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Essay/Term paper: Stress

Essay, term paper, research paper:  Science Research Papers

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Stress


CHAPTER I

INTRODUCTION

Statement of the Research Problem

How do you cope with stress in the workplace to achieve a more balanced
lifestyle? Stress is a part of everybody's life. Depending on the level of
stress, it can control our lives, especially in the workplace. We begin to
spend several long hours at work, and thus have less time for other things.
Stressed employees may be unhappy and thus produce nominally. Stress can
deteriorate social and family relationships and eventually burn you out;
ultimately it can take toll on your health. Organizations need to recognize
stress as a problem and decide whether or not to act upon it.

Background Information

This question needs to be answered because stress is a problem that all
organizations must deal with; stress can cause poor work performance and lower
employee morale. These factors can increase employee turnover rate and lessen
quality of life. We all must deal with stress; question is how we handle and
control it. With downsizing the buzz word in the modern corporate world,
companies have become mean and lean. Employees are compelled to be more
efficient; they find themselves taking on the work of what used to be two. The
result is longer hours, less time for outside activities, and consequently
increased stress.

According to Business Week, the typical American works 47 hours a week, and if
current trends continue, in 20 years "the average person would be on the job 60
hours a week." Another factor that increases stress is technological
advancements. With all the new technology one is always connected to work and
accessible 24 hours a day 7 days a week. According to Business Week, it is now
possible, and thus increasingly expected, for employees to be accessible and
productive any hour, any day.

At a workplace, one observes several sales people working long hours, claiming
it is due to under staffing. Employees reach a point of diminishing returns.
The more hours they work, the less productive they are. This stressful condition
causes the quality of work to dwindle. Consequently, clients recognize this,
and eventually they terminate the business relationship. Soon the company loses,
as it is built on these clients.

Statement of the Objectives

In this research, I expect to discuss factors which lead to stress in the
workplace. Are individuals stressed in the workplace? What causes stress in
the workplace? Who is mostly stressed: men or women? Are individuals being
exposed to stress management techniques? Should employers implement stress
management techniques? As a future manager, I would like to be able to
determine if stress is a problem for employees; if so, implement a strategy to
curtail stress in the workplace. By recognizing stress in the workplace,
employers can act appropriately to reduce stress. The outcome can benefit
social and family relationships, as well as preserve ones health and make us
more productive in our organizations.

Scope

The research project will comprise of a sample size of 30 individuals, randomly
selected from general business areas. The study will analyze stress factors in
the U.S workforce and its impact on the American organization. Effective stress
management techniques will then be presented, which will allow individuals or
organizations to implement. Secondary information from various sources will be
utilized to explore effective methods of coping with stress. The conclusions
and recommendations I will draw will be applicable to any American organization
with stress as a problem. Although this study will generalize from the small
population, it can be used as a starting point to recognizing the problem, as
each organization can require a different approach.

Limitations

The sources utilized in the research will be extracted from current articles
(1994-present) from online services, the Internet, and public libraries. A
survey will be given to individuals of randomly chosen organizations and will
not target any specific company or industry. Due to time constraints, the
population will be limited to 30 individuals. The research will explore factors
causing stress in the workplace and its impact on organizations. Effective
methods of coping with stress will be given, but limited to ones examined in the
secondary resources.

Research Procedures

The project will focus on stress factors in the workplace and effective methods
to balance a healthy lifestyle. The sample group will consist of 30 individuals
randomly selected from general business areas. The survey will be conducted
during lunch periods when several employees leave and return to the workplace.
The questionnaire will attempt to see if the sample individuals believe stress
is a problem and what can be done to resolve it. The questionnaire will be
delivered in person and each individual will fill out the survey at that point.

Since the survey will be conducted in a general public area, no authorization is
needed to administer. Once I receive all the surveys, I will quantify the data
into an Excel spreadsheet. I will report the data mostly in percentages (e.g.
70percent of the individuals acknowledge that stress is a problem in the
workplace). The data will be utilized to see if stress is a factor impacting
the American workforce. Stress management techniques will be presented where
appropriate.

Additional Information

Data and references will be collected between now October 12, 1996 through
November 5,1996. I will conduct the survey individually. The gathering of
references will also be done on my own. The study will take approximately 25-40
hours to complete, not including data collection time.

CHAPTER II

LITERATURE REVIEW

Stress is an adaptive response. It is the body's reaction to an event that is
seen as emotionally disturbing, disquieting, or threatening. When we perceive
such an event, we experience what stress researchers call the fight or flight
response. To prepare for fighting or fleeing, the body increases its heart rate
and blood pressure; more blood is then sent to your heart and muscles, and your
respiration rate increases (Domar, 1996). Stress is both positive and negative.
Good stress is a balance of arousal and relaxation that helps you concentrate,
focus, and achieve what you want. Bad stress is constant stress and constant
arousal that may lead to high blood pressure, cardiovascular disease, and worse.
The body does not distinguish between negative and positive stress. The same
physiological responses can take place whether you are happy or sad about a
given situation (Robinson, 1996). When extending to the workplace, stress may
lead to poor work performance and end up costing an organizations several
thousands of dollars. The organization loses on salary because they are not
receiving satisfactory production and if the employee becomes ill, health and
workers compensation rates can soar (Carpi, 1996). The organization must decide
whether or no to implement a stress management program, since there are several
external stressors that can overtake an individual. Internal stressors, within
organizations include technology and corporate downsizing which leads to longer
hours and job uncertainty. If one does not know how to manage stress, it can
get out of control (Carpi, 1996).

Analyzing Stress on Individuals

In a 1995 survey of 1,705 respondents it is analyzed that stress rises with
level of education and job level and is higher than average for women (Robinson,
1996). Fifty-eight percent of the women respondents possess moderate to a lot
of stress in the workplace compared to 53 percent of men. From the divorced
individuals, 62 percent are stressed in the workplace compared to married and
never married at 57 percent, and 58 percent respectively. The widowed
respondents maintain the least stress at 38 percent (Robinson, 1996). College
graduate respondents possess more stress at 64 percent than high school
graduates at 55 percent. Only 43 percent of the less than high school
respondents felt stress in the workplace. Those with more education feel more
stress, possibly because their jobs involve greater managerial and financial
responsibility (Robinson, 1996). Stress is an epidemic in American life. In
nationwide polls, 89 percent of Americans reported that they often experience
high levels of stress, and 59 percent claimed that they feel great stress at
least once a week (Hellmich, 1994). A five year study of the American workforce
conducted by the Families and Work Institute showed that 30 percent of employees
often or very often feel burned out or stressed by their jobs, 27 percent feel
emotionally drained from their work, and 42 percent feel used up at the end of
the work day (Hellmich, 1994). Balancing work pressures and family
responsibilities leaves many workers feeling burned out. Researchers at Harvard
found that as stress increases, performance and efficiency do also. However, if
stress continues to increase, the level of performance and efficiency decreases
(Hellmich, 1994). Paula Morrow, director of the Industrial Relations Center at
Iowa State University College of Business states that According to the Center on
Work & Family , "Flexible scheduling, job-sharing, and on-site child care cut
absenteeism and turnover, boosting productivity. The key is for managers to
give up control of the process of work and empower employees to determine how it
gets done" (Daniel, 1994).

Examining the Effects of Downsizing on Stress

The downsizing of organizations have caused a stressful environment. Downsizing
has created concerns over job security, and has forced employees to take on a
larger workload. According to a local union representing U.S. West stated that
work still needs to be done, but with fewer people (Scott, 1996). Downsizing
creates quantitative and qualitative stress. Quantitative stress pertains to
doing the same amount of work with fewer people. Reengineering the organization
entails shaping the company to be more efficient with less individuals. These
individuals are asked to do a wider variety of work functions they are not
trained to do, causing qualitative overload (Scott, 1996).

Identifying Job Uncertainty

Elizabeth Fried, president of N.E. Fried and Associates states, "We have cut out
a whole layer of middle management an the pressure has to go someplace, either
up or down." (Tahmincioglu, 1995) Ed Simon, analyst with the Labor Department
is concerned that the "leaner, meaner" mentality will be a trend that continues
with us for a while. He states that eventually the people working long hours
may not be able to keep that pace up and that it might be to a company's benefit
to train and bring in more workers (Tahmincioglu, 1995). Not only are the
longer hou


 

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