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ALBANY / Business and Management / BMGT 341 / What is the meaning of stressor?

What is the meaning of stressor?

What is the meaning of stressor?


Klaudia Rogala

What is the meaning of stressor?

BMGT 341 Behavioral Foundations of Management Week 4 Notes

Chapter 5: Stress (Part 1) 

• Stress is an organizational behavior topic

o Second key factor in the individual mechanism after job satisfaction

• Stress is not being able to deal with a lot of demands without feeling anxious, maybe be  accompanied by physical symptoms

• High stress in the job is more prevalent than ever before

• Stress: a psychological response to a comparison of demands to capacities or resources o If demand exceeds capacity, you become stressed

o Common sense

o Feeling of tension and pressure

What is the transactional theory of stress?

o The source of stress is a stressor 

▪ The demands that lead to stress

o Strain is the negative consequence of stress

▪ Effort to avoid


- Stress has physiological implications such as emotional exhaustion, burnout,  and absenteeism besides decrease in job satisfaction and motivation

- For employers, this could mean a decrease in productivity and increase  in turnover

- Research has shown that stress in the workplace can lead to high blood  pressure, coronary artery disease, and gastrointestinal problems, tension,  headaches, and back pain

- Stress compromises your immune system

- It is important to manage stress in an effective way

What is the meaning of time pressure?

- Studies show that when employers create a challenging yet motivating  environment, employees experience less stress

- Personal life stress can also contribute to or worsen overall stress at work - Leisure time, telecommuting, and flexible scheduling mitigate the negative  effects of stress

- Employer provided healthcare reduces the cost of seeing a physician for stress related problems Don't forget about the age old question of What is the meaning of the flow chart?

• Mini Case 1

o “Nobuko is a customer service representative at Call Center Central. She thought  a job answering phones all day would be easy, and at first it seemed to be. But  over time, the large daily call volume and number of angry or aggressive callers  made her edgy, and she found herself being short with customers for no reason.  She started having muscle spasms and began to get headaches while at work.  Nobuko's physical symptoms are examples of strains” (McGraw-Hill Education) ▪ The stressors would be the large daily volume of aggressive calls

▪ The answer is not poor decision-making or personality quirks because  they do not apply

▪ Not about stress reduction because physical symptoms are being  


• There are no jobs with no stress, but there are jobs with positive stress • Stress level is computing points in 10 categories, such as:

o Deadlines

o Working in the public eye

o Competitiveness

o Physical demands

o Environmental risk  

o Own life at risk

o Public encounters

o Employment change

• There are theories that explain stress and identify the causes and consequences o Transactional theory of stress Don't forget about the age old question of What is the framework for financial accounting?

▪ When people first encounter stressors, primary appraisal to determine  stressfulness; people evaluate the significance and meaning of the  

stressors they confront

▪ The secondary appraisal is considering how you will cope with the stress  you encounter

• Stress in the workplace has been widely studied for over a century • Mini Case 2 We also discuss several other topics like What is the content of erikson’s psychosocial theory?

o “Judy has just started a new job as a checker at Farmer's Grocery. It is her first  job after graduating from high school, and she hopes to save enough money in  the first year to be able to move in with her boyfriend. In her first week, she  befriends two other new checkers, Silvio and Natasha, and she finds the majority  of customers to be polite and sociable. At the end of her first week on the job,  she checks the upcoming week's work schedule only to discover that she is  scheduled to have Tuesday and Friday off instead of Wednesday and Thursday as  she requested. She is disappointed because her boyfriend has Wednesdays and  Thursdays off from his job as a waiter, and their conflicting schedules means she  will not be able to see him much. The next week, she finds that she has Tuesday  and Saturday off, despite once again requesting Wednesday and Thursday off.  The week after that, she finds herself feeling anxious about going into the break  room because she is reluctant to find out if her days off are again different from  what she requested. According to what you know about the transactional theory  of stress, what will be the next step Judy takes?” (McGraw-Hill Education) ▪ Based on the transactional theory of stress, must she realize the  We also discuss several other topics like What orbit the atom?

importance of spending time with her boyfriend and understand that a  variable work schedule will negatively impact her personal life

▪ She wouldn’t ignore the problem and see if her boyfriend can get his  work schedule changed to match hers, because there may be a slim  

chance and it is not a part of the stress identification process

▪ To call in sick on the days is not sustainable, in the long-run, her boss will  fire her

▪ While confronting her manager and demand that her schedule match the  schedule she has requested, or else she will quit, based on the  

transactional theory of stress, this is not her next step Don't forget about the age old question of What is the meaning of flow time?

▪ Deciding that no job is worth that kind of hassle and immediately look for  a new job that offers a more desirable, fixed schedule is too aggressive of  an approach

• The first stream of categories for stressors is hindrance

o Hindrance stressors are the stressful demands that people perceive as hindering  their progress with attaining their goals or personal accomplishments o Most often trigger negative feelings, like anger or anxiety

o Negative stressors

• The second stream of categories for stressors is challenge

o Challenge stressors are stressful demands that people perceive as opportunities  for learning, growth, and achievement

o Trigger feelings of excitement

o Positive stressors

Video We also discuss several other topics like What is the meaning of eternal energy?

- Stress is like a bow, without tension in the bow, the arrow won’t get anywhere, so the  bow needs to be pulled for it to function

- The extent to which the bow is pulled depends on the quality of the bow - With a flimsy bow, the force of the pull has to suppressed so that the bow doesn’t  break, resulting in the arrow not going far

- With a solid bow, the force of the pull can be strong, and the arrow can go far - The flight of the arrow stands for the person’s performance: efficiency, motivation, or  creativity

- The pull stands for the demands imposed on you and the demands you impose on  yourself

- How broad and high the curve of the bow may go stands for your personal resilience - Metaphor explaining that the same demands may be challenging and motivating for  one person because they cause them to function near the peak of their curve, whereas  they might cause another person to break down

- Buoyancy of the bow determines how far it can be stretched in order to meet demands - If your demands match your capabilities, your performance will be near peak: the pleasure zone

o Your body is mobilized for action

o Your mind is working at full capacity

o Your senses are sharp

o You are maximally concentrated

o More demands will even increase your pleasure and satisfaction

o You are not always performing optimally in this zone

o Deals with positive stress, which could be helpful and beneficial for your career • Challenge stressors, on a scale from no stress to a great deal of stress o The pressures you have to finish assignments on time  

o The number of things you have to do

o The complexity of the material on exams and assignments

o The time you have to devote to getting everything done

o The number of “balls in the air” as you balance all your responsibilities • Hindrance stressors, on a scale from no stress to a great deal of stress o The sense that you are not making progress in mastering the material o The hassles you have to go through when completing class assignments o A feeling of uncertainty about what’s expected of you by your professors  o A belief that your professors play favorites when grading exams and assignments o The amount of “busy work” you have that winds up wasting your time • Challenge stressors at work

o Time pressure

▪ Strong sense that the amount of time you have to do a task is not enough ▪ More challenging than hindering because you are pushed to work  efficiently to save time

▪ Worth striving for

▪ Success in meeting this demand can be satisfying

o Work complexity

▪ The degree to which the requirements of work (knowledge, skills, and  abilities) maybe exceed capacities

▪ High demanding tasks

▪ Pushes you to learn more in a short amount of time and facilitates  growth

o Work responsibility

▪ Autonomy can make people intrinsically motivated and feel like they can  control the work

▪ Refers to the nature of obligations that a person has towards others ▪ The level of the responsibility in a job is higher when scope of the  importance in the job is higher

• Hindrance stressors at work

o Role conflict

▪ Refers to conflicting expectations that other people may have on you o Role ambiguity

▪ Refers to a lack of (sufficient) information about what needs to be done o Role overload

▪ The number of demanding roles that a person cannot perform

o Daily hassles

▪ Refers to relatively minor day-to-day demands that get in the way of  accomplishing things you really need to do

▪ E.g. out of order printer

▪ Annoying things

o Video – Deep Water Horizon (2016 movie clip)

▪ Inspired by a true story about an oil rig, the biggest in terms of depth ▪ In 2010, BP’s structural and system flaws sparked a disaster which began  the worst environmental crisis in U.S. history

▪ Expectations for the engineer were too high for him to deal with it

• Challenge stressors in the family

o Family time demands

▪ Time that a person commits to participating in family activities and  


o Personal development

▪ Include participation in formal education programs, local government,  volunteer work

o Positive life events

▪ Sources of non-work like marriage, having children, graduation

• Hindrance stressors in the family

o Work-family conflict

▪ Upsets the balance of work and family life

o Financial uncertainty

▪ Lack of savings or the inability to pay bills

o Negative life events

• Items for exam

o “Challenge stressors are stressful demands that are perceived as opportunities  for learning, growth, and achievement” (McGraw-Hill Education)

o “Hindrance stressors are stressful demands that are perceived as hindering  progress toward personal accomplishments or goal attainment” (McGraw-Hill  Education)

o Role overload is a work hindrance stressor

Chapter 5: Stress (Part 2) 

• Mini Case 1

o “Angela is working as the head of sales at Blue Mountain Cola. Her work requires  her to travel extensively and meet customers in various countries. However,  Angela's role also requires her to mentor several sales representatives who work  under her and keep track of their progress. Because Angela stays away from her  office most of the time, she finds it difficult to manage both types of work  responsibilities. Angela faces which of the following challenges?” (McGraw-Hill  Education)

▪ Angela faces role conflict

• Mini Case 2

o “Kwame, Rosalinda, and Sven work at Security First Trust and National Reserve, a  medium-sized bank with 240 branches in eight states. Kwame works as a teller.  Rosalinda works as one of five regional supervisors, each of whom is expected to  supervise a team of tellers. Kwame recently received instructions from his  supervisor that all tellers will be evaluated on the number of people they assist  at their window per day. Serving more customers means higher performance  effectiveness. However, Kwame is also expected to follow the bank's number one goal of customer satisfaction. Rosalinda is facing her own challenges. Two of  the regional supervisors suddenly left the bank for other opportunities, resulting

in a significant increase in work responsibility and time pressure for Rosalinda  and the remaining two supervisors

Just two days before the two regional supervisors quit, the bank hired Sven as a  supervisor trainee. With the bank suddenly short-handed, Sven was asked to  take up all the responsibilities of a regional supervisor. He has been given very  few instructions or guidelines about how things are supposed to be done.  Instead, the bank expects him to learn on the job. Sven is encountering stress  resulting from role ambiguity ” (McGraw-Hill Education)

• After people appraise a stressful demand, they must ask themselves how they can cope  or deal with the situation

• Coping refers to the behaviors and thoughts that people have to use to deal with  stressors

o Manages stressful demands and emotions associated with them

• Getting fired at work is highly stressful

o Changing industries in your occupation is relatively less stressful

▪ Changing schools is even more relatively less stressful


- Shows examples of people’s emotional reactions to getting fired

o Angry

o Sad

o Confused

o Helpless

- People have to face getting fired from a job

- Consultant used cognitive method to reappraise what really happened • Methods of coping can be categorized on the basis of whether they involve behavioral  or cognitive method, or whether they involve emotion-focused or problem-focused  coping strategies

• Behavioral methods for coping with stress

▪ Involves the physical activities used to deal with a stressful situation o Behavioral problem-focused coping strategy

▪ You are increasing your resources to meet demand, seeking assistance, or  working harder

• E.g. you can outsource work to others

o Behavioral emotion-focused coping strategy

▪ Engaging in alternative activities to distract yourself

▪ Seeking social support by talking to someone to release your pain

▪ Venting anger

▪ People manage their own emotional reaction to stressful demands • Cognitive methods for coping with stress

▪ Refers to the thoughts in your brain involved in trying to deal with a  stressful situation

o Cognitive problem-focused coping strategy

▪ Strategizing, self-motivating, changing priorities

o Cognitive emotion-focused coping strategy

▪ Avoiding, ignoring, or distancing

▪ Looking for the positive in the negative

▪ Reappraising

• 1 item for exam

o “Coping strategies can be viewed as either problem or emotion focused”  (McGraw-Hill Education)

• Mini Case 3

o “Alisha and Carolina work at the Flash-Frozen Vegetables factory. The company  is short-staffed, and the employees are finding it difficult to meet the daily  production requirements. Both Alisha and Carolina are facing time pressures in  their respective departments. Alisha decides to work longer hours to meet the  deadline, whereas Carolina tries to distance herself from her problems at work  by thinking about the positive things in her life. Which of these coping strategies  is Carolina utilizing?” (McGraw-Hill Education)

▪ Emotion-focused cognitive coping

• Everyone should not use an identical approach to deal with stressors o Social support

• How an employer, supervisor, family, friend, or coworker can help  an employee to deal with an issue or suffering from stress by  

helping them face a challenge in a way that is good for personal


▪ Instrumental support

• Refers to the help people receive to address the demands directly ▪ Emotional support

• Helping people with emotional stress that accompanies stressful  

demands, at least listening if you cannot provide resources to the  

focal person  

▪ Type A behavior pattern

• Strong sense of time urgency

o Hate to be late for an appointment

o Always thinking about what they are going to do next

• Impatient

• Competitive

• Controlling

• Aggressive

• Hostile

• Multi-tasks

• Mini Case 4

o “Charene is a product development manager for Unique Automotive  Accessories. When she was first hired, she proved herself to be one of the most  productive new employees. Lately, Charene's supervisor, Ivan, has noticed that

her productivity is slipping from its previous high point. Whenever Ivan stays late  at the office, he sees that Charene is always at her desk, eating take-out, and she  is always the first to arrive in the morning. He also observes that her e-mail  replies are often time-stamped on the weekend. Ivan decides to hire Charene an  assistant to ease her workload and improve her work-life balance. Ivan's  approach to alleviating Charene's stressors is an example of instrumental  support” (McGraw-Hill Education)

▪ Problem-based support

• Mini Case 5

o “Mohammed, who managed an IT department at the corporate headquarters of  the retail clothing chain Real Cheap Shirts, noticed one of his best technicians,  Mia, was often coming in late, and when she was on time, she was distracted  and harried. She occasionally ran diagnostic tests on the wrong systems or lost  focus when presenting her weekly recap reports to the team. Mohammed asked  if something was going on, and Mia admitted that her grandfather, whom she  lived with, was showing signs of dementia, and she was trying her best to care  for him alone, but it was hard to do that and commit 100 percent to her work  duties. Mohammed proposed to alter Mia's work requirements such that she  could work whatever hours she wanted to, including some telecommuting from  home, as long as she completed her assigned tasks by the end of each week.

Mia smiled when she heard this and was grateful that her boss was so  understanding. In allowing Mia to have altered work hours, Mohammed was  utilizing supportive practices” (McGraw-Hill Education)

• Applications for stress management

o Managing hindrance stressors

o Improving work-life balance

▪ How hard life is often depends on us and not reality

o Improving hardiness

• Waking hours are spent in school, time with friends, time with family, personal  relaxation, and work

o Maintaining communication is important

• Hindrance stressors negatively impact job performance is weakly correlated • Hindrance stressors negatively impact organizational commitment is strongly correlated • Challenge stressors positively impact job performance is weakly correlated • Challenge stressors positively impact organizational commitment is moderately  correlated

o There are opportunities from the organization that allow you to develop yourself  (learning, promotion, enhancing strengths, training opportunities, programs)

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