Human Resource Management

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Based on Human Resource Management (4th Edition) by Alan Price - published by Cengage

Stress is a commonly used word. It has been taken from physics where mechanical stress has been a longstanding concept. In its physical context it describes a strain leading to distortion of an object. For example, a steel girder may bend as the result of temporary forces such as strong winds acting against a bridge. Eventually, however, if the strain is long-lasting or excessive, the girder breaks. Psychological stress draws on the physical analogy but the strain on human beings is seen as coming from life's pressures, boredom, overwork, threat and ambiguity. In essence, pressure overcomes the ability to cope.

Stress is a subjective experience: it is not necessarily easy to identify stress in another person. Neither is it clear that the experience is the same for different people. Indeed, it is apparent that similar situations will produce entirely different reactions in different individuals. A situation which is stressful to one person is challenging to another and may be boring to a third. Burnout is a related concept.


This refers to a condition in which individuals are completely negative about themselves and their lives. This includes feeling worthless, physical and mental fatigue. They feel disregarded, pessimistic about the future and lacking in control of their lives. This state has been described particularly in professionals such as nurses.

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Stress is associated with a number of physical conditions including back-pain, susceptibility to viruses, chronic fatigue syndrome and autoimmune disease.  More at: Stress



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