Role Stress, Potential Role Stressors, Organisational Dynamics, MS-26

Explain the reasons for role stress. Identify the potential role stressors in your organization or an organization you are familiar with. Briefly describe the organization you are referring to.

Derived from the Latin word "stringers" stress was popularly used in the seventeenth century to mean hardship, strain adversity or affliction. It was used In the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries to denote force, pressure, strain or strong effort with reference to an object or person. The term stress has been approached in at least four different ways. Firstly, as the stimulus or external force acting on the organism, secondly as the response or changes in physiological function; thirdly, as an interaction between an external force and the resistance opposed to it, as in biology; and finally, as a comprehensive phenomenon encompassing all the three.

The modern world, which is said to be a world of achievements is also a world of stress one finds stress everywhere, whether it be a family, a business organisaiton / enterprise or any other social or economic organisation. Role stress is distinction from organisation stress. From the point of view of an individual, the Role systems are important - Role space and Role set.

Role Space: - Each individual occupies and plays several roles. Role space can be defined as "the dynamic interrelationship both between the self and the various roles an individual occupies, and amongst these roles". Role Set: - It is the pattern of relationship between the role being considered and other roles.
Types of Organisational Role Stress

Inter-Role Distance (IRD): - It is experienced when there is a conflict between organisational
and non-organisational roles.
o    Role Stagnation: - This kind of stress is the result of the gap between the demand to
outgrow a previous role and to occupy a new role effectively.
o    Role Expectation Conflict - It is generated by different expectations by different
significant persons about the same role; and the role occupant's ambivalence as to whom
to please.
o    Role Erosion: - It is the role occupant's feeling that some functions which should properly
belong to his / her role are transferred to / or performed by some other role.
o    Role overload: - When the role occupant feels that these are too many expectations from
the significant roles in his /her role set, he / she experiences role overload.
o    Role Isolation: - It refers to the psychological distance between the occupant's role and
other roles in the same role set.
o    Personal Inadequacy. - It arises when the role occupant feels that he / she does not
have the necessary spills and training for effectively performing the expected functions.
Self-Role Distance: - When the role a person occupies goes against his / her self-concept, then he / she feels self-role distance type of stress.

Managing Stress

Each individual needs a moderate amount of stress or be alert and capable of functioning. Given that presence of more or less stress in inevitable, many researchers sought to find what could be done to counteract stress so as to prevent its negative consequences. There basically two ways of managing stress: -
(1)     What an Organisation can do? Undertaking Stress Audit: - It is a four-stage OD intervention designed to minimize and mitigate in the organisation.   At first stage, data are generated on Stress Tolerance Limited (STL) factors as also organisational role stress factors. The second stage includes a study of interrelationships between the factors. At stage three, more data, specially qualitative data are obtained by interviews and other methods to get a first - hand feel of stresses and stress effects in the organisation the final stage is to suggest to the organisation what type of remedial measures will help them overcome the stress effects.

Use Scientific Input: - Dissemination of information on how to face the stressors within the
organisation & outside is useful.
Check with company doctors: - Doctors act as a valuable resource to their organisation
members for coping with identified stresses.
Spread the message: - the importance of regular habits of work, leisure, proper diet,
exercises and mental peace should be emphasized at the organisation level.

(2) What an Individual can do? When individuals experience stress, they adopt ways of dealing with its as they cannot remain in a continual state of tension. Effective coping strategies are 'approach' strategies, which confront the problem of stress as a challenge, and increase the capability of dealing with it. Ineffective strategies are 'escape' or 'avoidance' strategies, which reduce the feeling of stress.
Social and emotional support available to the person helps him or her to effectively cope with stress. Approach or effective strategies of coping include efforts to increase physical and mental preparedness for coping, creative diversion for emotional enrichment, and strategies of dealing with the basic problems causing stress, and collaborative work to solve such problems.

The effective management of stress involves directing stress for productive purposes, preparing role occupants to understand the nature of stress, helping them to understand their strengths and usual styles, and equipping them to develop approach strategies for coping with stress.