Stress when facing an individual within an organization can have dire consequences on both the individual and the organization at large. Despite the classification of the consequences as either individual or organizational, most of the effects are interrelated and overlap in their manifestation. A person faced with stress may suffer the consequences of drug and substance abuse at an individual level. Moreover, the same consequence may be extended to the organization through poor performance and low quality of output (Contrada & Baum, 2011, p. 36). Every organization should have a working mechanism to deal with consequences of stress to cushion itself from collapse in such times of stress.
Individual consequences of stress affect the individual in terms of their social and economic livelihoods. Although the organization may also suffer indirectly from the effects, it is the individual that pays the real price during individual consequences of stress. It is assumed that individuals love their job and would perform well if given the right conditions McGregor, (1960, p. 64). One such consequence is on the behavior of the individual thus harming the person under stress and may even extend to other individuals including the workmates. An example of a behavioral consequence is drug abuse and especially drinking or smoking. Smith & Walter (2006, p. 65) found that drug addicts at Amazon are highly affected by stress and end up abusing the drugs to a larger degree. It is also true that stress has a direct impact on the level of drug abuse that affected individuals partake. In addition, other examples of behavioral consequences of stress include violence, lack of appetite and accident susceptibility.
Stress may also impact on the individual psychologically thereby negatively affecting the mental well-being of the individuals. There is evidence to link the increasing levels of negative psychological health among workers across the world. Increased levels of stress in the work place may lead to depression on the part of the affected individuals. Moreover, the people may find it hard to find sleep in the night and experience cases of insomnia. Maslow (2012, p. 42) asserts that individuals will fulfill their psychological needs before they fulfill any other needs. The impact of stress may also be extended to the family setting of the affected individuals leading to conflicts and violence in the families. For example, research has shown that increased stress leads to sexual difficulties and family problems among affected individuals (Bilgin, 2016, p. 29).
In addition to behavioral and medical consequences, stress may also impact on the medical health of the individuals. These medical consequences affect the physical well-being of the affected individuals. Increased stress has been linked with the increase in heart conditions and stroke among the affected individuals. Moreover, this stress may be transferred to the individual’s family thus exposing them to the same risks. In addition, other medical conditions include backaches, ulcers, headaches and intestinal disorders. Research by Lin & Carley (2003, p. 49) has shown that stomach and skin conditions such as acne and hives are related to increased stress levels in the work place.
In an organization, it is not only the individual that is negatively affected by stress. Rather, the entire organization also suffers the consequences of stress even when one individual is involved. One of the most visible consequences affecting the organization is poor performance both at the individual and group levels. A decline in the performance can result in poor-quality work and a resulting decline in productivity (Quick & Quick, 1984, p. 47). In the event that managers are affected by stress, the implication on the organization’s performance is much more. This is because poor performance may mean that they come up with faulty decisions thereby coming up with plans that are not achievable. In addition, the result may be disruptions in working relationships as the workers become more irritable and hard to work with. This has a negative implication on team work and its effectiveness within an organization.
Stress within an organization may also translate to high recruitment and staff turnover costs thus affecting the organization negatively. Indeed, this is the most common consequences of stress on an organisation due to the wide impact that it carries along. The basis of this assumption is in the fact that stressed individuals do not enjoy their working environment thus leading to resignations and withdrawal of staff. Most of the employees faced with stress feel that they have no option but to leave the organization to avoid the stressful situation. In fact only a marginal percentage of staff is ready to face the management and ask for help in combating stress (Giddens et al., 2014, p. 86). In addition, some of the employees who ask for help from the management end up m not getting the required help thus opting out of the organizations. Perhaps this fact is the reason why most of the employees decide to leave the organizations outright without seeking help from the management. McGregor’s (1960, p. 47) motivation theory x states that workers dislike work and would jump at any opportunity to quit. Further, most of the organizations make little effort to find out the reasons for the stressful; conditions affecting the individuals. To them, it is the individual’s fault that they are stressed. This fact leads to numerous resignations thereby incurring huge costs on the organization during the processes of replacement.
Another organizational consequence is the high absenteeism levels associated with stress. Stressed individuals are much more inclined to take some time off and stay at home probably due to associated illnesses or psychological impacts. In addition, staff may feel that they can no longer cope with the stressful conditions and decide to stay at home rather than staying at the work place and undergoing much more stress. In most cases, affected staff may make it to work but fail to continue further as they wish to escape the stressful situations. Even when the affected individuals are physically present, their mental state is elsewhere thus lowering the productivity (Higgins, 1987, p. 71). Although organizations are aware that stress leads to cases of absenteeism, they are not ready to take corrective action to the benefit of both the individuals and the organization.
The organization is also at risk of damaging its reputation as a consequence of stress among its employees. The failure to manage stress effectively may result to the inculcation of the damaging stress culture in an organisation. The reputation is achieved in a very short time and it may stick for a very long time thus tainting the image in bad light. As thus the organization may then be forced to carry the cost of not being able to attract the best human personnel in the market (Fink, 2010, p. 37). In addition, the reduced productivity levels may also work against the organization’s reputation through continued decline in performance. The result may be that customer service is also affected leading to poor service delivery and the ultimate loss of customers.
Another possible implication on the organization resulting from stress is the litigation costs. All organisations have a legal obligation to provide healthy and safe working environments to the employees. These include training and harassment-free environments for the employees. In instances where these employees suffer ailments associated with the lack of provision of such conditions, they may sue the organisations and claim for damages. The effect is the culmination of high legal fees and thus damaging the organization’s reputation (Cooper & Antoniou, 2011, p. 60). The threat of litigation is so serious that it is the only one that pushes organizations to take action in managing stress.
The presence of stress in an organization is detrimental to the health and performance of the said organization. The management should therefore be ready and willing to take responsibility in managing emerging stress amongst its employees. The manager should in fact go the full length in ascertaining the cause of such stress and finding solution s to the problems. It is only through these measures that management can be sure of undisrupted performance in the organizations.
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