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'Managing' Stress
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'Managing' Stress
Emotion and Power at Work


April 1995 | 192 pages | SAGE Publications Ltd

"At long last, we have a book which examines stress from this perspective and which aims to 'present a critical understanding of the experience of stress and distress in employment' and to 'use this analysis to explore broader debates relating to discourse, agency and subjectivity.' I believe that this book will come to be regarded as a landmark in the way in which we think about and deal with 'stress'."
—The Occupational Psychologist


Providing a thought-provoking and timely alternative to the current approaches to stress at work, 'Managing' Stress: Emotion and Power at Work addresses stress within the wider debates about emotion, subjectivity, and power in organizations—as an emotional product of the social and political features of work and organizational life.

Key Features

  • Analyzes the historical developments of the dominant "stress discourse" in modern psychology and elsewhere
  • Presents alternative possibilities for understanding stress at work, drawing on a range of perspectives from labor process theory to the work of Foucault
  • Outlines a powerful critique of the typical stress management intervention, and employees increase their effectiveness by becoming "stress-fit" for dealing with their work pressures
  • Explores various ways of "rewriting" stress at work, including recognition that stressful work experiences can be collectively produced and reproduced

Intended Audience
'Managing' Stress will be essential reading for all those interested in this important topic within occupational and organizational psychology, social work, organizational behavior, and, more generally, within management and organization studies.


"The book under review makes a concerted effort to explain the genesis and growth of interest in stress and also to provide direction in managing new sources of stress…Lucidly presenting and critically reviewing several models of stress, the book suggests clearly that most contemporary theories emphasise individual efforts and coping strategies in dealing with stress. The authors highlight the role of collectivity, particularly in organisational settings, in managing stress…Evaluating current approaches to stress management and providing alternatives, this book is an excellent addition to existing literature. It attempts to excite researchers and academics in the fields of organisational psychology to re-examine the existing theories and practices…Undoubtedly, the book is a welcome addition to the shelves of students and academics in the field."
—Management Review

"I believe that this book will come to be regarded as a historical landmark in the way in which we think about and deal with 'stress'. While the analysis presented here is perhaps preliminary and one can argue with some of the conclusions, this book makes a unique contribution by challenging the complacent orthodoxy which characterizes so much of the stress literature. This challenge is not just part of an academic debate, but also has profound implications for what organizations and individuals do about 'stress'. I feel therefore that this book will be of genuine value to practitioners and researchers."
—The Occupational Psychologist


 
Introduction
Agency, Subjectivity and the Stress Discourse

 
 
Knowing Stress
From Eugenics to Work Reform

 
 
Retheorizing Stress and Emotion
Labour Process Theory, Foucault and Elias

 
Jocelyn Handy
Rethinking Stress
Seeing the Collective

 
 
Becoming `Stress-Fit'
Stephen Fineman
Stress, Emotion and Intervention
 
Conclusion
Rewriting the Stressed Subject

 

`This book will be useful for a number of reasons. Primarily it gives the stress researcher a new lens through which to view the stress discourse. Hopefully, others who work in the area will follow suit so that the few who engage in this type of scholarship are not marginalized, as is pointed out in the book. This work is also useful in providing the scholar and student of organization theory with something to hold onto. The stress literature is fertile ground on which to apply and learn labour process theory, Foucault's ideas and Burrell and Morgan taxonomy. Last, I think those who are attempting to incorporate diverse perspectives and voices into the organizational sciences will be given renewed strength by reading this book. Newton provides us with countless examples of how social and political pressures cause us to define ourselves as "naturally stressed" and to change ourselves rather than challenge and change the social control mechanisms that exist in our society and in the microcosm of society - the organization' - Management Learning

`I believe that this book will come to be regarded as a historical landmark in the way in which we think about and deal with "stress".... this book makes a unique contribution by challenging the complacent orthodoxy which characterizes so much of the stress literature. This challenge is not just part of an academic debate, but also has profound implications for what organizations and individuals do about "stress". I feel therefore that this book will be of genuine value to practitioners and researchers.... few people who read this book... will be left in any doubt as to the academic and practical value of thinking about stress from these perspectives' - The Occupational Psychologist

`The book contains some thought-provoking material. This includes the idea that a stressful work environment is not bad but the psycho-social nature of human beings has not yet caught up with it and stress management techniques might enable them to.... The book ends with a comprehensive bibliography on the subject. Tim Newton has added to the present thinking on stress in the workplace in a stimulating manner which will be of particular use to those attempting to have the issue addressed on an organization-wide basis' - Counselling at Work

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