Skip to main content

Über dieses Buch

Including practical advice on how to conduct a stress audit and how to target stress 'hot spots' within an organization, Organizational Stress Management provides a fresh strategic model for the manager concerned with the negative effects stress can have both on company performance and the quality of life of individuals at work.



1. Change And The Need For Change

Many of us would subscribe to the adage, “If it’s not broken, don’t fix it”, but we are also aware that if “it” is our workplace, then things are constantly changing. Where jobs depend on success in our area of work – and most tend to – there are nagging doubts and fears that “it” might not be good enough to help us maximize our potential and to ensure that the future is bright for all concerned. These concerns could provide the impetus for the “fix” needed to guarantee performance and effectiveness. In particular, these reflect the health and performance of the organization, which in turn are underpinned by the well-being and job satisfaction of its employees. Therefore, this book addresses the ways in which we can maximize performance and health in the workplace by using an integrated, organizational strategy to optimize well-being and, in turn, manage stress. It differs from other traditional stress management books in three main ways:

2. Stress And The Law

Stress at work affects a significant proportion of the workforce in the UK. In 2008/09, an estimated 415,000 individuals in Britain believed they were experiencing work-related stress at a level sufficient to make them ill, according to the Health and Safety Executive (2009c). Almost one in five of those at work thought their job was either “very stressful” or “extremely stressful”. Self-reported work-related stress, depression and anxiety accounted for an estimated 11.4 million lost working days in Britain. Certain occupational groups are reported to experience high prevalence rates of self-reported work-related stress. These groups include teachers, nurses, housing and welfare officers, customer service workers, certain professional and managerial groups, and those working in public administration and defense. There are high incidence rates of work-related mental ill health among these occupational groups, together with medical practitioners and those in public sector security based occupations, such as police officers, prison officers and UK armed forces personnel (HSE, 2009c).

3. What Is Stress?

To successfully manage a stress situation, we must first define what we mean by “stress” and identify what causes it in order to recognize the effects of exposure to stress. We have already examined the deleterious costs of mismanaged stress in Chapter 1, and acknowledged the implications of the stress litigation process and the consequences of increased employers’ liability insurance in Chapter 2. Now, we need to understand how and why stress is damaging in its consequences.

4. Understanding The Nature Of Stress: Organizational Hot Spots

The interactive model of stress described in Chapter 3 specifies that we need to identify, measure and understand three separate issues:

5. Stress, New Technology And The Physical Environment

Rapid technological development in the work environment has exposed more of us to the need to work “with” and “for” computers at work. “Computer phobics” are still found in the workplace, but a great majority of us are now required to work with computers, in some way. It has become a part of daily work practice that also forms part of our wider physical working environment. Within work surroundings, employees are also exposed to the potential for distress caused by noise, vibration, extremes of temperature, inappropriate lighting levels and poor hygiene. In this section, issues related to new technology are considered first, followed by scrutiny of the impact of physical demands in the work environment on our well-being and functioning.

6. Conducting A Stress Audit

We have argued for an organizational approach to the management of stress, but also acknowledge that a successful stress management package will need to operate from more than one level. Indeed, a number of stress researchers have pointed out that stress control can be successful only if it is tackled at the level of the individual and the organization (Giga et al., 2003). Therefore:

7. Options For The Management Of Stress In The Workplace: An Organizational Approach

We have now considered all the necessary issues in respect of the first two “A”s in our “Triple A” approach to the management of stress: AWARENESS and ANALYSIS. To achieve this, we have examined the stress process, explained its origins, given definitions of stress, and provided a model of stress to guide the process of analysis. In order to complete the process of analysis, a means of identification and measurement of stress at work has been described. This is the “stress audit”. The objective of this type of psychological risk assessment is to enable the organization to optimize the performance and health of the workforce. This is achieved by eliminating or minimizing sources of stress that are damaging in their consequences. Thereby, we are acknowledging the maxim “healthy work force – healthy organization” (Davies and Teasdale, 1994), and promoting the World Health Organization (WHO) statement that “a healthy working environment is one in which there is not only an absence of harmful conditions but an abundance of Health Promoting ones” (Leka et al., 2007). In this instance, we use the word “health” in its widest sense, to mean not merely the absence of physical and psychological diseases, but to describe feelings of well-being, happiness and satisfaction. Indeed, it is about obtaining a “good quality of life”. Research findings highlight the nature of stress in the workplace in terms of potential “hot spot” issues (see Chapter 4). Thus, the steps described so far are necessary to guide and inform the ACTION phase of the stress management process. This is the final “A” in our Triple A approach to stress management. “Action” is the subject of our final chapter.


Weitere Informationen

Premium Partner