What is stress? Definition and classification: Ultimate Guide

What is stress? In human resources management, stress is defined as a state of mental and emotional pressure or tension caused by problems or adverse circumstances. A person’s feelings and behavior are controlled by an external force.

It is a person’s response to external environmental factors (stimuli called stressors) and the consequences of such a reaction. Stress can be caused by undue or undue pressure on employees, which can be destructive.

Stress arises from the discrepancy between the demands of the situation and the ability of the worker to meet those demands. In essence, it is an imbalance between the perceived state and the desired state. This imbalance leads to psychological, physiological and behavioral deviations. Stress is an integral part of working life.

What is stress? Stress classification

  • Eustress: This term refers to positive stress when a situation offers an individual the opportunity to receive something. This type of stress is considered to be motivating, encouraging people to cope with challenges, and without which a person does not have the spark needed to increase their level of productivity.
  • Distress: This type of stress refers to negative stress when a person feels apprehensive or inadequate due to helplessness and frustration. Distress can cause diseases of the heart and blood vessels, lead to alcoholism, adultery, drug abuse, and more.

Stress factors are sources of stress

The main sources of stressors fall into four categories:

Individual-level stress factors

These are factors directly related to the personality of the individual and his job responsibilities. These include:

  1. Personality Type: How a person experiences stress is highly dependent on their personality type. Personality types are divided into two groups: Type A and Type B.
  2. Role overload: Excessive workload, increased pressure, and tension among workers, ultimately causing stress.
  3. Role conflict: In an organization, role conflict occurs when people are faced with the demands of competition. This can be an intra-role conflict caused by the fact that an employee must fulfill opposite requirements, or a personal role conflict arising from a difference between personal values ​​and the goals of the organization.
  4. Role Uncertainty: When workers are unaware of their responsibilities, rights, powers, functions, and expected performance. This situation is called role uncertainty.
  5. Task characteristics: Task characteristics also cause stress, especially when they involve activities such as making decisions, sharing information, and observing work.

Group-level stressors

Stresses arising from group dynamics and leadership behavior fall into this category. They can be associated with the following reasons:

  1. Lack of connectivity
  2. Leadership behavior
  3. Workplace violence
  4. Intragroup conflict
  5. Sexual harassment
  6. Status mismatch

Organizational stressors

These factors affect almost all employees working in an organization. These include:

  1. Organizational Climate: When the organization’s work environment imposes excessive work pressure on employees, causing them severe stress.
  2. Organization structure: The structure of an organization explains the level of authority, rules and norms for decision making. If rules play a more important role in an organizational structure than participation, then the structure of the organization acts as a stress factor for the people working in it.
  3. The leadership of the organization: Leadership style plays a critical role in the development of employees. If the culture of the organization creates tension, fear or anxiety, or takes a long time to complete work for which there are short deadlines, with a notice of termination, if the work is not completed within those deadlines, then this creates unnecessary pressure on employees.
  4. Organizational Life Cycle: Since the life cycle is inherent in literally everything, organizations also go through various stages of life, for example, birth, growth, politics, procedures, theory, religion, rituals, and unction before death. The early stages of an organization’s life can be stressful, while later stages can be stressful.

External stressors

This category includes sources of stress outside the organization. These are stressors caused by family problems, economy, status, or lack of mobility.

Stress comes from constraints and requirements. Restrictions prevent an individual from doing what he wants, and demands imply the loss of something that the employee wants.

Feelings of stress vary from person to person. Some people easily succumb to stress, as they are too sensitive to the factors causing it. Other people have the ability to overcome any stressors. Therefore, how a person experiences stress is determined by their perception, experience, position, and social support.

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