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Workplace stress: 4 types of organisational stress

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workplace stress

Organisations, just like humans and products, go through life stages – establishment, growth, maturity, and decline – each with its own unique challenges and stressors. Here are the top 4 types of organisational stress and how to manage them.


This is often a period of high stress, where people are under pressure to get the organisation up and running, design systems and procedures, build up a customer base, break-even, provide cash flow and make profits as soon as possible. This is a period of great excitement, challenge, creativity, uncertainty, and risk. There is a lot to do and an awful lot to learn in a short period of time. During this time, it is crucial that managers and employees alike communicate and set realistic goals.


This is also a period of high stress, though not as high as the initial stage. Growth brings its own unique problems, opportunities, and challenges. The increase in business activity means that there is a greater volume of work to do. The company is expanding and new structures and job positions will need to be set up. Managerial challenges increase and work overload may become a problem. Competition begins to intensify and costs may need to be strictly controlled. During this time, one needs to balance work and leisure to maintain a healthy lifestyle.


This is probably the period of least stress for an organisation. The business has been established and the pioneering and entrepreneurial work has been done. The opportunities have been exploited and challenges and threats are overcome. Cash flow is sound and profits are being made. However, competition to maintain market share may be intense and bring its own challenges. There may be a danger of resting on one’s laurels and ignoring new threats and opportunities. It is important for leaders and employees to stay up to date on market trends as well as competitor’s actions in order to keep from falling behind.


This is often the stage of most stress in the form of downsizing, reorganisation, cost reduction programmes, redundancies, merger, acquisition, or ultimately closure. The inevitable layoffs can be very stressful and traumatic for both workers and management due to reduced job security and stability for many employees. There has been a decrease in full-time jobs and an increase in part-time, casual and contract labour. Nonetheless, closure is not inevitable, as some companies adapt, take cost reduction measures and survive in a niche market at a lower level of business activity

Workplace Stress

No matter your industry, role or organisation, stress in the workplace is inevitable, find out how to manage your stress and achieve your goals with our eBook Workplace Stress.

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