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Challenge Stressors Versus Hindrance Stressors, and Resources to Overcome Stressors




Stress is a forceful condition in which an individual is challenged with an opportunity, demand, or resources related to what the individual yearns and for which the outcome is viewed to be both uncertain and important (5).

Beneficial Stress Versus Harmful Stress

Stress is generally discussed in a negative framework. As a matter of fact, it is not automatically bad in and of itself, and it also has a positive value (6). It is favorable when it offers promising advantages.  Contemplate, for example, the outstanding performance of an athlete or stage performer gives in an adverse situation (1) .Such individuals often use stress positively to rise to the occasion and perform at their best (1).  Similarly, many professionals view the pressure of difficult assignments and deadlines as positive challenges that improve the quality of their work and satisfaction that they get from their job (1).

Challenge Stressors Versus Hindrance Stressors

Recently, researchers have argued that challenge stressors – or stressors associated with: (1) time emergency, (2) pressure to complete work, and (3) workload ; function entirely differently from hindrance stressors- or stressors that prevent an individual from achieving his/her goals. Although research is just commencing to accrue, early evidence proposes challenge stressors produce less stress than hindrance stressors (7). There is also evidence that challenge stressors improve job performance in an accommodating work environment (7); whereas hindrance stressors decrease job performance in all work environments (10).

A meta-analysis of responses from more than 35,000 individuals demonstrated that many hindrance stressors were all constantly negatively associated with job performance (7). Examples of hindrance stressors are ((1) & (2)):


  1. Red tape
  2. Office politics
  3. Misunderstanding over job responsibilities
  4. Role ambiguity
  5. Role conflict
  6. Role overload
  7. Job insecurity
  8. Environmental uncertainty
  9. Situational constraints
  10. Extreme job demands
  11. Disagreements with teammates
  12. Disagreements with supervisors
  13. Incapable authority to carry out task
  14. Lack of training essential to perform the job
  15. Nonproductive meetings
  16. Time-consuming meetings
  17. Commuting and travelling schedules


Resources to Manage Stressors

Oftentimes, stress is associated with demands and resources. Demands are pressures, uncertainties, obligations, and responsibilities that individuals face in the workplace (1).  Resources are elements within an individual’s command that he/she can use to find solutions to the demands (1). Research suggests sufficient resources help diminish the stressful nature of demands when demands and resources correspond (9). For example, when an individual takes a test at school or undergoes his/her annual performance review at work, he/she feels stress because they confront opportunities and performance pressures (9). A good performance review may give rise to a promotion, greater responsibilities, and a greater salary (9). On the contrary, a poor review may hinder an individual from securing a promotion (9).  An extraordinarily poor review might even cause  the individual to be sacked (9).To the extent that the individual can apply resources to the demands on him/her, such as placing the exam or review in perspective, being prepared, or obtaining social support; he/she will feel less stress (9). If emotional demands are stressing, having emotional resources in the form of social support is remarkably essential (9). In the case that demands are cognitive, as information overload; then job resources such as information or computer support become more significant (9).

Practical Ways to Overcome Stress:

  1. Determine the source of the stress (3).Rather than feeling like you’re unsuccessful every day, pinpoint what you’re actually stressed about (3). Is it a particular undertaking at work, an approaching exam, an argument with your boss (3)? By being precise and identifying the stressors in your life, you’re one step closer to becoming organized and taking action (3).
  2. Recognize what you can control- and work on that (3).While you can’t control what your in-laws mention, what your boss does, or recession and inflation; you can control what you spend your time on, what you spend your time on, how you perform work, and the   and your response (3). For example, if the scope of a work project is causing you stress, discuss it with your supervisor or divide the project into step-wise tasks and deadlines (3). Stress can be immobilizing. Doing what’s within your capabilities enables you to progress and is empowering and galvanizing(3).
  3. Do what you are passionate about and enjoy (3).It is much simpler to manage stress when the rest of your life is filled with activities you enjoy (3).Even if your job is significantly stressful, you can search for one or more hobbies that improve your life (3). What are you enthusiastic about (3)? If you are unsure, try different activities to find something that is very useful and rewarding (3).
  4. Get moving. Move your body often – don’t sit in excess of an hour (4).Physical activity has a key role in diminishing and precluding the effects of stress, but you don’t have to be an athlete or spend hours exercising to experience the benefits (4).Any type of physical activity can help alleviate stress and eliminate tension, anger and frustration (4). Exercise releases endorphins that improve your mood and make you feel good, and it can also be utilized as a useful distraction to your quotidian anxiety (4).

Although the utmost benefit comes from exercising 30 minutes or more, you can begin with small sessions and increase your fitness level slowly (4).  Short 10-minute periods of activity that raise your heart rate and make you sweat can help to alleviate stress and provide you with more vitality and positive expectations and beliefs. (4). Even very small activities can accumulate throughout the day. (4). The first step is getting up and moving (4). Here are some simple ways (4):

  • Listen to some music and dance.
  • Walk your dog.
  • Walk or cycle to the supermarket
  • Instead of using an elevator at work or home, take the stairs.
  • Park your car as far away as possible, and walk the rest of the way.
  • Select an activity you enjoy, so that there is a higher probability you will continue practicing this activity.


  1. Robbins, S.P., and Judge, T.A. (2011).Organizational Behavior. 14/E. New Jersey, USA: Pearson Education, Inc.
  2. Mills, H., Reiss, N., and Dombeck, M, M. (2008, June 30). Types of Stressors (Eustress Vs.Distress). Retrieved October 17, 2016 from:
  3. Tartakovsky, M. 10 Practical Ways to Handle Stress. Retrieved October 28, 2016 from:
  4. Stress Management: Tips for Getting Your Stress Under Control For Good. Retrieved October 28, 2016 from:
  5. Schuler, R.S. (1980) .Definition and Conceptualization of Stress in Organizations. Organizational Behavior and Human Performance.  For a revised review of definitions, see Cooper, C.L., Dewe, P.J., and O’Driscoll, M.P.  (2002) Organizational Stress: A review and Critique of Theory, Research, and Applications . Thousand Oaks, CA:Sage
  6. See, for example, Cavanaugh,M.A., BoswellW.R.,Roehling,M.V., and Boudreau, J.W (2000). An Empirical Examination of Self-Reported Work Stress Among U.S. Managers. Journal of Applied Psychology, February ,pp.65-74
  7. Posakoff,N.P., LePine, J.A., and LePine,M.A. (2007) Differential Challenge- Hindrance Stressors Relationships with Job Attitudes,Turnover Intentions, Turnover, and Withdrawal Behavior: A Meta-Analysis. Journal of Applied Psychology 92, no.2 , pp.438-454; and LePine,J.A., LePine,M.A., and Jackson,C.L. (2004). Challenge and Hindrance Stress: Relationship with Exhaustion, Motivation to Learn, and Learning Performance, Journal of Applied Psychology, October.pp.883-891
  8. Gilboa, S., Shirom, A., Fried, Y. and Cooper, C. (2008).A Meta-analysis of Work Demand Stressors and Job Performance: Examine Main and Moderating Effects. Personnel Psychology 61, no.2 ,pp.227-271
  9. Van Yperen,N.W. and Janssen,O.(2002) Fatigued and Dissatisfied or Fatigued but Satisfied ? Goal Orientations and Responses to High Job Demands. Academy of Management Journal,December,,pp.1161-1171;and Van Yperen,N.W. and Hagedoorn, M. (2003). Do High Job Demands Increase Intrinsic Motivation or Fatigue or Both ? The Role of Job Control and Job Social Support. Academy of Management Journal, June,pp.339-348
  10. Wallace,J.C., Edwards,B.D., Arnold.T., Frazier,M.L., and Finch,D.M. (2009). Work Stressors, Role-Based Performance, and the Moderating Influence of Organizational Support. Journal of Applied Psychology,94,no.1,pp.254-262

                    By: Sara M.F.M. Abu-Youssef, MSc. Equivalency, Business Administration Department, Faculty of Commerce, Alexandria University, Alexandria, Egypt, and

              MBA, Arab Academy for Science, Technology, and Maritime Transport, Alexandria, Egypt

    Edited By: Mona Timor Shehata




Wellbeing @ Work Summit Middle East 2021 – where balance, resilience and authenticity break the Mental Health Stigma



Written by: Cinzia Nitti

Globally, 2020 has been a year like no other. Coronavirus pandemic caused a massive business disruption; transformation has been key in supporting employees and catalyzing workplace changes. There was a rush to adapt and reinvent Business Models. Organizations had to rethink and reconsider how they deliver services and strengthen their Organizations through a forward-thinking Digital strategy. To be more agile and responsive in such uncertain times, we need to respond to challenges and adapt quickly to new scenarios by moving from rigid hierarchies to leaner and more flexible structures.

But what about Mental Health at Work, and why is it essential?

What’s the Office of the Future?

Within the Wellbeing @ Work Summit Middle East 2021, HR Leaders tried to normalize the conversation about Mental Health by putting the topic first, enabling self-care and professional support, raising awareness, and building knowledge around its related issues. Nowadays, personal and work life are more intertwined than ever, so it becomes vital to create balance: the more employees feel free to talk about Mental Health, the more they can prevent struggle and breakout at the Workplace. HR leaders play a crucial role in making an IMPACT by pushing new solutions, promoting work-life balance, redesign workloads, and supporting their Teams.

In this general frame, Irada Aghamaliyeva (MENA Diversity, Inclusiveness & Wellbeing Leader at EY) affirmed: “Workplaces that are inclusive foster enhanced employee wellbeing; employees with high levels of wellbeing are more inclusive”. How can Organizations increase employees’ resilience and embed sustainable Leadership behaviors in the post-covid reality?

Dr. Irada Aghamaliyeva introduced the Mindfulness practice in the Workplace and highlighted its benefits on a large scale: improved wellbeing and resilience on a physical level; positive emotions, self-regulation, empathy and awareness of social dynamics; learning and innovation thanks to the implementation of flexible thinking, intuition and problem-solving processes. So breaking the stigma is possible, starting from personal wellbeing to sustain positive energy and fuel resilience.

About the Power of Empathetic and Authentic Leadership, Dr. Rima Ghose Chowdhury (EVP & Chief Human Resources Officers at Datamatics Global Services) stresses the importance of Leadership roles today. The virtual environment employees are working in, makes them more vulnerable due to a lack of balance between emotional and authenticity traits. Authenticity is the primary factor in effective leadership, regardless of the leadership style. Putting employees first as a strategic priority and hearing their voices to guide strategy; embracing agility to work more effectively in tumultuous time; including a multigenerational work-force: these are the key concepts within Dr. Rima’s motto “Empowering is to enable”. Through motivation and filling emotional support needs, the Empowering Teams Process leads to employees’ safety, esteem, and self-actualization. 

The Wellbeing @ Work Summit delivers strategic direction, advice and inspiration from employers and experts from across the world to help you create a more compassionate corporate culture that delivers results. To know more about the FOW Future of Work Insights platform around the world, click here:

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The Wellbeing @ Work virtual Summit Middle East returns for its 5th annual event on 22-24 February 2021



The summit provides an innovative and experiential virtual learning opportunity for our audience of CEOs, benefit and reward business leaders and senior HR professionals. The information and knowledge gained from attending this event allow the opportunity to make strategic wellbeing and mental health decisions within an organization, supporting our mission to create more flourishing and thriving workplaces. Never before has the mental health and wellbeing of your employees been so important. The Wellbeing @ Work Summit includes keynote speeches, panel discussions, workshops, and fireside chats alongside unrivaled networking with leaders across the Middle East using our AI-enabled matchmaking platform. This is far more than a webinar! An engaging 3-day event providing you invaluable insight and tools to create thriving workplaces.

Key Reasons to Attend:

  • An engaging AI-enabled matchmaking platform to make invaluable connections & host virtual meetings up to 2 weeks before the three-day festival
  • Learn how multinational organizations are creating workplaces where employees thrive in the new world
  • Campfire panel discussions informing workplace change & mental health solutions
  • Middle East-based employer case studies providing the secrets to employee wellbeing success
  • International experts bringing best-practice from across the globe
  • Invaluable networking with business leaders from across the Middle East

The Wellbeing @ Work Summit delivers strategic direction, advice and inspiration from employers and experts from across the world to help you create a more compassionate corporate culture that delivers results. The design and implementation of a holistic wellbeing and mental health programme that delivers healthy outcomes and a more productive organization is paramount right now. 

In addition, the results of the extensive Middle East region-wide survey on wellbeing and mental fitness in organizations across the region made in partnership with Cognomie will be presented during the event.

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DECODING FUTURE HR: Global 24 hour virtual event | 19 and 20 January 2021



DECODING FUTURE HR: Today’s challenges are tomorrow’s trends and opportunities

Global 24 hour virtual event | 19 and 20 January 2021

The world in 2020 has changed to a ‘new normality’ but what’s that ‘new normality’ everybody talks about? Is it here to stay? How is it affecting us in our daily lives in the different versions of ourselves? As a customer, an entrepreneur, a parent, a friend…a worker…

Our job is a key part of our lives and we are indeed living through a fundamental transformation in the way we work. Automation and ‘thinking machines’ are replacing human tasks and jobs, and changing the skills that organisations are looking for in their people. These momentous changes raise huge organisational, talent and other HR challenges. It has become clear that few organisations are likely to revert to pre-pandemic practices even after a vaccine is found.

Decoding Future HR 2021 is bringing you the ideology of how today’s challenges are becoming tomorrow’s trends and opportunities resulting in HR excellence.

Why you should attend:

  • Learn about the trends and best practices shaping future HR
  • Get valuable insights from expert speakers
  • Share ideas and research to help your organisation reach its goals
  • Understand what do employees want in ‘New Normal’
  • Develop new vision for HRBP and Centre of Expertise
  • Identify, integrate and understand stakeholders to create an intentional employee experience
  • Approaches and elements to leadership development.

Some of our confirmed speakers:

  • Tshepo Yvonne Mosadi , Human Resources Director, The HEINEKEN Company
  • Sarah Tabet, Global HR Director/ D&I Leader | Author for “Inclusion Starts with U”, Schneider Electric
  • Wadah Al Turki, Country Talent Manager KSA and Bahrain, IKEA
  • Lesha Chakraborti, Head of HR – EMEA, Travelex
  • Shaban Butt, Director HR & Administration, The Coca-Cola Company
  • Sajjad Parmar, Head of Rewards – APAC, eBay
  • Katey Howard, VP, Talent Management AMESA, Pepsico
  • Chen Fong Tuan, HR & General Affairs Director, Samsung Electronics
  • Prerna Ajmera, Senior Director, HR Experiences and Solutions, Microsoft
  • Václav Koranda, Vice President Human Resources / Member of the Board of Directors, T-System
  • Amy MacGregor, VP Employee Experience, Global HR, Manulife
  • Adwait Kashalkar, People Analytics and Programme Management Leader, APAC, Mastercard

Click here to view all speakers:

At Wisdom we remain positive that ‘normality’ will soon return and that we will be able to physically meet together once again as speakers, delegates and sponsors at our beautiful venues around the world. But meanwhile, life continues and we need to keep in touch and learn from each other. This 24-hour virtual event will be of great benefit and value to your businesses and its continued development during these challenging times. While this virtual event comes at a lesser cost, it provides for now a wider reach into an international audience, with flexibility of access to content as well as allowing you to have the same opportunity as at a face-to-face session for one-to-one business meetings. We look forward to welcoming you in January.

Date and time: 19-20 January 2021Where: Virtual engaging platform
  Further information and bookings:        Contact:   #WSDM_BI
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