A Report on Job Stress
Job stress is stress involving work. Stress is defined in terms of its physical and physiological effects on a person, and can be a mental, physical or emotional strain. It can also be a tension or a situation or factor that can cause stress. Occupational stress can occur when there is a discrepancy between the demands of the environment/workplace and an individual’s ability to carry out and complete these demands. Often a stressor can lead the body to have a physiological reaction which can strain a person physically as well as mentally. A variety of factors contribute to workplace stress such as negative workload, isolation, extensive hours worked, toxic work environments, lack of autonomy, difficult relationships among coworkers and management, management bullying, harassment and lack of opportunities or motivation to advancement in one’s skill level.
Q.1: What evidence is there that Sally is experiencing job stress? What are the symptoms?
Job stress evidence can found by analyzing an organizations working environment. Evidence of job stress is work related symptoms. From working condition or the work of an employee we can found job stress evidence.
In our case, sally is experiencing job stress. Here, we can found some evidence of Sally’s job stress as follows:
Ø Sally’s boss Marie keeps poking her nose into sally’s business.
Ø Large territory of job
Ø Launching new product.
Ø Necessity of additional technical knowledge.
Symptoms of job stress: The following table lists some of the common warning signs and symptoms of stress. The more signs and symptoms you notice in yourself, the closer you may be to stress overload.
|Stress Warning Signs and Symptoms|
|Cognitive Symptoms||Emotional Symptoms|
|Physical Symptoms||Behavioral Symptoms|
Keep in mind that the signs and symptoms of stress can also be caused by other psychological and medical problems. If you’re experiencing any of the warning signs of stress, it’s important to see a doctor for a full evaluation. Your doctor can help you determine whether or not your symptoms are stress-related.
Sally’s symptoms: When we compare above symptoms with our case we can see the presence of many of these in case of Sally. Some of these symptoms are as follows:
Ø Inability to Concentrate: As we see in the case, Sally has not been able to focus at the training class.
Ø Seeing only the negative: Sally finds her customers irritating, because they are asking question again and again about the product.
Ø Anxious or Racing thoughts: sally is anxious about the new product line. Because, she has been unable to make much sense out of the manual
Ø Short Temper: Sally is become short temper. She has had to catch herself a few times from snapping at some thick-headed customers.
Ø Depression or general happiness: Sally is depressed by the expanding territory of her work. Due to this new broaden territory of work; she has to be out of town 4 or 5 days a week.
Ø Frequent Cold: Sally has had a month-long cold.
Ø Tiredness: Sally seems to be tired all the time.
Ø Sleeping too much: Sally has to cancel a appointment with a customer for the first time, because she just could not get herself out of her apartment that morning.
Ø Isolating from others: Sally has no one to share her problems. She cannot share it with her boss, Marie. On the other hand, she doesn’t want to share it with her fiancé and family.
Q.2: What conditions are producing Shelly’s stress?
Stress can be produced by work situations that are ambiguous, overload one’s capabilities. Besides, stress can be produced by work and non-work pressure. Sally also faces so problems at her work place and personal life also. So, Sally’s stress conditions can be identified based on the job stress process.
1. Job Demand
As Sally sell the industrial equipment, so she must always interact with customer, providing valuable consultation and must have knowledge about her product.]
2. Interpersonal relationships
It is true that Sally’s boss Marie, GA industrial sales manager keeps pocking her nose into Sally’s business and giving her unneeded advice about how to handle customers.
3. Non-work pressure
The plans for Sally and Steve’s wedding have taken a back seat to her work. Their wedding date has been put off a couple times.
She seems to be tired all the time. She has had trouble shaking a month-long cold. She canceled an appointment with a customer because she just could not get out herself of her apartment that morning.
She becomes emotional about maintaining relationship with Steve when they hardly ever see each other anymore. And, then, there are the wedding plans.
Sally has also been short tempered of late.
C. Work Outcomes
1. Job dissatisfaction
Sally has been a little peeved at the company for expanding her territory. She cannot do a thorough job with such a large territory. She has been finding herself out of town 4, sometimes 5, days a week.
Because of absenteeism she could not understand introducing a new product line better.
3. Work ineffectiveness
She has not been able to focus at the training classes, has not really understood the lectures at the meetings, and has been unable to make much sense out of the manual either.
Q.3: How is Sally’s job stress affecting her family and personal life?
Answer: Stress is produced by an interaction between a person and the environment that is perceived to be so trying or burdensome that it exceeds one’s coping resources. In a more basic sense, stress is aroused when a person is confronted with an opportunity, a constraint, or a demand. A particular situation can simultaneously represent an opportunity, a constraint, and a demand. A new, challenging work assignment, for instance, may represent an opportunity to develop skills and acquire needed exposure, but it can also constrain one from spending more time with family and can become a demand if it overloads one to the point that work effectiveness and satisfaction suffer. A situation-be it and opportunity, constraint, or demand-is stressful when it exceeds or threatens to exceed the individual’s capacity to handle it. As Sally is in job stress, she found that it affects her family and personal life in many ways. Like:
· Sally has found herself getting into a lot of petty arguments with her fiancé Steve. She wants preoccupied with her job wherever she is.
· The plans for their wedding have being late because of Sally’s work. On top of this dilemma, their wedding date has been put off many times which create Steve’s dismay.
· Sally and Steve have had many discussions about where they will live and if when they will have children but they cannot come to a solution about these issues.
· And also with the expanding territory, Sally is beginning to wonder, how she can ever maintain a relationship with her fiancé when they hardly ever met with each another. Because of job Sally has to work out side of the town four or five days in a week.
a) Are her family and personal life affecting her work?
Answer: Yes. Sally’s family and personal life also affects her work. Because of silly arguments with Steve and indecision about their marriage, Sally cannot concentrate properly at her work. As her job is so challenging and GA is coming out with a product line- microprocessor-based control panel, she has to learn more about these new products. But she cannot understand the new product line better. She cannot able to focus at the training classes, has not understood the lectures at the meeting and has been unable to make much sense out of the manuals either.
b) What type(s) of work-family conflict is Sally experiencing?
Answer: there are many times when our work and family lives are in conflict with one another. Work-family conflict exists when pressures from work and family roles are mutually incompatible, such that participation in one role is made more difficult by virtue of participation in another role. Sally is experiencing two types of work-family conflict. They are:-
(i) Time-based conflict: it is a common type of work-family conflict. Life roles compete for a precious commodity-time. The time spent in one role generally cannot be devoted to another role. As Sally has to attend out of town business meetings, generally 4/5 days in a week, she can hardly meet with her fiancé Steve. It creates her unresponsiveness towards her job. She cannot concentrate to her job and fails to understand the new product line.
(ii) Strain-based conflict: it exists when the strain produced within one role affects experiences in another role. Work stressors such as organizational characteristics, job demands, role characteristics, interpersonal relationship, working condition, career transitions, and non-work pressures can produce such strain symptoms as tension, irritability, fatigue, depression and apathy. It is mostly intense for Sally, because she experiences conflict within the work role. Her work environment is constantly changing and also she is doing the repetitive, boring task. Sally’s boss Marie, GA’s industrial sales manager, keeps poking her nose into Sally’s business and giving her unneeded advice about how to handle customer. This also irritates Sally. All these stressful conditions produce a “negative emotional spillover” from work to non-work.
Q.4: If you were Sally, what would you do? Identify as many alternative plans of actions as possible and indicate the advantages and disadvantages of each action. Which plan(s) of action would you choose? Why?
Sally, the saleswomen of GE is currently facing job stress because of her work-family conflict. In order to come out of this stress position sally needs to find out alternative plans of action and choose the best fit with her to improve the current situation. Before choosing any alternative(s), we have to keep in mind Sally’s strengths in workplace which will help us to choose the best alternative(s) for her.
Alternative plans of action for Sally and the advantages and disadvantages of each is given below-
Alternative-1: Undertake Stress Management Training
Stress Management Training comprises a set of rehabilitative skills and techniques aimed at enabling the individual to better manage stress. It is empowering to the individual, enabling them to take a greater control of their own life and workplace. Sally needs to undertake stress management training to mange stress and create a healthy balance between work and personal life.
Advantages and disadvantages of stress management training are-
|• Finding a Work/Life Balance||• Time constraint|
|• Managing Common Pressures||• Dipping performance at work|
|• Zeroing In On What Your Job’s About||• Information change in time|
|• Cognitive restructuring||• More pressure|
|• Learn About Change – How You Think|
Effective communication can be the solution of many problems in work as well as personal life. Communication is the key opening many doors but we can see that Sally is not communicating well with her boss, Marie and fiancé, Steve. So communicating with important persons of her life may be helpful to getting out of stress.
The advantages and disadvantages of communication are-
|1. Problem solving
2. Flexible scheduling, or flextime
3. Source of information
5. Promotes motivation
2. Closed Loops
3. Individual Ideas
4. lack of management support
Alternative-3: Undertake Technical/Training Courses
In the case, we can see that Sally can’t focus on the training classes of the new product line. Moreover she also can’t understand the manuals relating to the new product which result in her lack of knowledge about the product. This deficiency of knowledge about the product may affect her sales volume in long run and thus increase her job stress due to lack of performance. That’s why Sally should undertake training or technical classes.
The pros and cons of undertaking technical/training classes is given below-
|1. Opportunity to learn whilst doing
2. Immediate Feedback
3. Relevance to the job
5. Cost involved is less
2. Lack of principles
3. Potential disruption to performance
4. Quality depends on ability of trainer and time available
Alternative-4: Hiring new employees under sally whom have experience in marketing field
One of the techniques of reducing work stress is to hire an assistant or employee who can help in sharing work as well as in discussing about any matter. In the case, we can see that sally became tired about her workload. She has to remain outside of town 4 or 5 days a week because of the enlargement of her sales territory. Besides, GA Industries is coming out with a new product line. This will be another duty she has to maintain with the new product line. In that situation sally can hire an under employee or assistant to share her workload.
The advantages and disadvantages of this alternative are given below:
|1. New employee means new idea
2. Reduce workload
3. She can discuss with the new employee about any matter related to company
4. Reduce job stress
5. Personal help
6. Balance work-life style
|1. Change in salary structure of sally
2. Selected person may become threat in future
3. Sally’s expectations may not be fulfilled
4. The person may be worthless
Alternative-5: Take advice from the technical advisor in this field
A technical advisor is an individual who is expert in a particular field of knowledge, hired to provide detailed information and advice to people working in that field. Sally as a sales manager can go to a technical advisor who is an expert in this selling and marketing field and ask the expert what to do in this situation.
The advantages and disadvantages are:
|1. Valuable knowledge
2. Job stress may be reduce
3. New ideas about work-life style balance
4. She can discover her limitations in job
|1. May not get good advice
2. May be waste of time
3. Consultancy is not free
Alternative-6: Consult with a psychiatrist about the whole problem
Sally may consult with a psychiatrist about her problem to get some possible advice. It might be helpful, but it can also have some negative consequences.
|1. Sally may develop personally
2. She can feel ease by sharing her problem
3. Short tempered problem may be reduced
4. Will be able to handle irritating situation
|1. May not work
2. Waste of time
3. She may become more irritate if she does not found a solution.
Alternative-7: Switching the Job
In the case, Sally is frustrated in both of her work life and personal life. She can’t give so time to her family and fiancé because she has to spent so much time in her work life. That’s why; switching the job may be an alternative to get a balance work-life style. Perhaps it has also consequences on both sides.
|1. Improve salary & Designation
2. Can join the company with her own needs and own terms
3. Can join the company in her respective territory
4. May reduce pressure
|1. Job Profile
2. New Environment & Culture
3. She may not get another Challenging job
4. The new company may not understand her value like GA Industries
5. Professional companies do not operate on emotions
Q.5: What types of social support would Sally find most helpful: appraisal, instrumental, emotional or informational? From whom should she seek such support? Why?
From the three strain symptoms (physical, behavioral and emotional) it is clear that Sally is having emotional stress. The symptoms of emotional stress that is visible in her are:
· Loss of ability to concentrate
To reduce stress, Sally can seek social support. Social support has long been recognized as an invaluable aid to individuals undergoing conflict and stress. Support from others can help people alter the stressful environment and buffer or protect them from harmful effects of stress.
Support to help deal with stress can come from many sources, both informal (family, friends, co-workers) and formal (self help groups, mental health or other professionals, child care or other service providers)
James House identified four classes of supportive behaviors: emotional, instrumental, informational and appraisal.
|Type of support||Meaning|
|Emotional||Empathy, caring, trust, love|
|Instrumental||Behavior that directly helps person in need|
|Informational||Information to cope with problem|
|Appraisal||Information that provides feedback to person|
Sally should seek emotional and informational support because these are the two things that was absent in the whole case. Sally was already getting enough positive feedback from her customers, so there is no need for appraisal support. It was already made clear that any informational support from her boss or co-workers is not an option. So Sally should seek emotional support from her fiancé and instrumental support from her subordinates.
Her fiancé should give her emotional support as she was already in stress and the petty arguments are just worsening the situation. She should seek instrumental supports from her subordinates. Their improving performance can relieve Sally from some pressure as well as paperwork because it seems like everything was going fine till her territory expanded few months back.
Q.6: If you were the president of GA industries and just heard Sally’s story, what, if any thing would you do? Why?
Answer: When any types on workers are in stress or any types of problems president should take some steps to reduce the stress. Sally is a employee of GA Industries. She has a good record in the industry but now a day she can not work properly because of stress. The main reason behind this stress is conflict with her fiancé. The past record of her work is very good. So if her stress can reduce she will be good asset for the industry. So as a president I should take some steps. The steps are written below:
1. Eliminate the burdensome of the job: This industry now introduces new product line, but Sally is now in stress. It is not possible to her concentrate training class. So industry should eliminate burden of the work.
2. Give clarification of the job duties: Industry should clear idea of the job.
3. Job transfer: If the work environment should be changed it helps to reduce the job.
4. Flexible work schedule: Work schedule can be arranged according workers preference it will help to reduce the stress.
5. Give feedback on job performance: Industry should give feedback employees performance it can motivate workers.
6. Find the reason of stress: Before take any steps as a president I should find out the reasons behind the stress.
7. Relations with others employee: Should create a work environment where other employees are helpful and help to reduce stress.
Social support: Industry has begun to develop program to reduce stress. But as a president I should give some social support. These are
Ø Emotional: It means empathy, caring, trust and love. Should praise Sally’s work.
Ø Instrumental: It means behavior that directly helps person in need. Sally is now in problem with her fiancé. So I should understand it.
Ø Informational: It means information to be used by person to cope with problem.
Ø Appraisal: It means information that provides feedback to person.
Reasons behind these steps: Stress is arising when an individual faces an opportunity, constraint. Sally is a good worker in the industry. Her past record is very good. But because of stress she can’t wok properly. In this condition she can not find any one to share her feelings. In this aspect president should take steps. Employees are good asset for industry. No industry can be improved without employees. If stress can reduce Sally can work properly and she will be good asset for the industry.
- Greenhaus, Jeffrey H. and Callanan, Gerard A. and Godshalk, Veronicam. – Career Management (Third Edition)