Stress is a natural outcome of every human endeavor in all the aspects of life. It can be proverbially tagged as an inevitable evil that exists because human faculties exist. Leading stress research Hans Selye defines stress as any non specific response by body to demands made upon it . Stress results from gradual internal reaction and changing emotional mapping of events that continue to take place in a person’s every day life, and accumulate in the form of emotional reaction that is known as stress.
Stress is often a direct a precursor to, or explanation for a number of other emotional reactions such as anger, frustration, fear, fatigue, helplessness, hurt, loneliness, confusion and despondency One of the most common types of stress that is experienced by almost every one is the workplace stress. People across the world and across the enterprise and industry they are working in, have reported of burnouts and mental fatigues that leave them completely exhausted and emotionally drained .
The pressure of maintaining a consistent level of performance and accomplishment in a consistently competitive environment exerts severe visible and invisible pressure on employees, causing both short term and long term stress syndromes . Organizations and business units have also come to recognize the problems of stress and its potential negative fallouts that can diminish or disrupt their productivity and they have responded to the situation by launching their own stress management programs .
These stress management programs vary according to the nature of occupation and degree of perceived stress and generally they cover those areas of stress that seems to originate at the workplace . The modern stress reduction programs have transcended this limited approach in accordance with the realization that workplace stress is deeply intertwined with personal stress, and people, as cognizant human beings, necessarily carry whole or residual stress from home to work and vice versa . Stress Scenario
In order to study the impact of stress management programs and policies, this paper has selected an Irish airline management company, Aer Rianta which is the state air company of Ireland and is in charge of managing and developing country’s three airports at Dublin, Cork and Shannon. Apart from domestic operations the company has extensive commercial undertakings in airport management and duty free trades in UK, Germany and many Asian countries. The company also holds an extensive hotel chain in Ireland.
The range of responsibilities of Aer Rianta cover all the aspects of airport management that include airport maintenance, covering security and safety aspects, policing and checks, maintaining duty free shops, car parking facilities, car leasing and performing cleaning operations. As the company is required to work in close cooperation with all the major airlines, the working conditions and requirements vary considerably with employees working in quite different and unrelated areas .
The company objective of Aer Rianta is to become best global organization in the field of airport management, duty free operations and other related commercial engagements. To achieve its aim, the company has stated its firm commitment to the fundamental of corporate excellence, customer oriented approach, flexibility and openness at management level, humanistic approach, highly value driven and integrated commercial approach while taking in an account of intense global competitiveness .
At the time of study the company was working with 2700 full time employees. Its revenues were clocked at 231 million Irish pounds with operating profits at 40 million pounds. With intense competition and continuously rising expectations of passengers, the company tried to improve and excel in each and every of its undertaking. In this process the company continuously pushed its employees to meet higher performance and delivery limits .
The high workplace demand and requirements of meeting company goals started to create situation of stress for employees and by the end of 1990, company’s staff from Dublin started to complain of stress as a major factor that was causing decline in their performance and acting as a major deviance from effectively rendering their services to company . As a response to the problem, the management of Aer Rianta recognized the problem and decided to launch stress reduction programs to look into the causes, factors and effects that create stress.
The company also decided to include external agencies in launching a comprehensive survey that would gather employees opinions and suggestions of factors causing stress, list their solutions to reduce it and finally analyze the overall trend to correctly estimate the type and scope of efforts involved along with setting up a timeline to launch the stress reduction program.
Stress Measurement A number of academics, external consultants and staff from Aer Rianta’s human resource department and employee relation collaborated together to measure and analyze workplace stress, and develop an effectively protean program that can self modulate itself to deal with future possibilities of changing workplace trends .
The survey was conducted in two phases, where the first phase covered pilot activities such as questionnaire development, pilot survey, pilot analysis and subsequent modifications. The second phase involved the survey itself. The survey covered all the 1000 employees at Dublin airport and it instruments questioned respondents on following parameters to correctly formulate an appropriate stress reduction program .