Organizational Bahavior Notes



People usually take the meaning of “stress” in a negative sense. It is thought to be caused by something really bad and unwanted. But it is not always due to some problem or trouble that we feel stress. Stress can also be caused by good things, so, stress can be categorized into two types according to the causes, distress and eustress.

When we face pressure and strain due to something bad happened it is called distress. For example, a loved one is seriously ill, the boss gives formal warning for a poor performance, or a student has to do his best to pass the examinations.

But there is also a positive, pleasant side of stress called by good things (for example, an employee is offered a job promotion, or a good looking attractive acquaintance asks for a date). This type of stress is called eustress. “Eu” a Greek word meaning good.

So, stress can be defined as an adaptive response to the external situation that results in physical, psychological or behavioral deviations for the participants.

It is important to note here that stress is not:

1. Stress is not anxiety: anxiety operates only in emotional and psychological area but stress has psychological and emotional as well as physiological effects. Thus, stress also accompanies anxiety but the two should not be equated.

2. Stress is not simply nervous tension: Though stress may cause nervous tension like anxiety but the two are not the same. Nervous tension can be a way in which people exhibit and express stress.

3. Stress is not necessarily something damaging, bad, or to be avoided: Eustress is not damaging or bad and is something that people should want rather than avoid it. The real matter is how people handle the stress (whether good or bad). Stress is inevitable but distress can be controlled and prevented effectively.  

Stress can be divided into three different stages namely alarm, resistance, and exhaustion.

In the alarm stage an outside stressor mobilizes the stress system of the individual. There are a number of psychological and chemical reactions in the body, such as increased pituitary and adrenaline secretions; noticeable increase in respiration, heart rate and blood pressure and a heightening of the senses.  

If the stress continues beyond the alarm stage it enters a second phase called resistance. During this stage, the body calls upon the corresponding organs to deal with the stressor. When there is a lot of resistance from the body to one stressor, the body becomes vulnerable and weak to other diseases. So, this is the reason why a person also suffers other diseases when having stress. 

Finally, if the problem persists over a long period of time, the reserves of the body exhausts and the body becomes weak. And it may return back to the first stage of alarm and a new cycle starts. It can really be very hard on a person and even death occurs.

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