Consequences of Stress
Individual distress manifests in three basic forms: psychological disorders, medical illnesses, and behavioral problems. Figure 1 A person’s extreme involvement with his or her work could reap acute individual distress. Work-related psychological disorders can lead to depression, burnout, and psychosomatic disorders.
Psychosomatic disorders are physical problems that stem from a psychological root. A person could have a problem with public speaking which could cause so much stress that the person's brain would not allow the person to even speak.
Physiological reactions to stress can have consequences for health over time. Backaches, strokes, heart disease, and peptic ulcers are just a few physical manifestations that can surface when too much stress is applied.
A person can also show behavioral problems as a sign of distress. Some examples include aggression, substance abuse, and accidents. This behavior could be caused by conflicts with others or with work. It could also be brought on by variables outside of the workplace. Prolonged occupational stress can lead to occupational burnout. Psychological disorders, medical illnesses, and behavioral problems are extremely burdensome to the individual, and when not taken care of can result in organizational distress.
The spectrum of effects caused by occupational stress includes absenteeism, poor decision making, lack of creativity, accidents, organizational breakdown, or even sabotage. Participation problems and compensation awards have opposite affects on an organization. Participation problems such as absenteeism, tardiness, strikes and work stoppages, and turnover bring serious costs to a company. For example, if an employee is not performing up to par, he or she is fired and replaced with a more productive employee who was hired at a higher pay rate than the previous. The company has the productivity it needs, but at a cost.