What Is the Role of Stress in Organizational Behavior?

Excessive work-related stress can lead some individuals to smoke or drink excessively.
When pressure from a job exceeds the capabilities of employees, the employees may not be able to perform at their optimum.
Work stress can have a negative impact upon a person's health.
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  • Written By: Esther Ejim
  • Edited By: Kaci Lane Hindman
  • Last Modified Date: 05 December 2014
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The role of stress in organizational behavior refers to the manner in which stress may affect the behavior of individuals within an organization. Stress in organizations is described as work stress and may manifest in several ways, all of which may have an impact on the overall organizational behavior. Recognizing that work stress is not only due to stressors from work, but also includes outside stressors that may be carried by the individual into the work environment, goes a long way in understanding the role of stress in organizational behavior as well as the possible remedies.

A key to understanding the link between stress in organizational behavior and individuals is the understanding that some degree of stress in the normal workplace cannot be avoided and is not necessarily a negative factor. This is due to the fact that varying degrees of minor stress at work may indeed help an individual to perform better. In this way, a link between stress and organizational behavior is the fact that mild stress may help to keep an employee from becoming too complacent and encourage such an employee to be more alert. This will affect the effectiveness and productivity of the employee, in turn affecting the bottom line of the company in a positive manner.


When stress in the workplace becomes excessive, or becomes elevated to the degree that it will have a negative effect on the health and behavior of the employee, then such stress may not be beneficial to the organization and may negatively affect the equilibrium of the organizational behavior. One manner in which stress in the workplace might negatively affect organizational behavior is when it influences the relationship between the stressed individual and other members of the organization. For example, an individual under stress may become moody and irritable, prone to lashing out at fellow employees due to the effects of stress. Where this is the case, it might put an unnecessary and distracting strain on the relationship between employees, consequently affecting their productivity.

When the pressure from a job exceeds the capabilities of employees, they may not be able to perform at their optimum. Individuals in organizations must be analyzed and given duties that are related to their human capital. If employees are given jobs that far exceed what they are capable of executing, they may buckle under the pressure from the crushing mental and physical strain, which will be reflected in their social relationship within the organization. Sometimes the stress may come as a result of the failure by management to follow some ergonomic practices, which will alleviate the stress of the employees. This often leads to a feeling of resentment among workers and also shows the role of stress in organizational behavior.


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