Organizational factors that cause stress
Numerous factors within the organization can cause stress. Pressures to avoid errors or
complete tasks in a limited time period, work overload, a demanding and insensitive boss, and unpleasant coworkers are a few examples. We’ve categorized these factors
around task, role, and interpersonal demands, organization structure, organizational leadership, and the organization’s life stage.
(1) Task demands
Task demands are factors related to a person’s job. They include the design of the
individual’s job (autonomy, task variety, degree of automation), working conditions,
and the physical work layout. The more interdependence between a person’s tasks
and the tasks of others, the more potential stress there is. Autonomy tends to lessen
(2) Role demands
Role demands relate to pressures placed on a person as a function of the particular
role he plays in the organization.
Role conflicts create expectations that may be hard to reconcile or satisfy.
Role overload is experienced when the employee is expected to do more than time
Role ambiguity is created when role expectations are not clearly understood and the
employee is not sure what he is to do.
(3) Interpersonal demands
Interpersonal demands are pressures created by other employees. Lack of social
support from colleagues and poor interpersonal relationships can cause considerable
stress, especially among employees with a high social need.
(4) Organizational structure
Organizational structure defines the level of differentiation in the organization, the
degree of rules and regulation, and where decisions are made. Excessive rules and lack of participation in decisions that affect an employee are examples of structural variables that might be potential sources of stress.
(5) Organizational leadership
Organizational leadership represents the managerial style of the organization’s
senior executives. Some chief executive officers create a culture characterized by tension, fear, and anxiety. They establish unrealistic pressures to perform in the short run, impose excessively tight controls, and routinely fire employees who don’t
(6) Organization’s life cycle
Organizations go through a cycle. They’re established; they grow, become mature,
and eventually decline. An organization’s life stage—that is, where it is in this four
stage cycle—creates different problems and pressures for employees. The
establishment and decline stages are particularly stressful. The former is characterized by a great deal of excitement and uncertainty, whereas the latter typically requires cutbacks, layoffs, and a different set of uncertainties. Stress tends to be least in maturity where uncertainties are at their lowest point.