Motivation and Stress in the Workplace

Published 19 Oct 2017

When one thinks of stress, there is an immediate negative connotation to the word. However, there are select times when stress is seen in another light. To put explain the point, Theodore Roosevelt once said, “Nothing in the world is worth having or worth doing unless it means effort, pain, difficulty” (Quote DB). Though not many realize it, stress may actually be a means of motivation.

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If one is not motivated to perform, it would be fair to assume that one would not produce as much output in either skill or goods, as compared to one who is motivated. There is a certain degree of pressure or stress that would motivate an employee. Three theories may explain motivation, the first being Traditional Theory X, which is mostly attributed to Sigmund Freud and is most commonly known as the “stick and carrot” concept.

This concept mostly views people to be motivated by rewards or would like to avoid punishment. Another theory is Theory Y by Douglas McGregor which plays on his belief that a person works for self-improvement and does not rely so much on salary or benefits as one would think (Accel-Team). Last, is Theory Z by Maslow, in which his most well-known work, his hierarchy of needs, is in focus. Maslow’s hierarchy of needs plays upon the idea that people are motivated to meet certain needs, and when one is stable for a certain level of needs, one would naturally work out the next level in search of fulfillment (Romando, 2007).

With all theories, one thing stays the same – one is pressured to meet a goal, be it for a reward, self-development, or to meet a certain level of needs for fulfillment. When met with stress in work, personally, it is better to stop first, avoid further strain and to try another approach to the situation. In the future, an effective technique may be to consider what the rewards and consequences are in the situation, how the situation would aid in self-development, and consider what needs it would fulfill.


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