Argumentative Essay on None Provided15

This essay has a total of 3085 words and 16 pages.


None Provided15





1.0 Introduction
Throughout the eighties and into the nineties, work stress have continued to rise
dramatically in organizations across North America. The eighties saw employees stressing
out from working in a rapidly growing economy. During the nineties, beginning from the
recession of 1992 till present day, employees are stressed by their own job insecurities
in the face of massive downsizing and restructuring of organizations in order to be
competitive on the global stage. Work stress is a very extensive topic ranging from
research on the sources of stress, the effects of stress, to ways on managing and reducing
stress. This report will focus first on the evidence for the harmful effects of stress at
work, both mentally and physically. The last section will briefly explain why management
should be concerned with rising employee stress and will describe some actions management
can take to alleviate work stress.


2.0 Harmful Effects of Stress
Most research studies indicate a high correlation between stress and illness. According to
authorities in the United States and Great Britain, as much as 70% of patients that are
treated by general practitioners are suffering from symptoms originating from stress .
Everyone experiences stress, however, each person responds to stress very differently.
Their response is dependent on how each person reacts to stress emotionally, mentally, and
physically. There are, however, common effects of stress for most people on the physical
and mental body.

2.1 Physical Effects
The researcher Blyth in 1973 identified a list of diseases which have a fairly high causal
relationships with stress. His evidence was obtained through interviews with medical
experts, review of reports by the World Health Organization and consultations with the
J.R. Geigy Pharmaceutical Company. The following is a list of some of the illnesses Blyth
had identified :

1. Hypertension2. Coronary thrombosis3. Hay fever and other allergies4. Migraine
headaches5. Intense itching6. Asthma7. Peptic ulcers8. Constipation 9. Rheumatoid
arthritis10. Colitis11. Menstrual difficulties12. Nervous dyspepsia 13. Overactive thyroid
gland14. Skin disorders15. Diabetes mellitus16. Tuberculosis


Research conducted by Woolfolk and Richardson in 1978 further confirmed Blyth’s list
that hypertension, coronary disease, infections, and ulcers are highly related to the
amount of prolonged stress an employee is subjected to. Evidence for a causal relationship
between hypertension and stress was seen in a study of air traffic controllers. The work
stress is enormous for this occupation due to the high responsibility for the safety of
others that people is this field must bear. This study noted that air traffic controllers
experiences a hypertension rate approximately 5 times greater than other comparable
occupational groups .


Only in recent studies was stress linked to coronary disease. As the majority of heart
attacks are caused by fatty substances adhering to the artery walls (arteriosclerosis),
stress is a causal factor in that, at high levels, the amounts of the two fatty
substances, cholesterol and triglycerides, in the blood steam are elevated. This is
evidenced in one study of tax accountants. As the deadline for the annual tax filing drew
nearer, cholesterol levels rose without decreasing until 2 months later. The situation
here shows that cholesterol in the blood rises gradually with constant exposure to stress.


There is also strong evidence for the causal relationship between stress and infectious
disease. Woolfolk was able to show that employees that are very fatigue (a symptom of
stress) were more susceptible to infections. In his study conducted upon 24 woman during
the flu season, every woman was administered a certain amount of flu virus into their
blood stream. Woman in the group who were fatigued were administered a smaller dose than
those who were not. Woolfolk found that the women who had just gone through very stressful
experiences were more susceptible to the infection despite a very small dosage of the flu
virus. The other women who were not tired did not get infected even though they had
considerably high dosages of flu virus in them .


Lastly, evidence that ulcers are associated with high stress levels have been conclusively
proven by Woolfolk. Ulcers occur when digestive juices burn a hole in the stomach lining.
A person under stress or anxiety would stimulate the rapid secretion of digestive juices
into the stomach. Thus, when a person is subjected to constant tension and frustration, he
/ she has a high likelihood that an ulcer would occur. Evidence for this was provided by
the study performed by Dr. Steward Wolf. He was able to monitor activities of a patient
stomach, and where the patient responded to an emotional situation, he observed the
excessive secretion of stomach acids. Woolfolk and Richardson further the studies by
showing increased levels of stomach acids during high exposure to stress.


2.1 Psychological Effects
Most organizations have recognize that stress can have an adverse effect on the efficiency
of their employees. In 1978, the International Association of Chiefs of Police (IACP)
cited their study report that there are essentially three psychological reactions to
consistently high stress levels: repression of emotion, displacement of anger, and
isolation.


Repression of emotions occur often in human service professionals such as policemen or
accountants. Their roles demand that they suppress their emotions when interacting with
clients. Thus, when the stress levels begin to rise as they deal with more and more
clients, they would put up an even greater resistance to their own emotions . Over time,
the professional may not be able to relax that emotional resistance. All their emotions
would be masked and retained within themselves, resulting ultimately in mental and
emotional disorders.


In stressful times, employees are often displeased or angry with something. However, there
are usually limited channels in which employees can express their views. Since opinions,
views, and feelings cannot always be expressed to anyone to change the current situation,
there would be an accumulation of anger and frustration within the individual. Up to a
certain point, the anger would be released, usually at the wrong person or time, such as
colleagues, clients, or family members. This symptom has a tremendous impact on society
because there is a potential that it may hurt others people. Take for example the US
postal shootings over last few years. All of them were a result of accumulated anger and
frustration of US postal workers where they eventually released all that pent-up anger at
one time towards other colleagues. Moreover, many cases of spousal abuse, child abuse,
alcohol abuse, dysfunctional families are a result of overstressed employees unable to
diffuse or cope with the anger and frustration building up within them.


The 1978 IACP’s report stated that isolation is a common side-effect of working
under tremendous stress. For many service practitioners, they are not always readily
welcomed by the clients that they serve. A prime example would be policemen who are
shunned often by the public. Over time, a feeling of isolation and rejection would envelop
the person. The natural thing to do would be to withdraw from others who do not understand
their plight, resulting in profound human loneliness .


The symptoms mentioned above are usually long-term effects. There are many other short
term, psychological effects of stress that can be readily seen or felt. The following is
by no means a

definitive list of mental effects as it only illustrates some of the symptoms that could
readily identified in a person under constant stress :

1. Constant feeling of uneasiness2. Irritability towards others3. General sense of
boredom4. Recurring feelings of hopelessness in life5. Anxiety regarding money6.
Irrational fear of disease7. Fear of death8. Feelings of suppressed anger9. Withdrawn and
isolated 10. Feelings of rejection by others (low self-esteem)11. Feelings of despair at
failing as a parent12. Feelings of dread toward an approaching weekend13. Reluctance to
vacation14. Sense that problems cannot be discussed with others15. Short attention span16.
Claustrophobic




3.0 Management’s Role in Reducing Work Stress
Employee stress can have an enormous impact to an organization in terms of cost. As many
studies have shown, there is a high correlation between stress and job performance. At
moderate levels, stress is beneficial in that it can cause individuals to perform their
jobs better and attain higher job performance. However, at high levels, stress can
decrease productivity instead. This is the case often seen in employees at many
organizations . Furthermore, aside from costs associated with lost productivity, there are
costs with respect to stress-related absenteeism and organizational medical expenses.
Specifically, these include costs of lost company time, increases in work-related
accidents disrupting production, increases in health care costs and health insurance
premiums, and most importantly, decreases in productivity .


There are numerous methods that organizations could adopt to reduce undue stress in their
employees. However, measures taken to counter this problem are usually tailored
specifically for the particular organization. Therefore, this report has chosen two
separate actions which are fundamental to most organizations that management can take.


3.1 Reduction of Employee Stress as an Organizational Policy
The first step any organization should take to help its employees reduce and cope with
stress is to incorporate into the company policies a positive and specific intent on
reducing undue stress. This would indicate that top management is committed to such a
stress reduction program. Furthermore, the amendment to the policies should also include a
recognition that this initiative will benefit the achievement of other organizational
goals by enhancing the productivity of employees through lowered stress levels . After the
inclusion of the broad mission goal of reducing employee stress, management should draft
out plans which specifically lays out the provisions to accomplish that goal. As earlier
mentioned, there are many approaches to stress reduction, thus the provisions should
detail only the methods specific to the organization. For example, they could specify that
employees undergo periodic physical and psychological examinations and personnel surveys
to ascertain current stress levels. Another alternative would be to provide personal
counseling to employees to identify undue stress levels and then to advise any corrective
measures for the individual. In any case, the most important beginning step is a total
reexamination and revision of company policies, plans, and procedures to enhance
employees’ own methods of coping with stress, and simultaneously, promote an
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