Workplace Stressors

	 Workplace Stressors
Stress related diseases are widespread among the western world. It has been estimated that half of all doctors visits are due to stress related illness. Karasek suggests that the most stressful job are those that invlove low control and high demand. Karasek defines job demands as "the psychological stressors involved in accomplishing the workload." He uses the expression decision latitude to describe the degree of control in the workplace. Decision latitude is "the working individual?s potential control over his tasks and his conduct during the working day." Karasek has conducted several studies that support the idea that the most stressful combination of workload involves low control and high demand. Johnson and hull studied 13,000 workers to show how the combination of job demands, control, and social support from co-workers related to the prevalence of cardiovascular disease. They found that jobs with high demands, low control and low social support had twice the risk for this disease compared with jobs which had low demands, high control and high social support. The most obvious cause of stress is sheer overload- a situation in which there is too much to do in the time given. Individuals in this situation are given three choices:- do less work then required, do work not as good or take more time than they have been given
Sales found that in this situation people feel they have to complete the work in the given time limits, and see the situation as a conflict between quantity and quality ? eirther they do some of the job properly (so quantity fails) or they do all the job not very well (quality fails). People seem to underestimate the amount of overload they have been given, and see it as their own fault they cannot do the job well, therefore increasing the amount of stress. Working long hours is another obvious cause of stress, but not so obvious is having too little work to do, this has been estimated to be one of the most serious causes of stress at work because where there is little or no stimulation, the individuals feel they have to provide their own or else they will go insane. Boredom is another problem because this can be as tiring as being overworked. Most jobs have include only a tiny bit of people?s mental and physical capabilities, and little emotional commitment. The frustration people feel when understretched and undervalued can be a big form of stress, it leads to a feeling of alienation from the organisation. One other cause of stress in the workplace is rols conflict which is when people have to manage their emotions in order to present a particular face to the customer, ie when your hungry or tied and yet you have to smile all day to customers. Hochsfield called this emotional labour, when you have to express one emotion yet feeling another, this conflict between what is expressed and what is felt can lead to a feeling of alienation. Role conflict can also be work situations in which demands of the organisation, such as higher productivity or a limit on wages, conflicts with the needs of the workers. The workers may risk losing their jobs if they don?t comply, they could also risk upsetting their families if they work longer hours, especially for little or no reward such as salary or job satisfaction. People who work in the caring professions such as nursing, social work and counselling are constantly having to deal with people who are themsleves experiencing high levels of stress. The anger, fear and depression expreienced by their clients results in them making high demands on these professionals, this makes these types of jobs ver stressful. The emotinal labour involved in these occupations can be so intense that is can lead to a from of extreme emotinal exhaustion known as burnout. Argyle suggests that thre are three other important contributors that people who work in caring professions also suffer:- feelings of failure and hopelessness when patients do not recover, feelings of not being in control of the situation because of lack of co-operation by clients or colleagues, and lastly becoming depressed by having to listen to the problems experienced by other people. Shiftwork has become ver common recently, but is bad for stress. Humans are by nature diurnal creatures ? we sleep during the hours of darkness and are awake during daylight. Our body tempertaure changes to fit this ? the lowest body temperature is around 4 a.m and the peak is mid-afternoon, corresponding respectivelt to times when we are least and most alert. Shiftwork therefore causes problems because is means that the body temperature and the sleep/wake cycle are out of syncrony with each other which causes stress. It takes people three weeks to adjust to a single week of a shifts. Aschoff used this term internal desynchronisation to describe the imbalance of the rhythms. This results to feelings of fatigue, lethargy and malaise with negative effects on productivity, accident proneness and metal health. People who do shiftwork are likely to drink more alcohol, take more tranquillisers and sleeping pills, report more job stress and emotinal problems. Other studies show that the sleep of shift workers is shorter and poorer quality that that of regular day workers. It has been found that the effects of shifwork can be chronic and may not show up in the form of ill health for many years. There is also evidence that people working at night tend to be less productive and more prone to accidents and errors. Major industrial such as Cernobyl, Bhopal and Three-Mile island all occurred between midnight and 4 a.m. Even when people work a continuous night-time schedule, they still become out of phase t weekends and during time off. Czeisler has studied the effects of shift work in considerable detail. One important observation he made was that the worst shift patterns are those which require workers to adjust their biological clocks backwards. Czeisler has recommended that each shift should last for three weeks not one week. The effects of stress in the workplace can be quite serious, Vitalino et al found that air traffic controllers have four times as much hypertension as other airport employees. Margolic and kroes found that foremen were seven times more likely to develop to gastric ulcers than were shop floor workers . Overall stress has a bad effect on the body, and work is a main thing that brings stress upon someone.

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