Opplevelsen og forståelsen av stress i en prestasjonskultur

Siw Aasarmoen

Student thesis: Master thesis


Work related stress is a complex phenomenon that implicates major consequences not only for the individual employee, but also for the organization and society as a whole. Despite the growing interest and attention devoted towards the topic, studies show a tendency that organizations’ stress preventive measures are being directed towards the employee on an individual level, rather than towards preventing stress related situations in the organization on a structural level. Previous research has focused on why this approach provides only short-term effect, while topics like how employees and managers experience stress preventive measures are dedicated less attention. Through a phenomenological perspective and an inductive approach, this thesis seeks to examine how the employees and management of an organization experience stress. Furthermore it investigates how these experiences shapes the stress preventive efforts implemented in the organization. The data material underlying the survey is collected through qualitative interviews with employees, managers and Bryggeriets corporate health service. During the study I have examined stress related to self-management and performance management in a performance culture. The analysis shows that these factors affect how employees experience and understand stress, and that there’s a gap between employees’ and managers’ stress experience in Bryggeriet. Still, both parties understand stress and stress related behaviour as negative. The discussion shows that Bryggeriets performance culture has developed a common understanding that behaviour that does not live up to the organization’s “winning behaviour” is seen as “loosing behaviour”. Based on this assumption, the study suggests that the employees’ behaviour is based on survival instead of on a desire to win. Furthermore, it shows that the organization’s managers produce a counter productive attitude towards stress, as they communicate a common understanding that stress is negative for production, and thereby negative for Bryggeriet financial results. This results in stress being reduced by management to an individual and simplified problem.In conclusion, this suggests that the labour market may face an anomaly.

EducationsMSocSc in Human Resource Management, (Graduate Programme) Final Thesis
Publication date2016
Number of pages97