What is Stress?Types and Source of Stress

Stress is defined as “a state of psychological and physiological imbalance resulting from the disparity between situational demand and the individual’s ability and motivation to meet those needs”. It is an outside force that rules an individual’s feelings and behaviour. It is a person’s response to an external factor stimulus, known as the stressor in the environment and the outcome of such reaction. The stressor can be unreasonable or extreme pressure, placed on the employees, which can be a disturbing one. Stress occurs due to discrepancies between situational demand and the employee’s ability to fulfill those demands, in essence, it is the imbalance between the perceived state and desired state, resulting in psychological, physiological and behavioural deviations. It is an inseparable part of work life.

Classification of Stress

Stress types

  1. Eustress: It refers to positive stress, wherein the situation offers an opportunity to the individual to gain something. It is seen as a motivator that encourages people to meet challenges and, without which an individual lacks the spark needed to raise their level of performance.
  2. Distress: It is described as a negative stress, in which an individual experiences insecurity or inadequacy because of helplessness, disappointment. Distress can cause cardiovascular diseases, alcoholism, marital breakdown, drug abuse, and much more.

Sources of Stress/ Causes of Stress

Individual level stressors: Stressors which are associated directly with an individual’s personality and job responsibility.

  • Personality type: How a person experience stress depends largely on the type of personality he/she possess.
  • Role overload: Excess workload cause, increased pressure and tension in employees, that ultimately results in stress.
  • Role Conflict: In an organisation, role conflict occurs where people experience competing demands. It can be an inter-role conflict which is caused when an employee has two opposing roles and personal role conflict, occurs due to the differences between personal values and organisational goals.
  • Role ambiguity: When the employees are unaware of their responsibilities, authorities, powers, functions and performance expectations, it is known as role ambiguity.
  • Task Characteristics: The characteristics of tasks also causes individuals to face stress, especially when it involves activities like decision-making, information exchange and monitoring work.

Group level Stressors: The stress resulting from group dynamics and managerial behaviour are covered under this category. It can be due to the following reasons:

  • Lack of cohesiveness.
  • Managerial Behavior.
  • Workplace violence.
  • Intragroup conflict.
  • Sexual Harassment.
  • Communication Problem.
  • Uncontrolled rumor.

Organisational level Stressors: These stressors influence almost all the employees working in the organisation.

  • Organisational climate: If the environment of the organisation puts excessive pressure of work on employees, causes high stress to employees.
  • Organisational structure: The structure of organisation explain the level of authority and rules and regulations where decisions are taken. If in an organisational design the rules are more and the participation is less, then also the structure of the organisation works as a stressor to employees.
  • Organisational leadership: Managerial style plays a crucial role in the development of employees. If there is a culture of the organisation to create tension, fear or anxiety, or work for long hours to complete the delegated work in short time, otherwise they will be fired, will create unrealistic pressure on the employees.
  • Organisational Policies:  Organizational policies effects on the employees working stress. It may causes working timings, Working shifts,. etc.