March 10, 2009

Stress and Knowledge/Performance

Considering what we discussed in class on Monday about stress and how it links to innovation/creativity and generaly speaking knowledge I did some research on stress and stress management (some valuable information can be found on the website of the American Institute of Stress, there is a separate part especially for job stress, if interested u can check it at

Anyway I found this figure which connects stress with human performance...I apologise for the quality of it, I am afraid I couldn't find a better one...By looking at this figure hopefully it becomes clear that the "amount" of stress experienced by an individual has a tremendous affect on the way this person is going to perform...

According to the figure total absence of stress is useless because it keeps someone in apathy and indifference...While as the stress level increases performance improves...I think we all are aware that a specific amount of stress can be useful or even advantageous  not only in terms of performance but also in aspects of everyday life, like for example a dance competition. It is the kind of stress that keeps us interested and mobilised, for example when we go to a job interview we feel very tensed but thanks to this feeling we become eager to do our best, prove that we are the best for the job and  the end all this will give a good impression. That is the good and healthy stress...

However, an overdose of stress can be catastrofic..for both performance and personal wellbeing. As shown in the figure when the amount of stress goes beyond the desired level then the result is disastrous...Anxiety and Panic take over and as a result performance goes down the drain...Unfortunately, I think that most of us have experienced this feeling and seen our performance decrease as our mental health disappears...


As far as linking the figure above and what i have mentioned until now, to knowledge I think we can simply replace the word performance on the left side with knowledge...

Just think of this, when in a year's time we are sitting in our office and feeling bored to death and in total relaxation i don't think there is any chance of approaching knowledge or making any significant contributions to the knowledge capital of he organisation.

On the other hand, with the right amount of stress I personally think that can function as a form of motivation to explore new possibilities, experiment, be creative and innovate. Provided of course, stress dosent go of the limits because then in a state of panic..agony..or even stomach aches knowledge is unreachable.

Probably a depressing example of how an overdose of stress paralyses knowledge could be a bad time managed PMA, because if I start dealing with a PMA 3 or 4 days before the deadline, my stress levels will be so high it will be impossible to actually learn something out of the whole task....

- 2 comments by 2 or more people Not publicly viewable

  1. Paul Roberts

    An interesting proposition Lila. Do you think that this should be part of induction week to prepare new masters students for what is to come?

    12 Mar 2009, 14:04

  2. Perhaps it would be usefull…to be honest during induction week my stress levels hit the sky…maybe this rational aproach could actually communicate the messages more effectively…hopefully

    13 Mar 2009, 21:16

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