Wednesday, October 03, 2012

Do Leaders Experience Less Stress Than Front-Line Workers?

A new study by Gary Sherman and colleagues at Stanford and Harvard offers some interesting insights regarding how people experience stress in the workplace.   The scholars note that the conventional wisdom suggests that people feel more stress as they achieve higher levels of formal authority in an organization.  However, they found the opposite to be true.  The researchers discovered that leaders had lower levels of the stress hormone cortisol and lower self-reported anxiety than non-leaders in the organizations they studied.  The scholars argued that leaders may feel less stress because they have a greater sense of control.  Because they have more autonomy regarding the type of work they do and decisions they make, leaders may not experience the same type of anxiety that other workers do. 

For more information on stress, I highly recommend a new book co-authored by my Bryant University colleague Jim Segovis.  The title is:  Work Stress and Coping in an Era of Globalization.  The book offers a sound scholarly treatment of the subject of stress in organizations. 

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