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Reducing Workplace Bad Stress- An Imperative Manager’s Role

It is a common argument that ‘a fit worker is productive worker’. It is becoming a universal realization that demands modern organizational practice has increased chances of stress breakthrough among employees and it’s becoming crucial for managers to identify sources and formulate strategies to reduce it (, 2006).

It is argued that stress can be good as well as bad however bad stress is what causes adverse effects in employee’s productivity. Bad stress is ‘a mismatch between a person’s self-image, their attributes and talents and organizational environment they work in’ (Nankervis et al, 2002). Moreover ‘burn out’ is taken as the extreme form of stress that is a stress syndrome characterized by emotional exhaustion, depersonalization and reduced personal accomplishment (Mejia et al, 1998).

Bad stress has become such a serious aspect that in Japan, stress (karoshi) is perceived as a destructive national dilemma and issue. In order to reduce bad stress it is important to know the reasons behind it. Just imagine an example where a middle manager and publication officer working in a publication company. She is responsible for the regular publication of two monthly journals, research for yearly statistical reports as well management of short term contracted staff. Such huge workload resulted in forgetfulness, irritability, lower productivity, postponed deadlines and spread of such melancholy across the organization (Nankervis et al, 2002). So sources of bad stress can be climate, change, rules, work pace management style, work group characteristics and many other reasons (Mejia et al, 1998). Similarly bad stress in workplace can be caused by long hours working, repetitive and distasteful tasks, isolations, job hazards, poor public image of organization, lack of job security or any conflicting demands (Nankervis et al, 2002)

So keeping publication’s in view, after taking first step of realizing concept and sources of bad stress, second step for managers is to reduce it (, 2006).

Mejoa (et al, 1998) has given interesting 10 points guidelines for managers to follow quoting from Solomon’s ‘Manager’s Note Book’. It includes allowing employees to talk freely with each other, reduce personal conflicts in the job, giving employees enough empowerment and control over their own work process, ensuring adequate staff budgets, open communication with employees, supporting employees’ efforts, provision of competitive leave and vacation benefits, maintaining current benefits, reducing red-tapism and recognizing and rewarding employees for their accomplishments.

Similarly reducing stress should be a permanent part of policy for new employees. ROPES (Realistic Orientation Programs for New Employees’ ‘Stress’) method is best way to address orientations; stress reduction role (Dessler, 2003). It is argued that its more easy to reduce stress if new employees are being told from the orientation about the disappointments they may experience and the way to tackle them.

Hence, there is no second argument on the fact that bad stress can be detrimental for organizational progress and employee’s productivity that however can be reduced and managed by identifying sources and effective policy making.


Dessler, G, (2003), ‘Human Resource Management’, New Jersey: Prentice-Hall, Inc

Mejia, L, R, G, Balkin, D, B & Cardy, R, L, (1998), ‘Managing Human Resources’, New Jersey: Prentice-Hall, Inc

Nankervis, A. Compton, R., & Baird, M., (2002) ‘Strategic Human Resource Management’. 4th Edition Victoria: Nelson Australia Pty Limited

Papers For You (2006) "P/HR/268. Prevention of work-place stress", Available from [19/06/2006]

Papers For You (2006) "P/HR/17. Solutions to work-related stress", Available from [19/06/2006]

About the Author: Copyright © 2006 Verena Veneeva. Professional Writer working for

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