expectations.

H5b: A healthy workplace culture will also facilitate the reduction of negative stress for workers by promoting positivity and a sense of well-being.

5. Literature Review

It’s important to note that Framework for Study of Stress (Kahn and Byosiere,….....

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