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The conventional approaches to Stress management are employee counselling, stress management and reducing employee exposure to stress. Critically evaluate these approaches to stress management

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The conventional approaches to Stress management are employee counselling, stress management and reducing employee exposure to stress. Critically evaluate these approaches to stress management INTRODUCTION Over the years, stress at work has been a major topical issue the world over. Reputed bodies such as the Confederation of British Industries (CBI), the Trades Union Congress (TUC), and the Department of Health have voiced their concerns on this anomaly. By definition, stress is an individual's physiological response to excessive pressure1. This may come about (in the workplace) as a result of high demands, competition, the rate of technological and organizational change, and more. Although stress is not a disease, it is like a canker, which if not checked can ruin the fabric of an organisation. We need stress and fear to motivate us to do better - but not all stress is desirable. It depends on the type of stress, of which there are three main ones; Good stress, bad stress and ugly stress. However it is the first two categories that we will concern ourselves in. The former results where although a task is demanding, it is capable of being completed. In other words, performance is improved when the employee is under pressure. However excessive pressure can lead to bad stress which can possibly result in physical or mental infirmity. Some schools of thought disagree with the view that working conditions causes stress at work. They however contend that, the type of stress on a person depends to a large extent on their competence in performing a given task or tasks. This line of thinking is not in dispute, for while some employees may thrive on positive stressors such as working to tight deadlines, others will identify this circumstance as daunting and pressurizing. Studies conducted by CBI in 1998, brings to light the seriousness of the impact of stress in the workplace. The research2 estimated that about 270,000 people in Britain take time off everyday because of stress. ...read more.


If this is the case then why has this form of EAP attracted so much criticism? The problem with these sceptics is that, they seem to take a subjective view. It is time for these detractors to take an objective view of counselling and realize that as said earlier, counselling arms the individual with the ammunition needed to stand the test of times. The next form of SMI under evaluation is: STRESS MANAGEMENT TRAINING (SMT) This kind of mechanism aims to provide employees with the skills to deal with possible harmful working conditions. In effect therefore, it helps the employee to be aware of the symptoms and response to stress, thereby curbing any detrimental effect of stress on both themselves and the organization. It involves the introduction of stress management courses, normally in the form of information, training and advice. SMT's are normally conducted by external providers, and in contrast to counselling delivered to a group of employees as opposed to a one to one session. They are seen as a preventative measure rather than a curative one (counselling). SMTs normally include a variety of skills including; time management, relaxation techniques, coping, and assertiveness as mentioned by R.Briner8. Organizations must not only concern themselves on the psychological aspects of stress but also on the physical health of employees. Medical science supports the view that, the body and mind are inseparable. Subsequently it follows that, psychological problems can be created by a physical cause and vice versa. In an attempt to promote physical health, training sessions on healthy lifestyle is conducted. This campaign focuses on programs such as fitness exercises and anti-smoking, and is believed to be effective. This is evidenced by the research findings of Carol Johnson9, a validated ISMA (UK) trainer in the areas of health, fitness and stress management. The research conducted in 1998 amongst the staff at Staffordshire Probation Service, sought to assess the impact of SMTs in the workplace. ...read more.


In addition to this, on a three-month basis employees are asked among other things what their current needs are, and whether they get sufficient recognition. If this strategic approach used in Motorola and the above recommendations at combating stress is not enough then what is? Nevertheless there is scope for improvement. Organisations must not rest until a lasting solution to this canker in the workplace is eventually discovered. Although this may come at a cost to the organisation in question, in the long run the benefits will far outweigh the cost of this investment. Word Count - 2,975 1 Health and Safety Executive Website - "Help on work-related stess - A short guide" 2 Stress in perspective Website - "stress in the workplace" - examples of recent surveys findings 3 T.L.C. Stress Management Services Website - statistic from Stess News April 2000(as reported by the CBI) 4 ISMA website - Newsletter for November 2000 5 Report written by Carole Spiers Associates - "A case for stress counselling published in TRAINING OFFICIER April 1997 vol. 33 No 3 6 A Multimodal Approach to Stress Management and Counselling by Dr Stephen Palmer. 7 "A case for stress counselling published in TRAINING OFFICIER April 1997 Vol.33 No 3 - The importance of counselling 8 "Against the Grain" by Rob Briner 9 "Stress on Probation!" by Carol Johnson 10"Stress on Probation!" by Carol Johnson 11 "Against the Grain" by R.Briner 12 "Organisational Interventions to Reduce the Impact of Poor Work Design" written by Dr S. Parker, Dr P. Jackson, C. Sprigg and Dr A. Whybrow at the Institute of Work Psychology at Sheffield University 13 "Against the Grain" by R.Briner 14 As mentioned in the ISMA newsletter November 2000 15 Stress in perspective website - Helping to manage stress in the workplace - Stress Audits 16 As mentioned in a conference report which was held at Cranfield University School of Management, on the topic of "Organisational Stress and Employee Well -Being: New Perspectives HUMAN RESOURCE MANAGEMENT ASSIGNMENT 1 Kwaku Bediako-Amoah 1 1 ...read more.

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