New Horizons in Management series
Edited by Alexander-Stamatios G. Antoniou and Cary L. Cooper
Debra L. Nelson and Bret L. Simmons Studies of work stress have proliferated in the past twenty years, and a solid research base has been built that focuses on the identiﬁcation of stressors, the individual stress response and the consequences of distress. This research has been built upon a tradition of preventing the negative; that is, preventing the noxious aspects of stress at work and treating the symptoms. Organizational interventions have been proposed, and individual characteristics have been identiﬁed that predispose people either to cope less well with stressors or to be particularly vulnerable to the deleterious health outcomes of excessive or mismanaged distress. Our own research is a part of this tradition. We see it as an integral part of stress management, yet there is an overlooked aspect of the management of work stress that remains to be explored. While some scholars mention eustress, and even oﬀer deﬁnitions of it, we have yet to see evidence of studies that focus on the positive response to demands. Intuitively, however, we know that some people ﬂourish under stress. We propose that there are two pathways to the positive in terms of managing work stress. One pathway is the more familiar preventing or reframing the negative, as in the bulk of work stress research as we know it. The second pathway, more hazy and unfamiliar, is the promotion of the positive, recognizing and generating eustress at work. This is indeed a new perspective in occupational health. In this...
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