Tuesday, 20 January 2015

Managing Stress:

Managing Stress:

  • Low to moderate level of stress, may be functional and lead to higher employee performance.
  • High level of stress, even low levels sustained over long period, can lead to reduced employee performance and thus, require action by management.

Individual Approaches:

  • Personal responsibility for reducing his or her stress level
  • Time management, increasing physical exercise, relaxation training and expanding the social support network.

Time Management:

  • Well organized employee, can often accomplishes twice as much the person who is poorly organized.
  • Time management principles:
    • Making daily list of activities to be accomplished.
    • Prioritizing activities by importance and urgency
    • Scheduling activities according to the priorities set
    • Knowing your daily cycle and handling the most demanding parts of your job during high part of your cycle when you are most alert and productive.
  • Physical Exercise:
    • Aerobics, walking, jogging, swimming and riding a bicycle.
    • Increase heart rate, mental division from work pressure.
    • Relaxation Techniques:
    • Meditation, hypnosis and biofeedback
    • State of deep relaxation, feels physically relaxed, detached from the immediate environment, detached from body sensation.
  • Social support network:
    • Friends, family or work colleagues to talk
    • Tension reduction, someone to hear your problems

 Organizational Approaches:

  • Factors that causes stress: task and role, demand, organizational structure
  • Improved selection and placement decision
  • Goal-setting: challenging goals, feedback.
  • Training: increasing efficiency, less stress
  • Redesigning jobs: autonomy, meaningful work, enrich
  • Increasing employee involvement: decision making
  • Improved organization communication: less  ambiguity, reduce uncertainty
  • Sabbatical(Leave, Time-out, study leave):  granted at interval, leave, paid leaves
  • Corporate wellness program: quit smoke, alcohol, lose weight, eat better.

 (Ref: Organization behavior - S.P. Robbins)

Model of Stress:

Model of Stress:

  1. Potential sources of stress
    1. Environment
    2. Organization
    3. Individual
  2. Individual differences
  3. Experienced Stress
  4. Consequences:
    1. Physiological
    2. Psychological
    3. Behavioral

 Potential Sources of stress:

  • Environmental Factors:
    • Economic uncertainties
    • Political uncertainties
    • Technological uncertainties (employees’ skills and experience obsolete very short)
    • Terrorism
  • Organization Factors:
    • Pressure to avoid errors
    • Complete tasks in time limits
    • Work over-loads, unpleasant coworkers
    • A demanding and in-sensitive boss
  • Individual Factors:
    • Family problems
    • Inherent personality characteristics
    • Marital difficulties
    • Breaking of relationships
    • Economic problems (poor money managers)

Individual Differences:

Individual differences variable moderate the relationship between potential stress and experienced stress. Six variable:
  • Perception
  • Job Experience
  • Social Support
  • Belief in locus of control
  • Self- efficacy (efficiency, value)
  • Hostility (unfriendliness, aggression )

Consequences of stress:

  • Physiological: headaches, blood pressure, heart disease
  • Psychological: anxiety, depression, low job satisfaction.
  • Behavioral symptoms: Productivity, turnover, absenteeism

Inverted – U relationship between stress and job performance:

  • The logic underlying the inverted-U is that low to moderate level of stress stimulates the body and increase its ability to react.
  • Individual then often perform their task better, more intensity , or rapidly.
  • But too much stress places unattainable demands or constraints on a person, which result in lower performance.
  • Relation between stress and time:
    • Even moderate level of stress can have a negative influence on performance over the long time as the continued intensity of the stress wears down the individual and saps (health, energies) his or her energy resources.

 (Ref: Organization Behavior - S.P.Robbins)

Work Stress and Stress Management

Work Stress and Stress Management

  • Stress out from greater workloads
  • Longer working hours
  • Downsizing at company
  • Lack of job stability, job security
  • Balance between work life and family responsibilities.
  • Too much multi-tasking.

Stress is a dynamic condition in which an individual is confronted with an opportunity, constraint, or demand related to what he or she desires and which the outcome is perceived to be both uncertain and important.
  • Opportunity, Constraints
  • Demand, outcome is:
    • Uncertain
    • Important
  • Stress is not necessarily bad
  • Stress may be both positive or negative
  • Stress is an opportunity when it offers potential gain.
    • E.g. Stage artist and athlete perform better in tight situation.
  • Such individuals often use stress positively to rise to occasion and perform at or near their maximum.
  • Pressure of heavy workloads, deadlines.
    • Positive challenges, enhance the quality of their work, satisfaction.
  • Stress is associated with constraints and demands.
  • Prevent you from doing what you desire.
  • Feel Stress:
  • Two conditions for potential stress:
    • Uncertainty over the outcome.
    • Outcome must be important
  • Constraints: forces that prevent individuals from doing what they desire
  • Demand: the loss of something desired.
(Ref: Organization Behavior- S.P.Robbins)

The Conflict Process:

The Conflict Process:

The conflict process can be comprising (include, covering) five stages:

Potential Opposition or incompatibility
Cognition and personalization

 Stage - 1: Potential opposition or incompatibility:

  • Presence of conditions that create opportunities for conflict to arise.
  • May not lead directly to conflict but necessary source of conflict
  • These conditions (cause or source) of conflict:
    • Communication
    • Structure
    • Personal Variable
  • Communication:
    • Deepa (Supply Chain Manager at Hotel)
    • Ranjan: OK
    • Vijay: Tells something to do, done, wrong you did.
  • Structure:
    • Meera- floor sale manager (furniture store)
    • Rubina- credit manager
    • HP Printer:
    • HP goal: low cost, lightweight, compete in low-end market
    • Engineer: High quality, high cost printer
    • Including variables:
      • Size of group, specialized members
      • Jurisdiction clarity, goal compatibilities, leadership style
      • Reward system and degree of dependence between members
  •  Personal Variables:
    • Immediate dislike
    • Sound, voice, smile
    • Value system, social conflict, prejudice, dislike Bengali

Stage-2: Cognition and personalization:

  • Stage-1, negatively affect something that one party cares about, then the potential for opposition or incompatibility become actualize.
  • For conflict perception is required
  • A conflict is perceived does not mean that it is personalized.
  • A may be aware that B and A are in serious disagreement. But it may not make A tense or anxious, and it may not effect what so ever on A’s affection towards B.
  • It is at the felt level that individual becomes emotionally involved, that parties experience anxiety, tension, frustration or hostility.

Stage -3: Intentions

  • Decision to act in a given way
  • Perceptionà felt (emotions)--àAct, Behavior
  • Wrong attributing the other party’s intentions may arise conflicts
  • Even behavior does not always accurately reflect a person’s intentions.

Conflict handling intentions:
Using two dimensions:
  • Cooperativeness: the degree to which one party attempts to satisfy the other party’s concerns.
  • Assertiveness: the degree to which one party attempts to satisfy his or her own concerns.

Five Conflict handling intentions:

  1. Competing: Assertive and Uncooperative
  2. Collaborating: Assertive, cooperative
  3. Avoiding: Unassertive, uncooperative
  4. Accommodating: Unassertive, cooperative
  5. Compromising: Mid-range on both assertive and cooperative.

 Dimensions of conflict handling intentions:
  1. Competing: a desire to satisfy one’s interest, regardless of the impact on the other party to the conflict.
  2. Collaboration: a situation in which the parties to a conflict each desire to satisfy fully the concerns of all parties.
  3. Avoiding: the desire to withdraw from or suppress a conflict.
  4. Accommodating: the willingness of one party in a conflict to place the opponent’s interests above his or her own.
  5. Compromising: a situation in which each party to conflict is willing to give-up something.

Stage-4: Behavior:

  • Conflict becomes visible.
  • The behavior stage includes the statements, actions and reactions made by conflicting parties.
  • One party’s behavior.
  • Other party’s reactions.

Conflict intensity continuum:

 Conflict Management:

The use of resolution and Stimulation techniques to achieve the desired level of conflict.
Conflict Management Techniques:
  1. Problem solving
  2. Superordinate goals
  3. Expansion of resources
  4. Avoidance
  5. Smoothing
  6. Compromising
  7. Authoritive Command
  8. Altering the human variable
  9. Altering the structural variables
  10. Communication
  11. Bringing in Outsiders
  12. Restructuring the organization
  13. Appointing a devil’s advocate

Stage -5: Outcomes:

  • Outcome may be functional or dysfunctional

Functional: conflict results in an improvement in the group performance.
Dysfunctional: it hinders group performance.
Functional Outcomes from Conflict
  • Increased group performance
  • Improved quality of decisions
  • Stimulation of creativity and innovation
  • Encouragement of interest and curiosity
  • Provision of a medium for problem-solving
  • Creation of an environment for self-evaluation and change

Creating Functional Conflict
  • Reward dissent and punish conflict avoiders

Dysfunctional Outcomes from Conflict
  • Development of discontent (dissatisfaction, displeasure)
  • Reduced group effectiveness
  • Retarded(slow, underdeveloped) communication
  • Reduced group cohesiveness
  • Infighting among group members overcomes group goals

(Ref: Organizational Behavior- S.P.Robbins)

Monday, 19 January 2015



  • A process that begins when one party perceives that another party has negatively affected, or is about to negatively affects something that the first party cares about.
  • Incompatibility of goals
  • Differences over interpretations of facts
  • Disagreement based on behavioral expectations.

The Traditional View:

  • The belief that all conflict is harmful and must be avoided.
  • 1930s and 1940s
  • Assumed that all conflict was bad.
  • Conflict was used synonymously with such terms as violence, destruction and irrationality to reinforcement its negative connotation(Meaning)
  • Conflict was seen as dysfunctional (weak, damage, abnormal) outcome resulting from poor communication, a lack of openness, trust between people, and failure of managers to be responsive to the needs and aspirations (ambitions, goals, objectives) of their employees.

The Human Relations View:

  • The belief that conflict is a natural and inevitable outcome in any organizations or group.
  • Since conflict was inevitable (unavoidable, expected, predictable) the human relation approach advocated acceptance of conflict.
  • Rationalize its existence.
  • It cannot be eliminated.
  • There are times when conflict may benefit a group’s performance.
  • 1940s to 1970s

The Interactional View:

  • The belief that conflict is not only a positive force in a group but that it is absolutely necessary for a group to perform effectively.
  • Interactionist approach encourages the conflict.
  • Harmonious, peaceful, cooperative, clam group is prone to becoming static, nonresponsive to needs for change and innovation.
  • Interactionist approach:
  • Encouraging group leaders to maintain an ongoing minimum level of conflict- enough to keep viable, self-critical and creative.

Whether the conflict is good or bad depends on the type of conflict:
  • Functional Conflict
  • Dysfunctional Conflict

Functional versus Dysfunctional conflict:
The Interactionaist view does not propose that all conflicts are good or bad.

Functional Conflict: Conflict that supports the goals of the group and improves it performance.
Dysfunctional Conflict: Conflict that hinders (delay, obstruct) group performances.

There are three types of conflicts:

  • Task Conflict: Conflict over content and goals of the work.
  • Relationship Conflict: conflict based on interpersonal relationships.
  • Process Conflict: Conflict over how work gets done.

Relationship conflicts are almost always dysfunctional. (personality clashes, decrease mutual understandings)
Low level process conflict, Low to moderate level task conflicts are functional conflict (supportive)

 (Ref: Organizational Behavior- S.P.Robbins)

Group Decision Making Techniques:

Group Decision Making Techniques:

Interacting Group:

  • Typical groups, in which members interact with each other face to face.
  • Rely on both verbal and non-verbal interaction to communicate with each other.
  • Pressure on individual members towards conformity of opinion.


  • An idea generation process that specifically encourages any and all alternatives, while withholding any criticism of those alternatives.
  • No criticism allowed. Every alternate is discussed.

Nominal Group Technique:

  • Restricts discussion or interpersonal communication during the decision-making process, hence, the term nominal.
  • Group members are physically present, as in a traditional committee meeting, but members operate independently. Specifically, a problem is presented and then the following steps take place:
    • Members meet as a group, but before any discussion takes place, each member independently writes down his or her ideas on the problem.
    • After this silent period, each member presents one idea to the group. Each member takes his or her turn, presenting a single idea until all ideas have been presented and recorded. No discussion takes place until all ideas have been recorded.
    • The group now discusses the ideas for clarity and evaluates them.
    • Each group member silently and independently rank the ideas. The idea with the height aggregate ranking determines the final discussion.
Nominal group does not restrict independent thinking, as does the interacting group.
(Ref: Organization Behavior- S.P.Robbins)

Group Decision Making

Group Decision Making

  • The belief characterized by juries that two heads are better than one has long been accepted as a basic component in the legal system of many countries.
  • Decision making groups may be widely used in organizations, but does that mean that group decisions are preferable to those managed by individual alone?

Group Decision Making
Group generates more complete information and knowledge
Time consuming
Group offer increased diversity of views. Heterogeneity to the decision process.
Conformity pressure in groups, (according to practice )
More approaches and processes to be considered
Group decision can be dominated by one or a few members
Groups generates higher quality decision
Group decisions suffer from ambiguous responsibility. Ambiguity about responsibility and accountability of decision.
Groups lead to increased acceptance of a solution

(Ref: Organization Behavior- S.P.Robbins)