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ABSTRACTS Problems are potential stressors which need to be properly handled for containing stress. Level of education influences individual perception. Management of problems is based on the individual perception of the problem and about his/her problems-solving skills and resources. Problem management is thus influenced by the level of education of the individual concerned. This paper reports a case of problem management in a large private sector industry in Chennai, using coping strategy framework. Projective instrument for coping with stress in organizational roles Role-PICS 9(O) Was used to measure eight problem management strategies on 155 randomly selected executives. The sample was divided in three groups depending on respondents qualification level. For each qualification group, means for problem management strategies were rank ordered to identify dominant and backup problem management strategies. T-test on means was performed for each problem management strategy to detect significant differences across the qualification groups. Defending the Self was found to be the dominant problem management strategy across the qualification groups. The backup problem management strategy for the lower qualification group was Fatalistic Thinking but it was making self effort for the medium and higher qualification groups. Defending the Self was stronger in lower qualification group as compared to medium and higher qualification groups. Making Self Effort, Seeking External Effort, and Making Team Effort were weaker in lower qualification groups as compared to medium qualification groups. Study finding showed that executives with lower qualifications groups. Study finding showed that executives with lower qualifications were relatively more dysfunctional in managing problems than their counterparts with medium or higher qualification. Executives with medium or higher qualifications tended to become functional under pressure. Executives with lower qualifications, however, continued to remain dysfunctional under pressure.

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1.1 INTRODUCTION Problems arise when one does not get what one expects; When people do not behave as expected; or when unexpected changes are thrust upon (Nezu, etal., 2001). Problems are there everywhere and they cannot be avoided. Even when one solves all the problems, new ones soon crop up. Problems are inevitable for individuals, groups and organization. It is not relevant who caused the problem but it is very important to know what could have been done to prevent the problem or to reduce its frequency, intensity and negative consequences. One needs to confront the problems and alleviate them, attempting their solution as far as possible. If one runs away from problems, leaving them unattended, problems will compound and knock him down. It is essential to have a positive approach towards problems alleviation. Problems should be seen as opportunities for improvement and as stepping stones for bigger successes in future. Problems need to be managed in order to minimize their negative consequences. Good problem management results in preventing the problems occurrence or reducing their frequency, intensity and negative impact. It enhances individual and organizational effectiveness and promotes human well being in the organization. It strengthens functional, organizational climate and enables the individuals, groups and organizations to focus on development, growth and matters of strategic importance. On the contrary, poor problem management results in repetition and multiplication of problems which overwhelm the concerned individuals, groups and organization, leaving no time for anything else other than crisis management. Understanding problem management and how to make it most effective are therefore extremely important (Srivanstav, 2007a) Problem management is dependent upon the cognitive appraisal of problems encountered. Individual perception therefore influences problem management in a significant measure. Perception is dependent on individuals personality, motivation and his/her experiential learning. Education provides suitable learning environment and promotes experiential learning. It is therefore expected that personal factors such as individuals educational qualification would significantly influence his/her strategy for managing the problems encountered. The present study examines how problem management strategies could be adopted in an organization across different qualification levels/groups. Problem is a potential source of stress and managing the problem is the same as coping with stress. Coping Strategy Frame work

(Pareek, 1987) for dealing with role stress is therefore relevant for the study of problem management in organization.

ROLE-PICE: DIMENSTIONS AND STRATEGIES As explained below, role-PICS have three binary dimensions (which have only two predefined levels) 1. Mode. Represents leaning towards avoiding the problems or towards approaching them to find their solutions. These are referred to as avoidance or approach. 2. Internality. Refers to the extent of engagement of the self with the problems causing stress, either for avoidance or approach. It can be low or high. 3. Externality. Refers to the extent of engaging others with the problems causing stress either for avoidance or approach. It can be low or high. It is important to note that internality and externality are not mutually exclusive; they coexist. Combinations of the above-mentioned binary dimensions lead to 8 coping strategies. Table 1 depicts coping strategies represented by different combinations of Role-PICS dimensions and their linkage with Problem Management Strategies (Srivastav, 2007a, 2007b) Which are explained below. Four of these strategies are dysfunctional, comprising avoidance mode and the other four comprising approach mode are functional. Avoidance jeopardizes effectiveness at the individual, role and organizational level. Approach enhances effectiveness at the individual, role and organizational level. Avoidance can given only a temporary relief under extremely difficult circumstances when nothing else is possible. Dysfunctional and functional problem management strategies have been illustrated with the help of a sample problem as below.

DATA ANALYSIS TABLE 1 PROBLEM MANAGEMENT STRATEGIES (RELATING WITH ROLE-PICS FRAMEWORK) Role-PICS Framework S. No Problem Management Strategy Coping Strategy Impunitive (M) Intropunitive (I) Extrapunitive (E) Defensive (D) Impresistive (m) Intropersistive (i) Extrapersistive (e) Interpersistive (n) Dimensions Externality Low Low High High Low Low High High Low High Low High Low High) Low Low Avoidance Avoidance Internality Mode

1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8

Fatalistic Thinking (FT) Blaming the Self (BS) Blaming the External Agency (BEA) Defending the Delf (DS) Wishful Thinking (WT) Making Self Effort (MSE) Seeking External Effort (SEE) Making Team Effort (MTE)

Sample Problem. After working as software engineer for five years, you are promoted as a project manager. You start feeling uncomfortable after promotion, because you do not have the competence for project management.

DYSFUNCIONAL PROBLEM MANAGEMENT STRATEGIES 1. Fatalistic Thinking (FT) You believe that everybody experiences such difficulties on promotion and nothing can be done about it. Under this strategy (called Impunitive in RolePICS framework), problems are accepted, believing that they are inevitable and cannot be solved.
2. Blaming the Self (BS). You believe that the problem has arisen because of your own

incompetence; you do nothing to improve the situation. Under this strategy (called intropunitive in Role PICS frame work), problems are believed to be caused due to ones own shortcomings. 3. Blaming the External Agency (BEA) You believe that the problem has arisen because of lack of training and development in the organization; you do nothing about it. under this strategy (called Extrapunitive in Role-PICS Frame work), problems are believed to be caused by an external agency. 4. Defending the Self (DS) . You show off that you have no problem in managing projects. Under this strategy(called Defensive in Role PICS Frame work), problems are denied or rationalized by pointing out benefits therefrom to coverup ones own perceived deficienecies.

FUNCIONAL PROBLEM MANAGEMTN STRATEGIES 1. Wishful Thinking (WT) You believe that time will solve your problem. Under this strategy(called Impersistive in Role-PICS framework), problems are believed to take care of themselves eventually.

2. Making Self Effort (MSE) . You start learning about project management. Under this strategy(called Intropersistive in role PICS framework), problems are solved by making self efforts. 3. Seeking External Effort (SEE) You take up the matter with your organization to equip yourself with project management skills. Under this strategy (called Extrapersistive in Role PICS frame work), problems are solved by seeking external efforts. 4. Making Team Effort (MTE) . You share your problem with an experienced project manager and convince him to team up with yourself to overcome your problem. Under this strategy(called Interpersistive in role PICS Framework), problems are solved with thejoint efforts of the self and others.

1.2 OBJECTIVES To enhance the understanding about problem management in organizations by 1. Measuring problem management strategyadopted by lower, medium and higher qualification groups within the selected organization. 2. Indentifying the dominant and backup problem management strategy for each qualification group. 3. Finding out the significant differenfes in the adoption of problem management strategy across the qualification groups.


Perception is a cognitive process. It is dependent on personality, motivation and experiential learing of the individual concerned. As one receives higher education, he/she has better avenues for experiential learning. It is logical to expect that educational qualification will influence individual perception. Quazi (2003) has reported significant relationship between the education level and perception of corporate social responsibility. As problem management depends on individual perception, it can be hypothesized that problem management strategy adopted by an individual is influenced by his/her educational qualification.



Workshops on problem management were conducted for the executives of a large public sector manufacturing industry, having a number of units in multiple locations across the country. Participants were selected to represent the diversity of different kinds obtained in the industry. Advantage of knowing ones own problem management profile was exdplained to the participants. Role PICS(O) was administered to the workshop participants for measuring eight types of problem management strategy. Responsus that were complete constituted 155 Role-PICS (O) samples. Educational qualification of each respondents was also recorded. Educational Qualifications were numerically coded as shown in Table 2. Role-PICS (O) sample collected in the manner described above reduced data collection

errors due to possible manipulations of natural response by the respondents. Role-PICS (O) Sample was divided in three parts (as lower, medium and higher qualification groups) according to the educational qualification of the respondent. The educational qualifiacation profile of respondents is given in Table 3.




2.1 REVIEW OF LITERATURE Problem Management The process responsible for managing the Life cycle of all Problems. The primary objectives of Problem Management are to prevent Incidents from happening, and to minimize the Impact of Incidents that cannot be prevented. Problem management is an area of IT Service Management (ITSM) aimed at resolving incidents and problems caused by end-user errors or IT infrastructure issues and preventing recurrence of such incidents. In this context, an incident is an event that disrupts normal operation. A problem is an underlying issue that could lead to an incident. Problem management can either be reactive (problem-solving when an error occurs) or proactive (identifying issues and potential risks before they become problematic). Problem The unknown root cause of one or more existing or potential Incidents. Problems may sometimes be identified because of multiple incidents that exhibit common symptoms. Problems can also be identified from a single significant Incident, indicative of a single error, for which the cause is unknown. Occasionally Problems will be identified well before any related Incidents occur. Problem Control The process of identifying, recording, classifying and progressing Problems through investigation and diagnosis until either 'Known Error' status is achieved or an alternative procedural reason fro the Problem is revealed. Problem Management The Service Management process that encompasses Problem Control, Error Control and the production of management information (MI). Problem Management is a process that identifies the root cause of defects, actual and potential. The primary objective is to make sure services are stable, timely and accurate and that Problems neither occur nor recur. Process maturity is denoted by its ability to focus on problem prevention.

Problem Isolation is one of the most challenging tasks in IT management, so it should come as no surprise that the automation of Problem Isolation is a formidable undertaking. However, since outages cost money LOTS of money investing in the automated isolation of problems makes sense for many businesses. In each system outage, the business suffers degraded customer satisfaction (lost revenue opportunities) and decreased staff productivity. In large organizations, the impact can exceed $1 million per hour and in virtually every organization, IT management lists Availability as a primary objective. Despite this imperative, EMA research (EMA Research Report, Data Center Automation: Delivering Fast, Efficient, and Reliable IT Services) shows that the average enterprise suffers more than 61 hours of downtime each year (99.3% availability). Organizations can reduce downtime by as much as 40% by automatically isolating 80% of the problems. This extends far beyond ITIL v3s Event Management. For successful Problem Isolation, the keys are discovery, dependency mapping, event collection, event correlation, business impact analysis, process orchestration, and an organic organizational structure that enables continuous service improvement (CSI). As complicated or arduous as this may sound, solutions exist that simplify the implementation and growth of an adaptive Problem Isolation environment. And organizations that adopt advanced Problem Isolation stand to enjoy significant advantages in operating margin, staffing agility, and customer service levels.

Why Problem Isolation Matters There are three basic phases in any system outage Detection, Identification, and Resolution and each phase requires a different approach to automation:

Detection, the first phase, can originate from several sources. With automation, one would expect any failing component to generate an alert. The challenge in this type of automation is targeting the conditions that constitute exceptions and warnings. This parallels ITIL v3s Event Management process.

Identification, the second phase, becomes complex and time-consuming in the presence of multiple exceptions, especially when these exceptions originate from various infrastructure components (network, application, end-user monitoring, servers, etc.). This kicks off the Problem Management process.

Resolution, the final phase of an outage (but not the final process in Incident Management), requires diagnosis, analysis, and remediation. This is primarily a Problem Management phase, and can involve Change Management as well.

We found that organizations spend 54% of each outage detecting and identifying. This is an ideal opportunity because the first two phases are much easier to automate than the resolution phase, thus yielding a majority of the benefit. The most tangible benefit of outage reduction is employee productivity. The equation is simple:

Making it Work To understand Problem Isolation from an architectural perspective, one must understand its layers of maturity. Figure 1 shows a high-level flow of the ITIL v3 processes and activities that underpin Problem Isolation. The core processes are Event Management and Incident Management with inputs/outputs in Problem Management, Change Management, Knowledge Management, Request Fulfillment (process orchestration), Service Level Management, and Availability Management. At level 4, events converge into an Operations Bridge (OB). ITIL defines an Operations Bridge as a physical location where IT services and IT infrastructure are monitored and managed (Service Operations, 5.2.1 Console Management/Operations Bridge). Although the degree of monitoring, filtering, and automation varies considerably between technology silos, correlation is a weakness at Level 4 because even simple event streams require extensive technical and organizational (political) collaboration. Because of this, the collaboration of incident response faces two major obstacles. First, multiple events, especially during a serious outage, generate chaos and consternation. Second, when a company is losing $10,000 per minute, the reluctance to admit culpability generates political tension, finger-pointing, and long delays in event characterization. Level 4, though an essential

foundation for Problem Isolation, does not meaningfully mitigate the impact of serious crossservice outages. Problem Solving Every theoretical problem asks for an answer or solution. Trying to find a solution to a problem is known as problem solving. The time it takes to solve a problem is a way of measuring complexity. [1] Many problems have no discovered solution and are therefore classified as an open problem. problem management is a continuous process. It encompasses problem detection, documentation of the problem and its resolution, identification and testing of the solution, resolution, problem closure, and generation of statistical reports. Many times in IT organizations, IT managers skip or mishandle one or more of these steps, which results in increased demands on the staff. Heres a breakdown of the steps for managing problems. If you follow them correctly, youll reap great benefits for your organization, including increased staff productivity and end-user satisfaction. Step 1: Define problem management process and practices The first step in establishing an effective problem management discipline is to publish a plan on how to handle problems. This plan should cover the following:

Procedures for handling problems: What is done after a problem is detected and reported, how problem data is captured and stored, and how the problem is managed to resolution Roles and responsibilities of the IT support staff: Who receives the problem, who records all information, who handles problem resolution, and what each entity is supposed to do Measurements for problem resolution: What will be tracked to monitor the efficiency of the problem management discipline Problems to be handled and how to classify them: Severity and priority assignment methodology, and escalation guidelines

Bypass procedures: Actions that can be taken to immediately restore system availability in the event of specific events or problems

Step 2: Detect or recognize the problem In this step, you activate the necessary tools to detect problems. Use all facilities for capturing problem reports, including the help desk. Gather data and record all pertinent information in a location accessible to all support staffers. Notify affected users to help minimize the impact of the problem.

Step 3: Bypass the problem As soon as the problem is detected, take all possible steps to bypass it or minimize its impact on users. Ideally, you should identify bypass procedures in advance, ensuring that theyll have no side effects on other systems, applications, or users. Keep in mind that a bypass is not a resolution of the problem. All too often, IT treats a bypass as a permanent fix, only to have the system eventually fail because the bypass was not designed to run forever or because the bypass affected other systems. In some cases, IT managers use bypass procedures so often that they become the norm for solving the problem, when they actually do little to prevent the problem from happening again. Examples include rebooting a server or network router without identifying the source of the failure or pressing [Ctrl][Alt][Del] when a PC hangs instead of finding the failing software application and fixing it. Step 4: Analyze the problem At this stage, identify the true cause of the problem and evaluate, test, and apply possible resolutions. Review records to see if similar problems are on record. Efficient, effective problem analysis can significantly reduce the time it takes for resolution.

Step 5: Manage the problem to resolution Many times, a single support professional cant resolve a problem entirely unaided, and the problem must be shared among multiple support staffers, especially if its complex or involves multiple systems or applications. Its important that someone monitor and manage the problem to resolution, making sure its resolved within the process performance targets.

Once the problem has been fixed, flag it as temporarily closed for a given period of time, such as one week. After this period lapses, ask the affected users whether the problem has recurred, or whether any unwanted effects were caused by the fix. If not, you can close the problem permanently. What is Problem Management?

The goal of Problem Management is to minimize both the number and severity of incidents and problems in your school. It should aim to reduce the adverse impact of incidents and problems that are caused by errors within the ICT infrastructure, and to prevent recurrence of incidents related to these errors.

Problems should be addressed in priority order with attention paid to the resolution of problems that can cause serious disruption. The degree of management and planning required is greater than that needed for incident control, where the objective is restoration of normal service as quickly as possible. Problem Management's responsibility is to ensure that incident information is documented in such a way that it is readily available to all technical support staff.

Problem Management has reactive and proactive aspects

reactive - problem solving when one or more incidents occur proactive - identifying and solving problems and known errors before incidents occur in the first place.

Problem Management includes

Problem control, which includes advice on the best workaround available for that problem Error control.

Difference between incident and problem management The aim of Incident Management is to restore the service to the user as quickly as possible, often through a workaround, rather than through trying to find a permanent solution.

Problem Management differs from Incident Management in that its main goal is the detection of the underlying causes of an incident and the best resolution and prevention. In many situations the goals of Problem Management can be in direct conflict with the goals of Incident Management

Deciding which approach to take requires careful consideration. A sensible approach would be to restore the service as quickly as possible, but ensuring that all details are recorded. This will enable Problem Management to continue once a workaround had been implemented

Discipline is required as the thought that the incident is fixed will prevail, and the incident may well appear again if the resolution to the problem is not found.


Why use Problem Management The benefits of taking a formal approach to Problem Management include the following:

A standard way to approach every problem - this saves time A reduction in the number of incidents Permanent solutions - there will be a gradual reduction in the number and impact of problems and known errors, as those that are resolved stay resolved Learning from your mistakes - based on the concept of learning from past experience. The process provides the historical data to identify trends, and the means of preventing failures and of reducing the impact of failures.

Better first-time fix rate of incidents with a knowledge database available to the Service Desk and technicians when a call is first logged. How Problem Management works Problem Management works by using analysis techniques to identify the cause of the problem. Incident Management is not usually concerned with the cause, only the cure. Problem Management therefore takes longer and should be done once the 'urgency' of the incident has been dealt with: for example, removing a faulty computer and replacing it with a working computer. This takes the urgency away and leaves the faulty computer ready for diagnostics. Problem management can take time. It is important to set a time limit to how much time should be spent on the problem - or the cost of resolution can become expensive. Roles and functions in the Problem Management process

Service desk to note the incident sheet that the problem has been passed to Problem Management Service desk to log, monitor and track the progress of the problem Service desk or technician to spot trends

Technician support to action problems raised from Incident Management Technician support to progress unresolved incidents through the Problem Management process Technician assisting with the handling of major incidents and identifying the root causes Technician preventing the replication of problems across multiple systems Any additional first line support groups, such as, configuration or change management specialists to be consulted Second-line and third-line support groups, including specialist support groups and external suppliers User to keep the service desk informed of any further changes to the state of the affected equipment (sometimes the computer can start working again when different incidents are resolved).


Some of the common signs and symptoms of stress

Although we all experience stress in different ways, there are certain signs that are most frequently reported. These signs fall into two major categories; physical/behavioral signs and emotional signs. If we become aware of our own stress symptoms, we will be more effective in dealing with them sooner rather than later. What follows is a list of some of the most experienced symptoms of stress.

The physical/behavioral symptoms include; muscular tension, muscle spasms and tics, rapid heart beat, shortness of breath and high blood pressure, cold hands and feet, backaches, headaches and neck aches, stomach problems, indigestion, irritable bowel and ulcers, feeling fatigued, irritable, decreased ability to concentrate, insomnia and changes in eating behavior. Since these physical

symptoms may be related to physical problems, you should consult with your medical doctor before you assume that your symptoms are purely stress-related.

The emotional symptoms include; anxiety in a variety of situations not limited to the stressful situation, depression, hopelessness and a strong urge to cry without specific incident, withdrawal from social interactions and avoidance of previously enjoyed activities, powerlessness and decreased self esteem, hostility, anger and resentment, fears, phobias and unwanted thoughts. Learning to become more aware of your own stress symptoms is the first major step in the stress management and healing process. It is often helpful to monitor your daily symptoms in a stress diary where you match the stressful events with the symptom experienced. For example; you made find that if you are stuck in early morning traffic you may experience irritability and headaches. In this case it will be important to use these symptoms as a cue that you have to begin managing that stress more effectively when it happens.

What are the consequences of unmanaged stress?

We all know that stress is something that doesnt feel good to us physically and emotionally. What is even more compelling is what happens below the surface each time we experience stress. Stress researcher Hans Selye, determined what happens internally each time we experience something as threatening or stressful. According to Selye, when we perceive a threat in the environment the thinking part of the brain sends an alarm message to the nervous system via the hypothalamus. The nervous system then makes changes in the body that prepare you to handle the perceived danger ahead. These changes include increases in heart rate and blood pressure as well as pupil dilation. In addition, there are hormones and chemicals secreted such as adrenaline, that give the body the necessary push to be able to manage the threat ahead. Although there are situations in which these adrenaline surges are very helpful in helping us mobilize, the constant adrenaline surges due to repeatedly perceived threats, have a toxic effect on the body. For example, recurrent adrenaline


surges inhibit some of the other important functions in the body including growth and tissue repair, digestion and the immune response.

Just as the thinking part of your brain is responsible for turning the stress response on, you can turn it off by changing the threatening appraisals you are making. Once you are able to determine that a threat does not exist or that it can be effectively managed, your thinking brain stops sending panic messages to the nervous system. As a result of this reappraisal, the hormones and chemicals cease to be released and the body returns to normal.

Bringing the body back to an "un-stressed" state is very important since almost every system in the body can be damaged by stress. Although our bodies are adaptive and can recover from periodic stressors, chronic stress has serious consequences. We experience the consequences of stress on three important levels; physically, emotionally and behaviorally. What follows is a description of the specific consequences in these three categories.

Physically, the body is likely to develop a stress-related disease as a result of the stress toxins that are released. For example, chronic stress can lead to cardiovascular disease by elevating blood pressure, damaging the heart and arteries and increasing blood sugar. Respiratory conditions such as asthma and bronchitis can result from stress-triggered changes in the lungs. When stress inhibits the bodys digestive functions, diseases such as ulcers, colitis and chronic diarrhea can occur. In addition, stress contributes to inhibited growth of tissue and bone which can lead to decalcification and osteoporosis. The immune system is also inhibited by the reduced efficiency of the white blood cells, making the body more susceptible to disease. Increased muscle tension, fatigue and headaches are additional consequences of chronic stress. The second category of consequences of chronic stress is the emotional consequences.

Depression can result form chronic stress due to the constant release and depletion of norepinephrine. What also contributes to the depression is the thought that life is terrible and that it

is never going to get better. What then results is a feeling of helplessness and ineffectiveness, feeling like a failure and a reduction in self-confidence. Individuals who are depressed are also likely to withdraw from relationships and isolate themselves which often increases the intensity of the depression. In addition, anxiety and fearfulness are commonly felt emotions if someone constantly perceives threats around the corner. In addition, individuals who are chronically stressed are likely to exhibit increased cynicism, rigidity, sarcasm and irritability since they believe that their situation is not likely to improve.

Chronic stress also has significant behavioral consequences. The behavioral consequences often result from the innate survival urge we have to seek relief, to fight or to flee. Unfortunately, these relief-seeking behaviors eventually become problematic. For example, "addictive behaviors" can result from the repeated efforts to soothe or escape the painful stress. Alcohol, drugs, smoking and overeating are often seen as tools to help manage the stress even though their effects are short lived and the consequences of chronic use are destructive to the body and mind. Unfortunately the minds ability to deny the long-term consequences in order to fill the short-term need to escape perpetuates the problem and increases the excessive use behavior. Similarly, procrastination, poor planning, excessive sleeping and the avoidance of responsibility are examples of behaviors used by stressed individuals to temporarily flee from the pain. What is most significant about these behaviors is their ability to generate additional problems that are as severe as the original stressor. For example, procrastination or avoidance of the management of a stressor only serves to increase anxiety and exacerbate the stress experience.

The stress consequences reviewed above suggest that in addition to being physically and psychologically distressing, they reduce the likelihood of effective goal reaching. The rationale for properly managing and coping with the stress is for health protection in the future as well as making the present more productive and satisfying.

Managing Stress

Since stress is an inevitable fact of life that we cant always prevent, our efforts need to be focused on coping with stress more effectively. What follows is a description of a three pronged approach to stress management which includes behavioral/practical techniques, relaxation techniques and cognitive/thinking techniques.

The behavioral/practical approaches to stress management include exercise and eating a healthy, balanced diet, which includes selections from the basic food groups. In addition, it is recommended that one avoid the excessive use of alcohol, caffeine and sugar, which contribute to fatigue and vulnerability to mood swings. It is also important to allow the body to rest and replenish to help inoculate the body against future stress. Building this stress resistance also includes scheduling time for leisure and pleasure, which provides for a more balanced, fulfilling life. Anticipating and preparing for recurrent stressors by managing time, setting priorities and limits, delegating responsibility, and not procrastinating are helpful stress reducing strategies. These techniques are effective stress management tools because their utilization is within our control.

The relaxation approaches to stress management include a variety of techniques designed to help you effectively manage the body/mind tension. Progressive muscle relaxation is an active form of relaxation where you individually contract the major muscle groups of your body for about five seconds and then you relax the individual muscle groups for a five second holds. The contrast experienced by this exercise relieves muscle tension and relaxes the body. Some of the more passive relaxation approaches include listening to music, reading and using saunas and hot tubs to relieve tension. Techniques used to relax the mind include meditation and visual imagery. Meditation teaches you how to clear the mind of stressful and distracting thoughts by focusing the mental energy on positive coping thoughts. Visual imagery is designed to help the individual visualize him/herself coping effectively with a stressor that was previously experienced as overwhelming. The behavioral and relaxation approaches described above are necessary but not


sufficient conditions for stress management. The third prong to stress management, the cognitive or thinking approach, is essential to effective coping with stress.

The cognitive or thinking approaches are an integral part of coping effectively with stress and now the primary focus of many stress management programs. Since it has been determined that we can turn off the stress response by changing our threatening/dangerous event appraisals to appraisals that help us view these events as manageable challenges, we have a direct link to controlling the stress response. The first step in the cognitive approach is to identify our thoughts or internal dialog that is negative, perfectionist, black and white, rigid and demanding. In other words, you are more likely to experience stress if you believe that you, the world and other people "should or must" behave in a manner consistent with your demands and standards. For example, you are likely to experience stress if you believe that the world and your life should be stress free and that you do not have the resources to handle stress if it does occur. In addition, demands of perfection on yourself and on others important to you, increases the chance of feeling stressed since these expectations are unrealistic and rigid. After identifying your stress producing thoughts you are then able to move onto the second step in the cognitive approach; recognizing the consequences of this negative, rigid dialog.

The motivation to change the stress-producing dialog comes from the determination that there are serious consequences that result form these negative, rigid thoughts. When you talk to yourself in a defeated, pessimistic or rigid way, you deny your ability to cope and are not likely to manage situations effectively or meet goals you set. In addition, perfectionist demands are experienced as appropriately unrealistic and contribute to a "why bother" attitude. This attitude reduces the likelihood that you will address these demands since it is a realistic fact that no one or nothing is ever perfect. Once you are convinced that the dialog is negative and counterproductive, you are ready to move on to the third step in the cognitive approach; challenging and replacing the negative internal dialog with a healthier, more productive internal dialog.

This important step in the reappraisal process requires that you challenge your rigid dialog by

asking yourself a series of questions about that rigid dialog. For example, "Why must I perform perfectly in order to believe I am a valuable human being?" In addition, "Does that demand for perfection increase my anxiety and reduce the likelihood that I perform well at all?" "What would I feel like and would I be more motivated if I changed my demand for perfection to a desire to do well?" Another example of this reappraisal process can be seen in the area of criticism and rejection. A negative internal dialog that would create stress in this area is "I am worthless because I was rejected and this proves that no one will ever love me." A healthy challenge to this belief would be, "How does the opinion of this person reflect my personal worth? "How does it follow that this rejection will lead to future rejections?" It is also important to add, " Even if I were to get rejected repeatedly, could I work to make desired changes in my personality without condemning myself or feeling worthless?" By replacing the negative, rigid dialog with more realistic, flexible dialog, you are more likely to feel healthier emotionally and behave more rationally and productively.

The behavioral, relaxation and cognitive techniques described above have been determined to be effective ways to manage and cope more effectively with stress. The techniques give the control back to the individual and empower him/her to manage the inevitable stressors that will occur in life.

"Stress ", the word stress refers to a state of deviation or variation from normal state due to unplanned or improperly designed system or work process resulting into failures and non accomplishment of goals. Organizational stress as defined by J.E Newman, is "a condition arising out of interaction of people with their jobs and characterizes by changes within people that forces them to drift apart from normal functioning". In the present global scenario where the employers try their best and keep a continuous track to map the satisfaction quotient of employees at different levels of baby boomers generation X-ers


and generation Y-ers or employees as diverse workforce in terms of age, gender, attitudes, expectations and longevity. Since the delegation, accountability and authority in an organization is decided on by the organization structure which reflects the flow of direction within the structure. Instead of the best practices, policies and allocation each job is accompanied by stress among individuals which results into dysfunction and ineffective goal attainment and leads to heavy losses in terms of de motivation, unethical organization culture, lack of goal congruency, distrust effecting team work thus effecting the overall working of organization.


Sources of Stress Organizational stress does not solely have its roots in factors due to job of an individual but individual personal reason also has a major role in factors leading to stress. The stressors can be of following types I) Extra organizational stressors It refers to the factors that are more personal and related more to individual, like Societal patterns Technological changes Changed lifestyle Relocation of work or family Unexpected happening or changes in life Sociological variables like race, sex and class leads to stress

II) Organizational Stressors they emerge from reasons related to organization or job assigned to individual. They can be of following reasons a) High stress job- It refers to work which involves hectic schedule and complex job responsibilities which result into imbalance in personal and work a life and also overwork may affect physical health of individual resulting into ineffective work and dissatisfaction among employees leading imbalance in family or personal life also b) Job role Certain job characteristics like job overload, job assignment, job responsibility and responsibility of others, hectic schedules and constant pressure causes stress. c) Improper working condition Sometimes even the physical condition, the infrastructure

and lacuna in basic facilities of the organization lead to stress and improper work efficiency. d) Under utilization of skills If the skills remain underutilized it leaves the person demotivated due to scarcity of opportunities for growth resulting into frequent absenteeism, aloofness, role ambiguity, instability and dissatisfaction. e) Organizational Politics Competition within departments if improperly handled results into negative feelings, fault finding and high role ambiguity which spoil the overall culture and climate of organization. III) Individual Stressors Since each individual's disposition and perception for taking and handling stress varies, so the level of stress and its causes are more individual in nature. The causes of individual stressors are a) Role ambiguity It can be due to lack of training, improper knowledge of subject, poor communication channel, friction between superior and subordinates etc. b) Psychological Hardiness It decides the level and capacity of a person to handle stress since it varies from individual to individual. Thus people having high level of hardiness in handling stress are persons who know how to handle situation better and in a planned way so as to reduce level of stress c) Type of Personality As per the category Type A are people who have high level of commitment, are competitive,, aggressive, and exhibit different behavior patterns. They desire to achieve. Such personalities are more prone to chances of stress and incompatibility. Type B are those who have a relaxed and balanced approach and are more confident in their approaches towards work. They are less susceptible to stress.

Stress Coping Strategies for Organization After identifying the types and causes that lead to individual, organizational stress the need arises to remedies these causes so as to save organization and people from being stressful, unproductive and dissatisfied. The organization and the HR department needs to keep a proper eye and control on the organization activities like A) Job related Strategies Proper job designing and matching the job and the job incumbent Proper selection and placement Training to reduce stress Counseling and mentoring Proper and planned job delegation and allocation of task Monetary and non monetary benefits B) Emotion focused strategies Creating open communication channels Employee assistance programs Mentoring Wellness program Team building exercises C) Problem focused strategy They hit the problem directly after analyzing the possible cause of stress. They can be practiced in form of Training employees for best time management

Training to perform in a team Proper job allocation Job evaluation Matching performance evaluation with job delegation Empowering employees Participative exercises to build up involvement, trust and trust. Recreation Training people in perceptual adaptation Thus, it is though far difficult to ensure providing a stress less and relieved work culture or work, the real productivity and efficiency can be truly yielded a only when individuals at their own and the management on continuous basis can practice a monitoring mechanism to identify the causes resulting into stress and improvising such issues along with employees participation matched with counseling, mentoring, open communication channels and empowerment exercises.

It is the prime responsibility of top management to envisage in system such organization developmental interventions that can bring positive changes in the working, attitude and commitment level of employees by means of work life balance and making the quality of work life happy, productive and esteemed. Irrespective of the nature of industry and work no job can remain untouched and affected from stress since it is a multi- dependent variable including the individual in its different attributes like personal, work related external and internal environment related and above all psychological make up which decides the extent to which the person can accept and overcome stress. Thus to overcome the impact of organizational stressors on employees working efficiency and organization a overall check mechanism need to be designed for the betterment of organization as a whole. Coping strategies refer to the specific efforts, both behavioral and psychological, that people employ to master, tolerate, reduce, or minimize stressful events. Two general coping strategies

have been distinguished: problem-solving strategies are efforts to do something active to alleviate stressful circumstances, whereas emotion-focused coping strategies involve efforts to regulate the emotional consequences of stressful or potentially stressful events. Research indicates that people use both types of strategies to combat most stressful events (Folkman & Lazarus, 1980). The predominance of one type of strategy over another is determined, in part, by personal style (e.g., some people cope more actively than others) and also by the type of stressful event; for example, people typically employ problem-focused coping to deal with potential controllable problems such as work-related problems and family-related problems, whereas stressors perceived as less controllable, such as certain kinds of physical health problems, prompt more emotion-focused coping. An additional distinction that is often made in the coping literature is between active and avoidant coping strategies. Active coping strategies are either behavioral or psychological responses designed to change the nature of the stressor itself or how one thinks about it, whereas avoidant coping strategies lead people into activities (such as alcohol use) or mental states (such as withdrawal) that keep them from directly addressing stressful events. Generally speaking, active coping strategies, whether behavioral or emotional, are thought to be better ways to deal with stressful events, and avoidant coping strategies appear to be a psychological risk factor or marker for adverse responses to stressful life events (Holahan & Moos, 1987). Broad distinctions, such as problem-solving versus emotion-focused, or active versus avoidant, have only limited utility for understanding coping, and so research on coping and its measurement has evolved to address a variety of more specific coping strategies, noted below in the measurement section. UNDERSTANDING COPING STRATEGY Stress is the result of mismatch between a person and his/her environment, if the individual cannot cope with the constraints or demands encountered (Harrisio, 1976). Stress is the outcome of imbalance that internal or external demands create for an individual, affecting his/her physical and /or psychological well being (Lazarus and Cohen, 1977). Coping means ways of dealing with a stressor or a potential stressor. Effective coping dissipates a potential stressor (Igodan and

Newcomb, 1986). It eliminates, reduces or minimizes the harmful consequences of the stressor for the individual (Srivastav, 2006b) Strategy adopted for coping with stress is known as Coping Strategy (Taylor, et al., 1998)

MEASUREMENT OF COPING STRATEGY Personality test was used for the assessment of coping strategy until Folkman and Lazarus (1980) started observing individual behaviour in stressful situations for the assessment of coping strategy. The developed Ways of Coping (WOC), an instrument comprising 68 items for the measurement of coping strategy based on observing individual behaviour. Extensive testing of WOC followed by factor analysis resulted in the development of an improved version of WOC. The new instrument called Ways of Coping Checklist 9WCCL0 (Folkman and Lazarus, 1985) had 50 items. Eight types of coping strategy.vz., constructive Coping, Distancing, Self-Control, Seeking Social Support Accepting Responsibility,

Escape Avoidance, Planful Problem Solving, and Positive Reappraisal are measured by WCCL. Rosenzweig (1978) used cartoon like pictures for the study of frustration. Pareek (1987;2002,p.487-491) also used a similar approach for measuring coping strategy in roles. His instrument was called Projective Instrument for Coping Strategy (PICS) in Roles or Role PICS. Three versions of the instruments, namely, Role-PICS (G), ROLE-PICS (E) and Role-PICS (O) (Pareek, 2002, p.620-625) were developed to cater respectively for general, entrepreneurial and organizational roles, Role-PICS (O) comprises 24 cartoon like pictures. Each picture projects a stressful situation in a organizational role through a question asked by a boss, subordinate, colleague or wife. A simplified form of Role PICS (O) instrument, generated by omitting the pictures, has been furnished in the Annexure. The respondent is required to record his/her response based on his/her immediate reaction in the situation projected. Response for each picture recorded by the respondent is categorized with the help of an interpretation guide to indentify the type(s) of coping strategy adopted by the respondent in the situation depicted.


Measurement A variety of idiosyncratic coping measures exist, but in recent years, researchers have typically used one of two instruments: the Ways of Coping measure (Folkman & Lazarus, 1980) or the COPE (Carver, Scheier, & Weintraub, 1989). The Ways of Coping was developed by Folkman, Lazarus, and their associates (Folkman, Lazarus, Dunkel-Schetter, DeLongis, & Gruen, 1986). It is an empirically-derived inventory of specific ways in which people might cope with a stressful event. Individuals are asked to designate or respond to a specific stressor (such as neighborhood crime) and indicate the degree to which they have utilized each particular coping method to deal with it. Responses to the statements are then factor-analyzed to identify more general patterns of coping. In a representative community study that employed this measure, eight distinct coping strategies emerged: Confrontative Coping, Seeking Social Support, Planful Problem-Solving, SelfControl, Distancing, Positive Appraisal, Accepting Responsibility, and Escape/Avoidance. Researchers often add items that address the particular coping needs of the stressful events they are studying. The result, however, is that the Ways of Coping instrument is employed idiosyncratically across different studies, limiting the comparability of results from the instrument across different samples and situations. Moreover, because the specific coping strategies are determined by factor analysis, the factor structure, as well, varies across studies. By contrast, the development of the COPE was theoretically guided, and items were created to tap a predetermined set of coping strategies. The COPE has a constant set of scales and items and, for this reason, it currently enjoys wide use among coping researchers. The "trait" form of the COPE asks respondents to designate how they typically react to stressful events. The state measure of the COPE is completed by respondents with respect to a specific stressor, designated either by the respondent or by the researcher. An additional advantage of the COPE is the fact that a reliable and validated brief form exists (Carver, 1997). The full COPE is a 60-item measure that yields 15 factors that reflect active versus avoidant coping strategies. In the "traitlike" version, respondents are asked to rate the degree to which they typically use each coping strategy when under stress. In the "statelike" version, respondents rate the degree to which they use each coping strategy to deal with a particular stressful event. Ratings

are made on a 4-point Likert-type scale that ranges from "I (usually) dont do this at all" (1) to "I (usually) do this a lot" (4). The measure has good psychometric properties with alphas ranging from .45 to .92, test-retest reliabilities ranging from .46 to .86, and strong evidence of discriminant and convergent validity, with constructs such as hardiness, optimism, control, and self-esteem. The COPE scales are: Active Coping (taking action or exerting efforts to remove or circumvent the stressor), Planning (thinking about how to confront the stressor, planning ones active coping efforts), Seeking Instrumental Social Support (seeking assistance, information, or advice about what to do), Seeking Emotional Social Support (getting sympathy or emotional support from someone), Suppression of Competing Activities (suppressing ones attention to other activities in which one might engage in order to concentrate more completely on dealing with the stressor), Religion (increased engagement in religious activities), Positive Reinterpretation and Growth (making the best of the situation by growing from it or viewing it in a more favorable light), Restraint Coping (coping passively by holding back ones coping attempts until they can be of use), Resignation/Acceptance (accepting the fact that the stressful event has occurred and is real), Focus on and Venting of Emotions (an increased awareness of ones emotional distress, and a concomitant tendency to ventilate or discharge those feelings), Denial (an attempt to reject the reality of the stressful event), Mental Disengagement (psychological disengagement from the goal with which the stressor is interfering, through daydreaming, sleep, or self-distraction), Behavioral Disengagement (giving up, or withdrawing effort from, the attempt to attain the goal with which the stressor is interfering), Alcohol/Drug Use (turning to the use of alcohol and other drugs as a way of disengaging from the stressor), and Humor (making jokes about the stressor). Coping strategies may be moderators of the SES and health relationship. At present, the COPE instrument is judged to be the most appropriate measure of coping strategies due to its wide use, easy administration, and standardized scoring procedures. At present, only modest information is available regarding the relation of coping strategies to SES. Evidence suggests a relation of coping strategies to health outcomes, such that avoidant coping strategies are associated with poorer health-relevant outcomes.



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Lower Qualification Group NC 1 2 3 4 5 Qualification Matriculation Higher Secondary Technical Certificate Non Technical Graduate Degree Technical Diploma

Note : Numerical Code abbreviated as NC


CODING OF QUALIFICATIONS Medium Qualification Group NC 6 7 Qualification Non Technical Post graduate Technical Graduate Degree

Note : Numerical Code abbreviated as NC



High Qualification Group NC 8 9 10 Qualification Non Technical Doctorate Degree Technical Post graduate Degree Technical Doctorate Degree

Note : Numerical Code abbreviated as NC



H h ig Qualifica tion

L ower Qua lifica tion

Medium Qua lification


Respondents Qualification Profile

Item Qualification Number Percentage

Low Qualification 49 31.6 88

Medium Qualification

High 18 11.6

Low 155 100


For each qualification group, means for each problem management strategy were calculated and rank-ordered to identify the dominant and backup problem management strategies. For each problem management strategy, t-test on means was carried out to detect statistically significant differences in problem management strategy adopted between each pair of lower, medium and higher qualification groups.


Graphical Representation Of Respondents Qualification Profile

L ow Qua lifica tion

L ow

H h ig

Medium Qua lifica tion


Problem Management Strategy across Qualification Groups in terms of Mean and Rank

Variable Mean FT BS BEA DS WT MSE SEE MTE 4.6327 1.3571 1.4796 8.7143 0.4898 4.2041 2.5204 0.6020

Lower Rank 2 6 5 1 8 3 4 7


Graphical Representation Of Problem Management Strategy Across Qualification Groups At Lower Levels

8 7 6 5 4 3 2 1 0 1 2 3 4 5 6

8 7





Problem Management Strategy Across Qualification Groups in terms of Mean and Rank


Medium Mean Rank 3 6.5 5 1 8 2 4 6.5


3.6875 1.1364 1.8580 6.8125 0.7330 5.3693 3.2670 1.1364


Graphical Representation of Problem Management Strategy Across Qualification Groups At Medium Levels

8 7 6 5 4 3 2 1 0 1 D MS F S E T S EE BEA 2 3 4 5 6.5 6.5



Problem Management Strategy Across Qualification Groups in terms of Mean and Rank


Higher Mean Rank 3 6 5 1 8 2 4 7


3.9444 1.3056 1.5556 6.3889 0.8056 5.3611 3.5833 1.0556


Graphical Representation of Problem Management Strategy across Qualification Groups at High Levels

8 7 6 5 4 3 2 1 0 1 D MS F S E T S EE BEA 2 3 4 5 6

8 7



Problem management Strategy Across Qualification Levels as determined by t and p Vales.

Variable t FT BS BEA DS WT MSE SEE MTE 1.95 0.95 -1.38 2.49 -1.57 -2.22 -1.99 -2.55

Lower p 0.054 0.343 0.169 0.015 0.118 0.028 0.049 0.012

Note : t values with P 0.005 are given in bold


Problem management Strategy Across Qualification Levels as determined by t and p Vales.

Variable t FT BS BEA DS WT MSE SEE MTE 0.99 0.15 -0.20 2.37 -1.31 -1.38 -1.79 -1.61

Medium p 0.330 0.879 0.841 0.022 0.201 0.178 0.083 0.119


Problem management Strategy Across Qualification Levels as determined by t and p Vales.

Variable t FT BS BEA DS WT MSE SEE MTE -0.40 -0.57 0.84 0.52 -0.29 0.01 -0.58 0.28

Higher p 0.689 0.574 0.408 0.609 0.772 0.992 0.568 0.779




1. Rank ordering of the eight problem management strategies for lower, medium and higher

qualification groups is furnished in Table 2. Defending the self with its highest average score is the dominant problem management Strategy across the qualification groups. 3. Fatalistic Thinking is the backup problem management Strategy(with the second highest average score) for the lower qualification group. 4. Making Self Effort is the backup problem management Strategy for the medium and higher qualification groups. 5. Results of t-test on means for each type of problem management Strategyfor each pair of qualification groups are furnished in Table 5. 6. Defending the Self is stronger in lower qualification group as compared to medium and hi9gehr qualification groups. 7. Making Self Effort, Seeking External Effort, and Making Team Effort is weaker in lower qualification group as compared to medium qualification group.
8. No significant differences are found for Fatalistic Thinking, Blaming the Self, and Blaming

the External Agency across the qualification groups. 9. No significant differences exist between medium and higher qualification groups in adoption of problem management Strategy.


1. Problem management Strategy adopted across the qualification groups are not uniform

even though the dominant problem management Strategy across the qualification groups is the same. This is contrary to the finding by Gupta (1989) who reported that there is no relationship between education and coping mode of entrepreneurs. 2. Defending the Self being the dominant problem management Strategy across the qualification groups signifies that under the normal circumstances, executives in the organization (irrespective of their qualifications levels) do not make efforts to solve the problems encountered. They deny the problems or rationalize them (by pointing out their benefits) to avoid their solution. Predominance of Defending the Self leads to multiplication of problems that overwhelm the organization and individuals therein. 3. Fatalistic Thinking being the backup problem management Strategy for the lower qualification group indicates that while under pressure, executives with lower qualifications continue to be dysfunctional, believing that problems can neither be solved nor avoided.
4. Making Self Effort being the backup problem management Strategy for the medium and

higher qualification groups signifies that while under pressure, executives with medium or higher qualification become functional, solving problems encountered by making self efforts.
5. Respondents confirmed that (a) generally the problems are unattended in the organization,

(b) while under pressure, executives with lower qualification adopt fatalistic approach, (c) executives with medium and higher qualifications become functional under pressure.


CONCLUDING REMARKS The study has revealed that problem management Strategy are differently adopted across the qualification levels. Executives with lower qualifications are relatively more dysfunctional as compared to their counterparts with medium or higher qualifications. Executives with medium or higher qualifications become functional uner pressure. Executives withlower qualifications continue to be dysfunctional under pressure. Hence better work would get done in the organization by putting pressure on those with medium or higher qualifications . On the orher hand, there is no use of putting pressure on those with lower qualification. RECOMMENDATIONS. Further research needs to be done for understanding why there are no significant differences in the adoption of (i) problem management Strategy between the medium and higher qualification groups and (ii) Fatalistic Thinking, Blaming the Self, and Blaming the External Agency across the qualification groups.




REFERENCES Flokman, S. and R.S. Lazarus (1980) An Analysis of coping in a Middle Aged Community Sample, Journal of Health and Social Behaviour, 21:219-239. Folkman, S. and R.S. Lazarus (1985) If it Changes, It Must be a Process: Study of Emotion and Coping during Three Stages of College Examination, Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 48:150-170 Gupta,P (1989), Roll Stress, Locus of Control, Coping Style and Role Efficacy: A study of first Generation entrepreneurs, M.Phil dissertating, University of Delhi, Delhi. Harrison, R.V. (1976) Job Stress as Person Environment Misfit, paper presented at the Annual Meeting of the American Psychological Association, Washington. D.C. Igodan, O.C. and L.H. Newcomb (1986) Are you Experiencing Burnout? Journal of Extension, 24:1, Spring, Accessed on May 30,2007


QUESTIONNAIRE S.N Questions o 1. 2. 3. 4. 5. 6. 7. 8. 9. 10. 11. 12. 13. 14. 15. 16. 17. So they load you with so much more work! It's too much that my boss and my subordinates have just opposite Asked by A colleague A colleague

expectations from me. It's a pity you did not have an opportunity to prepare for the future role A colleague you are likely to take in the organization. You are so lonely in the organization. I cannot use my talents and skills in my job. I just don't get enough time to spend with my family and friends. You do not get enough resources to do a good work on your job. They have taken away some important functions from your role, and have given those to other roles. Too many people expect too much from me. It is not clear what I am supposed to do on my job. Enough attention should have been given to help me get into the present job more effectively. I just don't have an opportunity to interact with other roles. I wish your job would help you to use your special training. Your family is disappointed and feels deprived of your attention The spouse The boss A colleague A colleague A colleague A subordinate A subordinate A subordinate A colleague A colleague A colleague

because of your busy job. I wish I had a higher level of expertise on this job. A subordinate I would like to work on many more functions than are contained in my A subordinate job. I know you are already over-burdened, The boss A colleague The boss The boss The boss The spouse

but I am afraid you will have to do this assignment also. .18. You are not clear about the requirements of your job. 19. You are not yet ready to take higher responsibilities. 20. You do not have close relations with other roles in the organization. 21. 22. 23. You do not use your main talents in your role. You are too busy with your work

and you do not have enough time for us. You do not have the necessary technical knowledge and experience for A colleague the job.


I am afraid the specific function you wanted to perform has to be given The boss to some other role.