Managing People Essay Example

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14Stress Management in Organizations

Stress Management in Organizations

Stress Management in Organizations

Introduction

Stress arises from the strains in the conflict between an individual and the external environment resulting in emotional and physical pressure (Davidson 2011). Stress has become a major concern for organizations in the contemporary society due to the realization that it is impossible to live without stress (Davidson 2011). In an organizational context, stress requires deliberation for the management and the employees considering that workplace stress can be harmful for organization growth and development. The main objective of this essay is to assess stress as an emerging issue in organizations. In addition, the paper will also focus on the factors contributing to its prominence and the challenges that the management in organization faces in handling stress related issues.

The significance of stress management in organizations

Employees are considered as the most essential asset in an organization because of the role they play in the production and delivery of goods and services to an organization’s clients. Effective organizational performance arises from the ability of an organization to provide an environment that allows its employees to deliver the according to the mandate of the organization (Andersen and Andersen 2012). In an organizational setting workplace, stress is considered as harmful emotional and physical responses, which arises when there is a relatively weak balance between job demands and the available capacity, resources or needs of the employees (Donaldson-Feider et al 2011).

An increase in the number of stress related incidences among employees and in organizations in the United States in recent years coupled with its impact on organizational performance has made stress management an urgent business strategy for companies operating in the United States. According to the 2007 survey on American employees, approximately three quarters of American employees experience symptoms of stress because of work (Crowley 2014). According to the American Psychological Association (APA), about 75% of American employees argue that their work is their main source of stress (American Psychological Association 2009). Job stressors in organizations range from unclear job expectations, noisy workstations, and time pressures related to completion of responsibilities within defined deadlines. Other than stress related to their employments, employees in the united states also reported family and home related factors and causes of stress in their lives (Andersen and Andersen 2012).

Stress has become an emerging issue in organizational management due to the realization that any form of stress is detrimental to the wellbeing and health or employees. These are negative effects because they affect the ability of an organization to ensure high-level productivity and sales (Angermeyer et al 2010). The difficulty that arises in stress management is in the inability of the management and employees in the American context to identify the signs that indicate the feeling of stress. This has made it relatively complex for the management to identify the possible effects unnoticed levels of stress may have on the wellbeing and health of employees and the productivity levels of an organization (Cazabat et al 2010).

The realization that there is need for organizations to manage stress through enhanced communication techniques explains why stress has become an emerging issue in organizations. Neglected employees in an organizational context often undergo stress related experiences without the realization of the management (Moustaka and Constantinidis 2010). This leads to high-level absenteeism, ineffectiveness in the delivery of personal and organizational goals and presenteeism within an organization. Through effective communication as a stress management strategy, organization have been able to minimize role confusion an conflict hence reducing role stress while granting employees greater independence (Michie 2010).

The management of people requires articulate and informed approaches to handling the needs of the employees in relation to organizational goals (Nelson & Quick 2012). Through the department of human resources, organizations have realized the need to streamline employee needs as a stress management strategy through this approach organizations make it possible for employees to balance different demands in their lives and develop personal approaches towards addressing these needs (Donaldson-Feider et al 2011). Making it the responsbility of the employees to address individual problems with the help of human resources management enhances their decision-making capabilities hence helping employees to prioritize on their needs in relation to the needs of the organization (Posen 2013). The realization that stress does not only affect personal lives but also the wellbeing of an organization has made it the responsbility of manager in organizations to develop social networks that promote some level of cohesion and sharing among employees (Quick 2013).

Factors contributing to stress becoming so problematic in organizations

Organizational change

In any organization, the process of embracing change is considered a relatively difficult activity. This is because in an organizational context change presents uncertainties about the structure of an organization as the position of its employees (Crowley 2014). While there are individuals who embrace change, most of the individual simply accept it with varying degrees of willingness. There are also those individual who are resistant to change. This consequent is that it reduces the level of cooperation within an organization win terms of the realization of organizational goals hence increasing stress levels on the management, employees and the organization (Donaldson-Feider et al 2011).

Being resistant to change has been considered as one of the leading causes of stress within an organization. This is because of the fear emanating from the instability that changes causes and their ability to perform in an uncertain future. Such employees will leave the circle of influence and concentrate in the circle of concern where they will worry about possibilities outside their sphere of influence (Donaldson-Feider et al 2011). When employees cling on the security blanket of their perceptions about any form of change in an organization, they will experience an exponential increase in their stress levels, which may have negative effects on the success of the organization in terms of performance (Sutherland and Cary 2000).

Leadership

The role of leadership in any organisation is to engage in decision-making and to provide the employees with some sense of direction. The management is considered as the most essential part of organizational leadership responsible for the welfare of the organisation and that of the employees (Woodsworth and David 2014). Effective organizational management requires the leadership to develop strategies for stress management. Stress management is a personal problem among employees and this makes it necessary for the management to demonstrate ethics, approachable, competence and fairness in the development of stress management strategies. An effective management in an organization has the responsbility of demonstrating its ability to develop reasonable expectations (Woodsworth and David 2014). Failure by the management to engage employees in communication regarding the strategies of the organization and its future may result in increased levels of stress among employees with regard to the competence of the management and their future in term of professional and career development (Khamisa and Peltzer 2013). A highly commanding and controlling leadership in an organization is considered as a major contributor of stress among employees because such management does not serve or support but only contributes to high stress levels due to ineffectiveness in terms of their inability to ensure transparent promotions within the organization (Donaldson-Feider et al 2011).

Changes in roles and responsibilities

Different organizations within the United States are increasingly finding it necessary to examine the techniques employed in conducting business. The use of business like approaches in accomplishing responsibilities in an organization helps in streamlining of the incorporation of technology in ways that ensure less person contact and more online interactions (Penson et al 2010). Such changes in roles and tasks require employees to learn new skills and commit more time to continuous learning (Iacovides et al 2010). These approaches to conducting business in an organization sometimes experience some level of rejection by a percentage of employees. In the process of changing employee roles and tasks within an organization, there exists a potential for stress producing ambiguity (Cummings & Worley 2009).

Ineffective work-life balance

Technological advancements within organizations have increased expectation in terms of quick and effective completion of employment responsibilities. The desire to ensure quick completion of responsibilities generates the dilemma of quality. For organizations involved in the provision of services, there is stress intrinsic in balancing efficiency with the expectation of customers for personal and quality hands- on experience (Crowley 2014). An additional contributor to the organizational stress with regard to ineffective work-life balance is the 24 hours operation for seven days a week that defines the American economy. For most employees this is considered as a stress factor because they do not have time to address issues outside their work (Van Wyk et al 2010). Their evenings and weekends are characterized by responding to work related activities such as emails and the delivery of products and provsionof services to their clients (Piko 2015). The availability of technological devices and application and devices such as laptops, Wi-Fi, has facilitated an increase in the expectation that employees can work in any environment (McKee & Ashton 2011). The risk of this approach to the execution of employment responsibilities sis that employees are more likely to become resentful and susceptible to exhaustions (Donaldson-Feider et al 2011). Burnouts, which are signs of stress among employees, can be exhibited in different ways such as increases absenteeism, illness. For organizations, this is considered as a disadvantageous because burnouts increase workplace accidents, which leads to worker compensation claims (Maslach 2009). In American organizations, the estimated cost of stress assessed by a reduction in productivity, health insurance, absenteeism, compensation claims and medical expenses is approximated at &150 billion annually (Cummings & Worley 2009).

Increased stress levels in an organization because of the inability of organizations to implement effective work-life balance police is a contributor to increased violence. Employees suffering from exhaustion are more likely to affect the levels of productivity of other employees (Poghosyan et al 2009). This causes overall reduction in the quality and quantity of production. One of the consequences of ineffective work-life balance is that it contributes to stress levels that strain interpersonal relationship among employees (Mathur 2013). This is because employees become territorial in their responsibilities, knowledge, and their workplaces. This affects essential organizational practices such as communication and teamwork as collaborative efforts diminish the ability of employees to engage in fruitful and mutual exchange of information (Crowley 2014).

Challenges faced by managers and organizations in dealing with stress

The prevailing organizational culture has the potential of presenting the management and the organization with challenges in dealing with stress. This is because organizational culture defines the operations of an organization (Cox et al 2000). Therefore, in the process of developing strategies of stress management, the management is obligated to act in accordance with the requirements of the organization (Hobfoll 2001). In situations where organizations operate on a rigid organizational culture, the management will face difficulties in the introduction and implementation of stress management strategies because of the requirements that such strategies must be aligned with the prevailing organizational culture (Crowley 2014). In addition, the process of stress management in such situations may require the management to engage in the process of changing elements on the organizational culture that are resistant to change before incorporating the suggested stress management strategies (Hillebrandt 2008). This not only inconveniences the ability of the management to execute its responsibilities in addressing employee welfare but also reduces the level of confidence among employees with regard to the competence of the management (Davidson 2011).

Diversity is an element of organizational culture that enables organizations to attract employees from different backgrounds hence enriching it human resource capacity. In stress man anent, diversity within an organization presents numerous challenges from the management. This is because their cultural, religious and socialization backgrounds often define employees (Trenberth and Dewe 2004). In the context of an organization, developing stress management approaches in a diverse environment may prove to be relatively challenging because the management has the responsbility of ensuring that an all-inclusive approach towards management of stress is developed (Grawitch et al 2015). The main challenge occurs when employees perceive the proposed stress management strategies to be against their beliefs, traditions and daily practices (Crowley 2014). This not only affects the ability of the employees to deal with stress in an objective manner but also the ability of the organization to address employee issues in an effective and relevant manner (Cummings & Worley 2009). Maintaining a balance between the existence of a diverse workforce and the development of effective stress management strategies is therefore a challenge for the management in different organization depending on the level of diversity (Wang et al 2012).

The level of willingness among employees to engage in activities focused on stress management is also a challenge to an organization. Stress management strategies are considered as ways through which the emotional and physical conflict that affect the wellbeing of an employee within the workplace is addressed. This can be through counselling and team building sessions (Crowley 2014). For the management to realize the effectiveness of stress management strategies, employees must be willing to participate in the initiatives to allow the management to conduct an assessment upon completion (Weinberg et al 2010). However, in some situations, these strategies may fail to work especially when the employees are reluctant or resistant to the strategies espoused by the management (Weber and Jaekel-Reinhardt 2013). Resistant employees not only limit the ability of an organization to address stress related issues but also the productivity of the organizations. This is because by failing to address stress within the workplace, originations will have less motivated employees hence low productivity (Evans et al 2013).

Failure by the management and the organization to identify the stressors within the workplace before the development of stress management strategies can be considered as a challenge when dealing with work related stress (Cox et al 2000). This is because, there are a plethora of factors that can lead to work related stress such as bullying, violence, interpersonal relationships at work, organizational culture and climate, career development, and roles within the organization among other factors (Munz et al 2013). It is the responsbility of the management to identify the main causes of stress and develop effective stress mitigation strategies. This is considered a challenge because for organizations may fail in addressing existing stressors through the development of less informed strategies (Hicks & McSherry 2006).

Conclusion

Stress has become an emerging issue in organizational management due to the realization that any form of stress is detrimental to the wellbeing and health or employees, which affects productivity. The realization that stress does not only affect personal lives but also the wellbeing of an organization has made it the responsbility of manager in organizations to develop social networks that promote some level of cohesion and sharing among employees. Organizational change, the effectiveness of leadership, changes in employee roles and responsibilities, and an ineffective work-life balance are major contributors to work related stress. It is important for organizations through the management to consider the development of strategies that are not only relevant but also effective in handling work related stress.

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