*Dr.P.Shanmukha Rao **Dr.N.V.S.Suryanarayana
High level stress affects the individual directly and through them, their families and organizations are also affected. Therefore, efforts should be made to overcome the negative consequences of high stress. Diagram presents the situation in which individuals need support to overcome stress.
Individual dealing with a demanding environment
Individual Coping Strategies:
Coping strategies may be adopted by individuals without reference to the organization. Individual coping strategies tend to be more reactive in nature. That is, they tend to be ways of coping with stress that has already occurred. Some individual strategies, such as physical exercises, can be both reactive and proactive, but most are geared towards helping the person who is already suffering from stress. Following are the major individual coping strategies.
Physical Exercise: Physical exercises of different types such as, walking, jogging, swimming, playing etc, are good methods of overcoming stress. Physical exercise helps people to better cope with stress generally as a side effect, such as relaxation, enhanced self-esteem, and simply getting one’s mind off work for a while.
Job Enrichment: Through more rational designing of jobs, jobs can be enriched. Improving content factors such as responsibility, recognition, opportunity for achievement and advancement, or improving core job characteristics such as skill variety, task identity, task significance, autonomy, and feedback may lead to motivation, feeling sence of responsibility, and utilizing maximum capability at the work. Such a phenomenon helps in reducing stress.
Organisational Role Clarity: People experience stress when they are not clear about what they are expected to do in the organization. This may happen because either there is ambiguity in the role or there is role conflict. Such a situation can be overcome by defining role more clearly. Role analysis technique helps both managers and employees to analyse what the job entails and what the expectations are.
Career Planning and Counseling: Career planning and counseling helps the employees to obtain professional advice regarding career paths that would help them to achieve personal goals. It also make them aware of what additional qualifications, training, and skills they should acquire for career advancement. A variety of career counseling programmes can be adopted:
(i) devices designed to aid the individuals in self-assessment and increased self-understanding;
(ii) devices designed to communicate opportunities available to individuals;
(iii) career counseling through interviews by managers, counseling professionals and personnel and educational specialists;
(iv) workshops and educational activities designed to assist the individuals in goal setting and establishing action plan for change;
(v) educational and experimental programmes to prepare individual with skills and knowledge for new activities and new career;
(vi) programmes for enhancing the individuals’ opportunities to make job and career changes. Various career planning and counseling programmes for individuals go a long way in providing them satisfaction and reducing the stress.
Stress Control Workshops and Employee Assistance Programmes:
The organization can hold periodical workshops for control and reduction of stress. Such workshops may help individuals to learn the dynamics of stress and methods of overcoming their ill effects. Similarly, the organization can make arrangement for assisting individuals in overcoming their personal and family problems. This arrangement may include managing personal finance, dealing with family problems, dealing with health problems, and dealing with other kind of personal and family stresses.
Stress management based on Indian philosophy:
Indian philosophy approach is catching the attention of Western industrially-developed countries to cope with stress. Meditation and Yoga are being practiced by more and more countries. Satish Chandra Pandey has developed a model for stress management based on Indian Philosophy consisting of Upanishads, Vedanta etc. The model is presented in the following diagram:
Identify organizational goals and needs of people and core areas where development is needed.
Develop a philosophical base by combining different Indian philosophies and values compatible with organizational mission and goals
Create awareness among organizational members about these values for building new organizational culture.
Develop training programmes, stress management programmes, motivational development programmes based on Indian philosophies and values.
Organise follow-up programmes to evaluate stress management outcomes and other OD programmes
Make it an integral organizational philosophy and set new goals for achieving excellence in different areas.
If positive outcomes
Rebuild new philosophical base and make it compatible with organizational goals
Stress management based on Indian Philosophy
Jennifer is a 42 year old school teacher, with six years’ experience in the classroom. She qualified as a mature student, having waited until her third and youngest child was at infant school before enrolling on a one-year postgraduate course of teacher training. As a physics teacher, she quickly found herself in a senior post in a large comprehensive school, taking responsibility for GCE A-Level work and for much of the fifth form examination work as well. In the 20 years since she took her physics degree, the subject has advanced considerably, and what little leisure time she has after marking work, preparing lessons and looking after her young family is spent trying to keep up to date. Husband Keith, a civil engineer, is site manager for a large construction company, and is frequently away from home for sizeable periods of time. Since starting teaching, Jennifer has noticed that she always seems to be tired. She sleeps badly, often sitting up into the early hours of the morning (‘the only time when I can get a little peace and quiet’ she claims) over her school work. She notices that it is harder and harder to relax at the end of the school day, and is concerned by her failure to remember the facts and figures associated with her work and even human details like children’s names. She worries that she seems to be neglected her family, and snapping habitually at her own children over minor issues. The vague aches and pains that afflict her most of the time, together with the poor digestion and the breathlessness and palpitations, she puts down vaguely to her ‘time of life’. She has tried several times to discuss her workload with her head of department and with her head teacher, but they rarely have time to listen, and have told her she should be better organized, plan her lessons more carefully, and attend more refreshers courses during the school holidays to keep herself up to date. When she’s mentioned her problems to her colleagues, they say they feel exactly the same as she does, and quickly change the subject. She confesses to being angry with herself for not staying more on top of her job, and guilty for all the things she leaves undone both at school and at home.