Stress is a very complex phenomenon. It is, therefore, no surprise that there is no commonly accepted definition. A widely used working definition is an adaptive response, mediated by individual differences and / or psychological processes, that is, a consequence of any external (environmental) action, situation, or event that places excessive psychological and / or physical demands on a person.
Hans Selye, probably the leading authority on the concept of stress, described stress as â€œthe rate of all wear and tear caused by life.â€? Alvin Toffler, the author of Future Shock, said â€œDr.â€™ Hans Selye knows more about stress than any other scientist alive.
There are many physical sources of stress, such as work overload, irregular work hours, and loss of sleep, loud noises, bright light, and insufficient light. Psychological sources of stress may be due to a particular situation, such as a boring job, inability to socialize, lack of autonomy, responsibility for results without sufficient authority, unrealistic objectives, role ambiguity or role conflict, and dual career marriages. But what might be stressful to one person may be less so to another; people react differently to situations.
Stress can have various effects on the individual as well as on the organization. There are the physiological effects that may be linked to a variety of illnesses. Then there are psychological effects such as burnout or boredom.
Various kinds of behavior, such as drug and alcohol abuse, inordinate food consumption, accidents, or withdrawal from the stressful situation (absenteeism, excessive labor turnover), may be a reaction to stress. Clearly, not only dies the individual suffer, but the organization may also be affected by the turnover or impaired decision making of its managers and non-managers alike.
Individuals and organizations have attempted to deal with stress in various ways. Individuals, for example, may try to reduce stress through better management of their time, healthful nutrition, exercises, career planning, change in jobs, and promotion of psychological health, relaxation, meditation, and prayer. Organizations may provide counseling or recreation facilities or may improve the job design by matching the person with the job.
Fitting the needs of the individual to the demands of the Job:
Managing, then, offers rewards but also involves stress. An individual aspiring to a managerial position should evaluate both the advantages and the disadvantages of managing before pursuing this career. A proper fit between individual needs and the demands of the task will benefit both the individual and the enterprise. Career management will help to achieve this fit.