As job stress builds because of pressures at work an individual is more likely to employ coping strategies to reduce the apparent impact of the job stress when they are unable to directly address the real source of the job stress. This scenario is depicted in the Balancing Loop of Fig. 1.
The Stock & Flow Diagram of Fig. 2 makes explicit the fact that the coping strategy does nothing to actually reduce the job stress which results in the anxiety. The coping strategy is simply a mechanism to deal with the anxiety that is created as a result of the actual job stress.
This situation is likely to become a Fixes that Fail structure and an Addiction structure if the coping strategy is substance abuse as the addiction will in time simply promote additional job stress as depicted in Fig. 3.
The fundamental solution, which is generally of longer term or requires substantially more effort is to take action to actually decrease the source of the job stress as depicted in Fig. 4.
The fundamental solution may entail getting responsibilities redefined, changing positions within the company, or even finding a job with another company. The coping strategies are likely to only make matters worse in the longer term and make the situation even more difficult to address in the future. Here is a situation where the best approach is to bite the bullet and get on with it, painful as it may be.
- Diagrams created with Vensim
- Work Anxiety
- Kim, Daniel and Anderson, Virginia (1998) System Archetype Basics: From Story to Structure. Pegasus Communications
- Wikipedia (2007) Workplace Stress
- Work In Progress media:jbstrs.smm and media:jbstrsa.smm
Systems Thinking World Discussions
Systems Thinking World Q&A * Gene Bellinger