Academic journal article European Journal of Interdisciplinary Studies

Stress in a Changing World of Work

Academic journal article European Journal of Interdisciplinary Studies

Stress in a Changing World of Work

Article excerpt

1. Change - a Factor of Progress and / or Stress

The rapid pace of change in all areas of life (not only economic, technological but also of the social relations, lifestyle, mentalities, values, and ideals) in recent decades has become a certainty. Being a dynamic equilibrium of forces, some of which exert pressure for change, and the other one causes a resistance to change, change requires individuals and social groups to reconsider their choices and values, and also imagining a new strategy for defense.

From a psychological point of view, in the work process the response of adjusting depends on the attitude toward work. One of the important elements that influence the formation and changing of attitudes is the type of information the individual uses in order to form his or her own attitudes, information that is coming from the working environment and the economic and social environment where the individual lives and works.

The socio-economic evolution of Romania in recent years accompanied by restructuring, organizational and work process changes have led to workers and organizations of the Romanian economic environment to respond quickly and adapt to these major changes. If to this pressure of external environment is added the pressure from the working environment caused by improper sizing of work, insufficient control over activities, peer conflict or too rigid hierarchical relationships, the picture that makes the emergence and the manifestation of stress at work (also known as occupational stress) possible is complete. The complex phenomenon recently began to affect more and more workers, and to determine them and the Romanian economic environment organizations to reassess the situation, to accept the inevitable losses but also to capitalize upon the new opportunities, and thus make requests for maximum adjustment mechanisms. Also, the current socio-economic crisis brings to them new major shocks and turbulence.

So, in a world which is characterized by change, it is necessary to manage properly the negative aspects but also to rediscover resources that can help organizations make effective any emerging opportunity. Thus, particularly the human resources and the processes of knowledge, innovation, research, strategic reorganization can provide a source of new knowledge necessary to development and to adaptation to the periods of crisis and global changes.

2. The Current Economic and Financial Crisis put a major Stress on Workers

Initially, the crisis is seen as a disruption of the regular course of economic, social and organizational life, which requires a mobilization of the adapting mechanisms. When old patterns are no longer operational, old concepts are no longer valid, and often a sense of insecurity takes birth, which, unless properly managed, can lead to disturbance of the normal cycle of life and work, anxiety, depression, neurotic disorders.

The aggregation of socio-economic changes with the disturbance of individuals' regular working life as an effect of the crisis calls for mechanisms of individual adaptation to the new situation (Ghebrea 2003). This can generate stressful responses of different degrees, which are higher when workers and managers are repeatedly exposed to extraordinarily stressful events. This places them at higher-than-normal risk for developing stress reactions. So, stress becomes one of the major costs of modern life.

Once they are out of the crisis environment and they are given some time to rest, people usually recover their normal equilibrium, but information about normal reactions, education on ways to handle these, and early attention to symptoms can speed up recovery and prevent long-term problems. If negative reactions are not attended to, the staff may be unable to participate fully in future crisis work (U.S. Department of Health and Human Services 2005). This is why managers have such an important role to play in maintaining the effective functioning of all team members. …

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