An employer of any number of employees must consider it a basic duty to provide a stress free workplace for all his employees. It is a well-known fact that stress at a workplace induces animosity among the employees and creates problems that would not have been present under ordinary circumstances. Stress at the workplace also reduces the productivity of the workers therein and creates tension for the management, which finds itself under a lot of pressure. In a medical sense stress at the workplace actually affects the powers of the brain in such areas as concentration, learning and being able to memorize details that are an important function of the brain. In a legal sense, stress is a factor that leads to a whole lot of litigation when the employees sue the company for bad stress management in the workplace. This in turn results in bad publicity and a loss of the good reputation of an organization. Employers have the duty of seeing to it that all the stress at the workplace is reduced to a practical extent wherein the workers would find it easy to concentrate on their work and do their jobs in a better manner.
The stress at the workplace can be seen as occurring from two different sources. One is the 'external stressor', which is related to the physical conditions of the workplace such as the heat or the cold, or the psychological conditions at the workplace such as the stress that may occur when one person bullies the other for any reason. The 'internal stressor' is the stress that is related to the physical well being and health of the worker such as nay infection that is present in the workplace, or some psychological factor such as when the employee worries ceaselessly about something that is happening in the workplace. Work stressors can also be described under two headings: 'short-term' or 'long-term'. A short-term stressor is one that is extremely acute and is caused by a reaction to any threat or danger as an immediate reaction. It is also referred to as the 'fight or flight' syndrome. When the threat is removed the person would return to a normal level. In a long-term stressor, which is also known as a 'chronic' stressor, there are present in the workplace a number of factors that are continuous and cause the fighting spirit to die down. Such conditions become chronic and long lasting and would have to be tackled efficiently by the employer in trying to remove them. (Stress Management)
When the design and the layout of a workplace are poor, then the risk of psychological stress to the worker is considerable higher. For example, when the worker has to spend a lot of time near a source of loud noise or near a source of chemical hazard, then he would suffer from work-induced stress. A worker may suffer mentally too when faced with stressful circumstances. For example, he may suffer from poor concentration levels, or he may find it difficult to assimilate the ideas that he needs to perform at his optimum best. This is something that can be easily avoided by the proper planning of the design of the workplace. (Workplace Layout and Design) The deviance of the workers of an organization from ordinary or normal behavior patterns is known as 'deviance'. Deviance is supposedly the result of workplace stress. However, some recent research has demonstrated that stress and the resultant deviance may be caused by external circumstances too. One of the circumstances is that there may be violence in the community surrounding the workplace, and related to the conditions in the workplace.
Another reason for deviance is the fact that in many organizations, the wealth, or in other words, the salaries of the personnel may be quite unequally distributed, and the disparity between the CEO's salary and the basic employee's salary may be so very vast that the health of the lower paid employee would suffer. This can cause stress. When the psychological health and well being of the employee are affected, then what the result would be in terms of the workplace efficiency can be estimated precisely. The loss in productivity would be huge, and the loss in financial resources and also in the payment of insurance premiums for the employee would be astronomical. All this would be avoided if the amount of workplace stress were to be reduced to a significant level. (Organizational Deviance)
The RSI syndrome is one more factor to be considered in the analysis of the psychological as well as the psychosocial elements that would affect the workplace. An RSI is in other words referred to as the 'repetitive strain injuries' that occur at the workplace and affect almost one third of the working people of the United States of America. These invisible and extremely painful injuries to the joints or tendons or other parts of the body often end up limiting the ability of the worker to fulfill his duties, and causes him endless stress. Correct posture, better seating arrangements, and other similar changes would help these people to be more productive, or else they become a burden on the employer since they will not be able to do their jobs well. (Workplace Psychosocial Risk Factors for RSIs)
As defined by Hellriegel and John C. Slocum, an Organization has as its basic duty the responsibility of 'organizing' the workplace in a manner that would bring out the best in the employees as well as work well for the management in terms of productivity and efficiency. Therefore, organizing is the function of the management in creating and structuring a plan of relationships within the organization so that the employees can achieve the numerous goals and plans that the management has set out for them. When the workplace is organized in such a way that this is done at an extremely efficient and optimum level, then the employees as well as the management are happy, and the physical and psychological factors affecting the workplace are well avoided. (Strategic Planning Cycle: Organizational Behavior)
An Organization may be defined as a group of coordinated people who all work together in search and achievement of a particular, common goal. (Hellriegel; Jackson; Slocum, 2002) Organizational behavior is the in-depth study and analysis of the way in which a group of people or an individual act when they are within an organization. The approach that is generally used is the 'system approach' whereby the inter-connections and relationships that are to be found in the analysis of the whole individual or the whole group or the whole organization and the entire social system within the organization are taken into consideration. The entire exercise is conducted in the hope of building better relationships within the organization by achieving the various objectives set out, like for example, the human objectives, the objectives based on the organization, and the various socially applicable objectives. The elements of organizational behavior are based on the philosophy of the management and its values and objectives. These make up the 'culture' of the workplace and the culture determines the workings of the group of employees of the organization.
The group dynamics is what constitutes and also determines the 'quality' of the work life of the employees, and the better this is, the better motivated they are in the pursuit and achievement of the goals of the management. The organization generally adopts one particular method of operation. There are several different types of models to choose from and these are the 'autocratic', the 'custodial', the 'supportive', and the 'collegial'. The autocratic, as the name indicates, is the model of organization that is based on the demarcation of authority. The Manager is seen as the most powerful man or Boss, and the employees learn to either fear him or respect him and obey his commands to the best of their ability. An unhealthy dependence on the man in power is established, and this does not and never has given good results. The custodial type of organization is based on a distribution of economic resources with the manager as the leader. The employees find a sense of security in this form of organization and try to depend on the organization to indulge in their sense of peace and security.
The result achieved is a sense of passive co-operation from the employees. In the supportive model, the manager is meant to offer support to the employees of the organization, and there is participation of the employees in a large number of activities within the organization, in a manner that will bring out the team spirit of co-operation and competitiveness among the employees. The employees are recognized and awarded for their efforts by the management. The collegial model is based on the concept of teamwork under the leadership and guidance of the manager. The team of employees learns discipline and behaves according to the guidelines allotted to the team. The result is that the employees learn to self-analyze,…