Workplace Stress – Five Models

Job stress is heavily associated with workplace environment. Places like New York, Los Angeles, and London among many other municipalities acknowledge the strong relationship between job stress and heart attacks. Because workplace stress is the result of many complex interactions between an individual and a large systematically-operating organization, there are numerous theories propagated to explain the relation between both.

According to experts, there are five models that explain workplace stress, which are −

●      Person Environment Fit Model

●      Job Characteristics Model

●      Diathesis-Stress Model

●      Jobs-Demand Resources Model

●      Effort-Reward Imbalance Model

Let us now discuss each of these models in detail.

Person Environment Fit Model     

Person Environment

According to this model, a person starts to feel stress in a job where his aptitude, skills, abilities and resources are in-line with the necessities of their job. The job profile he is operating in should be in accordance to his needs, knowledge and skills-sets.

If these needs are not addressed, then it makes these employees “misfits” in that domain, which results in lagging behind in performances and not meeting management expectations. These employees end up with lower productivity, face isolation and resort to denial, as a defense mechanism.

Job Characteristics Model

Job Characteristics

This model proposes that for an employee to be successful in any job, he needs to have some degree of autonomy and he should be able to give a feedback which is heard. Such conditions result in job enrichment and employee loyalty. The absence of these factors can cause work disassociation and drops in productivity.

This model also specifies that numerous talented professionals lose their aptitude towards the same work that they had once been very interested in, and were good at. The main reason behind this was the attitude of the management.

Diathesis-Stress Model


This model makes a distinction between stressful job conditions and individual strains. Strains can be mental, physical or emotional and most of the times, these strains change from person to person.

The significant strains among them are −

●      Excessive Workload

●      Disagreeable Workplace Environments

●      Lack of Autonomy

●      Difficult Relationships with Coworkers

●      Lack of Career Growth

●      Low Chances of Personal Growth while Working and

●      Harassment from Management.

Jobs-Demand Resources Model

Jobs-Demand Resources

This model posits that workplace stress can be associated to the difference of job demands and resources. Experienced at managerial levels, it is caused when a bully management expects managers to deliver high results with low resources.

In other words, there is a severely skewed ration between job demands and job resources. Even good managers cannot deal with this stress and end up stressed.

Effort-Reward Imbalance Model

Effort Reward Imbalance

This model focuses on the relation between efforts and rewards. When employees put in hard work, they expect management to reward their efforts. In absence of any such reward program, the employees get demotivated and underperform.

It is not enough in today’s world to expect good output from employees as a “part of the job”. Companies that think they are entitled to get good output from employees just because they pay them, need to realize that it is not paying, but compensating them for their time, i.e. the employees could have done something way more productive with the time they spend in the company.

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